Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Completely Impartial Review of the Woody Allen Movie "Annie Hall"

I never had that much interest in seeing any of Woody Allen's oeuvre, but Erica keeps making fun of me because of it ("I can't believe you've never seen a Woody Allen film!" and "Well, you've never seen a Woody Allen film!") and Dr. Schlessinger has a habit of comparing my self-deprecating humor to Allen's ("That's why people are drawn to Woody Allen movies; they recognize their insecurities in him and they find it cathartic..."), so I figured I ought to see what they're talking about.

Okay, Woody has this sort of observational sense of humor, where he doesn't have an attitude towards the absurdities of the world so much as he just repeatedly reminds us that he doesn't understand them. It's weird, because he was making all these jokes and I was thinking, "That's pretty funny. I wonder why I'm not laughing." Maybe it hit a little close to home: Annie Hall centers around the relationship between the Woody Allen personality and Annie, his ingenuous love. There were some similarities between the movie relationship and my own history with Anne (damn cute name, huh?), mostly in the way this immature guy wrapped up in his own petty intellectualism brings his girlfriend out of her shell to find that she's grown past his insufferable neuroses and lose her.

I never realized how goddamn irritating those neuroses are. I don't think I'm as bad as a full-fledged Allen persona, but after seeing Annie Hall, I'm afraid that I'm barely, barely tolerable. In an early scene, Woody refuses to go into a movie because he missed the first two minutes and instead drags Annie to see the absolutely entertaining Holocaust documentary The Sorrow and the Pity. I don't see myself doing that; I'd watch the movie and keep the resentful bitching to myself. See what a sweetie I am.

The thing is that Woody's world-view (and mine) is completely distinct from the way he behaves. I agree with his complaints about intellectual masturbation or the vapid So Cal lifestyle. In fact, he finds faults with pretty much everything unfamiliar to him, and as a result, he never does anything, and he wants Anne... I mean, Annie, to cheerily play along with his inaction. No wonder things didn't work out....