At about one month preceding the Oscar ceremony, our satellite TV provider begins screening 'good' films (ie films which have proved themselves over time) as opposed to screening whatever is available and reasonably current. This month is a good month, as far as I am concerned, as I can record films which I have seen in the past and enjoyed, but which are never shown anymore.
The opening salvo was a few nights ago, on the 'arty' film channel (which normally shows French films): 1977's "The Goodbye Girl". I know that I loved this film when it came out, went to see it more than a few times in cinemas, and even bought a novelisation of it. But I haven't seen the film in the past 30 years, so this was an interesting opportunity to see whether the film was as good as I remembered it.
Instead of writing at length, I think that I'll just condense the points:
- Richard Dreyfuss was spectacular and well deserved the Oscar that he won for his performance
- Marsha Mason might have been considered good looking then, but now my tastes seem to have changed
- The dialogue was far too sharp and witty to be considered realistic
- The 'falling in love' part seemed incredibly quick. Thinking back, I'm not really sure why MM changed her tack from being an acidic bitch to being lovey-dovey. Presumably, it was seeing RD fail as Richard III aligned with his kindness at her desperation, but it seems to be more than a little contrived
- The ending seemed too short as well
So: obviously I didn't enjoy the film as much as I did once. I don't know how I would have ranked GG against "Annie Hall", but I still enjoy the latter film, being full of great one-liners (actually GG has some good lines as well which I had forgotten over the years, but they came back to me whilst watching). Probably the most important thing is pace: GG comes over at a very fast pace, especially at the beginning, whereas the middle and ending seem to be too short. AH is more episodic, not really trying to tell a linear story, but it is also more relaxed.