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, alongside The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point.
This film contains examples of:
- 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.
- Brick Joke: One segment shows a monster that is representative of Sandy's anger going on a rampage, killing his therapists and his ex-wife. Later in the film, a fan asking a stupid question is mauled by the creature in an effective Jump Scare.
- Empathic Environment: Even Bates' apartment reflects his mood. When he's depressed, the famous photo of Nguyen Van Lém 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.
- Jump Cut: Dorrie's final bout of Sanity Slippage is marked by disjointed shots of her breaking down.
- 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.
- Show Within a Show: The entire film is a movie being screened at a Woody Allen festival. (Yes, Woody, not Sandy.) The actors even talk about their roles in the film when leaving.
- Take That, Audience!: 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: 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.