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Festivale Summer 1997
Michael movie review Feb, 1997

Michael - Goodness never smelled so good.

In Michael (the saint, not the angel), the sight of John Travolta's sagging boxer shorts held up by the overhanging hairy belly will make you wonder why you thought white polyester suits were tasteless.
Gone is the slim, boyish street kid with hair blow-waved and oiled into submission; Travolta's Michael is overweight, uncombed, unkempt, uncouth …

Movie Still, Michael, Festivale film review section No wait, he's couth, and beguiling, and caring, and sensitive, and prescient of course.

When he attitude-dances with a whole group of women, the femmes watching him agree that he smells of something good from their childhood. It's like a psychic message, different to each one of them. And of them all Andie McDowell's character (Dorothy) is singled out to NOT find him attractive.

For Michael is not a paragon of all virtues, he is an innocent warrior with a vast, zestful hunger for life. This is his last time on Planet Earth until the Apocalypse comes, and he means to eat it up. After all, his great truth is, "You can never have enough sugar."

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Michael is here for Quinlan (William Hurt). To rescue him from the bowels (all right, sky-scraper heights) of an high-circulation bullshit-zine. He takes three humans and a dog on a Nineties road movie. Twin Peaks never saw so much pie consumed as in these two hours while our heroes eat and drink their way across the America heartland to a photo-shoot.

His signature tune is All you need is love. His preoccupation is the bizarre oversized tourist traps along their way. And his whim is inexorable.

There's no lingering scenes of sex or violence, it's just a tale that's been put out there. It's a film to be watched, and enjoyed for its surface, and allowed to enter your psyche. It's not about religion (which you might expect), or being afraid of death; it's about living every day determined to enjoy it thoroughly.

A great film doesn't have to be ponderous and heavy with allusion, it just has to have a story, and something to say. Go see Michael.

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See also: John Travolta in Face/Off
More angels in City of Angels
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Title: Michael
Directed by:
Nora Ephron
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The Players: John Travolta, William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Robert Pastorelli; Terri Garr, Jean Stapleton, Bob Hoskins

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