I Love You To Death (1990)

Thirty-three years ago today, the film I Love You To Death premiered. It was filmed in the spring of my freshman year of college and I remember going with friends around Tacoma looking for River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. We hear they were at the Antique Sandwich Cafe and a few other places. The next year, they filmed some of My Own Private Idaho in Seattle. Me and a different group of friends looked for them there.

Title: I Love You To Death
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
Written by: John Kostmayer
Produced by: Jeffrey Lurie
Starring: Kevin Kline as Joey Boca, Tracey Ullman as Rosalie Boca, Joan Plowright as Nadja, River Phoenix as Devo Nod, William Hurt as Harlan James, Keanu Reeves as Marlon James, James Gammon as Lieutenant Larry Schooner, Jack Kehler as Sergeant Carlos Wiley, Victoria Jackson as Lacey, Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Boca, Alisan Porter as Carla Boca, Jon Kasdan as Dominic Boca, Heather Graham as Bridget, Phoebe Cates as Joey’s disco girl (uncredited)
Cinematography: Owen Roizman
Edited by: Anne V. Coates
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release date: April 6, 1990
Running time: 97 minutes
Country: United States
Languages: English, Italian, & Serbo-Croatian
Box office: $16.2 million


Joey Boca owns a pizza parlor in Tacoma, Washington, and has been married to Rosalie for several years. Their marriage seems a typical one until Rosalie discovers that Joey is a womanizer and has been cheating on her for years with multiple women.

Rosalie does not want to allow Joey the pleasure of having every woman he wants, so she refuses to divorce. Taking extreme measures, she enlists the help of her mother and her young co-worker Devo, who is secretly in love with her, to kill Joey. They hire two incompetent, perpetually stoned men, cousins Harlan, and Marlon James.

To her surprise, Joey proves impossible to kill. Even though Rosalie heavily doses Joey with sleeping pills, he simply gets a stomach cramp and dismisses it as a virus. They then ask Devo to come over and shoot Joey, but Devo looks away and only ends up wounding Joey behind the ear. When Marlon’s cowardice stops him from being present at Joey’s murder, Harlan shoots Joey through the chest, but misses his heart.

Eventually, a convict at the local commissary reveals their plan, and when the police arrive they find the wounded Joey in some pain. He is taken to the hospital, and Rosalie, her mother, Devo, and the James cousins are arrested. Seeing the error of his ways and at his mother’s behest, Joey refuses to press charges and bails everyone out of jail. As he waits for Rosalie with flowers and a box of chocolates, he meets the James cousins and makes peace. Seeing Rosalie again, he asks her to take him back, but still offended, she runs out. Joey catches her and in the janitor’s closet, they reveal their love with some intimacy, much to Devo’s dismay and the surprise of Rosalie’s mother.

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