Movies That Ruined My Childhood – Oscar Edition
Movies play a big part in everyone’s childhood. Be it the first time you experienced a classic like Star Wars or that specialflick that you watched every weekend with your parents. Especially now, when movies have become part of our culture and early development, all but replacing the baby sitter, we all develop ties to those films that are wired into our happy times. But sometimes things go wrong, and you watch a particular movie that seems hell-bent on destroying your developing little mind.
In Movies that Ruined My Childhood, we take an unflinching look at the dastardly films that scarred you as a youth and made the closet a place of unspeakable horrors. So let’s work through this together as we exorcise our demons.
Call it a public service. You’re welcome!
Annie Hall (1977)
In light of it being Oscar season I chose 1977’s best picture winner, Annie Hall. Now perhaps this movie didn’t quite ruin my childhood as much as planting seeds in my little mind to reap havoc in adulthood.
How could Woody Allen possibly harm a child you ask? How Could a Woody Allen comedy possibly harm a child you ask? Well, let’s take a look at Allen’s magnum opus shall we?
Love and Angst
Annie Hall takes us on a ride through an on-again, off-again relationship between Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) a neurotic, narcissistic Jewish comedian going through a mid-life crisis, and Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) an aspiring singer.
Alvy and Annie hit it off from the first time they meet, instantly attracted to one another, despite their many differences. Alvy is the more “intellectual” type, and Annie is more or less a pot smoking airhead.
At first, these differences are inconsequential… but slowly over time (due to Alvy’s insecurities, pessimism and intimacy issues) a gulf begins to grow between the pair.
Annie honestly does everything to make the relationship work: she endures foreign films of the holocaust, reads his books on death, and eventually enrolls in adult education classes.
Annie willingly follows Alvy’s path and transforms herself from a bumpkin from Chippewa Falls into an intelligent confident woman.
So much so, she realizes that she no longer needs Alvy.
Ultimately it isn’t until their relationship is irreparably damaged that Alvy realizes that he really does love Annie.
Thanks a Lot, Woody
One has to wonder why Woody bothered to even name the character Alvy, as the role showcases all of Allen’s neurosis and is completely indistinguishable from himself.
Now I feel Woody Allen is a comic genius behind the camera, but he has always lacked range in front of the camera, and Annie Hall exposes these short comings.
A film about a self-absorbed neurotic with illusions of grandeur, Allen builds a monument to himself, in a testament to self-glorification based on a very selfish romance.
But Allen deserves some credit for the realism of this film: if you’ve ever scotched a relationship that seemed like a sure thing, Woody has you covered here.
…And How Does that Make You Feel?
Essentially Annie Hall is the blueprint for every relationship I have had in my adult life. Perhaps watching this film over a dozen times throughout my childhood ingrained that “this is how relationships work” into my subconscious…
…Or perhaps I am just as much of a neurotic as Woody. And in retrospect, that’s a big part of the charm of a Woody Allen film: he’s a miserable little shit…who is an awful lot like you in ways that are really uncomfortable to see. Re-watching this film for the article certainly allowed me to take a hard look in the mirror, and revisit some of my own Annie Hall’s, however painful that may be, and learn not to make the same mistakes.
As Alvy says “You’re always trying to get things to come out perfect in art because it’s real difficult in life.”