Some people live in apartments. Some people live in existential crises. And some people live in both. These people live inside a Woody Allen movie.
In honor of Allen's upcoming birthday, we give you the seven signs you're living in one long, beautifully shot cinematic kvetch.
1. You're in New York.
Sure, he's branched out to other cities like Paris and Rome lately, but everyone knows that Allen's heart of hearts has always been, and always will be, on that small yet crowded island bookended between the Hudson and the East Rivers.
Like many New Yorkers, Allen is able to balance passing hatred of the city with a fundamental adoration of it. This tension drives some of his best work, and is useful to remember when paying $5 for the cup of coffee you need to jam yourself into an overstuffed train to commute an hour into the city when you already, theoretically, live in the city.
2. Someone is talking about their analyst.
Freud. Jung. The collective unconscious. A dream where there's a banana and it's being eaten by a clown and then suddenly, somehow, you're in public, naked, and apologizing to your refrigerator mother for forgetting your homework.
One of Woody Allen's recent films, To Rome With Love, was quietly notable for boasting one of his best Freud lines yet: an elderly Allen turns to his nagging wife and jabs, "If you're going to channel Freud, tell him I want my money back." So much subconscious to expostulate, so few frames ...
3. You can involve anybody in your crisis because you are, actually, the center of the universe.
This is the benefit of starring in a movie you have written and directed. You're in crisis because you're entirely self-absorbed, and as a result you feel like the whole world is oriented around your crisis. As writer, director, and lead actor in the film, you are as close as one comes to God in a godless universe (see #5). So you are, quite actually, the center of the universe and literally everyone wants to talk about your problems with you.
4. Diane Keaton is there.
Call her a muse, an actress uniquely suited to Allen's oeuvre, or just a dame who can really rock a hat — if Diane Keaton's there, then a tiny man with large coke-bottle glasses is not far behind. If that tiny man is you, then you really are living inside a Woody Allen movie, and it's probably worth figuring out which one so you can effectively guard against your fate.
5. You over-articulate your emotional crises as they are happening in real time.
It's your personal, verbal version of 24, but more intense, because instead of all that exposition and action in 24 hours, you do it in 24 seconds.
An especially classic example: Allen explaining to a police officer that he has "a terrific problem with authority."
6. Your eyebrows constantly express a vague, helpless confusion that should get you slapped.
Because you really should know better.
7. It will take you around 115 minutes to realize there is no solution to your problem.
Yep. You're just doomed to be unhappy. Oh, and there's no such thing as love.
Courtesy King Features Syndicate.