Listening to (only partially watching) ‘Annie Hall’ again is becoming revelatory for me right now. I’m realizing (1) how much of this film I have actually memorized, and (2) what a pervasive influence it has been throughout my life for whatever reason. Lines from this film pop into my head nearly every day and I know that they have since I first saw it when it came out. I was 13 then and I had never seen anything like it before. For some people the film that blew their mind was maybe ‘The Godfather’, or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, but ‘Annie Hall’ was my monolith-moment. It made me climb up to a new shelf, to think differently. It caused me to listen to humor differently, want to read more, and it made me want to go to New York.
And be in love.
It must have been that it hit me at that crucial age and time when we most change. The edge of teen when we begin falling into a world of change and start grasping for sense. My parents had recently divorced, I started going to my first new school since first grade, and suddenly there was this totally different kind of movie on the screen which has, over nearly 40 years now, dogmatically guided my perceptions and responses to life’s moments as I go along. I’m sitting here now realizing how often these lines have bullhorned inside my brain all this time and I have so often repeated, sometimes involuntarily. “That’s OK, we can walk to the curb from here”,
“Oh really? Well I happen to have Marshall McCluhan right here. So…”,
“… but, uh, I guess we keep going through it because most of us… need the eggs.”
“..a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.”
“Darling. I’ve been killing spiders since I was 30.”
“I forgot my mantra.”
and of course ultimately, “…what we got on our hands,.. is a dead shark.”
It’s just extraordinary discovering something like this, I feel like this is something very significant that would have come out of me on a therapist’s couch after two or three years of whining.
The question now is, what do I do with this information?