Have Cheetah,Will View #463 – “Michael” (1996)

Its 5:16 pm

   Oh boy…..this is my first entry using the new update from Word Press and I am not exactly sure how this will look after I type this out. We’ll cross our fingers and hope for the best.
I like to thank our deep cover asset “MP” from Warner Brother Archives for sending the cheetah and I this copy of “Michael”,it’s been 24 years since I have watched this film at the theater. I am curious to see how it holds up after all these years

The cheetah and I are back after watching “Michael”. I am sitting here trying to understand this film,when I watched it all those years ago,it seemed a LOT heavier,it had much more heart to it. But looking back at it,I am shocked and sadly disappointed to see just how slight “Michael” is and what makes it more painful is that there are four writers,including director Nora Ephron,credited for the screenplay.

The film opens up in a small Iowa town where Pansy Milbank (Jean Stapleton) along with a friend stop by the bank. It appears the bank is going to foreclose on her home. Pansy and her friend leave and we see the doing business and the employees leaving. Soon after a bolt of lightening strikes the bank and destroys it.

   Meanwhile in Chicago,we meet Frank Quinlan (William Hurt),once a highly respected journalist who is now slumming at The National Mirror ,a tabloid which is owned by Vartan Malt (Bob Hoskins),who is a bit bullish.
   Quinlan is friends with Huey (Robert Pastorelli) a sad sack photographer who is only on the payroll because Vartan loves his dog Sparky (even though Sparky dislikes Vartan). Malt is always trying to find a way to fire Huey but keep Sparky and this has been going on for three years.

     After chasing down a yet a another crackpot story,Frank heads to his desk and sees he has a letter and in it,the writer says there is a real angel living in Iowa and Frank should come and meet him.
    In a meeting,Frank tells about Vartan about the angel and that Huey and he should check it out. Vartan scoffs at the idea of angels and bets Frank and Huey that if they can’t get the angel to Vartan,he gets to fire Huey and keep Sparky. Frank agrees but then is told they have to take the woman who has been sitting quietly on the couch with them,the woman in question is Dorothy Winters (Andie McDowell).
    Dorothy is going to be their “angel expert” for their trip to Iowa,She comes across as always being a little frazzled and nervous. But she joins Frank and Huey and soon they are driving to Iowa.
     There they meet Pansy who tells them about Michael and how he is a angel. She calls Michael downstairs and soon a slightly chunky man comes downstairs and he has wings on his back. Michael (John Travolta) is heavy smoker and he also enjoys refined sugar and heaping spoonfuls on his cereal. Pansy starts cooking them breakfast and tells how she had prayed for help and Michael had appeared. She suddenly drops dead while telling the story.
The group doesn’t know what to make of Michael as they stay for Pansy’s funeral and when when Michael agrees to go to Chicago,they climb into Pansy old beat up car and start the drive east. They stop at various places and have some adventures which include Dorothy singing at a bar,Michael and a bull doing “battle” and the group getting locked up after another “battle”.
We see Michael comment both to the group and by himself about how much he is going to miss all this,the “this” being here on Earth.
There is of course the one true emotional moment in the whole film that did tug on the heart which indirectly leads Michael into leaving Earth before they can show him to Vartan and win the best. The ending is pretty Hollywood as Frank and Dorothy connect at the end of the movie….

Okay,I am going to be honest,I liked “Michael” when I saw it 24 years ago and I had good memories of it. I thought it was sweet and it had that one “big”moment that anyone who has seen the movie knows what I’m talking about.
But in re-watching “Michael”…..I was really stunned by how terrible it really is,how extremely shallow and despite having those 4 writers including the talented Ephron sisters,I found “Michael” to be poorly written.
The acting was fine,the cast did the best with what they were given.
The best character was Frank Quinlan and that was only because William Hurt did a great job in the role,he played Frank against type…..he wasn’t the normal “bitter,jaded and cyanical” reporter we normally see in these films.
He believed in Michael from the second he opened the letter,I wish we could have found out how Quinlan kept his faith despite his being reduced to working at a tabloid. But we barely get any backstory on anyone,including Michael. Watching Travolta smoke,eat sugar and have sex with various women is sort of cute but grows tiresome really fast. He never explains why he is here,nor explains why his time is limited -which seems weird considering he is a archangel whose power would be limitless.
Like I said,I was just surprised at just much I disliked this on my re-watching (other then Hurt and McDowell).

Well I’m not going to continue to beat up a 24 year old movie,it does have its moments still.
“Michael” has a runtime of 1 hour 46 minutes and is a rated PG. I was a little surprised to note that Warner Brother Archive didn’t any special features on this BluRay release.
You can buy your copy of “Michael” from the website of Warner Brother Archive.

The cheetah and I split on this one,he gave it a paw down while I gave it a thumbs up mainly because of William Hurt’s performance.

What is your favorite film that feature angels? Drop a comment below.

And I am really hating this new WP layout,it completely sucks.

8 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #463 – “Michael” (1996)

  1. I think I’ll pass on this one. I may have liked it then, but not now. I remember the George Burns angel flick with John Denver, called “Oh God.” I liked that one then. I wonder if it stands the test of time now?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s enlightening when things we used to love are viewed or read again on the “time” sofa. This happened to me recently with a book I found uproariously hilarious in my early 30s but was just kinda…meh today, [cough cough, hack hack] years later, lol
    I think we might be a little worried if our point of view was exactly the same–wouldn’t that mean we hadn’t changed at all? That would be disturbing!
    I remember seeing this movie too and not thinking about it much once it was over. But William Hurt…he’s never bad in anything, is he? A potentially good idea not handled very well, this movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Nora Ephron had her ups and downs as a writer/director. I recently watched her “Bewitched” remake and didn’t like it at all. I mean when she was on the ball,her films were good but when she missed,pheeeew.

      William Hurt is top notch in just about everything he does. I have grown to really respect him as one of our finest actors.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Arrrgghhh! Bewitched! That’s one of the reasons why original screenplays/ideas never get made. I hate terrible remakes of old material !!!

    Liked by 1 person

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