I the history of the Academy Awards, only one movie has won best picture as a comedy and that was Annie Hall which came out in 1977. As a screenwriter, I recognized when I first saw it that the flow, moments, timing and comedy brilliance of this great film was flawless throughout. There many great moments in this film but some that stand out include the “meeting of the teamsters” outside of a theater when Woody Allen is being harassed for being famous. His comment to Annie Hall played by Diane Keaton when she arrives about “2 guys named Cheech” harassing him was one great moment. The timing of the scene where Woody Allen tells the insane relative of Annie Hall, played by Christopher Walken that he is “due back on the Planet Earth” was a funny moment followed by the scene where Allen is in the car with Walken realizing that Walken’s character just admitted that he had fantasies of commuting suicide by driving into oncoming traffic. Allen’s crouched down look to the left at Walken is another priceless moment. As stand-up comedian Alvie Singer, Allen has several great lines in this movie including one where while being drafted, he was categorized as 4-F, which meant that in the “event of war, I’m a hostage”.
This movie above all else is about relationships and the difficulty in finding and keeping one and Allen’s character struggles throughout with several woman and ultimately with Annie Hall. Great lines include “if a Shark stops moving forward it will die and I think our relationship is a dead shark” and the line where I don’t like chickens, meaning relationships, but I “need the eggs”, which is another great moment among so many in this great film.
Annie Hall won for best picture in 1978, Woody Allen won for best director and Diane Keaton won for best actress. Allen also won for best original screenplay and as awards and accolades go for any movie, this is about as good as it gets.
Annie Hall is probably the best comedy in the last 50 years and movies this funny and well done are very rare.
One irony in this movie is Alvie Singers philosophy of life and the “horrible and the miserable”, where people are in two categories either horrible or miserable. Horrible are people who are blind, crippled or terminally ill and the miserable is everyone else. So be thankful that you are miserable. This line in Annie Hall is very ironic because it makes you wonder if this has helped Woody Allen get past the child molestation charges that first started in 1992 and have continued every time he received an award or is honored, most recently at the Cannes Film Festival. Woody Allen will be 81 this year and he has a body of great work that is the envy of any writer or director in movie history. To have accusations like this happen after so many great years of success has to be devastating and probably half the people in the world think he is guilty and the other half mostly don’t believe the charges. Woody’s own children are the ones coming out against him even 24 years after the original accusations were revealed and that has to be even more painful for Woody Allen and his legacy. All of this reminds me of Gilda Radner’s famous line from her book which came out in 1989, It’s Always Something.
This movie opens up with a woman in her car looking at 3 Donkeys grazing. She gets out of her car and shoots one of the Donkeys and then gets back into her car and watches as one of the Donkeys goes over to look at the dead Donkey that the woman just shot. As you get into the rest of this horrible movie you realize that the Donkey assassination at the start of this film was the screenwriters attempt at summarizing the point of this mess of a story. Namely, that the message is that if you are not paired up with someone then you should be dead and society should have you killed. More amazingly this movie suggests that you should be killed and then come back as another animal of your choosing where perhaps you can pair up with another animal of your chosen new species. This society of some alternate universe or future at least has the decency to give you 45 days to live in a dating camp where you have your last shot at finding someone to love and if you don’t, then you will be killed and turned into the animal of your choosing. It doesn’t seem to matter that medically this is not possible or that this is barbaric, what matters here is the message above all else.
This middle of this movie establishes the law that this strange society has mandatory mating because the main character played by Colin Farrel is approached by a law enforcement officer who demands to see his spouse who he says is in a store with their appropriate marriage forms. Rachel Weisz plays Farrel’s girlfriend in this movie and its hard to fathom why either one of these respected actors would ever agree to be in this disaster of a production.
Given the difficulty of coming up with new movie ideas, it’s understandable that a screenwriter and director would want to do something never been done before with a big message that is an “art house” type of movie, but this film is so disgusting, horrible, weird and bad that any message that is trying to be conveyed would be lost in nausea that makes up the majority of this messed up 2 hours.
Other insane scenes include Farrel’s girlfriend killing his dog off camera to prove that Colin Farrel is a sensitive and caring person so they are not really compatible. Another man slamming his head against a table so he has a bloody nose like a woman he wants to be with. The message here is I guess that people at times would do anything to not be alone, including lying to themselves and other people to be something or someone that they are not. If this is in fact, the message then why did the writer and director think that it was necessary to convey that message with death and violence at this level? Other scenes include some of the members of this dating camp going out and hunting the other single people who “did not make it”, or did not find a suitable love mate in the 45-day time limit. These people are hunted humanely with tranquilizer darts, only to later be dismembered, their organs and blood sent to hospitals and then converted into animals of their choosing, and in Farrel’s case a Lobster – supposedly because Farrel’s character believes that they live as much as 100 years.
I went to see this movie only because some of the reviews I saw on the internet were very positive. My guess is that whoever reviewed a movie this weird, disgusting and bad movie positively must be on Heroin because sitting through 2 hours of this horror seemed like what a drug overdose should feel like. It’s insane that a movie like this was even made and even more insane that 2 quality and famous actors agreed to make it. Colin Farrel even gained about 40 pounds to make this disaster and you just have to wonder what he was thinking. The last time I saw a movie that had this level of weird behind it was The Beaver which was directed by Jodie Foster and a disgraced Mel Gibson and came out in 2011. Another movie to never see.
As I was sitting through the movie “X-Men Apocalypse” I was thinking about previous Marvel or other action movies I have seen in the past that have both a great story and script and great special effects. The second Spider-Man movie of a number of years ago comes to mind, but not many others. My theory on movies like this remains the same. Because of the huge size, budget and number of people involved with movies like this, it’s probably not possible to do anywhere near everything right and that starts with a great screenplay. The pressure to get things done within a certain period of time does not fit well with the extreme difficulty of coming up with a great story and screenplay. The computer graphics involved with a movie like this is always first and foremost, after that a great story will always be a secondary concern. As a great story idea, why not show why the antagonist in a film like this has the motivation to want to destroy the world, rather than showing him trying to destroy the world.
Jennifer Lawrence is in this X-Men movie and keeping her incredible streak alive of not only winning 2 Academy Awards by age 24 but also making a huge fortune starring in blockbusters like this one and the Hunger Games series and probably getting a percentage of the profits which for this movie will be a great deal of money. She has to be just about the most fortunate actresses at the youngest age of all time. Hugh Jackman also had a very small role in this film without one single line of dialogue as the Wolverine.
This movie is certainly better than the recent Superman Vs Batman movie that came out in April and Captain America Civil War of a few weeks ago and there are times of humor and great action sequences. However, due to the run of the mill nature of this movie that is so much like other X-Men movies with nothing really new, my recommendation is marginal at best.