Sibling Revivalry: Watching ‘Annie Hall’ For the First Time
I’ve been a little desperate to show Lindsay a romantic comedy that won’t make her completely barfy, so it’s serendipitous that director Woody Allen’s latest film, ‘To Rome with Love,’ is releasing this Friday, June 22 – it gave us a chance to revisit one of his greatest for our latest Sibling Revivalry screening.
‘Annie Hall’ (1977) is undoubtedly Allen’s most beloved film, and I had high hopes that its authentic (albeit somewhat neurotic) characters and central relationship would resonate with Lindsay on an authentic level.
Turns out, I was right. In fact, Lindsay found something of a surrogate sister in Diane Keaton’s character Annie (I’m frankly a little jealous!). She also learned a thing or two – specifically, regarding the fact that P. Diddy didn’t coin the term “lurve,” style icons existed prior to Carrie Bradshaw, and tears shed over insects of unusual size are, “Never about the bug.” As an added bonus, I’m pretty sure the film inspired her to come up with a business idea that could earn her millions. Here’s our chat about ‘Annie Hall’ 35 years after the film’s release.
What’s your take on the film’s famous Groucho Marx reference, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member”?
I’m obsessed with adverse selection, so I think that’s the greatest example of adverse selection ever. I’ve always agreed with it, because I think that encompasses the caste system of New York City very well.
You made a ‘Seinfeld’ comparison really early on. Which is accurate – ‘Seinfeld’ co-creator Larry David is heavily influenced by Woody Allen. What made you put two and two together?
It was scattered, it was purposeless, it had no plot!
Are you kidding me? ‘Annie Hall’ is about the way modern relationships evolve, among countless other things – very far from Seinfeld’s premise of being “a show about nothing.”
Yeah, I guess…but it was just kind of all over the place. I mean, ‘Seinfeld’ is also a show about relationships in New York City. It was very schizophrenic.
Well, then you’re picking up on the neuroses of the film’s director and star – Woody Allen. Which is kind of the point, frankly.
Alright, I’ll accept that. I liked this better than ‘Seinfeld’ because it was very relatable. It might not be to everybody, but it’s very relatable to me!
Well, ‘Annie Hall’ won four Academy Awards and is widely considered most people’s favorite Woody Allen film. So I think it’s safe to say you’re not alone.
Okay, well just in the whole bad relationship, a little all over the place, crazy awkward guy, crying over killed spiders aspect. It’s kind of some awesome stuff! In the grand scheme of every relationship portrayed in the movies we’ve watched for this column, this is the one that makes me the least hostile.
You scrunched your nose when you first saw Diane Keaton in the vest/tie/pants getup. I told you the outfit is famous and you responded that it’s, “Famously ugly.” Fun fact: Diane showed up to set in that outfit – all her own clothes – and the costume designer on the film agreed with you, but Woody insisted that she remain untouched. The look became iconic.
So she was the Carrie Bradshaw of her day?
Totally! So you can see that, then?
No, that comparison is just the only way I can stomach it.
You’re impossible. At least you and Annie have driving in common. You’re both insane behind the wheel.
Yeah! [laughs] She kinda can do no wrong, in that regard. I love her for it – that was a funny scene.
You guys also use black soap.
It’s true, it’s great for your complexion!
You super loved the “kiss now and get it over with” moment.
Oh, yeah. It was almost like an internal monologue that he was just, like, rehearsing. But it was really refreshing. It’s just funny because I didn’t know anybody else felt that way – I feel that way.
What about one of my favorites from the film – the coining of the term “lurve” – you said you thought that was a new-age term.
Yeah, I thought it was born along with, I don’t know, “phat” and “LOL.” I feel like P. Diddy came up with it, or something.
Same with VPL for “visible panty line,” by the way. This movie is groundbreaking! I think the masturbation as “sex with someone I love” may’ve gotten the biggest laugh out of you.
[laughs] I love that! I’m going to say it every day now! That’s a strong quotable.
You said, “I love her” many, many times in regards to Annie. So you obviously adore her character. But the scene that captured your heart was clearly the killing the spider scene. Which is apropos because you called me last week crying about a water bug in your hallway. Between this, the driving and the black soap, you and Annie are clearly sisters once removed by celluloid.
[whining] Yes! I needed a guy to kill the bug! And then of course she’s crying, because it’s never about the bug! It’s never about the bug, and I appreciate the transparency!
That may be one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard you say.
I’m going to start a business here in New York City where I send men to kill bugs for people in insect peril. And then they’re required to coddle you afterwards for a while. No one steal that idea.
You could make millions with that, seriously. So would you date Alvy Singer?
No! Although he probably is like the guys I date. That’s depressing.