Considering all of the movies I’ve seen, all the GREAT movies I’ve ever seen, it is surprisingly easy for me to pick my favorite:
Annie Hall (1977).
It was my touchstone picture for a number of years. I saw it four times in the movie theater, and it was one of the first films I purchased on VHS.
It’s the roller coaster in Coney Island, which I loved as a child. It’s early Christopher Walken, bizarre as he would later become.
The opening of the film was more story, fewer jokes, my kind of humor. It reminded me of seeing Woody Allen on Ed Sullivan in the 1960s. The film also features Paul Simon, one of my music icons of that decade.
I related to Alvy Singer. Many is the time I wish I could pull out Marshall McLuhan or an equivalent person to shut down an arrogantly wrong comment. I have an aversion to driving. I hate going into a movie after it’s started. I came to believe that, “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.”
Annoyingly, I used to say “la-di-dah, la-di-dah, la-di-dah” a lot. Incidentally, Diane Keaton won an Oscar for this role, though I always thought it was REALLY for her acting in that same year in Waiting for Mister Goodbar.
But mostly, in Annie Hall, it’s the split screen shot of Annie and Alvy with their respective therapists:
Alvy’s Therapist: How often do you sleep together?
Annie’s Therapist: Do you have sex often?
Alvy: [lamenting] Hardly ever. Maybe three times a week.
Annie: [annoyed] Constantly. I’d say three times a week.
It defined how two people can experience the exact same events, yet see them very differently. This is a useful lesson when dealing with most human interactions. For instance, a Protestant and a Catholic can both take communion; for the Protestant, it’s representational of the body and blood of Christ, while Catholics believe that transubstantiation takes place. still, it’s the same act, for presumably the same God, and the chasm that exists over this seems unnecessary.
Other contenders: Groundhog Day, West Side Story (not a great movie, but a great musical), Young Frankenstein.
Oh, and one other: Star Wars, with the retronym Episode 4: A New Hope (meh). The Empire Strikes Back may be the better picture, but this one started it all. Star Wars lost the Academy award for Best Picture to…Annie Hall.
Two long-running television shows end Monday night.
24 (FOX) will be over after eight seasons, and I’ll be happy about that. I fear that people have confused the fiction of the former CTU operative with real life. the United States Attorney General just recently was compelled to say, “We’re not Jack Bauer.” The TV Guide article about the show’s ending asks cast members, “What’s your favorite scene?” I watched the first season, but as the writers/producers decided how much more Jack can take, and deliver, I bailed.
Law & Order is gone after 20 years, after NBC failed to get a cable company to purchase reruns of season 21. I must admit I pretty much stopped watching it when the late Jerry Orbach left about eight years ago, but I’ll watch one more “ripped from the headlines” vignette.