Posted by highhurdler on December 20, 2009
The nature of art is that it produces an emotional response, sometimes it’s loud and obvious but more often than not it’s muted and internalized. If an art form resonates or touches us in a meaningful way, it’s likely to create a memory of the time when we first experienced it. As such, we might associate a particular song or movie with a person we once knew – e.g. a popular tune or film from when we were dating a certain someone – such that hearing or seeing it again will provoke a nostalgic feeling of a time gone by, or of an acquaintance lost. I’ve also found that many of the more powerful epic films that I’ve experienced can imprint themselves permanently into my consciousness. Additionally, movies watched when I’ve been emotionally vulnerable have a stickiness factor within my heart and mind.
Like most of the movies associated with Nora Ephron (she produced, directed and collaborated on this one’s screenplay), it’s pretty average and fairly forgettable except for the fact that I saw it when I was ‘naked’, and thus easily susceptible to manipulation Hollywood-style. I can therefore still remember much of its plot, even its trivial elements. While intrinsically this is not unusual for me, I still seem to have a heightened sense of: the “feelings” of its characters; the over-the-top scenes, like the one in which John Travolta (in the title role), playing an atypical archangel on Earth, has a duel with a bull, still resonate; the essence of Bob Hoskins’ tabloid newspaper editor still ‘bites’; and I remember two rather odd plot devices – Michael exudes a unique aroma for each female within sniffing distance and, of course, the biggest ball of twine. I don’t know if I’m misremembering this or not, but it also seemed that costars Andie MacDowell and William Hurt shared an onscreen chemistry that Tinsel Town would normally have capitalized on for at least one more picture, especially given this film’s box office (a better than 300% return on investment), but somehow didn’t. In any case, it’s surprising that I remember so much of the movie given the state (a numbing fog) that I was in at the time, especially since I’ve seen at least 3,000 movies – many of which I’ve completely forgotten – since that Christmas in 1996. I wonder if my father had passed away that week whether I would be able to recall seeing that movie at all, or whether the memory would be completely blocked by some sort of defensive mechanism in my mind.
While anticipating the arrival of my parents for this year’s holiday, Michael (1996) is perhaps not so curiously in my thoughts. Movies like this date us; they help us remember the past. We avoid or seek them – depending upon the memory – for the emotions they provoke, or the solace that they provide. Art is that way.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a Happy New Year too! May the year 2010 be fruitful and memorable, and God Bless the brave men and women that have chosen to serve and protect our freedoms so that we may enjoy these holidays in peace.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art in Movies Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies