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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Michael (review)

Movie Mad Libs

[spoilers, ho!]

Instructions: Grab a piece of paper and a pencil! Don’t let your friend peek!

Cynical, world-weary [insert type of professional here: i.e., “lawyer,” “doctor,” “hitman”] from [name of godless, soul-eating metropolis] travel(s) to a small town in [any rural/agricultural state with a population less than that of Manhattan’s Upper West Side] where he/she/they meet(s) a person of the [insert type of disability or alternate mode of being: i.e., “mentally retarded,” “alien,” “kindergarten”] persuasion who shows him/her/them the true spirit of [insert any holiday or sentiment for which there is a line of Hallmark cards]. A [particularly cute breed of dog] dog is instrumental in the change of heart. Alas, this inspiring soul is not long for our world — [insert agent of departure: i.e., “death,” “spaceship,” “adolescence”] takes this mysterious one too soon. Forever changed by the experience, the [professional(s) from above] return(s) to the [godforsaken metropolis from above] where magic and happiness now seem to reign. Th’end.

Now, insert in the above:

journalists / Chicago / Iowa / angelic / love / Jack Russell / a convenient plot machination / journalists / Chicago

There, I’ve just saved you the $4 rental fee for Michael (starring John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Robert Pastorelli). Never let it be said that I, The Flick Filosopher, do not provide a service.

Michael isn’t a complete waste of celluloid. John Travolta — as far I’m concerned — is one of the most charming actors on the big screen these days. Even playing an angel who smokes, scratches his crotch in front of company, and enjoys visiting sites such as the Biggest Ball of Twine in the World (not kidding — this is actually in the movie), he’s adorable. I’m sorry — that’s just the way it is.

But there are reasons to hate Michael.

1. Andie MacDowell. I could live a perfectly happy and full life if I never saw this woman “act” again. And she’s so girly and sweet that I just wanna puke. Please, Hollywood, spare us.

2. Dammit, but I’m tired of movies in which the dog is the most believable, most complex character (not to insult the dog, who actually shows a range of emotions). Even worse, Michael is perfectly aware that we care more about the dog than the people. I won’t completely ruin the film for you (if you insist on seeing it), but let’s just say that our sympathy for the dog is played upon in the vilest of manners.

Minor pluses: William Hurt is very easy on my eyes, and the dog is cute.

To sum up, if you’re looking to blow some dough on an angel movie, go rent Wings of Desire.


MPAA: rated PG

viewed at home on a small screen

IMDb
posted in:
drama | fantasy | girls/women | reviews

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