In the seventh remake of Love Story, as in the original, Ali MacGraw dies of cancer.
The next five versions feature a cast made up wholly of dogs of varying breeds, boating and fucking and quipping, but then in the twelfth remake McGraw is back. Until, that is, she dies of cancer.
The next dozen or so iterations featured neither MacGraw or her original costar Ryan O’Neal, but in ten of them it is the male lead who succumbs to leukemia.
The following version is a shot by shot remake of the original, with the exception of a smear of sputum on the lens of the camera shaped like a drowning ape or, in scenes with lower lighting, a Moche amphora.
In the next version Ryan O’Neal is a hallucination, in the next he dies of cancer again.
He is subsequently hit by a bus, murdered by his father, murders his father in turn, and then uses a sharpened piece of banister wrenched off of the wall of a yachting club to spear two young lovers who are copulating on his cursed grave. None of these feature Ali MacGraw.
She does reappear in the following iteration, but is in fact an aged clone from an earlier remake cast not as one of the ill-fated lovers, but as the father of the young man, played by a descendant of Channing Tatum. In this same version, McGraw also plays the director of the film, meaning that while she is saying her lines, she is trying to remember the notes she thinks she would have given herself were she to actually direct the film. That is not the best version, really.
The 100th remake is a 90-minute film of a camera slowly inching its way up Ali MacGraw’s vagina.
The 103rd version was shot on film stock. The hundred and fourth is footage of Ryan O’Neal systematically eating that film stock, and much of the ensuing surgery required to save his life, and is actually rather good. He has a good grimace, that Ryan O’Neal.
By the 114th version the cancer itself has been the protagonist four times, three of them sequentially. In one of these—the middle, I believe—it (the cancer) shares a graphic but tender sex scene with O’Neal.
Between the 157th and 159th versions somewhere, the vestiges of the recognizable human race all became immortal, then dead, then immortal again at least for a while, all within the span of a few seconds, simultaneously and across reaches of the universe vast enough to be essentially unquantifiable. The immediate result of this species-wide death and resurrection was a collective insight into the nature of nothingness which further halved what we’ll call “humanity.” Most of those dead were lost to catatonia and mulched for use in small-scale terraforming efforts, or left to drift in an icy abyss, void even of the stuff of nightmares, while the survivors, having witnessed death, found themselves uninterested in watching the tragic deaths of others onscreen, but instead were mysteriously compelled to begin building enormous web-like structures from the tools and materials to hand, even going so far as to dismantle the very equipment that may have been sustaining them in extreme environments (these “humans” being, it should be said, the dwindling and radicalized portion of our descendants who having perversely rejected many more extreme forms of personal modification remained imprisoned, closed off from those gassy depths where most others had long ago chosen to make their home, and thus were reliant—these "humans"—on their mechanical surroundings). The webs they created were not uniform by any means, but spoke to a common knowledge of something, some image or power whether dark or banal that lurked behind that last loaming barrier of death, an image which had stuck in humanity as a whole and of which the exorcism through fevered creation became their single purpose where before it would have been an extreme of hyperbole to say that they shared even a common idea.
They forgot about all of this in something like a week. The webs were left unfinished and eventually cannibalized. But in Love Story 159, a truly shitty low-budget affair, you can see through windows the massive cobwebs of detritus still standing, looming even, around corners and under benches and in the distance, thrumming, while in the foreground a young woman, not Ali MacGraw, gets cancer and dies.