This Game will Curl Your Hair
Made in 1982, this “Annie” is the very definition of cheeseball. At least, that’s what you come away remembering. With several songs that were made just for the movie, some hamtastic performances by children and adults alike, and a fuzzy understanding of what translates well from stage to screen, this movie manages to split critics right down the middle in terms of its merit. However, upon watching it again, we rediscovered some pretty dark storytelling elements, as well as some incredibly dated conventions, and we can proudly say…we’re still pretty split. Some aspects of this movie are marvelous. Some make you want to gouge your eyes out. It’s your standard three star movie.
What this movie does have plenty of is heart, and some serious effort went into its creation. A lot of it does NOT pay off. That’s where the alcohol comes in. At least you know that you’ve got a great drinking buddy in Ms. Hannigan.
"Annie (A Broadway Boozical)": The Rules
1. Drink for title drops. That’s every time they say the name “Annie”. Woof.
2. Drink when they drink. Oh, we LOVE you Ms. Hannigan.
3. Drink for Daddy Issues. Please be reminded that half of the characters are orphans.
4. Drink every time a song gets a reprise. Some songs get more than one.
5. Drink for catchphrases. “Leapin Lizards!”
All the above rules apply. Also…
1. Drink for song title drops. The killers for this game are “Maybe” and “Tomorrow”.
All the above rules apply. Also…
1. Drink when someone says the word “orphan”. Just often enough to have hard mode make a difference.
Krissy Pappau: Forgot about half these songs (Medium)
The Fuzzy Masked Man: Amazed at the amount of panty shots (Easy)
Some Guy: Believes Hannigan missed an opportunity to host an orphan-run circus (Medium)
Pooh Daddy: Applying to be Daddy Warbucks’ assistant (Medium)
Champjagne Austgin: Kept singing along (Hard)
Velma Jenkies: Got sick of "Maybe" by the third reprise (Hard)
Big Moose: Watched this movie for the first time (Hard)
Seb: Newly appointed video editor (Medium)
It’s a family-friendly hit…or is it? Let’s play the Annie drinking game!
Beyond the Song and Dance
This movie doesn't do that. And I think that's the problem most people had with it.
Let's take a look at "Hard Knock Life" for a second.
Next, look at the SHEER AMOUNT of orphans in this place. We can tell that the orphanage takes up a couple floors, and there's already no space for all the girls on screen. There are at least fifty of them, and they're all yelling, falling down, fighting each other, and doing a really bad job of keeping the place clean.
This sense of chaos doesn't go away, and the movie seems like it's trying to accurately show the conditions of this piss-poor orphanage and the effect it has on these girls. In a later scene when the youngest orphan overhears Ms Hannigan and her new partners in crime discussing a plan to kidnap Annie, we see one of the older girls ON THE TOILET right in front of her. The place feels like a prison. These girls are unsocialized, mistreated and running wild.
However, the biggest sign of the long-term effects of living in this craphole is the behavior of Annie herself. We get the sense straight off that she's tough, and seems to have a kind heart. She punches a boy in the face when she sees him mistreating a dog, who she later names Sandy and turns into her pet. But in the following scene, she blatantly lies to a dogcatcher, saying that Sandy is her father's seeing eye dog and that without him her father can't work.
What's scary is not the lie, it's how easily and quickly it comes to her. "She's not even blinking," pointed out Seb. Annie has no problem deceiving authority figures, and when she meets Warbucks she proves skilled at manipulating him as well. Her powers of persuasion aren't based on charm; her voice takes on a steely tone and her eyes become wide and staring. These are the tactics of a girl who is used to dominating authority figures and manipulating them into serving her needs. It probably doesn't help matters that when she gets taken into Warbucks' house the staff treats her like royalty.
"She understands that she's a sad, lonely woman who just needs a good fuck," put in The Fuzzy Masked Man. Hannigan cannot maintain control over these children because she can no longer hold any control over herself. She's a raging alcoholic, to the point where she has an entire bathtub full of liquor in her room. She spends her time fantasizing about falling in love with radio stars. She tries, and fails, to sleep with every man she sees (including a really awkward song where she tries to seduce Warbucks). And in "Little Girls" it's made clear that the children are tormenting her almost as much as she's tormenting them. The girls think she's a joke. And rightly so.
So this sounds like a really interesting take on the show, right? It could be...if it was a convincingly consistent choice. So much of the rest of the move is goofy and pointless, and it undercuts what could be a really compelling look at child abuse. It pulls back too much, or pushes the narrative to the brink of cartoonish nonsense, even shoe-horning in a pretty silly climax where Annie's chased to the top of a building and rescued BY HELICOPTER by a character who isn't even in the stage musical.
What a Twist
At one point, we discovered that Warbucks’ first name is “Oliver”, and we were reminded of another famous orphan with a musical based around his adventures. Suddenly, Big Moose bolted upright in his seat.
“Guys”, he said with excitement, “Oliver Warbucks IS Oliver!”
So, the only logical conclusion we can draw is that Warbucks is a vampire. Which makes EVERYTHING make more sense.
So yeah, the movie’s got some pretty racist elements. Their presence isn’t really strange; it’s a period piece set in the Depression and filmed in the 80’s. And hey, as the Fuzzy Masked Man pointed out, at least the Asian Chauffer is being played by an actual Asian actor. Even if weird, ping-pongy music plays every time he’s on screen.
No, it’s not the racism itself that’s strange, but the fact that it’s really out of nowhere, and not in the musical. Punjab is a character from the original comic strip that Annie is based on, and I guess they must have thrown him into the movie to appeal to the older fans of the strip. The problem with this is that they have to invent things for Punjab to do. Otherwise, he’s just kind of hanging around being a stereotype.
About halfway through the movie they seem to realize this, because the film goes through great pains to make him a champion of justice in the climax. He actually saves Annie by flying a helicopter to her location, unraveling his turban and hoisting her up to safety.
Sorry movie. You’re great at parties, but this is why nobody likes you.
Drink whenever someone kisses something.
It’s usually not a person. It’s usually something like a wad of bills, or the dog. But there’s a whole lot of love going around.
Drink whenever someone punches something.
Kissing and punching can go hand in hand. We just never expected Annie to be the movie where both of these rules could be used at the same time.
Drink when Ms Hannigan tries to seduce someone.
From Mr. Bundles to Daddy Warbucks, Hannigan tries and fails to snag a man, any man, who will give her the time of day. As far as we know, she doesn’t succeed, but she does get some cotton candy at the end of the movie.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). Video footage is taken and edited by Seb (Amy Yourd). All "Annie" related photos are owned by Sony Pictures and Colombia Pictures.