Friday, February 13, 2009

What does love mean?

Happy Valentine's Day. It's also my birthday. Like Jack Benny (whose birthday was also February 14th) I'm 39 today. And a young 39 damn it!

To mark this day of amour I thought I'd share my least favorite romantic sequence in any movie. This is from LOVE STORY, the gold standard for over-the-top cringeworthy sentimentality. Keep in mind this film was not just a hit, it was a national sensation.

Our scene opens with Oliver (Ryan O'Neal) searching for Jenny (Ali McGraw)... and searching... and searching... and searching. But hang in there, because the pay off -- both the acting and the writing -- is so worth it.

39 comments:

Great Big Radio Guy said...

AGGGHH! Have I really been avoiding this for close to 39 years? It's even worse than I remember.

And for sheer crawl-under-the-bed wall-to-wall cringiness, the all time champion has got to be (because we cheered in the theater when we all first saw it): The Legend of Billy Jack.

WV - pergel: styling mousse for French dogs

charlotte said...

Happy 39th birthday, Ken! (:D

Tell us more about being a teenager in the 60's... before you were born. ;D

WV: ededub - What Porky Pig says before "That's all, folks!"

jbryant said...

That first 3 minutes is better than Sominex.

A. Buck Short said...

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. I was there at the time, just starting grad school. Working with the Mass. Film Bureau, Arthur Hiller, who I found to be a truly nice and decent man, actually did know when to say sentimentality be damned. The house in this scene was secured as a location by telling the owners they could hang around and watch Ryan O'Neal pretend to screw Ali McGraw.

arieswriting said...

Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

Some things should go gently into the night.

Ben said...

I've never seen "Love Story" (I'm a couple years younger than it). Never seen it, never seen clips from it. I only knew two things about it--the theme music and the "love means never having to say you're sorry" line, which I'd only read and never actually heard before.

After watching that clip...I felt like I was watching a student film. A bad student film. Good god, people actually paid real American cash to watch this? Voluntarily?

Happy birthday, Ken!

Tim W. said...

"I lost my key." Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! As was the fifteen second shot of the bicycle, with Ryan O'Neal running around in the background. That says love to me.

blogward said...

That movie sold a lot of aviator jackets, too.

WV: wincile - something likeley to make you wince, a bit like that clip.

Paul said...

Happy 78th birthday, Ken!

I would have wished you a happy 39th birthday, but this is payback for that hellish four minute clip you just posted.

Robert Konigsberg said...

I'm in love with Oliver's sweater!

Happy birthday, Ken.

Sebastian said...

Happy Birthday Ken!

I myself am twelveandtwenty at the moment and re-watching all episodes of Becker. You know it's so strange that I veer towards all things you and your writing partner wrote. So I hope you'll be around for a couple of decades to do more good shows. It's almost a pity you won that award for your radio show ;-)

Will Teullive said...

I got douche chills watching that scene. Why didn't he just hit her up with a text or cell call? DUH!

Paul Duca said...

My sister is a big fan...in fact, I even bought her a framed movie poster as a birthday present.

As for me, I am with Ken...mush and slop, and the unalloyed stupidity of choosing love over money.

The only saving grace is that without LOVE STORY, we wouldn't have the great end moment of WHAT'S UP DOC?--when Barbra Streisand tells Ryan O'Neal
"Love means never having to say you're sorry" and his response "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard".

gottacook said...

Um, Barbra doesn't merely say "Love means never having to say you're sorry" at the end of What's Up, Doc - she does that little thing with her eyes immediately afterward (before he replies) that lets us know what a goofy line she thinks it is. I wonder whether that was her idea or Bogdanovich's.

Even more frightful than the movie, perhaps, was the version of the theme with lyrics added, which I don't believe was in the movie itself - "Where Do I Begin" sung by Andy Williams, all over the radio in those days.

VP81955 said...

I'd view the clip, but I better consult my doctor first. I'm a Type 1 diabetic.

wv: "ecous" -- organic, cut-down version of everyone's favorite middle Eastern grain.

Dan said...

HAppy Birthday, Ken!

SharoneRosen said...

Love may mean never having to say you're sorry, but those flared nostrils of Ali's owe someone an apology.

WV:CatessnW- yiddish for "the cate ate George Bush.

Gooood kitty...

or the cat likes baked beans... one or the other

Mike Bell said...

Happy 39th Ken. May you have many more. 39th birthdays.

This clip shows just how much cell phones have changed our lives...

EXT. HARVARD CAMPUS - DAY

OLIVER, dressed in a JAUNTY LEATHER BOMBER JACKET, frantically punches the keys of his cell phone.

JENNY (O.S.):
Hello?

OLIVER:
Where are you?

JENNY (O.S.):
At the apartment. I can't get in. I Forgot my key.

OLIVER:
Aw crap. I should have left mine under the mat. I'm sorry.

JENNY (O.S.):
No. Love means --

OLIVER (Interrupts):
Oops, hang on. I've got another call.

Annnnnnd...scene.

Also, I'm sure you noticed that Ryan O'Neal's hair length changes throughout the clip.

But I guess love means never having to pay attention to continuity.

Alice said...

Happy Bithday!!! :D

When I read Love Story i LOVED the book.

But I absolutely love more what's up Doc :D!!!!

A. Buck Short said...

Ken
Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we'll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.
----Jonathan Livingstong Seagull

(another saccharin trip down 70 's memory lane)

Hey, Erich Segal, Jonathan Seagull, Steven Segall -- all the same. OK maybe not the last one, but btw...what were we thinking?

A film that will lift your spirits and make you sore. (SP?)
Ibid (tagline)

Debby G said...

