If 'Annie Hall' Took Place In Modern-Day Los Angeles
Few would argue that Woody Allen's 1977 masterpiece Annie Hall was not the birth of the modern romantic comedy. Every trope—from the decidedly un-hunky-yet-lovable male protagonist, to the dialogue heavy, joke dense scenes, to the bittersweet ending—has been repeated ad nauseum in just about every rom-com or relationship-based sitcom since.
Decades of New Yorkers have constructed their mythology of the city using the film as a cornerstone. And, hey, we're not arguing — there is a reason, after all, that Annie Hall remains just as fresh and relevant today as it did 40 years ago. Well... except for one point. Maybe 1970s Manhattan was the center of life for young singles trying to make it in America, but today, even faraway Brooklyn is unaffordable without a little help from the folks. What's more, Diane Keaton's titular Annie, who is a budding actress, and Woody Allen's Alvy Singer, a TV comedy writer, would be Angelenos today, not New Yorkers. In fact, young singles (especially creatives) trying to make it in America, are just as likely (maybe more likely) to be found in Los Angeles, as in New York. But don't take our word for it: modern rom-coms like Clueless, She's All That, Knocked Up, 500 Days of Summer, and La La Land, are taking up Los Angeles's cause in recent years, laying the foundation for our city's own rom-com mythology. As are sitcoms from The New Girl to Love. As such, we thought we'd re-imagine history a little bit and redo Annie Hall in 2017 Los Angeles...you know, just to see what it would feel like. Here's how it looks.
Brooklyn vs. The Valley
In the beginning of the film, Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) describes his childhood growing up in 1930s/'40s Coney Island, Brooklyn. Today, Singer would have grown up in the Valley (Sherman Oaks, north of the 101, of course) in the 1980s/'90s. Furthermore, his father would have run the bumper-car concession on the Santa Monica Pier, rather than at the Coney Island boardwalk.
1977 Cinema vs. 2017 Film
(Photo by Burns! via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
When we are first introduced to Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) she's meeting Alvy at the Upper East Side's former Beekman Cinema, where the two go to see an Ingmar Bergman film, but the pair misses their show and stands on line at the New York Theater, instead. Today, Annie and Alvy would have gone to the Nuart to see a Jim Jarmusch film, missed their show, then would have stood on line (re: waited in the lobby) at the Landmark.
Adlai vs. Gore
In a flashback, we find a younger Alvy meeting his first wife, Allison Portchnik (Carol Kane), at an Adlai Stevenson event (a fundraiser for Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign in our version), and in a fit of nervous energy, reduces her to a cultural stereotype. Today, instead of summarizing Portchnik to “a New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y'know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper...”, he would have said “Santa Monica, Half-Jewish, left-wing, liberal, progressive, North of Montana, UCLA, the secular Malibu summer camps, and the, the father with the Bob Dylan posters, right, and the really, y’know, Occupy Wall Street kind of, organic baby-food….”
Lobsters vs. Shrimp
(Photo by a.rios via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
Instead of a romantic getaway to Long Island, where Annie and Alvy boil lobsters in one of cinema's most charming scenes, Alvy and Annie would have spent a lovers' weekend in Santa Barbara making grilled shrimp and avocado tacos (yeah, that’s not nearly as charming, but sure sound delicious).
New York Academia vs. L.A. Academia
(Photo via Pomona College)
In a second flashback, we find Alvy's second wife high-strung and anxiety-ridden over party guests from Columbia University, The New Yorker magazine, and the like. The 2017 Los Angeles quip would have gone somewhat differently, however. More like:
Robin: "There’s Henry Drucker. He has a chair in History at USC. Oh, and the short man is Herschel Kaminsky. He has a chair in Philosophy at Pomona College."
Alvy: "Yeah? Two more chairs they've got a dining room set."
Robin: "Why are you so hostile?"
Alvy: "Because I want to watch the Clippers on television."
And later, when Alvy tries to seduce Robin in the bedroom, she would have protested, "Alvy! There are people out there from Annapurna Pictures…”
(Photo via SoulCycle Beverly Hills/Facebook)
Later in the film, Alvy and his friend/colleague Rob (Tony Roberts) go to play tennis along the East River at the former Wall Street Racquet Club. Alvy meets Annie, and asks her after if she wants to share a cab Uptown.
