Modern Love (1990)

R | 109 mins | Romantic comedy | 22 June 1990

Director:

Robby Benson

Writer:

Robby Benson

Producer:

Robby Benson

Cinematographer:

Christopher G. Tufty

Editor:

Gib Jaffe

Production Designer:

Carl E. Copeland

Production Companies:

Lyric Films , Sony Video Software Films
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HISTORY

The credits begin with a voiceover narration by “Greg,” which continues throughout the film: “I guess I’ve always had a European flair for romance. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been in love with love. I’ve always loved women, what a gender. I have nothing against men, don’t get me wrong. I mean, like, my dad, Dad was the greatest, except for his stogies. But women, I mean, really, what’s not to like? I remember that horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach with my first girl friend, ‘Weewee’--well, her first name was Lilly, but I couldn’t pronounce my ‘L’s. I loved her completely. Blue eyes, blonde hair, she had the cutest little nose, but I was jilted, cheated on at age one. Unfortunately, this sort of thing became routine. I don’t know why, but I was always attracted to the same types of girls. Heartbreakers. I decided not to waste any more time with bimbos. Besides, what do bimbos have to do with real love? I was on a quest for true love. I wasn’t gonna stop until I found it. Sure, things got a little rocky, but I vowed never to stop in my search for true love.”
       According to the 23 Feb 1989 Newsday and 12 Mar 1989 LAT, actresses Sally Kirkland and Piper Laurie were set to costar in the production, but neither appeared in the final film. Likewise, though the 9 Aug 1988 Orange County Register reported that Steven Paul was a producer on the film, he is not listed in the final credits.
       Modern Love began as a film school ... More Less

