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Love Story

Reviewed by Carl R.

Love Story

Here's Ali McGraw... suffering from MMD
(Mysterious Movie Star Disease)

Before You Read This Review, Ask Yourself This Question:

Do YOU have MMD?!

Symptoms Include:

- Rosy Cheeks -

- A Nice Tan -

- A Frilly Nightgown -

- No Deviation in Weight, Appetite,
Blood Pressure, Heart Rate
 or Body Temperature -

- Loss of Ice Skating Ability -

- Caterpillars on Your Forehead 
Posing as Eyebrows -

See "What to Do if You Have MMD"
at the end of this review!!!

When They First Bickered ... Sigh ...



eeping in mind that the Movie Club website is strictly a G-Rated endeavor, let me do my best to be diplomatic about this review and the treatment of the characters therein.  The setting is Boston. Two young college students meet and fall in love. She is a hideously ugly bitch with gargantuan eyebrows that could easily be mistaken for radioactive mutant caterpillars from outer space, and he is a whiney, ignorant, ungrateful moron who deserves to be electrocuted, hung, and fed to the vultures. 

It might seem that this flick left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but this Movie Club resulted in my second viewing of Love Story within the same 30-year period, and just how much can one person be expected to tolerate within a single tri-decade span?  I knew you'd understand.

The Basic Premise:

Ryan O'Neal meets Ali McGraw (no relative of Quick Draw), and they begin bickering in the library.  Two minutes later, they are frolicking in the oft-disappearing snow and carrying on like a seasoned,  embittered couple that has been together for at least several hours. 

The Sins of the Father:

The story's tension is supplied by Ryan's O'Neal's vicious father, who torments his son throughout the movie with timely offers of moral support, money, career advancement opportunities, dinner invitations to the family mansion, unconditional love, and various other sadistic and inhuman acts of generosity. 

Ray Milland, as
Oliver Barrett III

It's a good thing that Ali McGraw dies before having any children.  One can only imagine the cruel indignities that Ryan's father might have bestowed upon his grandchildren had he been given the opportunity ... seven-figure trust funds, weekends in Bermuda, trips to the family ice cream factory in the chauffer-driven Bentley ... the possibilities are too awful to comprehend.

"Love means never having to say you're sorry." 

While that may be true on Planet Caterpillar where Ali comes from,  here on Earth you better not  take that literally if you want your marriage to last longer than eight seconds.  

Anyway, Ali McGraw is white trash, and Ryan's vicious father wants him to marry someone who is not a total bitch with mutant caterpillars residing on the north-forty of her already rather indelicate face.  What an S.O.B.  A truly good father would never try to prevent his own son from marrying a malformed dullard with an attitude problem the size of which would comfortably trivialize Mt. Everest.

However, the marriage issue was the one area where Ryan's dear old dad could almost be legitimately criticized.  His insistence that Ryan marry a wealthy Bostonian blueblood socialite, while he himself had married a semi-literate, green-card-reject Ecuadorian mail-order-bride deportee, could be perceived as slightly hypocritical

But let's not be too hard on Pops.  He was only trying to save his son from making the same mistake he had, which was to marry a vernacularly crippled sociopath, considered too much a social pariah to navigate the delicate strata of high-brow events like cockfights and gang rapes.     

School and Beyond:

Along the way, Ali rescues Ryan from his father's malicious offer of financial support and puts Ryan the rest of the way through law school on $3000.00 a year.  Every day, she dutifully drags the entire kitchen cupboard to Ryan's place of schooling and makes him peanut butter sandwiches to get him through the 4-minute segment of the movie where he is a law student. 

The PBJs really pay off too.  When Ryan graduates from law school, he and Ali skip that pesky "just graduated and now starving" gig, and move directly into a giant penthouse in the most elite section of Manhattan.  Most Rockefellers don't live as good as these two ingrates, but alas, things don't remain agreeable for long ...

The Descent:

Ali and Ryan decide to try and have a baby, but things just aren't working out.  So, it's off to the doctor. When the test results come in, Ryan is informed that Ali has MMD (Mysterious Movie Star Disease). Ali is not told that she has MMD, the medical wisdom behind this being that one should not be treated for a serious disease until it becomes a hopeless exercise in futility.  

Ryan goes along with the doctor's strategy, and he too hides the MMD from Ali.  Inevitably, however, the doctor randomly changes his mind about hiding the MMD from Ali, so he tells Ali that she has MMD, but he doesn't tell Ryan that he's told Ali that she has MMD.  So, Ryan knows that Ali has MMD, and Ali knows that she has MMD, but Ryan doesn't know that Ali knows that she has MMD.  

