OLIVER'S STORY

year: 1978 rating: ***

Poor Ryan O'Neal couldn't catch a break. Even two films now considered classics didn't make money in the 1970's upon release. His daughter Tatum's BAD NEWS BEARS beat the pants off both Stanley Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON and Walter Hill's THE DRIVER. And OLIVER'S STORY did even worse; ironic being the sequel to one of the highest grossing films of the previous decade, LOVE STORY, and yet Ryan himself had a reason/theory of why it failed: Intellectual thinking man's ingenue Nicola Pagett (resembling cult starlet Pamela Franklin) was supposed to be the girl he winds up...

Early on they share one blind date which is more interesting and has far more chemistry than any of O'Neal's scenes with wooden rich girl Candace Bergen, who, being the studio's choice of perfect and pretty, made it so Nicola's third act return was left on the cutting room floor. And while OLIVER'S STORY is not a horrible picture, and has relaxing moments within the mahogany-hued classy-to-poor New York City where Oliver, a lawyer, fights a slum lord with fellow idealist employees, there's simply no inner peace or contentment for the titular character or his titular story.
Nicola Pagett as Joanna Stone in Oliver's Story

Nicola Pagett as Joanna Stone in Oliver's Story

Nicola Pagett with Ryan O'Neal in Oliver's Story
Ann Risley & Deborah Rush are two bar girls in Oliver's Story

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