The credits begin with a voiceover narration by “Greg,” which continues throughout the film: “I guess I’ve always had a European flair for romance. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been in love with love. I’ve always loved women, what a gender. I have nothing against men, don’t get me wrong. I mean, like, my dad, Dad was the greatest, except for his stogies. But women, I mean, really, what’s not to like? I remember that horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach with my first girl friend, ‘Weewee’--well, her first name was Lilly, but I couldn’t pronounce my ‘L’s. I loved her completely. Blue eyes, blonde hair, she had the cutest little nose, but I was jilted, cheated on at age one. Unfortunately, this sort of thing became routine. I don’t know why, but I was always attracted to the same types of girls. Heartbreakers. I decided not to waste any more time with bimbos. Besides, what do bimbos have to do with real love? I was on a quest for true love. I wasn’t gonna stop until I found it. Sure, things got a little rocky, but I vowed never to stop in my search for true love.”
       According to the 23 Feb 1989 Newsday and 12 Mar 1989 LAT, actresses Sally Kirkland and Piper Laurie were set to costar in the production, but neither appeared in the final film. Likewise, though the 9 Aug 1988 Orange County Register reported that Steven Paul was a producer on the film, he is not listed in the final credits.
       Modern Love began as a film school project at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, where producer-director-writer-actor Robbie Benson taught in the theater department. After a 1984 heart operation sidelined his career as a young Hollywood actor, Benson was asked by University of South Carolina President James Holderman to teach as an “artist in residence” at the school’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Benson, his singer-actress wife, Karla DeVito, and daughter Lyric moved there in 1988. The following year, the 28 Jan 1989 Toronto Star reported, Benson began a “moviemaking course” that covered “all aspects from script writing to postproduction.” Money was raised and Benson enlisted friends Burt Reynolds, Rue McClanahan, Kaye Ballard, and Louise Lasser, to work for union “scale” instead of their regular salaries, according to the 20 Feb 1990 LAT. The 8 May 1989 DV reported that Sony’s SVS, Inc. signed “an all-rights, full financing pact” for Modern Love. Students worked on the film crew and appeared in small roles or as background actors. According to the 19 Apr 1989 DV, principal photography began 17 Apr 1989. Trouble arose after filming began, however, when school officials questioned Benson’s $63,630 annual salary, along with living expenses, and President Holderman’s “lavish” spending. The 27 Mar 1991 HR noted that after Halderman was forced to resign, he was indicted for “using a public office for personal gain and accepting extra compensation.”
       The 23 Mar 1990 HR announced that Modern Love was set to have its national premiere 7 Apr 1990, as part of the Florida Film Festival in Jacksonville, FL.
       The film ends with a title card that reads: “Dedicated to the memory of Vivienne DeVito.” End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “The producers wish to thank: Lloyd Braun; Kurt Woolner; Steve Ransohoff; Dr. and Mrs. James Holderman & The University of South Carolina; Gov. Carrol A. Campbell, Jr.; Barry Lourie and Lourie’s of Columbia; Gary Cohen and the people of the Columbia Marriott; Bob Pulliam and Pulliam Ford; Rusty Holroyd and Diamond Dodge; Dick Smith and Dick Smith Auto Rental Sales; Baptist Medical Center; U.S. Air; Columbia Metropolitan Airport; Isabell Hill and the South Carolina Film Office; Dr. Carol Kay and the College of Humanities; Reg Brasington and the Media Arts Department of U.S.C.; Mr. and Mrs. Ron Eglin and the people at Coastal Carolina; Jerry Keeter and the people at Instructional Services Center; The Carolina Coliseum