Sunday, July 25, 2010

Annie Hall (1977)

I’ve felt guilty about never watching Annie Hall (1977) my entire life. I feel like I’ve never lived a year without someone saying, “You’ve never seen Annie Hall? You’d love it, you’ve got to watch it.” It even arrived at my home via Netflix once, but my husband didn’t have any desire to watch it, so it was returned, unwatched. So when it arrived for a second time I opened it immediately, climbed into bed and hit play. And I will admit, it was pretty fabulous. Definitely a movie I should have seen years ago, or at least last October when Netflix sent it the first time.

Annie Hall also took my Woody Allen virginity, and I’ll say, I’m pretty excited to climb back in the sack with him again.

Annie Hall is the story of a neurotic Jewish comic, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), who lives in New York City. After two failed marriages, he falls in love with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton). They meet through a mutual friend at a tennis match and Annie invites Alvy up to her apartment for a glass of wine. They couldn’t be more different, he sees a shrink three times a week, she smokes grass before every sexual encounter. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, she’s from rural Wisconsin. He’s obsessed with death and on one of their first dates he purchases her two books on death, she’s an untrained singer that likes to moonlight at Open Mic Nights. You can see where this is going, right? Alvy tells her that she’s not smart and pushes her into taking college classes. She does and begins a relationship with her professor. Alvy and Annie break up. He goes out with another girl (Shelley Duvall, who I recognized from The Shining). Annie calls Alvy one night and he comes to her apartment to kill a spider. Annie begins to cry and tells Alvy she misses him. The couple reunites.

Things are fine between the couple for awhile. But eventually old problems return. Annie begins seeing a therapist and confides in her that things between her and Alvy aren’t working. Alvy confides the same to his therapist. The couple flies to California (a state which Alvy despises) so Alvy can present an award on television. Annie likes L.A., and at a house party she meets up with Tony Lacey, a music producer (played by Paul Simon). Alvy and Annie split up and Annie moves to California. Alvy misses Annie terribly and flies to L.A. to see her. They meet at an organic food restaurant (which Alvy obviously loathes) and sees that Annie is happy in California. He returns to New York, writes a play about their relationship, but edits the ending so the pair end up together. Alvy tells us that he and Annie are now friends, and that even though the relationship was painful, it was worth it all in the end.

The movie is incredibly funny and by far one of the most entertaining Oscar winners I’ve seen. It’s full of great one liners (“My grammy never gave me gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks.”) and flashback scenes with young Alvy that will crack you up. Also, it’s chocked full of celebrity cameos including Jeff Goldblum and Christopher Walken (what movie isn’t that guy in?). Truman Capote even makes a cameo as a “Truman Capote look-a-like”.

Here's the trailer for Annie Hall.  Gotta love the line about "VPL".

Annie Hall was nominated for five Oscars and won four. Woody Allen was nominated for Best Leading Actor, but lost to Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss for those of you who haven’t seen that musical masterpiece) who starred in The Goodbye Girl.

AFI listed Annie Hall as the 31st Best Movie of All Time and the 4th Best Comedy of All Time.

As for me, I happily give this movie five out of five statuettes. I can’t wait to watch it again.

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