Mannion Family Movie Night this week featured Woody Allen’s Sleeper.
When Uncle Merlin heard he wondered if it was dated. Nope, I said. There are a few jokes that aren’t funny anymore even if you remember the pop culture references. Mostly, though the comedy is all wisecracks and slapstick, the kind of jokes that were funny when Hector was a pup and will still be funny come Judgment Day.
"I haven't seen my analyst in 200 years. He was a strict Freudian. If I'd been going all this time, I'd probably almost be cured by now."
"I'm what you would call a teleological, existential atheist. I believe that there's an intelligence to the universe, with the exception of certain parts of New Jersey."
Keaton: So what do you believe in?
Allen: Sex and death. Two things that come once in a lifetime. But at least after death you're not nauseous.
I hadn’t planned to show the guys any of Woody Allen’s movies until they were a little older. I’d forgotten that they'd already seen a Woody Allen movie. They remembered though and recognized the fact about a third of the way into Sleepers. Antz.
Antz is a great Woody Allen movie the way Galaxy Quest is a great Star Trek movie.
Maybe it’ll be ok to show the boys Love and Death.
Reason I decided on Sleeper now was that one day last week the guys and I were at the post office and in the parking lot was a beautifully restored 1972 Volkswagen Beetle.
Guy a few years older than me was standing there admiring it. He’d been in college when this car was brand new. He was shaking his head, thinking about how he and his friends treated VW’s back then.
We used to cut these up and turn them into dune buggies, he said. Never imagined they’d be collectors’ dreams. Thought they were cheap pieces of junk.
Who knew, he said.
Woody Allen knew, I said, suddenly remembering. I asked him if he’d ever seen Sleeper. Not in a long time, he said. I reminded him of the scene.
Woody and Diane Keaton are on the run from the futuristic cops. They duck into a cave to hide out and find a 200 year old Beetle.
The key’s still in the ignition. Allen gives it a try.
Starts right up.
Once they heard about that scene, the guys wanted to see the movie.
They loved it.
The VW in Sleeper sports a bumper sticker that I bet few VW’s in 1972 actually sported, except ironically: “Register Commies Not Guns.”
Keaton asks Allen to explain it to her.
He says, “Oh he was probably a member of the National Rifle Association.”
She needs that explained.
“The National Rifle Association? That was an organization that helped criminals get guns so they could shoot ordinary citizens. It was kind of a public service.”
There’s one joke I wish had dated.
Pretty much all of Allen's movies are available from my astore.