business office; Dean Sid Varney; Carol Danner Benfield; Barbara Riddle; Rosa Thorn; Jim and Kay Thigpen and the people at Trustus Theater; Dr. Bob Ettinger and the Richland Memorial Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders; Chernoff/Silver and Associates; Mr. and Mrs. Gene Brantley and family; Sam & Inez Tenenbaum; Clyde Ellisor, Roth Theaters; Tom Murphy, Track Record; Joe Keawe; Mike McClellan; Harbinger Publications; Venture Development; The Keenan Company; K-Mart; Columbia Photo Supply & Gallery; The Gourmet Shop; Randy J. Mondor and the F.B.I.; Elaine Gillespie; Linda Scheper; R.E. Wilbur and The City of Columbia Police Department; Lt. Carl Stokes and the USC Police Department; The Columbia Mets Association; Acta-Fax; Teleautograph/Omnifax; AT&T; SCE & G; Pepsi-Cola; Ryder Truck Rental; Molsen; Columbia Vision Services; Dr. Arthur G. Peake, Optometrist; Dr. James B. Ebersole, M.D.; Papillon Hair Salon; Ann & Richard’s Promenade Shop; Maner’s Ltd; The Army-Navy Store; Take Ten Teleproductions; Columbia Office Supply; Color Copy, Inc.; The R.L. Bryan Company; Ivan Allen Company; Walt McGee; Paulette McNeely; Terry St. Martin; Carmella Roache; Annie Meadows; Production Welding; Ways & Means Company; Millie Lewis Modeling Agency; Bayview Baptist Church Child Development Center; Overton’s Water Sports; Converse, Inc.; Southland Fisheries; Silk Plant Forest; Planned Parenthood; B & M Entertprises; Columbia Ski Club; Pier 1 Imports; Aaro Rental; Linens by Margo’s; The Plant Lady; Flowerland; Sherry Mims; Terry Cagle; Garrick Munoz; Tom Dawkins; Scott Blanks; Phillip Mims; Bruce Brutschy; Lisa & Warren Irvin; Corinne & Donald Dial; Dee & Dave Rinker; Axium Enterprises Corporation; friends and students in filmmaking; faculty, staff and friends at the University of South Carolina; friends in the Columbia community. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1989
p. 30.
Daily Variety
8 May 1989
p. 8.
Daily Variety
6 Sep 1991
p. 49.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1991.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Mar 1989
Calendar, p. 363, 371.
Los Angeles Times
20 Feb 1990
Calendar, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
8 May 1990
Calendar, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
7 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
25 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 5.
Newsday
23 Feb 1989
p. 11.
Orange County Register
9 Aug 1988
Section F, p. 4.
Orange County Register
10 Nov 1988
Section K, p. 4.
Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
13 May 1990
Section F, p. 1.
Toronto Star
23 Jan 1989
p. 89.
Variety
13 Jun 1990
p. 29.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Starring:
Introducing
and
as Colonel Frank Parker
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
SVS Films Presents
An SVS Films in Association with Michael Holzman and Jeffrey Ringer Presentation of
A Lyric Films and Soisson/Murphey Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
U.P.M./1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Comedy club material by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog/Loc stills, 2d unit
Elec best boy
Elec best boy
Elec/Elec & Videographer, 2d unit
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
2d unit photog
Cam asst, 2d unit
Cam P.A., 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed by
1st asst ed
Loc ed
1st asst loc ed
2d asst loc ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutting by
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Lead man
Prop master
Asst props
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward, 2d unit
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
Mus coord by
Addl mus courtesy of
Addl mus courtesy of
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd mixer
Boom op
Post prod sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Foley ed
Foley ed
Foley mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
Sd FX rec
Sd FX coord
Sd FX coord
