Radio Days [1987]

A sweet and clever combination of anecdotes and autobiography, Radio Days draws heavily on Woody Allen's childhood. Fittingly, the unfolding episodes are woven together by music--lovely hits of the 1940s like "In the Mood" and "That Old Feeling." Some episodes are built around radio itself (like the burglars who answer the phone in a house they're burgling and win a radio contest), and others center on the life of a young Jewish boy (Seth Green, clearly playing a version of Allen himself as a child). Though light in tone, Radio Days is an ambitious re-creation not simply of an era, but of radio itself. Nowadays radio is little more than a way to sell pop tunes, but it used to transmit dreams; watching this movie, you get a taste of how inspiring this simpler medium could be. --Bret Fetzer

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