When I was 8 years old, I fell in love for the first time. It happened one Sunday night, in which I felt particularly rowdy and unable to sleep. I heard my Dad in the family room watching a movie. I left the comfort of my Beauty and the Beast sheets to join him, hoping he would let me stay up a bit longer to watch. What ho, success! He was either feeling generous or too annoyed to protest; (I believe I had drop-kicked my sister down the stairs that day after seeing the move performed in a “Power Rangers” episode. Therefore, I’m going to go with the latter). Regardless, he allowed me to watch the movie with him. Within this film, I was to discover the first love of my life; the film was “Annie Hall” and the man was Woody Allen.
Now if any of my readers have seen “Annie Hall”, you’re probably thinking right about now, “My, what an inappropriate and bizarre film to show an 8 year old, and what an inappropriate and bizarre man for an 8 year old to fall in love with. Wasn’t Woody Allen 42 in that film?” Well judgmental reader, all I have to say for myself is that the heart wants what it wants. At 8 years old, my heart wanted simultaneously for a Barbie Jeep and a 42 year old neurotic Jewish New Yorker. The film showed me an authentic and melancholic archetype for a male romantic. For this, I am forever grateful.
After this life-changing moment, I became an Allen fan for life. I began watching all of his movies and plotting my future life with him. When my Dad saw that my infatuation with Allen was not ending, he informed me that he was in fact taken and I was “not to be involved with that creep”. When I immediately asked why, he hurriedly responded, “never mind”. After further probing, my Dad told me he was in a relationship with Mia Farrow and that he was not single. Lies, all lies!! My trusty library card and a few inquiries with some loose-lipped, inappropriate uncles revealed the truth; the love of my life was no longer with that woman Mia Farrow. No, he was with his . . . wait, what? With his adopted daughter? Whaat? (8 year old heart shatters)
Last sunday, TCM aired a slew of quintessential New York movies to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 911. Annie Hall was one such film. I tuned in, thinking it was time for a reconciliation. I figured I would fall in love with my long lost Woody all over again. I thought that we just had a brief parting of ways, a trial separation, if you will. How could I stay mad at him? After all, we are meant to be. But alas, the spark was no longer. Like Alvy meeting Annie at the health foods restaurant in Beverly Hills, everything was just off. My heart just knew too much. It made me wonder if we allow celebrities personal lives to influence us too much. Soon-Yi aside, Woody Allen still made great films. His characters are still original, endlessly romantic, ridiculously neurotic, and a hundred times over authentic. Knowing about his relationships shouldn’t change that. Knowing Sinead O’Connor and the Pope aren’t exactly bros shouldn’t change how lovely her voice is. Knowing Kate Moss has a thing for cocaine in recording studios doesn’t stop her from being beautiful. Knowing Tiger Woods has an avid texting life doesn’t change how great his swing is. Oh, wait . . . anyways, the point I’m trying to make is that we shouldn’t let these things influence our perception of their work. And yet, we do. So Woody, if you are reading this, (as of course you are), I just wanted to say that I’m not mad at you anymore. As only an 8 year old lusting after a 42 year old knows, the heart wants what it wants. At least we’ll always have New York.
Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Either way, I want to know! Post your feedback, pretty pleeeeeaaaaaase.