Tuesday, February 8, 2011

569. SLEEPER (1973)

Running Time: 89 minutes
Directed By: Woody Allen
Written By: Woody Allen, Marshall Brickman
Main Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, John Beck, Marya Small, Susan Miller


I, first of all, feel compelled to tell you how much of a Woody Allen fan I am. Here it goes: I am a big Woody Allen fan! But my obsession with Woody Allen movies hasn't been around for very long and it was only about four years ago when I really got into watching Allen's films and loving them as much as I do today. In fact, that was probably one of the best movie watching periods of my life...the month or so when I was able to take in all of his films. As the years have rolled by, Allen has easily become my favorite director and as I gear up to watch my 42nd Woody Allen film next week (when "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" comes out on DVD), I figured we might as well go ahead and watch the Allen films from the "1001" book.

So after all that blabbering on by me, I can finally tell you that the first film (chronologically) in the book is "Sleeper" and last night I sat down and gave it a rewatch. "Sleeper" belongs to the category of Woody Allen's early, purely comedic films and while it isn't my most favorite Allen period, almost all of his early comedies deliver, with "Sleeper" being no exception.

In "Sleeper" Woody plays Miles Monroe, a man who went into the hospital in 1973 for peptic ulcer surgery and due to complications, was cryogenically frozen, only to woken up 200 years later, in the future. In the future, the world is run by "The Leader" and many things are forbidden. In fact, Miles' awakening is even forbidden, but the doctors who performed his awakening want to send him on a mission. It seems there is an underground resistance forming, one that will free the people of the futuristic society from the ruling hand of "The Leader" and his oppressing government. It also seems that there is a project to halt the resistance's efforts, called the "Aires Project". The doctors send Miles out to see if he can collect any information of the Aires Project and since he doesn't have an identity in the future, he should be able to get away with it, without getting caught. Let's suffice it to say that hilarity ensues, Miles winds up impersonating a robot/housekeeper, falls in love with Luna (Keaton) and is captured by the government, only to be re-captured by the resistance and lead us into a pretty funny climax, involving the taking hostage of a nose.

While "Sleeper" is great, it isn't even my favorite of Woody Allen's early comedies and I think " Bananas" or "Take the Money and Run" should have been included in the book over "Sleeper". However, they've made their decisions, so I'll just have to suffer with them. However, if watching "Sleeper" is suffering, then suffering isn't all that bad. While I actually do enjoy the plot of "Sleeper", it's obviously the comedy that makes this movie a classic, with MANY great Woody lines to go around, some of which I'll share below. Most people write off the plot as just a something that has to be in play for Woody to make his jokes, but the plot isn't bad. Unfortunately, this isn't one of those Woody movies that I can beam on and on about, for paragraphs and paragraphs, because it simply isn't my favorite and doesn't belong in my favorite Allen period. But, trust me, we'll get there and I'm sure I'll gush on and on. The bottom line on "Sleeper" is...if you like funny, then there's absolutely no reason not to like it, and this was at a time when funny didn't consist of the saying the "F" word multiple times (See Judd Apatow).

Some of my favorite lines from "Sleeper":

"When I asked my mother where babies came from, she thought I said "rabies." She said you get them from being bitten by a dog. The next week, a woman on my block gave birth to triplets... I thought she'd been bitten by a great dane."

"My God! I beat a man insensible with a strawberry!"

"Arlene and I have to get a divorce. She thinks I'm a pervert because I drank our water bed"

RATING: 7/10 Not the greatest of the Woody Allen early comedies, but a really good one. But remember, that's coming from a die hard Woody Allen admirer, so judge for yourself.


February 8, 2011 10:59am


  1. OK, this is a bit what I mean in my comment on your Annie Hall poor score.
    Sleeper is good. I like it .. but no way is it better than Annie Hall. It lacks the subtlty, the deeper understanding of people, their insecurities, their emotions...
    7 is a fair and just score for Sleeper.. just, please, can I send you 3 points to add to Annie?

  2. To me, my ratings really aren't comparable. Meaning you can't look at one and say "Well it's higher, so that means this movie is better than this one, which had a lower rating". "Sleeper" and "Annie Hall" are two totally different movies and "Sleeper" did served it's purpose, more than "Annie Hall" served it's purpose, that's all. I would'nt really compare the two, since they're very different movies, although I did purely enjoy "Sleeper" more than "Annie...".


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