There's certainly something about a film that is so utterly disgusting as this one. Not surprising to me that it has been often deemed as one of the most popular and influential cult films ever. John Waters strives to touch the nastiest, scummiest depths of humanity. Definitely rating very high on my own personal filthy shit-o-meter.
Although I was fair warned before watching this film, I still couldn't help feeling shocked, and gagged. From chicken fucking, to incest, to castration, to the always classy pink-sock maneuver. The potential for mental scaring is extremely high.
The reels are grimy in this film, just completely raw. There is something about the grainy primitive footage that adds to the obscenity. The fuzzy voice overs and cheesy narrations definitely add to this unclean reality.
Divine, definitely commands a powerful presence on camera. A truly righteous performance, pro- drag queen, pro- trans gender. Divine battles in this film for the title of "Filthiest Person Alive". Clearly, there is no contest.
"Blood does more than turn me on, Mr. Vader. It makes me come..........
....Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth are my politics! Filth is my life!...."
I'm rating this film so graciously, because I truly enjoyed it, not just because it was so disgusting. It was also well produced, under $10,000 budget, decently written... considering how high John Waters must have been when he wrote it, and ends up being quite hilarious, as much as it is offensive. A film that might encourage one to be proud of who they are.
The American Film Institute rates this movie as #35 of the 100 greatest films. Obviously, with winning 4 academy awards, there have been many reviews, and much speculation on what makes this a great movie. I am going to try and briefly skim over the obvious in this review.
Some things to point out upfront. I don't believe I have had the privilege to appreciate dialogue on this sort of level before. The writing is spectacular, and really helps Woody's personality shine through in his characters. Constantly, I am debating how much of the content is related to Woody's personal life. The references to Psychology, Fellini, Dylan, the Holocaust. Smart writing, to be enjoyed by a smart crowd.
Another obvious characteristic of the greatness of Annie Hall, is of course, the acting. You have to give it up to Diane Keaton in this movie, regardless of how you feel about her career as a whole. This was definitely a pinnacle moment for her, and she certainly made the best of it. We see here as Annie, and really expanding her boundaries as an actor. This is a rare moment for her, and it is doubtful one would ever see Diane Keaton in a role like this again. Let's also mention Christopher Walken, and Jeff Goldblum, with their short, but sweet, not to mention- hilarious parts.
It is interesting to read, that Woody had originally intended for this movie to be a murder mystery, and actually changed his mind after having already shot the entire thing. Luckily, he had stellar footage to work with, and edit. It is said that Woody eventually adapted his original idea from Annie Hall into his Manhattan Murder Mystery film.
So I think the reason people like Woody Allen so much, is not because of his raw talent and ability to tap into human drama and emotion so well, but rather, how one relates to the characters. There is no realm of life, or relationships that Woody has not touched, and you are bound to fall within one of those categories. So I want to share with the world, the way this movie has touched me specifically.
First off, this movie has been sitting on my hard drive for months now. If I would have watched this movie a month ago, it might not have had such a profound effect on me. From the beginning of the film, I saw myself in Woody's shoes. ~There is not club that I would want to be a part of, that accepts me as a member~ I am reminded of myself, as I go down that long list of failed personal relationships. Annie Hall is probably a combination of several relationships I have had, yet it is most like the current one that I am escaping that hit the closest to home for me. It was me (Woody), that by chance met the quirky, social oddball girl, that he quickly and strangely fell in love with. The awkwardness of their love is truly something to look at, as it was so unnatural, and forced almost. This is a lesson to be learned for all of us Woodys out there; the evidence is always there, and early on, for the direction of a romantic relationship. Annie could have fallen for anyone it seemed, and Alvy, likewise, would have fallen for anyone that was in to him enough. For me, as the character of Alvy, I saw myself at the karaoke bar watching my Annie singing on stage. I saw myself encouraging her through her career, and traveling down a more enlightened path with her, through art and education. I remember placing books in her hand, "read this book so you can understand me better" is what I would have said. The jealousy, the constant bickering, the love that fades ultimately...... yes indeed, how sad it is Woody, and I have been there too. But this is that rare slice of humanity, that so many men are afraid of delving into. Woody embraces these narcissistic, and depraved qualities of his life, maybe in an attempt to conquer his inadequacies. Is this an accurate inference? An art form, as well as a mode of self-psychology and therapy.
To finish, the ending is one to feel good about. It leaves one with the lightheartedness, and nostalgic feeling immediately; the kind that makes you want to watch a film again from the beginning as soon as it ends.