This Weekend’s Film Festival Celebrates That Big Bad Breakup

8 10 2008

Last week one of the best films of the year came out on DVD. FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is a hilarious look at life-changing breakups, which inspired the theme for This Weekend’s Film Festival. You know, that big bad breakup that stays with you and hopefully changes you for the better. Along with FSM, we have a story of a sexually liberated woman. We have another film about sexual inadequacies. We have a film about the difficulties coping with divorce. And we have a film about the joys and frustrations of finding love in the modern world. This week’s lineup is a mix of drama and lots of laughs. It’s therapy time and these films will help you get over that big bad breakup.

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ANNIE HALL (1977) (****)

8 10 2008
Check Out the Trailer
Check Out the Trailer

Woody Allen’s first masterpiece (and I don’t feel insecure in the least calling it that) truly declared himself as a mature filmmaker. While the film is hilarious, Allen put character first instead of laughs, the opposite of his previous films. It beat STAR WARS for the Best Picture Oscar. While I consider STAR WARS the most influential film of my childhood, the win of Allen’s intelligent comedy is a sort of last hurrah for a type of Hollywood film that died from the first blast of that Star Destroyer flying across the screen. In a dash to appeal to the lowest common denominator, ideas need to be simple and witty references can’t refer to Balzac only ball sacks.

Alvy Singer (Allen) is a neurotic comedian from New York. He even admits to being a walking stereotype, a kvetching Jew from Manhattan. He is paranoid and a hypochondriac. But he’s witty and charming. Despite all his hang-ups he has a confidence that’s attractive. He’s trying to come to terms with his break-up with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE). Annie is neurotic herself. She’s a bit flighty, but full of energy and curiosity. Alvy seems to be attracted to smart women, but not ones smarter than him. But then ironically, he gets hung-up on them not being as smart as him. You can quickly see why dating Alvy can be exasperating.

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