There are no miracles in Miracle Mile (1988), & there's no special "mile" of importance either. Dull Inch might've better captured it, or just Flaccid. It has "third-rate telefilm" stamped all over it, from a rarely employed director of episodic television. Yet unbelievably, it was a theatrical release.
It stars Anthony Edwards, forever to be best remembered for his lengthy stint on the prime time hospital soap E.R., & not very interesting anything he's done since.
He takes on the thankless role of Harry Washello, cutesy-poo nobody who falls in love at first sight with the equally bland Julie Peters (Mare Winningham, likewise mostly from episode television, nothing memorable), met in the Natural History Museum in the shadow of dinosaur bones.
The first half of the film is Harry & Julie's unsexy whirlwind romance, during which there's no reason on earth to believe they're in love with each other beyond the fact that the script demanded it be so.
The last half of the film is something else altogether, not necessarily something better, badly foreshadowed by the aforementioned dinosaur bones.
Harry took Julie home & afterward sauntered about the nighted city happy as a lark. He answers a ringing payphone outside a diner & it's a young man in a missile silo who thinks he's calling his dad but got the wrong area code.
The panic stricken soldier announces that American warheads will reach Russia in under an hour, & return nuclear missiles will reach the United States in one hour & ten minutes.
It's essentially the end of the world, so the premise of everything that follows is moronic to extreme.
It's impossible to figure out how this turd ever got greenlighted, but I'd sure like to pitch my idea for a film about climbing a compost heap to the moon, as it's just as good.
When Harry tells people in the all-night diner what the call was about, they're inclined to believe it's a hoax, but there happens to be a woman present, Linda (Denise Crosby), who has the right phone numbers memorized & uses her shoe-sized 1988 portable phone to try to get hold of people who'll know if nuclear war has started or not.
Unfortunately she can't get hold of anyone because they're all en route to the North Pole. Which is, of course, the only answer she needed.
So the people in the diner are the only ones in Los Angeles who know there's only an hour & ten minutes to get to the North Pole. Never mind that that's simply not enough time to get there. Never mind that airplanes can't fly there from L.A. Diner babe-with-connections Linda makes another call which is all it takes to arrange a special flight & everyone heads for L.A. airport to catch a flight to the Arctic Circle. It couldn't've been any more impropable if she'd showed them the secret government tunnel straight to Santa's house.
But Harry first needs to go get the woman with whom he just fell in love. Might have to repopulate the world later after all. She's at home sound asleep & won't answer the phone. So the hour & ten minutes (by now even less) which he has to get to the North Pole will instead be spent getting to Julie's place then to a magical redezevous point to a transport helecoptor on top of a hotel then to L.A. then to the North Pole.
[SPOILER ALERT!] They will make it to the helicopter just in time, but it turns out, what nobody had expected, is you can't fly away from a nuclear bomb just as it's exploding & stay in front of the explosion.
So they die in the helicopter declaring for the umpty-umth time their totally unconvincing eternal love for one another. [END SPOILER ALERT]
Before that dumbass conclusion we'll get to see Harry & eventually Julie running about like chickens with their heads cut off, sometimes together, sometimes separated, looking for a helicopter pilot in the wee hours of dawn & finding one in an all-night gym, the pilot wanting to bring his boyfriend, "Is that a problem?" the buff faggot asks, & of course it's not.
The ultra-butch faggot was an intentional joke, & he turns out to be the only heroic fellow in the film, tiny though the role is. But most of the laughs are by accident. Apart from one grisly fire gag & the final scenes of rioting, it's a talk-talk-talk movie with nothing happening, & the dialogue is just too awful & ridiculous, with the silliest excuses for Julie & Harry to separate & lose each other, find each other again, then separate.
The initial hour & ten minutes to doomsday lasts until dawn for reasons unknown, & even then there's not enough time to come up with a better plan. By sun-up the population of L.A. is finding out the world's about to end, so rioting breaks out, because if you only had seconds to live wouldn't you want to be running down the street with a stolen television?
There'll be a little actual action in the last few minutes, so in the main it's the jabbering dull dialog & the drivilish tale of lovers facing doom that is supposed to hold us rapt. If rioters had hacked them to bits & started roasting their pieces, it might've gotten better.
The film relies on a series of third-rate character performances-under-pressure to have any strength at all, & the only reason to keep watching is the fact that the badness of the damned thing is good for a few laughs in all the unintended places.
The dissonance of starting with a maximumly banal love story then setting two police officers on fire later in the film, of trying to be a tearjerker & Dr. Strangelove simultaneously, makes for such a resoundingly bad film that it's worth seeing in the same way death on the highway inspires curious rubbernecking. See it if you love to guffaw at failure.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl