I really don't know this film that well. In fact, I think I've only seen it once. As is probably clear by now, I usually privilege dramas over comedies. They're the type of films that affect me most and the kinds of films I'm interested in making right now. All this to say, please excuse me for writing a less detailed piece for this year.
What I can say though about Annie Hall is that it certainly features one of Allen's sharpest scripts, some of his most memorable characters, and a certain breeziness to the depth that keeps it all running forward at a great clip. I mentioned awhile back while writing on Allen's film, Broadway Danny Rose, that he deserves more credit for his formal experimentation. Although his reputation might be mostly as a simple comic filmmaker, his movies are always of a certain narrative complexity and feature bold formal experiments. Here these come mostly in the form of flashbacks where Allen inserts himself in frame as he analyzes the events that lead to later dysfunction.
Allen continues to be a major source of inspiration for me, less as a filmmaker, more as a craftsman. He's been able to create the most liberated system of working of anyone in American cinema. He can make movies whenever he'd like, and it seems with whomever he'd like to do them. Any day watching one of his films is a good day. And I look forward to many more moments with this one.
Other contenders for 1977: I still have some titles I need to see from this year. These include: Fred Zinnemann's Julia, Martin Scorsese's New York, New York, Wim Wenders' The American Friend, Andrzej Wajda's Man of Marble, Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange, Sidney Lumet's Equus, Alain Resnais' Providence, Ridley Scott's The Duellists, Robert Altman's 3 Women, Hans-Jurgen Syberberg's Hitler, A Film from Germany, Jean Eustache's Une Sale Histoire, and Robert Bresson's The Devil, Probably. I really like Luis Bunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire. And my closest runner-up is Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep.
7/8/11 I watched Martin Scorsese's New York, New York. I'm not sure Minnelli is properly cast, and Scorsese definitely could have gained by cutting this one down. But there are some very fine De Niro moments, and Minnelli's "But The World Goes 'Round" is quite memorable.
10/27/11 I watched John Badham's Saturday Night Fever. Iconic but also much more than most people remember. Incredibly exuberant whenever someone is dancing, also troubling, disturbing, and challenging in ways that Hollywood no longer dares to be. And Travolta is simply fantastic.
10/20/12 I watched George Roy Hill's Slap Shot. A messy, irreverent sports film very much of the seventies. Lacks the incredible footage and dramatic arc of the very best sports movies but that isn't its ambition either. The Hanson brothers are one of cinema's great creations and spark the screen whenever they are around. Otherwise though I just found it an okay document from its era.
10/22/12 I watched Michael Ritchie's Semi-Tough. Just a mess, in my opinion. A nice snapshot of the era, but so meandering, ironic, and uncommitted to any kind of narrative drive that it ends up unraveling more than anything.
1/13/14 I watched Mark Cousins' The Story of Film: The Odyssey: The Arrival of Multiplexes and Asian Mainstream. Of particular interest was how Cousins' documented Hong Kong cinema - I will have to seek out films by King Hu and Tsui Hark. And then I also was interested by Gulzar and the films Sholay and The Sparrow.
11/13/16 I watched Robert Altman's 3 Women. The most obtuse Altman film I have seen to date and in fact I can't say I even fully understand what Altman was looking to do. What I did appreciate was its acute study of Duvall and Spacek's characters as they move through many different emotional territories, almost growing and shrinking at different times (as all of us do) in front of our eyes.
11/19/16 I watched John Cassavetes' Opening Night. There can be an element so dour that pervades some of Cassavetes' work and this is no exception. Everything is so unglamorous from the locations to the wardrobe from the framing to the set design, Cassavetes seems intent on revealing the underbelly of the business. It is a rough ride that never fully transcended its bleakness for me.