Sunday, February 17, 2013

1810 - Annie Hall

So I've seen this film (probably) more than any other.  I've written about it here a lot.  Last night I got to do one of my favorite things, which is introduce a great movie to someone who has never seen it - and in this case it was a friend who is a young filmmaker.  I still remember the first time I saw this, having been loaned it by a friend with no lead-up at all.  It blew my mind and everything I wrote in the weeks after was a blatant rip-off.  What Allen does in this film is create a magic trick - he blends a lot of different techniques and uses them to express ideas too complicated to summarize through straight narrative.  And the only bad thing about Annie Hall is when you realize that there's nothing else like it, and there's no way to experience it again for the first time.  I'm not going to say any more, probably because I'll just be repeating myself from a previous post, but I'll say this - if you've never seen this movie please get-thee-to-a-DVD (or however you can).  To not like this film is, to me, akin to someone saying that they don't like music.

After watching the film my friend asked me to recommend a top-ten essential Woody Allen.  Which is no small feat to make considering the man has made a film a year for four decades, and at least half of his body of work is amazing.  I tried to narrow it down to ten and I couldn't - and no one can make me,  so instead I've boiled it down to what I think you'd be absolutely remiss to miss.  She'd already seen Midnight in Paris and Vicky Cristina Barcelona so that, along with Annie Hall, will be absent from this list.  I decided to make the list on what best represents Allen, but also gives a sense of his breadth as a filmmaker as well.  Here is it.  If I made this list tomorrow as opposed to today there's a good chance it would be different because, to me, Woody Allen is like sex or pizza - even when it's bad it's still better than most things.  If you're reading this and you're offended that I've omitted a title I promise you that tomorrow I'll be equally offended!

Top Essential Woody Allen Viewing (without Annie Hall, Midnight in Paris, or Vicky Cristina Barcelona (which my friend had already seen) and in no particular order):

  • Take The Money and Run 
  • Bananas
  • Manhattan
  • Stardust Memories
  • Zelig
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo
  • Hannah & Her Sisters
  • Crimes & Misdemeanours
  • Husbands & Wives
  • Bullets Over Broadway
  • Mighty Aphrodite
  • Everyone Says I Love You
  • Deconstructing Harry
  • Sweet & Lowdown
  • Match Point

So there's that - disagree with the list?  Comment below!


Matt Williams said...

Good list, a few of these I still need to see myself. Still haven't seen Match Point - I'm ashamed.

I'm shocked at the exclusion of Hannah and Her Sisters, though. Any reason you didn't feel that worthy of it giving a good taste of Woody (that shouldn't sound as dirty as it does)? I think it's one of the classic examples, among other things, of well-written counterpoint narration, which (at least from the Woody films I've seen) he doesn't employ very often.

Also, have you seen "Woody Allen: A Documentary"? Really fascinating, good doc with some great insight into him as a filmmaker and person. On netflix instant (in two parts, roughly 3.5 hours total).

Jeremy said...

Hey Matt - Hannah is there - right after Purple Rose. It's my second favorite Woody, easily.

And yes - seen it - have the DVD - it's great!