By Kim Hollis
January 25, 2010
We're a list society. From Casey Kasem and the American Top 40 to 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die to BOP's very own Best Horror Films (one of our most popular features ever), people love to talk about lists. They love to debate the merits of the "winners" and bemoan the exclusions, and start the whole process again when a new list captures pop culture fancy.
Perhaps one of the best-known, most widely discussed lists is the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies. A non-profit organization known for its efforts at film restoration and screen education, the AFI list of the 100 best American movies was chosen by 1,500 leaders in the movie industry and announced in its first version in 1998. Since then, the 100 Years... 100 Movies list has proven to be so popular that the AFI came forth with a 10th anniversary edition in 2007, along with other series such as 100 Heroes and Villains, 100 Musicals, 100 Laughs and 100 Thrills.
In addition to talking about which films are deserving of being on the list and bitterly shaking our fists because a beloved film was left out, we also love to brag about the number of movies we've seen. As I was looking over the 100 Years... 100 Movies list recently, I realized that I've seen 47 - less than half. As a lover of film and writer/editor for a movie site, this seemed like a wrong that needed to remedied. And so an idea was born. I would watch all 100 movies on the 2007 10th Anniversary list - some of them for the first time in as much as 20 or more years - and ponder their relevance, worthiness and influence on today's film industry. With luck, I'll even discover a few new favorites along the way.
#35: Annie Hall
I've never counted myself as much of a Woody Allen fan. Perhaps it's the feeling of ick surrounding his very strange situation with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow and her adopted daughter Soon-Yi (his current wife) that has given me trepidation in recent years. Or maybe I'm just bothered by the simple fact that he seems stuck in a bit of a rut - one that has gone on for years and years, in fact. Sure, I've admired recent films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Scoop (I'm one of the few to think that the latter film is excellent, actually), but for the most part, I've largely avoided the director during the course of my movie-going lifetime.
The first of his movies I remember seeing is Sleeper, and I still count that one as excellent. The same goes for Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) and A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy. And yet, I'd never seen the film that most people consider to be his real classic, Annie Hall. Thanks to its position at #35 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list, it became a must-see, and I have to say that on the whole I'm quite glad I experienced it.