Alvy and Rob in L.A. would go for a SoulCycle spin class at the Wilshire Boulevard location in Beverly Hills, then Alvy would have asked Annie if she wants to share an Uber to Los Feliz. And when Annie says she’s an actress……well, actually, that would stay the same.
$400 vs. $900 (Before Utilities And Parking)
(Photos by Oren Peleg/LAist)
Annie's incredible Upper East Side apartment with a balcony would most likely now be a bedroom in an Echo Park apartment (south of Sunset) that she shares with three other women and pays at least $900 a month for. Her balcony overlooking the rooftops of the neighborhood would be exchanged today with a window overlooking the alley behind The Gold Room.
(Photo by Ross Reyes via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
1977 Annie sings at various open mics around Manhattan. The 2017 Annie would most likely vie for a slot to sing at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood or The Mint on Pico. Instead of singing a standard, she would probably do an acoustic cover of Robyn's "Dancing On My Own".
No One Reads Anymore
(Photo via Stories/Facebook)
When Alvy and Annie browse the bookstore after their first night together, they would be at Stories in Echo Park, and Alvy would make a big deal about buying her books "by this really great author that never gets enough respect — Thomas Pynchon."
Central Park vs. The Original Farmers Market
(Photo by Mike8ng via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
Solidly in their honeymoon phase, Annie and Alvy sit on a bench in Central Park to people watch. In today's version, they'd be at the Original Farmers Market on 3rd Street pointing out celebrities. A mocking "Mr. Miami Beach, there, you know? He's just come back from the Gin Rummy finals…" becomes "There's Andy Dick. I hear he can't get a ride to his own fundraiser."
(Photo via Getty Images)
Instead of Alvy and Annie walking along the East River in view of downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge, the pair would be strolling along the exterior of the Griffith Observatory, overlooking the city. And as Alvy tells Annie "I luff you. Two Fs" (one of the couple's most endearing exchanges) today he would declare, "I #love you. It's my top trending hashtag." (Yeah, it felt just as gross writing that as it did reading it).
On Moving In Together
(Photo via AirBnB)
Later, Alvy protests Annie's decision to give up her apartment and move in with him. In doing so, he argues "That place is $400 a month? ...My accountant will write it off as a tax deduction. I'll pay for it." Today, the argument becomes, "$1100 a month? We'll list it on AirBnB for $1350. It'll pay for itself, and we'll use the extra cash for brunches together."
Greenwich Village vs. Silver Lake
Biking along the Silver Lake Reservoir (Photo by Archie Tucker via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
The central tension that Alvy doesn't want "to make a real commitment" to Annie (while still feeling possessive of her) rings just as true of relationships today as it did then, so I'll just leave that there. But instead of arguing along Washington Square North, the fight would have happened at the Silver Lake reservoir between the meadow and the dog park.
Dylan vs. Beyoncé
(Photo via Getty Images)
Following the rift, Alvy starts seeing other women. It's at this point that Shelley Duvall makes her cameo as a Rolling Stone reporter. Today, her character would be a blogger for Vox. And as she and Alvy mill backstage at what appears to be Shea/Yankee stadium waiting to glimpse
God the Maharishi, the 2017 version has the two wandering Staples Center desperate to snap a selfie with Elon Musk (hey, "God is dead," right?). And instead of saying, "I covered the Dylan concert, which gave me chills," she discusses her time at Pitchfork when she covered a Beyoncé concert. "I'd say I really became a feminist then," she'd add.
Phone vs. Text
When Alvy answers Annie's call post-coitus, Annie would instead send a series of frantic texts filled with emojis like 😩 and 💔. And when Alvy goes over to Annie's to kill a spider and finds a program for a rock concert Annie recently attended, 2017's Alvy would grill her over an Instagram story she just posted showing her time at the Blue Whale Bar. "You went to a Jazz show? You always said you hated Jazz."
Brooklyn vs. The Valley, Part 2
Having gotten back together, Alvy and Annie head out to tour "the old neighborhood" with Rob in tow. But instead of driving out to Brooklyn, the trio ventures out to the Valley, where Alvy's old house underneath the Coney Island roller coaster now becomes a house comically stuck on an embankment in the middle of the 405/101 freeway interchange. "Getting to school in the morning was especially difficult," Alvy would state somewhat resigned.
