Here's Ali McGraw... suffering
(Mysterious Movie Star Disease)
Before You Read This Review, Ask Yourself This Question:
Do YOU have MMD?!
- 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
at the end of this review!!!
When They First Bickered ... Sigh
Keeping 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:
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
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
... 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.
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
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:
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 ...
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
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
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
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
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.
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 -
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
- 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.
- 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.
Lee Jones appeared in Love Story as one of Ryan O'Neal's
obnoxious roommates. He
is still alive, but he is a loser.