It is a treacly movie. The book was just as bad. Though compared to Jonathan Livingston Seagull it's a literary masterpiece. Yes, I read them both. In my defense, I was young and stupid.

But is there anything more beautiful than Ali McGraw in that film? And Ryan O'Neal ain't so bad either.

Happy birthday!

J.J. said...

I guess I'm the only one who still likes this film. Yeah, O'Neil and McGraw aren't Laurence Olivier (and isn't that a good thing) and compared to today's classics like Runaway Bride or The Lake House or Kate and Leopold or...gasp...Jersey Girl (which I also like and isn't as bad as was panned by audiences and critics) or a bunch of other crap you could name...Love Story is an okay film, not great, not horrible, just slightly middle of the road. Which, can't be said of a lot of films, especially some of the drek that's passing as "classic" these days (can you say, Judd Apatow--I can)...

Love Story, is what it is: a film for its times, popular with the masses and a rejection of the cynicism of the Nixon era. Given the state of our current times one has to wonder if people 39 years from now will even being watching the so-called "classics" of today's current age.

Somehow I doubt it.

Tom Quigley said...

Ken,

Happy Birthday! -- And let's hope you and your wife put that Pajamagram to good use for Valentine's Day (Oops! Was I supposed to not tell?)...

Oh, and one more thing -- when it comes to 70's video flashbacks pertaining to Love, if its all the same with you, I think I'd rather watch Capatain Steubing and the rest of the groveling Pacific Princess crew ...

Kirk Jusko said...

So if you both hate each other's guts, you CAN say your sorry?

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Well, I liked it. I also sniffled a bit during Clint's Bridges of Madison County. Don't get me started on Bambi.

Hey, I'm a macho guy, straight and everything. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

I get to play "Timmy" next Saturday, if I want. That's a term Ken & David use to describe the morons in focus groups to pan great shows for goofy reasons...

The Television Preview people sent me an invitation with 4 tickets to their pilot screenings here in San Diego, near Legoland.

Unfortunately, that's my haiku practice and beer-drinking night, so I can't go...

...but if anyone out there wants the tickets, email me directly: billoxley@gmail.com and they're yours.

It's Feb 21st, 7:30 at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa. No refreshments, no incentives other than "approximately $250 in attendace prizes will be awarded by Television Preview."

...so what's not to like?!

Kathleen O said...

Happy Birthday, Ken. Thank you for your Blog. You never fail to brighten my day.

Your clip is the closest I've ever been to viewing Love Story. I'm a bad 60's child. Hated Dylan and never saw or read Love Story. But I also sobbed during Bridges of Madison County so I am not immune to manipulative movies.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Happy birthday, Ken. The tipoff should have come right in the beginning of that clip. Ryan was looking for Ali in a laundromat. You never find hot chicks in a laundromat. And like some of your other posters, that's the only part of that movie I ever saw. It made me think of Monty Python, though, when he was opening all those doors (doesn't anyone lock them?). "Physical abuse?" "No, this is petty arguments."

WV: mines. That which belongs to Popeye.

Dhppy said...

First, happy birthday.

Second, I always thought this movie was miscast. Ally Sheedy is from the wrong side of the tracks and Ryan O'Neal is the wealthy wasp? I'm more likely to buy you're 39.

selection7 said...

You got me on that one! I watched the whole clip in anticipation...only to do a double take at the inane ending and realize I'd been had.

Sandy Koufax said...

Did the director have a cow with him on the set? I have never seen so much "milking" in one scene. I'm surprised Paul Peterson's song "She Can't Find Her Keys" wasn't playing in the background!!

Happy B'Day old feller...

Sandy K.

maven said...

Happy Birthday and Valentine's Day, Ken!

jbryant said...

J.J. - Today's popular films are no less of their time than Love Story is, and they'll either become "classic" or not. We don't know yet. And lots of dismissed "dreck" from yesteryear looks pretty good these days.

That said, I like most Apatow films at the moment. Maybe I'll feel differently in 20 years, maybe not. I don't like Kevin Smith much though. The five minutes I saw of Jersey Girl made me want to drink Drano. Ah, the comedy, she is so subjective, no?

Bob Harlow said...

Happy 39th Birthday , Ken.

You were the best 2 year Disc-Jockey in Bakersfield Radio!
How many other toddlers did
do a five hour shift on Top 40 Radio calling them selves Retch Butler or Elizabeth Montgomery,
or even Truckin' Ken Stevens.
Maybe that's why you had a 100% share in Teens in the spring 1972!

Kirk Jusko said...

Dhppy, you maybe were joking around, but just in case you weren't, that was Ali McGraw, not Ally Sheedy, in Love Story

D. McEwan said...

Not only is LOVE STORY a piece of crap movie, it's dishonest. Anyone who has ever been in love knows: Love means ALWAYS having to say you're sorry, after first admitting you were wrong - because SHE is ALWAYS right.

And the "novel" was a novelization. It was done by the screenwriter, and it came out first, but it was an adaptation of the crap screenplay.

I did not watch this clip, as my single viewing of the film, back when it came out, was one viewing too many for one lifetime.

But I do remember my shock at Ryan O'Neal's Oscar nomination for it. Did the Academy nominators see a different movie than I did?

Dhppy said...

Shit, Kirk. Slip of the digits. Although, if there ever is a remake, I would suggest, Ally Sheedy... and Ally McGraw.

Andy M said...

I have never seen the movie. Is she supposed to be blind? Or is it just a hint that the movie was made by the blind?

Anonymous said...

Another classic romantic chase scene
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH_Lm-KaSUc