Study Guide

Annie Hall Madness

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ALVY: I'm sorry. I can't—I've got to see a picture exactly from the start to the finish, 'cause, 'cause I'm anal.

ANNIE: That's a polite word for what you are.

Because they missed mere minutes of the movie, Alvy makes them go to another flick at another theater. Annie's a way more tolerant movie-going partner than we are.

ANNIE: You're so egocentric that if I miss my therapy, you can only think of it in terms of how it affects you.

Alvy has a talent for making everything about him. Hello, neurosis!

ALVY: Sun is bad for you. Everything our parents said was good is bad. Sun, milk, red meat, college.

Sentiments like this are totally in keeping with Alvy's initial admission that, to him, life is divided into two categories: terrible and miserable. Sentiments like this also make him a thoroughly maddening boyfriend.

ALVY: I feel that life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable. Those are the two categories, you know. The horrible would be like, um, I don't know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, cripples. I don't know how they get through life. It's amazing to me. And, you know, the miserable is everyone else. So when you go through life, you should be thankful that you're miserable, because you're very lucky to be miserable.

Here he goes again: riffing on that idea that life stinks. Alvy's rampant negativity and cynicism underline all of his actions. A big, squiggly, nauseated underline.

ALVY: You joke about me, make fun of me, but I'm prepared for anything: an emergency, a tidal wave, an earthquake.

This quote, which comes when Annie calls him over to her apartment to kill a spider the size of a Buick in the dead of night, shows not only that Alvy's aware of his neuroses, but also that he thinks that they might actually be useful sometimes.

ANNIE: You know, I think that, if you let me, maybe I could help you have more fun. I mean, I know it's hard.

Do you think Annie really could help Alvy loosen up if he let her in?

ALVY: You know, I don't think I could take a mellow evening because I—I don't respond well to mellow. You know what I mean? I have a tendency to—if I get too mellow, I, I ripen and then rot, you know.

Here's another flash of Alvy's self-awareness. It also demonstrates Alvy's self-effacing humor. In other words, Alvy knows he's kind of a pain in the butt.

ANNIE: You only gave me books with the word "death" in the title.

Okay, so maybe Alvy's not completely self-aware. Or, if he is, he doesn't have any grand designs on ditching his neuroses.

ANNIE: Alvy, you're incapable of enjoying life, you know that? I mean you're like New York City. You're just this person. You're like this island unto yourself.

ALVY: I can't enjoy anything unless I, unless everybody is. I, you know—if one guy is starving someplace, that's, you know, I, I, it puts a crimp in my evening.

Speaking of not shedding his anxiety and negativity, it sure sounds like Alvy's making excuses for his neurotic behavior here.

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