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Laramie Movie Scope:

A road movie with an overweight angel

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 17, 1997 -- One of the two best Christmas movies of last year finally made it to Laramie, and though its not quite seasonal, it's still worth a look.

"Michael," starring John Travolta, was released nationally on Dec. 25, 1996, but just now made it over the hill from Cheyenne. I couldn't wait, so I went over the hill to see it a couple of weeks ago, hence the early jump on the review. By the way, the other good Christmas film was "The Preacher's Wife," a sweet romantic musical comedy starring Whitney Houston and Denzell Washington. It probably won't be shown here because Carmike Cinemas, which owns the Laramie theaters, show very few films in Laramie which feature mostly black actors.

But enough about that. In this movie, Travolta plays the archangel Michael, who comes to earth on a last mission to melt the heart of a cynical reporter (boy, talk about a tough job!) named Frank Quinlan played by William Hurt. Michael is staying at a dumpy little motel out in the middle of nowhere helping the owner of the motel, played by Jean Stapleton, formerly known as Mrs. Archie Bunker.

Michael uses his angelic wiles to get Quinlan together with Dorothy Winters (Andie MacDowell), who is along for the ride because of some weird plot device involving a dog and another reporter, but that stuff is irrelevant. This is a road movie, pure and simple.

The Stapleton character, Pansy Milbank, dies, unfortunatley, because the Milbank character and Stapleton's performance are wonderful. But that allows the remaining characters to pile into a car and hit the open road, where they spend the bulk of the film attaining epiphanies and meeting interesting characters.

The story works primarily because Travolta, Hurt and MacDowell are such fine actors that they get you to buy the love story. Travolta portrays an overweight, grungy angel, who is quite intriguing. Sure, its sappy and sentimental, but like Michael says in the movie: "No matter what they tell you, you can never have too much sugar." Amen. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)