Get yer gun, Annie

I’ve spent all these years without any influence from Woody Allen. The first real exposure was in my short story class two semesters ago, where I got bored with the inane prattle and senseless argumentation in the class, and decided to read one of his short stories, “The Kugelmass Episode.” It was very good – surprisingly good even. It was a story about man that gets inserted into the novel Madame Bovary in order to have an affair on his real life wife and had a tick of metafiction in that classes reading the book around the country noticed this strange character addition. He had a great lithe approach to humor in writing. I appreciated it as a novice writer.

The other day at the library I stumbled on his Academy Award winning movie Annie Hall and decided to give it a whirl. I was in the mood for something light, something reputed to have helped propel a lot of the modern romantic comedies.
 

Bad movie. First off, how Allen writes and what pops up as dialogue are two different things. The inflection of humor comes off too wooden (no pun intended) and too fast and too self conscious. He knows that his characters have to have these strange humorous neuroses and they have to have them just so. The script tried so gosh darn hard, and with that, fell flat onto itself.

I think another main irritation was to create this notion of criticizing the intellectual elite (whether they were socially-accepted elite or self-actualized elite) and yet speaking to the audience in the same sort of marked speech. Without acknowledging that, in effect, the characters are using these same terms, in order to reduce the cleft given to this elite, just makes them sound as pompous as those they criticize. Hypocritical, I say. Here’s a sampling, even though I have to say I love the punch line:

Allison: I’m in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvin Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvin Singer: You, you, you’re like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y’know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper, stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvin Singer: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.

I loved Diane Keaton’s outfits. This really was a good part of the movie. Her character made me go out and buy a dress for Chicago after I watched the movie. I wanted a nice hippy number just like hers and came out with a swank little cocktail-ish type dress. Go figure.

My final complaint with it is that it struck too hard at some sensitive spots for me. I’ve dated an Alvin Singer. Instead of Singer’s therapist, I got insanely proud comments of anti-depressant use. [Which I don’t have anything against per se, but instead of that being a happenstance to who he was and that it helped him, it somewhat became what defined who he was as a whole person.] And instead of an über fear toward commitment, I got an über elation toward commitment, but with the same sort of passion. Singer had the same pontification, the same hairy back…the same…

Except Alvin Singer had a lot of damn sex. And maybe, just maybe, that’s all I’m really upset with – neurotic Alvin Singer at least gave a lot more play than any action I ever saw with my neurotic ex and I’m just a whole lot of bitter.

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9 Responses to Get yer gun, Annie

  1. The Rebuker says:

    Yes, that is something that bothers me about the Woody Allen universe: he always casts himself as the sexual lothario despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that he is skinny, ugly, whiny, and socially awkward. Yet, through the magic of cognitive dissonance, it works even while it doesn’t.
    Every woman dates this guy at least once. Your attraction to his personality/wit/intellect helps you push past whatever physical shortcomings may exist. Sometimes the intellectual attraction is enough to initiate a sexual relationship. The steam runs out of the sexy-boat pretty quickly though, but you console yourself, thinking, “At least he’s still got personality/intellect/sense of humor.” But, somehow, the sex has managed to drain whatever charm the guy had: where once he was witty, the wit has turned to gratingly dull observations infused with stale pop-culture references; the intellectual prowess pales in light of the guy’s complete inability to find work; and the personality suddenly can’t make up for the humpback/obesity/hideous acne/etc. Then you either break it off with the guy immediately or you linger in a guilt-ridden limbo for several weeks (or, sigh, months) and then break it off with him after much emotional suffering.
    The upside is that the whole mess translates beautifully into overwrought poetry, effusive diary entries, and blog posts.

  2. firewings says:

    Exactly! God. Yes.

  3. firewings says:

    Sadly, I really did love him.

    …Oh well. I may be still lingering *cough* nearly…ah…two years on.

    Lordy.

  4. ElPolloDiablo says:

    Thank god I’m not only extremely witty, but also massively good looking.

  5. firewings says:

    *thinks* I keep dating this guy. What is UP with that.

    Damn it, R. Look at what you made me do. Lol!

    Oh, for your information: I think the yardsale post had the most interest. I think.

  6. eatsbugs says:

    Hey, stop talking to yourself.

  7. The Rebuker says:

    I would like to reference my “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” theory of male dating partners. In the dating world you’ve got your Ferrises and you’ve got your Camerons. Ferris-types and Cameron-types can both be funny or serious, smart or sensible, quirky or conventional; the major difference is dependence. The Ferris is independent. The Cameron is dependent. The Ferris is the same, pretty much, at the onset, middle, and end of the relationship. The Cameron, well, I’l let the movie speak for itself:
    “Cameron has never been in love – at least, nobody’s ever been in love with him. If things don’t change for him, he’s gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she’s gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won’t respect him, ’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass.”

    You date the Ferris because you’ll have a good time with him. You date the Cameron because you want to make him feel better. Obviously Ferris is the better choice, but sometimes pity can be an overwhelming emotion.

  8. Erin says:

    The only thing I have really ever understood that woody allen said was “nothing is wrong with you that a polo mallet and some prozac couldn’t fix” but I can totally relate to being pissed that some hairy backed man gets so much sex…. very frustrating. ohhhh and I wrote the spring poem if you want to read it!

    by the way how’s everything going?

  9. Thebutton says:

    Oh God, I did date a guy like that. *head thumps desk* Only no nookie action what-so-ever and I’m quite glad. I’d have to crawl into a hole…a deep dark one if I had.

    I am also not all that into Woody Allen. I like geek but he’s a lil’ too geeky and akward for me.

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