Film: Stardust Memories

Stardust Memories is a 1980 Woody Allen film starring Allen, Charlotte Rampling, and Jessica Harper, in which Allen plays a neurotic director struggling to survive a career retrospective being held in his honor, all while dealing with studio executives who are demanding a new, happier ending to his bleak new film. Allen considers this film to be his favorite.

Not to be confused with Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory or the manga of the same name.

This film contains examples of:

  • Acting for Two: Bates converses with Martians who are voiced by ... Woody Allen.
  • Ambiguously Bi: It's strongly hinted that Daisy is bisexual.
  • Author Avatar: Sandy Bates is pretty much Allen. In fact, it's strongly hinted that Bates is a character played by Allen, who is As Himself in the final scene after the film had been screened.
  • Creator Breakdown: Sandy is suffering from a severe one.
  • Darker and Edgier: Sandy wants to make "serious" films.
  • Denser and Wackier: The film gets much stranger as it goes on.
  • Empathic Environment: And how. Even Bates' apartment reflects his mood. When he's depressed, the famous photo of Nguyen Van Lm being executed adorns his wall. When he's happy, Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers is on the wall.
  • Executive Meddling: An in-universe example - the executives want to give Sandy's latest film a happier ending.
  • Parallel Porn Title: The Simpsons had Bart and Milhouse watching Stardust Mammaries on adult cable in one episode.
  • Reality Subtext: This film was Allen's last with United Artists, presumably because they acted very much like the executives in the film. Beyond that, Allen has long insisted that the film does not reflect his mental state at the time that he made it.
  • Sanity Slippage: Over the course of the film, we see Sandy and Dorrie's relationship falling apart. Towards the end, there's a montage of Dorrie's increasingly neurotic statements.
    Martian: Im a super-intelligent being. By earth standards I have an IQ of 1600, and even I cant understand what you expected from that relationship with Dorrie.
  • Shout-Out: Sandy takes Daisy to see The Bicycle Thief.
  • Take That: A lot of fans for a long while took the film as a slap in their face because of the way Allen portrayed his fans - then they loved it as Self-Deprecation.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: invoked The fans (and the studio executives) all complain that Sandy keeps making "serious" movies instead of the kind of slapstick comedies that made him famous.
    Martian: Let me tell you, you're not the missionary type. You'd never last. And-and incidentally, you're also not Superman; you're a comedian. You want to do mankind a real service? Tell funnier jokes.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Daisy is cute, but it's not-too-subtly implied that she has a lot of issues.