Jack And Angelica vs. Chrissy And John
(Photo via Getty Images)
We see Annie sing for a second time — now more confident and polished (maybe another acoustic cover, this time of Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home"). After the performance (and before the final fall of their relationship), Tony Lacey (re: Paul Simon) catches Annie at the bar inviting her and Alvy "back to the Pierre...and we're going to meet Jack [Nicholson] and Angelica [Houston], and have a drink there." Today's Annie would run across Ed Sheeran inviting them back to the Chateau Marmont where they'll have a drink with Chrissy (Teigen) and John (Legend).
How The Other Half Lives
(Photo via Russ & Daughters/Facebook)
Next up, the trip to Los Angeles (or: the final nail in the coffin of Annie and Alvy's relationship) is reversed. Meaning, in the 2017 Los Angeles version, the pair flies out to New York to visit Rob. So, rather than bemoaning the "ritual" crime and "wheat germ killers" in L.A., Alvy would complain about the constant fear of an A/C unit falling on his head and killing him, or the Russian oligarch's wife who cut him in line at the Russ & Daughters deli counter.
How The Sausage Is Made
(Photo via Getty Images)
And when Alvy gets a "behind the scenes" glimpse of Rob's TV show, he'd instead get a tour of the developers' desks at Rob's hollow, money-grabbing attempt at a startup (yes, those exist in New York, too).
Hollywood vs. Wall Street
(Photo via Getty Images)
The party at Tony Lacey's manse in the Hills (mocking all things Hollywood) would instead be a loft party in DUMBO (mocking all things Wall Street). One screenwriter/producer/director saying to another "Right now, it's only a notion, but I think I can get money to make it into a concept and later turn it into an idea," becomes one investment banker saying to another "I went to Dalton with Jim's son Mike, and then Princeton with Frank's son John and Tim's son Greg. I rowed crew with Leo's son Nathan, played lacrosse with John's son Dave, and interned at Goldman where my father runs ForEx, and my uncle oversees the South America division, but I really think I got the job because of all my hard work." And young Jeff Goldblum's "I forgot my mantra" becomes "I remember what that neighborhood used to be like."
Up In The Air
(Photo via Virgin America/Facebook)
The flight home on TWA, where Annie and Alvy call it quits, would be a flight home on Virgin America.
Alvy's failed attempt to recreate his glory days with Annie with someone new would now be expressed through a series of inside jokes he tries to get women on Tinder to laugh at. Ultimately, they become turned off by his desperation and "unmatch" him.
New York Turns Green, L.A. Turns Purple
(Photo via Getty Images)
Alvy's heartbroken call to Annie in which he attempts to win her back to New York from L.A. by telling her, "Central Park's turning green", becomes an attempt to win Annie back to L.A. by telling her "the jacarandas are blooming".
The Sunset Strip vs. NoLiTa
In sheer desperation, Alvy flies back out to Los Angeles to try again at winning Annie back, this time by asking her to marry him. In the 2017 Los Angeles version, Alvy flies out to New York City to do the same, but instead of meeting at a health food restaurant on the Sunset Strip, the two meet for coffee at a cafe in NoLiTa. "I'll take a plate of mashed yeast" becomes "I don't want organic, ethically harvested Sunflower milk. Sunflowers don't even make milk." And Annie's quip "what's so great about New York? It's a dying city. You read Death In Venice" becomes "What's so great about L.A.? It's full of plastic people melting in the sun. You read The Day of the Locust."
The Theater vs. The Webseries
(Photo via UCLA TFT)
Alvy's attempt to woo back Annie fails, but instead of turning the trials and tribulations of their love into a play, 2017 Alvy remakes it as a webseries he hopes Netflix or Amazon will see and turn into a series.
Nothing Lasts Forever
(Photo via Verve Coffee/Facebook)
Finally, for the film's bittersweet ending, Alvy and Annie’s reunion meal wouldn’t happen at PJ Clarke’s across from Lincoln Center, but, rather, Verve Coffee near the Troubadour.