October 9, 2010

#099: Annie Hall (5/10)

With as many movies as I've watched over the last few years it is surprising that I haven't seen many Woody Allen films.  I watched Match Point and didn't even realize it was his, but I really enjoyed it.  Not too long ago I saw Whatever Works and really hated it.  I had no clue what to expect with Annie Hall, but I have heard so many good things about it from critics whose opinions I respect.  It is said to be the quintessential "New York" film. It is supposed to be a true accomplishment in film making.  It is one of those film that you can't really call yourself a film scholar unless you have seen it.  I cannot deny the fact that it was interesting to watch. However, I guess I just didn't get it.  I will give it a 5 out of 10.

The biggest difference between Annie Hall and the other two Allen movies I have seen is Woody Allen. He doesn't appear as a character in either of the other two, but he is the character in Annie Hall.  I quickly realized that I could barely stand to watch this guy.  His dialog was interesting, but the jerky manner in which it was spat out of his bespectacled face was very disconcerting.  I was unable to digest his genius when all I could think about was jamming a rolled-up tube sock down his throat.  It wasn't always horrible, but there were several times it the film just became so frustrating to watch.  I have heard other critics claim that a writer/director is self-indulgent, but Annie Hall would be the definition of the phrase for me.

I realize a lot of people love this film, and those people are thinking that I totally don't understand what Woody Allen was trying to do with it. Maybe I don't... maybe I don't care.  At its base it is a romantic comedy without romance.  It is a tale of two lovers that don't have an ounce of chemistry.  It is a story of a neurotic man who neither desires, nor deserves any of our sympathy.

Surprisingly Woody Allen's sense of humor works for me.  I found it to be fairly funny. I just couldn't stand the delivery.  I can appreciate what Allen was trying to do.  At the same time, I can dislike the way he did it.  Something about his style doesn't suit me, and I won't be working my way through his vast library of film.

Part of me wants to force myself to endure Annie Hall again, just to see if I can realize the magic upon a second viewing.  The more practical part of me acknowledges that I will probably never watch this film again; and I am completely fine with that.  If you think Woody Allan is the cat's pajamas then more power to you.  A ton of people love him, I am just not one of them.  I still feel like I should watch Allen's more famous movies, just to have the experience. I am not sorry I watched Annie Hall. I am glad I got to see what all the fuss was about.  What Woody movie should I see next to get things back on track?  What are his best that I should seek out?

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