April 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of Woody Allen’s greatest film about sex and relationships among the New York intellectual elite, “Annie Hall.” The film starred Allen as a neurotic, acerbic comedian named Alvy Singer who is wondering what went wrong with his affair with an aspiring singer named Annie Hall, played by his then former girlfriend, Diane Keaton. The movie serves as an artifact of a bygone era in which sex, while casual, had not achieved the transactional quality of the hookup culture of the 21st Century, People still had a care for the opposite sex as human beings and not just as objects for relieving tension after a hard day of texting on the smart phone.

Of course, the casual drug use, with constant pot smoking to get in the mood for sex and Allen’s character sneezing away thousands of dollars of coke can be a little off-putting in an age ravaged by the opioid epidemic. One just cannot laugh at drug humor anymore, no matter what one's opinion on the criminalization of recreational narcotics is.

Indeed, the generational divide about “Annie Hall” was illustrated when I watched it for the first time in decades. When I saw in in the 1970s, I found the movie to be funny, wise, acerbic, and illuminating. Besides, Annie was just the sort of woman I could go for back then, smart, attractive, but a little goofy and vulnerable (La de da la de da.) The film cemented an admiration for Woody Allen as an artist that lasted until he became a parody of himself.

His sleeping with his own stepdaughter and possibly abusing a male stepson did not help matters.

40 years later, the one thought that occurred to me was, “Woody’s character Alvy was such a jerk!” He was controlling, neurotic, and constantly complaining about everything. Indeed, I spent 90 minutes in the company of a man whom from I would run to avoid in the real world.

The 60-year-old me looked at the 20-year-old me and wondered, “WTF?” The 20-year-old me would have shrugged, though as socially awkward as he was at the time, knew how to treat a lady better than the 40 something Woody Allen. 40 years of life experience was ahead of him that would make him into a crotchety old man with little patience for morons.

Annie Hall was still hot, though. The happily married 60-year-old me would have to keep her in the friend zone but totally understands why the 20-year-old me was into her. Some things change, but other things are eternal.