Burning Annie: The story of 90’s Clark

Re-release of Alumni’s Film as Annie Hall turns 40

Alika Gillard, Living Arts Editor

Two Alumni, Randy Mack (‘98) and Zack Ordynans (‘98) are about to re-release a movie about college relationships at Clark.


“Burning Annie” follows the college life of Max, a student who idolizes the movie “Annie Hall,” and finds himself in “a love-hate relationship with love, hate, and relationships.” What is perhaps the most meta-indie film of all time, “Burning Annie” captures the comical and alt-life of a love-sick self-sabotager in college. The quick quips and the dialogue between the characters blatantly critique college lifestyle and romantic comedies.


Max is a sarcastic, angsty character who wishes for a relationship that will fail as miserably and beautifully as Annie and Alvie in “Annie Hall”–If only, he would find a woman who would melt away his apathetic, defensive shell of a personality. To his surprise, an Annie-esque woman grants his wish in a dreamy romance that lasts almost an entire week.


The movie definitely conveys the intricacies of college dating: the constant struggle of “small school” dating, where pursuing a romantic relationship could ruin friendships, the challenge of opening up to someone, and the knowledge that the relationship is most likely doomed.


“The story is semi-autobiographical,” Ordynans explained in an interview. He began writing the screenplay during his undergraduate years and continued it after college, when he paired with Mack to film the movie.


Much of his Clark experience inspired the film’s events and characters. Him and his roommates lived in a Maywood suite (203, to be exact) in the late ‘90s. In the film, Max lives with a biochem major and a theatre major who seems to have better luck with girls than anyone. They all talk about their failed romantic lives over an N64 game of video hockey and Golden Eye. Sports players are non-existent, and frat-boys are ridiculed.


As 90’s fashion has recently re-emerged, the costume designer created uncanny semblances of modern Clarkies. Not much has changed.


Ordynans was part of ROCU and was partially responsible for getting the channel on the air. Although the movie was released 10 years ago, it remains timeless in the Clark community.


The film’s audience is motioned in and out of Max’s fantasies, where he accounts failed relationship attempts with women and acts as his own narrator.  He frequently shatters the fourth wall, an occurrence that often takes place during his ROCU sessions. He spills his guts out on the air, hoping that nobody is listening, which is most often the case.


“Burning Annie” takes the style of a low-budget, authentic cult classic and resonates with exactly three demographic groups– “Annie Hall” and Woody Allen fans, Clark students, and young Jewish men that grew up in a New York City suburb. It is difficult to describe the movie other than calling it self-aware. From the boom-slips in the frame to the cheesy “slowly-leaning-in-for-a-kiss only to be interrupted by a roommate barging in” scene, the film wasn’t trying to be anything. Inspired by a critically acclaimed film whose director  is one of the most well-known of all-time, “Burning Annie” wasn’t trying to compete–it deserves respect for what it is, but nothing more.


If you enjoy watching the rise and demise of an unexpected quirky romance, watch “Annie Hall.” Then, take it from there.
The 2007 film will be re-released internationally on May 12 through the Sundance Creative Distribution Initiative, about a month after Annie Hall’s 40th Anniversary. The film will also be released on several online platforms, including Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Video. 

To learn more about the film, please visit www.BurningAnnie.com