A Bum Angel
Release Date: December 01, 1996
Starring: John Travolta, Andie
MacDowell, William Hurt,
Robert Pastorelli, & Bob
Audience: Teenagers & adults
Runtime: 105 minutes
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Director: Nora Ephron
Writer: Nora Ephron
Address Comments To:Robert Shaye, CEO
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Boulevard, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90048
William Hurt is washed-up tabloid journalist Frank Quinian working in Chicago. A report comes in that an angel is living in Iowa, and Quinian is sent with his working companion played by Robert Pastorelli and angel expert Dorothy Winters (Andie MacDowell ) to investigate. When they meet Michael, he is very different than what they expect. Michael stumbles around with a sagging belly, drinks beer, lights up a cigarette, and eats sugar with a few corn flakes and milk.
Upon further inspection of his wings, they determine that he is indeed a real angel and they dance around and say “Thank you Jesus.” Quinian imagines dollar signs–he imagines all the talk shows and even book deals. Michael agrees to go to Chicago, but only if they drive because he wants to see the world’s biggest ball of twine and the world’s largest non-stick frying pan.
Michael takes them to a bar, and they all get into a fight. Later, they go to a pie restaurant, and Michael dances in a sensual manner with some of the female patrons. He even takes one of them into his room for implied sex. Likewise, Quinian takes Winters into his bedroom, and they supposedly fornicate. The next morning, a bus hits their dog and Michael brings it back to life. However, this maneuver takes great energy, and Michael says he doesn’t have much time left on earth. With a few more tricks and a quick exit, Michael makes an indelible life-changing impression on his human companions.
This movie does have a few positive biblical elements. Michael says he fought with Satan as written in Scripture. He also says he is a messenger and servant of God. Quinian thanks “Jesus” for sending Michael to him. All positive elements stop there. In an attempt to show angels as “one of us,” director and writer Nora Ephron has created a monster, unlike the majesty of angels as described in the Bible. In this movie, Michael appears slovenly and gross. He flirts with women and has sex with one of them. He seems m ore concerned about not being able to visit earth in the future, than doing God’s bidding. In the Bible, angels usually make an appearance, say what they have to say and don’t stay around for beer and peanuts. Finally, Michael quotes John and Paul of the Beatles, and not John and Paul of the Bible. Michael says, “Love is all you need.” This statement, while nice sounding, avoids the topic of sin, repentance or salvation as given by our Creator.
This movie tries hard to be a crowd pleaser, and it may win the same touchy-feely crowd who like PHENOMENON. An audience member at the press screening said, “Looks like Nora has another hit on her hands.” Be that as it may, this movie doesn’t have any of the natural charm of THE PREAHCER’S WIFE. We are told to like Michael, because he is John Travolta. We are told to root for a romance between Quinian and Winters, but they are very mismatched. Winters sings a poor country-western song, and Quinian becomes instantly smitten. His lust drives him to fornicate with her, and now, we are supposed to cheer them on in harmonious bliss? These two don’t have any of the class that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan exhibited in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. In all respects, MICHAEL falls from grace.
In MICHAEL, John Travolta plays the archangel Michael as a fornicating, cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking bum. In the story, William Hurt is tabloid journalist Frank Quinian , who works in Chicago. A report comes in that an angel is living in Iowa, and Frank is sent with his partner and angel expert Dorothy Winters to investigate. When they meet Michael, they determine that he is a real angel. Frank sees dollar signs. Michael agrees to go to Chicago, but only if they drive, because he wants to see the sights. Together they get into bar fights, pick up women and fornicate.
This movie does have a few positive Biblical elements. Michael says he fought with Satan as written in Scripture. He also says he is a messenger and servant of God. Frank thanks “Jesus” for sending Michael to him. All positive elements stop there. In this movie, Michael appears slovenly and gross. He flirts with women and fornicates with one of them. He seems more concerned about not being able to visit earth in the future, than doing God’s bidding. Finally, Michael says, “Love is all you need.” This statement, while nice, avoids the topics of sin, repentance or salvation as given by our Creator. In all respects, MICHAEL falls from grace