Study Guide

Annie Hall Contrasting Regions

Contrasting Regions

ALVY: I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.

Alvy makes it pretty clear, pretty quickly that he finds Los Angeles shallower than a kiddie pool.

ALVY: What did you do, grow up in a Normal Rockwell painting? Your grammy?

Alvy never misses the chance to tease Annie about her Midwestern roots. Her experience was the total opposite of Alvy's under-the-roller-coaster upbringing.

ALVY: I can't believe this family. Annie's mother is really beautiful. And they're talking swap meets and boat basins. The old lady at the end of the table is a classic Jew-hater. They really look American, you know, very healthy, like they never get sick or anything. Nothing like my family. You know, the two are like oil and water.

Annie's family are like aliens to Alvy, which, when it comes to her brother Duane, is understandable.

ANNIE: We're not having an affair. He's married. He just happens to think I'm neat.

ALVY: Neat? There's that—What are you, twelve years old? That's one of your Chippewa Falls expressions.

ANNIE: Who cares? Who cares?

ALVY: Next thing you know, he'll find you're keen and peachy, you know. Next thing you know, he's got his hand on your ass.

As the story progresses, Alvy's digs at Annie's Chippewa Falls background start getting a bit more pointed. They also contribute to Annie's fear that Alvy finds her intellect neither keen nor peachy.

ANNIE: It's so clean out here.

ALVY: That's because they don't throw their garbage away; they make it into television shows.

Alvy's chief complaint with Los Angeles—you know, aside from the fact that it's simply not New York—is that it's culturally bereft.

ALVY: Do you realize how immoral this all is?

ROB: Max, I've got a hit series.

ALVY: Yeah, I know, but you're adding fake laughs!

In Rob's defense, sitcoms without canned laughter are super-awkward. But for a stand-up comedian like Alvy, canned laughter goes against the principles of comedy.

ALVY: Don't tell me we're going to have to walk from the car to the house. Jeez, my feet haven't touched pavement since I reached Los Angeles.

He's even bitter about getting a ride? We're starting to think there's no way La La Land could ever win Alvy over.

TONY: But you guys are still—you're still New Yorkers.

ALVY: Yeah, I love it there.

TONY: Oh, I used to live there. I used to live there for years, you know. But it's gotten, it's so dirty now.

ALVY: I'm into garbage. It's my thing.

Sarcasm is one of Alvy's chief weapons. (Remember Pam the Rolling Stone reporter and Alvy's raccoon with hepatitis?) When Tony disses New York, Alvy defends The Big Apple and just gets defensive, period.

ALVY: You're an actor, Max. You should be doing Shakespeare in the Park.

ROB: Oh, I did Shakespeare in the Park, Max. I got mugged. I was playing Richard II, and two guys with leather jackets stole my leotard.

It's worth noting, Shmooper, that the movie's characterizations of both Los Angeles and New York often resort to stereotype. Los Angeles is insipid and image-obsessed. New York is dirty and crime-ridden—although what, exactly, a couple of thugs would want with a leotard is beyond us.

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