Tuesday, February 17, 2009

That's Just Not Like You

Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam is a funny film about the frustrations and failures of trying to be cool. Allen Felix, the socially awkward, main character of the film, idolizes Bogart and tries to imitate the actor’s cool style with no success. He tries to be rough and aggressive, suave and confident, in order to get a girl. However, he fails miserably and only wins stories of his embarrassment to tell to Linda Christie, the wife of Allen’s best friend who will become the object of his affection deep into the movie. As the cliché theme of this film, “just be yourself” is repeated over and over again and is the way Allen gets the girl. Instead of going into what was portrayed as cool in the film, why don’t we follow the theme and look at what wasn’t cool.

Allen kept trying to be someone he wasn’t; in fact, he was trying to be the complete opposite. Where he was clumsy, nerdy, awkward, and clueless, he wanted to be smooth, in the now, accepted, and savvy in the ways of courting. He saw those characteristics of Bogart as cool and the way to be. Just look at his friend, Dick Christie. The man was all business, confident in himself, disregarded the thoughts of others, and got the girls, a copy of Bogart; however, this perfect portrayal of what Allen views as cool is actually boring. All Dick does is work and tell people how to contact him so that he can do more work. Bogart, with his individualistic image, can be seen as incredibly uncaring and unattached; these negative qualities are really brought into the light through the extreme character of Dick.

Then, we get to Allen’s humorous imitation of Bogart. His example just shows how un-cool it is to imitate another. You can’t learn to be or adopt a specific type of cool; it’s not convincing. This reminds me of Vince Vaughn in the movie, Be Cool. Vaughn plays a White character who thinks he’s Black. He tries to talk Black, dress Black, and act Black, but that type of cool doesn’t fit him. He just can’t pull it off. This is the same way with Allen and anyone who tries to make himself fit a specific type of cool. So, imitation is definitely not cool and can bring all types of problems. Allen got the girl, if only for a moment, by just being himself. It’s extremely cliché, but the theme of this movie has some truth to it.

And now, for your entertainment (or help), here is how to be cool…click these words.


  1. I'm a hopeless case, I guess. I like your Vaughn example -- perfect match.

  2. Vaughn would have been funnier in that movie if I didn't know a few people like him...

    If just being yourself can make you cool, then what would happen if everyone were themselves?