130. Annie Hall

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Movie: Annie Hall

Release Date: April 20, 1977

Director: Woody Allen

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Janet Margolin, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst.

Tag Lines: “A nervous romance.”

Relevance: Thankfully I grew up in a household that embraced and encouraged laughter. My parents were both very funny in their own separate ways. My mom had a unique wit about her and loved to be silly, especially with us kids. My dad was very dry and sarcastic. Both of them had tremendous laughs that were infectious. If you were in the room with them, you couldn’t help but join in. Don’t get me wrong, we had our fair share of drama as well. I mean, what family doesn’t? But I honestly can say that my first eighteen years of life were pretty decent. I felt loved. I wanted for nothing. And I laughed a lot.

It is no surprise than to say that my family loved comedies. Of course we all had our favorite genre of movies. My mom loved romance. My dad loved war and western. My sister loved drama and sports related films. I loved horror. But one genre that we could all agree upon and watch together was that of comedy. I have so many memories of all four of us sitting around the television laughing at some of the greatest comedy films of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. One of those films was ‘Annie Hall.’

I can’t remember the first time I saw ‘Annie Hall,’ but I remember the entire family laughing. I laughed as well, but really only to fit in. I was probably only ten years old at the time and most, if not all, of the jokes went way over my head. I mean, I laughed at the lobster scene, but most of the sexual references were a little too adult for me at the time to actually get the punchline. But I didn’t want to be the odd man out and not be laughing, so I did. It wasn’t until a few years later when I watched the film again on HBO did I really start to understand the wit and genius of Woody Allen.

Not only did I watch the big blockbuster movies that HBO so proudly advertised, but I also checked out the smaller and older films that played. ‘Annie Hall’ was one of those movies that I watched again in the early 1980’s. By this time I was at least thirteen years old and really enjoyed the humor of Mr. Allen’s screenplay. His dialogue was so, so funny. I remember watching the film numerous times and eventually recording it on a blank VHS tape so that I could watch it whenever I wanted. I would say that this is probably the first movie that I “studied.” I watched a scene, rewound it, watched it again and tried to mimic the performer’s style, rhythm and mannerisms. Oh the things I learned from this movie, totally invaluable.

‘Annie Hall’ remained one of my favorite films to watch throughout high school and college. Because it won the Academy Award for Best Picture, I have owned it on VHS, DVD and now Blu-Ray. This film has to be one of the greatest comedies of all time. I am so very thankful to Woody Allen for keeping my family laughing. But more importantly for teaching me a master class of comedic acting.

Today’s Thoughts: Listen, I get it, we are not supposed to like Woody Allen. *rolls eyes* I am not a fan of the current “cancel culture” that we are now living in. Regardless of what Woody Allen allegedly did or didn’t do, he created art that I thoroughly enjoy and have been extremely influenced by it. I can’t change that nor do I really want to. If you don’t like him, great. If you don’t like his art, great. Just please don’t tell me what to like or not like based on your moral standards.

Now that that’s out of the way, ‘Annie Hall’ is a ground-breaking, fresh, hysterically funny comedy that will never ever grow old. It is such a funny screenplay and it’s performed beautifully by its entire ensemble cast. And that cast, wow! Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Janet Margolin, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken and Colleen Dewhurst are so phenomenally perfect. Special shout out to Sigourney Weaver in her, albeit brief, film debut.

Every time I watch this movie I smile from ear to ear and laugh out loud sometimes uncontrollably. That says a lot considering it is forty-three years old and I have watched it numerous times. I mean with lines like this:

“Awards! They always give out awards! I can’t believe it. Greatest Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.”

You really have to be dead not to laugh. Every time I watch this movie, I am entertained and in awe. Mr. Allen created such a heart warming, gloriously funny film that should be revered forever. For me, it always will be.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture (winner), Academy Award for Best Director, Woody Allen (winner), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Diane Keaton (winner), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Woody Allen (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Diane Keaton (winner), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Director – Motion Picture, Woody Allen (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Woody Allen (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Woody Allen (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Actress, Diane Keaton (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Ralph Rosenblum, Wendy Greene Bricmont (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Actor, Woody Allen (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Woody Allen (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, Diane Keaton (winner), National Film Registry (1992), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Film (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress, Diane Keaton (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director, Woody Allen (nomination), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director, Woody Allen (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, Diane Keaton (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen, Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman (winner).

Ways to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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