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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Groovy Movies #1: La-di-da, la-di-da, la la

(find other movie posters at IMP Awards)

I've been posting a weekly Groovy Movies (just sharing my favorite films) on MySpace for awhile, but now that I have a new blog, I'm going to start over and eventually I will repost my previous MySpace choices. Here's this week's selection:

"La-di-da, la-di-da, la la. "

"Hey, don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love. "

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark. "

In honor of the recent release of Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen's 42nd film as a director, I thought I would choose one of his earlier movies--and one of my favorites--as this week's selection. Annie Hall, Allen's wonderful 1977 romantic comedy, stars the director as Alvy Singer, a neurotic New York comedian who becomes involved with Ms. Hall (played by the delightful Diane Keaton, who won an Oscar for her performance). It's a rocky relationship for this couple, but watching them together is pure cinema magic--at least in my opinion.

The supporting cast is terrific: Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Colleen Dewhurst (whose voice I love--she should've been a bigger star), and Christopher Walken (who is a hoot in his brief appearance as Annie's odd brother Duane). Also don't blink or you'll miss cameos by Jeff Goldblum as an LA party guy on the phone, Sigourney Weaver (in her screen debut) as Alvy's date in the final scene outside the movie theater, and Shelley "Tiffany Welles" Hack as the shallow girl on the street. Even an uncredited Truman Capote shows up as himself as "the winner of the Truman Capote Look-Alike Contest".

Movie Trivia:

Suggested titles for the film that were discarded--It Had to Be Jew, Roller Coaster Named Desire and Me and My Goy.

Diane Keaton's real name is Diane Hall, and her nickname is Annie (I didn't know this before).

The movie was originally intended as a murder mystery with a romantic comedy subplot. The murder occurred in the film after the scene where Alvy and Annie miss the Ingmar Bergman movie. Woody ultimately decided to make Annie Hall a romantic comedy, but years later he would finally make his murder mystery with Ms. Keaton--1993's Manhattan Murder Mystery (which is another one of my favorites).

Annie Hall was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay (written directly for the screen). It won four; Woody lost to Richard Dreyfuss (The Goodbye Girl) for Best Actor. One of the things best remembered about Annie Hall is its brief influence on the fashion world, with many women adopting Keaton's distinctive Annie Hall look (vest, trousers, tie--they were the actress's own clothes).

Having previously made only light comedies, Allen has described Annie Hall as a major turning point in his career. Although the film is a hysterically funny comedy, it's also a serious, somewhat sad drama about the roller coaster ride of a relationship. And by the time the credits roll at the end, you may just shed a tear. Shelley Duvall's character in the film sums up how I feel about Annie Hall: "It's transplendent!"


AWOLFortnieaux said...

I love this movie - and am pleased to say I can quote most of it right along! However - the Meg Ryan vehicle 'The Women,' poor Norma Shearer - doesn't have Diane Keaton. Granted she was in 'The first Wives Club' but the trailer seems to lack something.

Namely Ms Keaton...

Kirby said...

"the winner of the Truman Capote Look-Alike Contest"

Best Cameo EVER.

Deep Dish said...

I'm hoping the new "Women" will be good--even without the lovely Diane Keaton, who always makes a film better.