Friday, January 11, 2008

"We Need the Eggs"

Lin and I had this brief exchange about relationships in the comments of the “Advice for Women” post below. I mentioned that “school’s out” for me where relationships are concerned, she countered with (I’m paraphrasing) “Don’t give up; your new Best Friend is out there.” The exchange got me to thinking about relationships in general and my favorite quote about relationships, specifically. The quote is from Woody Allen’s best-ever movie “Annie Hall.” It’s the bit where Allen's character encounters a couple on the street, walks up to them and says something to the effect of “You look like a happy couple. What’s your secret?” The woman responds with “I’m basically shallow and don’t have a lot to say.” The man validates her statement with a “me, too” sort of response… taking the point about mutual compatibility to its (hilarious) extreme. That one quick scene has stuck with me all these intervening years. As have many, many other scenes from that movie, but that’s another story.

So…I went looking for that particular quote. And I found it, Gentle Reader, but the scene from the movie was overdubbed in Russian and the English is simply overwhelmed…you can’t hear it at all. Too bad, that. (But if you really wanna see the clip, it’s here.) These excerpts are from the same movie…and they’re not all that bad, but they’re certainly NOT what I was going after. The first clip is the ending of the movie, the second is the opening.

Ah yes, we need the eggs… except for those of us who are allergic to the damned things. Unlike eggs (in real life there are non-egg eggs), there ain't no suitable substitutes when it comes to relationships: it's the “real thing” or nothing. Aside from kidding yourself, you're only setting yourself up for massive failure if or when you settle for a “substitute” relationship. I don't have empirical proof of this “fact” from personal experience, this is simply my thought on the subject.

Now…the movie's intro:

Allen’s monolog kinda sorta reflects my current attitude, with the emphasis on “sorta.” Heavy emphasis on “sorta.”

“Annie Hall” is my favorite movie of all time, and it’s the only movie I’ve ever seen more than twice. The Second Mrs. Pennington and I, coincidentally, saw “Annie Hall” as a first run movie, we saw it again at a Notre Dame film night during her senior year, and watched it again and again as the years passed by. Aside from being brilliantly funny, it might be the most pertinent and poignant movie about relationships I’ve ever seen. Keep in mind, though, I went off movies about 15 years ago, so I’m not one to offer up criticism in this space. Not hardly not at all, actually.

But…FWIW… Woody Allen never produced another movie equal to this one, IMHO. And I’ve seen most of his work.


  1. If inferior ingredients are used, the final product will be inferior. Sometimes substitutes are inferior

  2. I should say most of the time. I can not say always because it is not always true. Buck, I left two comments!

  3. Ah, Buck, you're missing out on the movies front. I'm an admitted filmophile so I'm biased, but still. Quite a few good films as of late (surprisingly.) Two I think you might enjoy would be No Country for Old Men and Sunshine.

  4. Ashley sez: Buck, I left two comments!

    That you did, Ashley... And I'm glad, too! Quality ingredients are the key to almost anything in life, whether it's cooking, or love, or something/anything else.

    Welcome aboard (as those Squids say...)! ;-)

    Mike: You're not the first person to say this. Doc mentioned that our movies are the modern equivalent of Shakespeare...and although I understand the analogy, I cannot for the life of me imagine anyone watching "Weekend at Bernie's" in 2208. (Yeah, that's an extreme example.)

    SN1 used to work on me in this space (he has quite the library of DVDs) but he gave up. I'm a lost cause...

  5. Well, you're not the worst of loss causes on movies, Buck. Mark had mentioned in the past that he liked Annie Hall. Whatever .. just another movie I didn't see. Now you both have me wondering what I missed. I did truly enjoy what little of Woody Allen's neurotic cynicism I did see.

    The problem with posting multiple distinct segments to a single comments block is that old farts like me tend to forget most of
    the topics by the time we get to the comment box. I know there was something else I wanted to comment on but it escapes me at the moment. How wonderful.

  6. Hey Buck, any man who spends four hours on blogs is a reader by definition, so in addition to recommending the movie, I'll also put in a plug for the book No Country For Old Men. McCarthy originally wrote the book as a screenplay, but when someone in Hollywood took the idea and made Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, he hid it. He published it as a book back in 2005, and though the Cohen brothers get screenplay credit, I can't see that they had a lot to do.

    The one other movie I would recommend, especially on the topic of relationships (and I'm talking in broader terms here than male-female) is Reign Over Me. I think you and I were introduced after my posts about that movie. Basically, I still think it was the best movie of 2007, and it will probably be the high water mark of Adam Sandler's career.

    What you need, exile that you are, is a subscription to Netflix. :-)

  7. You don't need to be allergic for eggs to make you sick, as evidenced by my bout with food poisoning last week. Then again, they say only about 5% of eggs carry salmonella. 'sa crap shoot, innit? Still, not settling for substitutes probably does improve the odds, slightly.

  8. Lin sez: Mark had mentioned in the past that he liked Annie Hall. Whatever .. just another movie I didn't see. Now you both have me wondering what I missed. I did truly enjoy what little of Woody Allen's neurotic cynicism I did see.

    Now here I go...doing that "recommendation" thing! Rent it, Lin. Even if you don't have a teevee/VCR, you can still watch DVDs on your computer, right? Brilliantly funny and poignant.

    As for the "forgetting," haven't we talked about this before? It's one of the worst aspects of aging. Not that I'm sayin' you're an Old Lady, or anything... ;-)

    Thanks for the recommendations, Doc. Seriously. My two library cards (P-Ville and Cannon) are well used...and I'll look for the titles the next time I'm by either or both. As for Netflix... maybe later. The libraries have good selections of DVDs, especially out at the base.

    Confession time: I bought a new teevee and a combo DVD/VCR last year. I hit the library and checked out the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD...and quite enjoyed it. Since then, nothing. But hey! It's a start, right?

    Phlegmmy: I should clarify my position on "substitutes" vs. the Real Thing. By Real Thing, I mean I want a relationship where I can't stand being apart, where my every thought (or most of 'em, anyway) is taken by My Love, and I can't be in the same room with her without touching her...her hair, her hand, etc., etc. And I want the feeling to be mutual. I've HAD that, and once you know the difference between the Real Thing and substitutes.

    I'm of the opinion this sort of thing happens to us once, or perhaps twice, in life. It's that "soul mate" thing, for lack of a better term.

  9. I was 19 when Annie Hall came out. I only remember one scene that was very funny - other than that, I must have been too young or too in love my self to appreciate the movie.


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