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Machine room op
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
SPFX & weapons
Titles by
Opticals by
Opt line up
Opt col timer
Addl opticals by
MAKEUP
Make-up artist
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Scr supv
Prod controller
Asst prod accountant
Casting consultant
Asst to Mr. Benson
Asst to Mr. Murphey
Asst to Mr. Soisson
Asst to Lyric
Key set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Loc mgr/Trans. coord/Loc mgr, 2d unit
Loc asst
Craft service
Transportation capt
Transportation asst
Honey wagon driver
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Prod asst, 2d unit
Insurance provided by
Insurance provided by
Unit pub
Extras coord
Medical tech adv
Medical tech adv
Loc projectionist
Voice casting
Dailies by
STAND INS
Water ski stunt
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Evelyn's Theme," written by Robby Benson, performed by Sterling Smith
"As Time Goes By," written by Herman Hapfeld, engineered by Bob Schaper, performed by Karla DeVito
additional music courtesy of Group Pro/Ole Georg
+
SONGS
"Evelyn's Theme," written by Robby Benson, performed by Sterling Smith
"As Time Goes By," written by Herman Hapfeld, engineered by Bob Schaper, performed by Karla DeVito
additional music courtesy of Group Pro/Ole Georg
"Brahma Beach Cop," written and produced by Jack Keleheat, Jr., lyrics by Robby Benson, engineered by Joey Fralick, performed by Rick Strickland and Mark Mills
"The Oh Of Pleasure," written and performed by Ray Lynch and Tom Canning, courtesy of Music West Records and Ray Lynch Productions
"Hey Baby," written by Margret Cobb and Bruce Channel
"Snow Train Shuffle," written by John Gast, performed by Christian DiMaggio
"Doggie Hangs Ten," written & produced by Gary Thomas Griffin, performed by the Bel-Air Bandits
"Falling...In Love With You," written by Robby Benson, engineered by Bob Schaper, performed by Karla DeVito & Stan Brown, produced by Robby Benson & Gary Thomas Griffin.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 June 1990
Premiere Information:
Jacksonville, FL premiere: 7 April 1990
Los Angeles opening: 22 June 1990
Production Date:
began 17 April 1989
Copyright Claimant:
SVS, Inc.
Copyright Date:
30 April 1990
Copyright Number:
PA467803
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® at Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Greg has searched for love his whole life, but girls have broken his heart since he was a toddler. Now he is flying with Annabell, his latest blonde girl friend, to meet her family in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Annabell’s family is annoyed at having a Jewish man in the house, and her father refuses to come home from his Ku Klux Klan meeting until Greg leaves. Worse, Annabell thinks she is pregnant. Returning home to South Carolina, Greg and Annabell go to Dr. Reed’s office. Greg has second thoughts about the relationship, because Annabell has cheated on him. Sitting in the waiting room, Greg sees another door for a urologist named Dr. B. Parker and asks the receptionist if that doctor is available, because he has “a growth” he is concerned about. Greg is shocked when Dr. Billie Parker, an attractive young brunette, enters the examination room. He instantly falls in love and has a difficult time stating his problem. After an examination, she informs him that genital warts are caused by stress. As she burns them off with an electric instrument, Billie laughs because the procedure reminds her of shop class in high school, while Greg, who refused a local anesthetic, faints from the pain. When he awakens, Greg learns that Annabell is not pregnant. At work in Mr. Hoskins’s public relations firm, Greg is called into Hoskins’s office to meet a new client, Dirk Martin, a surfing beach bum starring in the new television series, Brahma Beach Cop. Hoskins tells Greg to take care of Dirk, because the big, dumb actor is the firm’s ticket to bigger things. ... +


