Monday, January 2, 2012

Annie Hall (1977)

Director: Woody Allen
Writers: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Duration: 93 mins
Available: on DVD
Genre: Cynical Romantic Comedy
Rated: PG
Actors: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin
Comparable Films: (500) Days of Summer, High Fidelity, London, Up In the Air
Movie in a Sentence: A neurotic comic analyzes his past relationship with a free-spirited woman, and by extension examines his life in general.
Should You Watch: Yes. You should. That's it. Just watch it.
RATING: I'll go 9 out of 10. It's quotable, wry, and annually rewatchable.
Walken Content: A mere minute and a half. But wowzers, what a memorable scene. Word on the street is that Walken got his role in The Deer Hunter because of this little monologue.
 FUN FACT: His scene was originally cut from the movie for "pacing"

Walken Quote:  "Can I confess something? I tell you this because as an artist I think you will understand. Sometimes when I'm driving on the road at night, I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast, I have the sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly head on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The flames rising out of the flowing gasoline."     ~ Duane Hall

General Thoughts: Classic Woody Allen. One of his best, surely. He's sarcastic, yet still tender. Self-deprecating but narcissistic. Such deliciously human contradictions for a misanthrope to embody. And the film is introspective but it never gets stagnant, it's always moving. That is why he can get away with moping around the whole time. This is such a high energy movie - even if it is mostly people talking.

There's always movement and conflict. Whether it's an invasion of spiders, the last-ditch escape attempt of lobsters, Annie driving insanely fast in traffic, or the cacophony that is Woody's childhood family, the audience is always being taken somewhere, so I never get impatient with all of the tangents and digressions that Woody goes off upon.

And then he's interviewing random people on the street and getting painfully honest responses. Suddenly he's been cartoon-ized and he's having a lover's spat with Snow White's Evil Stepmother. Always moving, always surprising.

From what I gather, this film is a bit biographical, both for him, and Diane Keaton (who played Annie). Supposedly, Diane's real name is Diane Hall and her nickname used to be Annie. Huh! Isn't that's funny! Also, her and Carol Kane (Alison Porchnik) have been friends since they were young. So. There's that.

Listen. Everyone knows this is a great film. I'm not saying anything new here. And Walken is perfection in it. Quiet, intense, barely contained, bat-shit-crazy perfection. Walken was given a tiny throwaway role, the crazy-brother-of, and he nailed it so hard that people are still talking about it thirty years later. Cheers.

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