Somewhere along the line, Ryan plans a trip to Paris for Ali so she can see it before she dies of MMD. At this point, Ali tells Ryan that she knows that she has MMD, and that she knows that Ryan knows that she has MMD. And although Ali has been rather disagreeable about all things great and small throughout the entire movie, she does not get mad about the fact that her husband and her doctor have lied to her about her fatal disease, and that there's nothing she can do about it because it's too late.  No sense in getting bogged down in the details.     

Predictably, Ryan's depraved father shows up and engages in yet another nefarious conspiracy to offer financial assistance to his son in his time of need. This time, Ryan takes the money, but he severely chastises his abusive father for daring to offer potentially life-saving assistance to his wife during the darkest hour of all her days. Chivalry is not dead, but Ali, on the other hand, has taken a turn for the worse ...

The Final Descent:

While Ali is watching Ryan do some ice skating, which she can't do because she is in the advanced stages of MMD, she suddenly feels faint.  Ryan and Ali take the miles-long hike through a blizzard in deserted Central Park so Ali can trip over the curb and fall into a waiting cab.  And off they go to the hospital.  

The next thing you know, Ali is laid up in the NTR (Non-Treatment Room) at the hospital, which has no IVs, no doctors, no nurses, no medication, no charts, no graphs, no medical students, no stethoscopes, no heart monitors, no tongue depressors, no nothing. Ali remains well-tanned, with  perfectly combed hair and caterpillars, a glowing complexion, and a Victoria's Secret nightgown. But in spite of a monumental lack of  effort by the medical staff to save her, and a valiant 52-second fight for her life, Ali quietly succumbs to MMD. 

A Final Slap ...

And wouldn't you know it ... just as Ryan is leaving the hospital, his insidious father arrives on the scene, yet again scheming to impose ill-conceived acts of wanton kindness upon his distraught son ... this time, heartfelt condolences and a shoulder to cry on.  But even in his grief-stricken state, Ryan remains insolent.  For a final time, he fends off his father's officious benevolence and defiantly walks off into the sunset. 

What a moron.

Carl R.


So, You Have MMD ...

What to Do?

- Hire Incompetent, Secretive, Law-Breaking Doctors Who
Will Lie and Hide the Truth From You Until it's Too Late -

- Be Sure Your Spouse is in Cahoots With Your Doctors -

- Delay Any and All Types of Medical Treatment
Until Shortly Before Death -

- Avoid Medications - all of them -

- Continue to Groom Your Facial Caterpillars  -

- Avoid Ice Skating -

Editor's Notes:

- Another victim of MMD was Barbara Hershey in Beaches, 1988.

- Love Story was nominated for seven Oscars in 1970, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Ryan O'Neal), Best Supporting Actor (John Marley), Best Actress (Ali MacGraw), Best Director (Arthur Hiller), and Best Original Story and Screenplay (Erich Segal). The only Oscar it picked up was for Best Original Score (music), meaning that Love story received exactly one more Oscar than it should have. 

- A sequel to Love Story, Oliver's Story, was released in 1978. Ryan's love interest in Oliver's Story was Candice Bergen. 

- Katharine Balfour played Mrs. Oliver Barrett III (Ryan's mother) in Love Story.  She died of amyotropic lateral sclerosis in 1990. She was replaced by another actress, Meg Mundy, in Oliver's Story, even though she was really still alive at the time Oliver's Story was being filmed.  

- John Marley played Ali's father, Mr. Caterpillar (aka Phil Cavilleri) in Love Story. He was replaced by another actor, Ed Binns, in Oliver's Story, even though he was really still alive at the time Oliver's Story was being filmed.  

- Sydney Walker played Dr. Shapely, one of several people who collaborated in Ali's murder.  He died in 1994.  One of his last roles was as a bus driver in the 1993 movie Mrs. Doubtfire.

- Robert Modica played Dr. Addison, one of several people who collaborated in Ali's murder.  His latest role was as Paul in the 2000 movie Fast Food, Fast Women.

- Walker Daniels played Ray Stratton.  Love Story was the only movie he ever appeared in.   He was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1943.  I don't remember any Ray Stratton in Love Story. 

- Charlotte Ford played the desk clerk at the NTH (Non-Treatment Hospital.) It was the only movie she ever appeared in.  Her current whereabouts are unknown. 

- Gil Gerard played an uncredited extra in Love Story. He later went on to play Buck Rogers in the TV series of the same name.

- Grant Willis played an uncredited extra in Love Story. His only other film role was as Tom the Truckman in the 1966 film Captain Celluloid vs. the Film Pirates. 

- Julie Garfield (no relation to the Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz), received a credit for appearing in Love Story, although it is unclear what part she played. She did, however, go on to  play the part of Dorothy in the 1987 smash hit Ishtar.  

- Sudie Bond received a credit for appearing in Love Story, although it is unclear what part she played. She died of cardiac arrest during an asthma attack in New York in 1984.  

- Tommy Lee Jones appeared in Love Story as one of Ryan O'Neal's obnoxious roommates. 
He is still alive, but he is a loser.