Greg has searched for love his whole life, but girls have broken his heart since he was a toddler. Now he is flying with Annabell, his latest blonde girl friend, to meet her family in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Annabell’s family is annoyed at having a Jewish man in the house, and her father refuses to come home from his Ku Klux Klan meeting until Greg leaves. Worse, Annabell thinks she is pregnant. Returning home to South Carolina, Greg and Annabell go to Dr. Reed’s office. Greg has second thoughts about the relationship, because Annabell has cheated on him. Sitting in the waiting room, Greg sees another door for a urologist named Dr. B. Parker and asks the receptionist if that doctor is available, because he has “a growth” he is concerned about. Greg is shocked when Dr. Billie Parker, an attractive young brunette, enters the examination room. He instantly falls in love and has a difficult time stating his problem. After an examination, she informs him that genital warts are caused by stress. As she burns them off with an electric instrument, Billie laughs because the procedure reminds her of shop class in high school, while Greg, who refused a local anesthetic, faints from the pain. When he awakens, Greg learns that Annabell is not pregnant. At work in Mr. Hoskins’s public relations firm, Greg is called into Hoskins’s office to meet a new client, Dirk Martin, a surfing beach bum starring in the new television series, Brahma Beach Cop. Hoskins tells Greg to take care of Dirk, because the big, dumb actor is the firm’s ticket to bigger things. Greg returns to Billie’s office for a follow-up appointment. She tells penis jokes, and when he fails to laugh, Billie confesses she is a compulsive jokester, but has trouble loosening up her male patients. Greg asks her out for coffee. As they walk in a park, Billie talks about sex and cannot stop joking because, at heart, she is really a stand-up comic. She has a habit of blurting shocking comments, then adding, “Just kidding.” Romance develops. They kiss everywhere they go, and soon he asks her to marry him and she says yes. At their non-denominational wedding, Greg’s parents shout, “Mazel tov.” Billie’s family remains quiet until Greg’s mom explains that the Jewish expression means good luck, and then everyone shouts “Mazel tov.” The Israeli best man tells Greg’s father in Hebrew he cannot figure why Greg is living in South Carolina. In response, Greg’s father says not to worry because the marriage will last no longer than two weeks. Billie’s father, U.S. Army Colonel Frank Parker, takes Greg for a stroll and jokes, in a manner similar to his daughter, that if he will harm Greg if he does not take care of his "little Billie." Frank wonders if they are going to raise their kids as Catholics, and is not happy that Greg paid the judge $20 extra not to say the word “God” during the ceremony. At the wedding reception, they watch Brahma Beach Cop on television, and everyone is impressed that Greg works with the star, Dirk Martin. When Greg returns to the beach as part of his public relations duties, he is surprised to find that Annabell is Dirk’s new girl friend. Though Greg cannot swim, Dirk insists on taking him waterskiing, with near disastrous results. Greg and Billie move into a house in a working-class neighborhood. His mother telephones to encourage him to move to Los Angeles, California, and get to know director Steven Spielberg, since they are both "nice Jewish boys" and in the entertainment industry. When Billie announces in bed that she is pregnant, Greg climbs on the roof, naked, and shouts the news to the neighborhood. He tries to fix up the house in preparation for the baby, and agrees to Billie’s request that her mother, Evelyn, come stay and help with the pregnancy. Evelyn takes over cooking and housecleaning. When the time comes, Evelyn rushes Billie to the hospital in the family car, leaving Greg behind. He runs to the hospital in his pajamas and arrives as Billie is being wheeled into the delivery room. Billie is in labor for over twenty hours, until she agrees to a Caesarian delivery. All the parents join them to name the baby, and Greg’s dad agrees with his son’s first choice: Chloe. Greg chafes under Evelyn’s interference, as she cleans the house and takes care of the baby, except for night feedings, when Greg and Billie take turns. Greg accompanies Dirk to a “Hemisphere Awards” dinner, where the television star is being honored as a “distinguished” South Carolinian, but thinks he has won an acting award. Later, in bed, Billie becomes angry when Greg asks if she exercises daily, and denies the implication that she has gotten fat. When Greg complains that after working all day he should not be up with the baby all night, Evelyn volunteers to take over all baby duties. However, Greg becomes disturbed by Evelyn reading the Bible to Chloe. Billie returns to work as a urologist, but during lunch she auditions at a comedy club. Evelyn decides to return home to her husband, Frank, and later writes Greg asking forgiveness for being too bossy, claiming it was only because Chloe is her first grandchild. She thanks Greg for loving her daughter and being a good father. Chloe says her first word, “No,” and delights her parents by giving them “the razzberry.” Soon, the cute little noises become annoying when Chloe gives razzberries all the time. The parents alternate taking Chloe to work, and both sleep at the job when possible. At Chloe’s first birthday party, Greg and Billie both forget to buy film for the camera. During the Christmas season, Greg dresses as Santa Claus and lights a menorah for Hanukkah. He drives to Dirk Martin’s house to make sure the actor arrives at an interview with Time magazine, but finds him drunk in the middle of a wild party. Later, Greg attends Billie’s stand-up act at a comedy club. Backstage, she is excited by her new direction in life, but Greg complains that while she concentrated on her so-called comedy career, he got a letter from the daycare center that Chloe has head lice. When Billie responds that head lice are “common” among children, but Greg becomes angry, blaming her for having the health standards of an Appalachian hillbilly. Returning home, Greg complains that they have become strangers. He wants to be in love again. Hearing a noise in the baby’s room, Billie rushes in and finds Chloe unresponsive, but the baby is only in deep sleep. Relieved, she and Greg embrace, holding Chloe between them. The next day, Greg bursts into Mr. Hoskins’s office to complain that he spends more time with Dirk Martin than with his family. He insists on taking a vacation whether his boss likes it or not, but Hoskins agrees because Dirk’s show has been cancelled. Greg, Billie, and Chloe board a flight to Rome, Italy, but they have to leave when Billie gets a message that her mother is gravely ill. Greg sneaks Chloe into Evelyn’s intensive care room at the hospital and tells Evelyn he loves her daughter. Later, as Greg and Chloe bond with Frank Parker in the hospital cafeteria, a doctor tells Frank that Evelyn has died. Billie walks a desolate beach alone during the winter, but gets back into a family routine as spring arrives. Watching Chloe and Billie sleep, Greg realizes how much he loves them. The image of a grown-up Chloe gives him a little pep talk, assuring Greg he has the world at his feet. Greg and Mr. Hoskins drive to see a new client, a rap duo called the “Little Bastards.” Greg sees Dirk Martin driving a truck marked “Brahma Scrap & Trash.” When Chloe goes to school, the house feels empty, but Greg and Billie rejoice that they finally have free time together. Greg gets a bottle of champagne, some snacks, and a sexy videotape. Billie wants to start painting in her free time, and Greg plans to build her a studio on the back porch. Suddenly, seeing the images of their four parents sitting on the bed, Greg and Billie decide to have another baby. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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