Miracle Mile (1988) Review

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Miracle Mile (1988)

Directed by Steve De Jarnatt

Starring:
Anthony Edwards
Mare Winningham
Denise Crosby
Mykelti Williamson
Kurt Fuller

Music by Tangerine Dream

Running time: 87 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young man hears a chance phone call telling him that a nuclear war has started and missiles will hit his city in 70 minutes.

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My Opinion:

What’s this? An apocalyptic movie from my beloved 1980s with a Tangerine Dream score yet I’d not even HEARD of it let alone ever seen it?! How is this possible?!?! Well, I think UK Netflix is finally getting better as they’re starting to stick some slightly obscure 80s films on there, which is exactly what I want! I’m always on the lookout for lesser known movies from the 80s (and 70s) and Netflix has surprised me twice in the past month with this and then with one I watched a couple weeks ago (Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains. I can’t wait to review that!).

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I’ll start by saying that Miracle Mile isn’t exactly a great movie & it’s obvious why it didn’t end up some mainstream hit at the time. However, I liked it because it’s my type of thing and I’ll probably end up giving it a higher rating than it may actually deserve. I think my positive reviews here are sometimes taken as recommendations but I’d only recommend this one to a select few people. I kind of attempted to explain my rating system in my recent Re-Rated post (HERE). For example, though I LOVE Hardware and gave it a really positive review, I’ve only actually recommended it to two people (who haven’t watched it) as I know it’s only for a certain type of person. So I take no responsibility for anyone hating this if they watch it! Make up your own mind & don’t get mad at me if you choose to watch this and then hate it like MovieRob did after I declared my love for Hardware. πŸ˜‰

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Miracle Mile is an odd one. From the tiny bit I read when I discovered it on Netflix & from looking at some pictures, I thought it may be more of an “apocalyptic romance” and in a way it almost looked like it could be closer to an 80s teen film than a dreary nuclear war film (as in, it looked like it would be a little closer to WarGames than Threads but it ended up somewhere in between the two). There IS a romance that’s quite sweet but not in a bad or annoying way – I liked how it was fit in around the story of how the main character (Anthony Edwards) is going to get to safety in only 70 minutes after hearing a chance phone call telling him missiles are about to strike his city. He’s an awkward guy and he’s only just met a quirky girl who seems to be his perfect match (Mare Winningham). After missing their date due to his alarm clock not going off, he receives the phone call & then must track her down in order to save her. For anyone not into romance, they don’t exactly get a lot of screen time together but when they do I liked seeing their strange little relationship & Winningham’s innocent & almost childlike character (except when she says to Edwards “Third date, Harry, I’m gonna screw your eyes blue“).

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When I mentioned this movie, someone somewhere (sorry, I don’t remember who – it may have been on Twitter) said something about Mare Winningham being a second rate Lea Thompson but, really, we have a movie that stars Goose instead of Maverick so it was less likely to be a big blockbuster with Anthony Edwards in the lead. It also looks & feels pretty low budget (I have no idea if it was) and the acting from some of the supporting characters isn’t the greatest. But, hey – I liked the story and it went in a way I wasn’t really expecting. It’s nice to watch a movie that’s not 100% predictable for a change. Edwards meets a lot of different types of people in his 70 minutes of running around the Miracle Mile neighborhood of L.A. and it was fun seeing faces I recognize from other 80s films & TV shows.

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You of course have Edwards & Winningham in this who, although not often in leading roles, were in their fair share of big 80s movies (Top Gun, St. Elmo’s Fire, Revenge Of The Nerds, etc). You also have Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump), Denise Crosby (Star Trek: TNG & Pet Sematary – two things I loved way too much!), Kelly Jo Minter (Mask – an all-time favorite film of mine), O-Lan Jones (crazy lady in Edward Scissorhands), Jenette Goldstein (the woman who stabs the guy through the milk carton in Terminator 2 and who was Vasquez in Aliens, which is possibly the best movie ever!), Earl Boen (also in Terminator 1, 2 & 3!), and Brian Thompson (in The Terminator! what’s with all the Terminator people in this?! okay – looks like they’re from the same film company or something). I can’t find a good picture of Brian Thompson from Miracle Mile so here he is in The Terminator – he has a face that’s hard to forget!

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My favorite “Hey, it’s that guy” actor, though, is Kurt Fuller (Wayne’s World) & I was very happy to see him in this! Here’s Fuller in Miracle Mile – he probably has the most memorable scene of the whole movie.

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Summary:

Miracle Mile certainly wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I love that it managed to actually surprise me. It’s somewhat quirky & unpredictable. It won’t be for everyone but I enjoyed it and, as always, enjoyed seeing familiar faces from what’s probably my favorite era of movies. The Tangerine Dream score did help to give it that 80s feel I love although none of it was quite as good as the train sex music from Risky Business. There was one great totally Tangerine Dream-y scene which I’ll include a YouTube clip of at the end. Another scene like that really would have helped this strange little film I’d never before heard of but I did like it & am hoping to discover more movies like this that I somehow managed to miss when I was younger.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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**This scene is safe to watch – it’s toward the beginning of the film & just shows how Edwards misses his date. It’s a great piece of music.**

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65 thoughts on “Miracle Mile (1988) Review

  1. thanks for skewing me on this (Chris) πŸ™‚
    Now that u have reviewed it (I didn’t read it), I am free to watch it (as we agreed), so we should know within a few weeks (yeah right) if I liked it or not πŸ™‚

  2. I completely agree with you on loving a movie but not wanting to recommend it. I have so many of those! But this one actually looks interesting. And if it’s about the end of the world AND set in the 80s, sign me up!

  3. Reblogged this on It Rains… You Get Wet and commented:
    Another of my faves from the 80s here in LaLa Land. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “Absolutely wonderful write-up for this little gem. Being a native-Angeleno and lover of cinema, it’s in my DNA to be drawn to great film that uses my hometown of Los Angeles as a distinct character in the telling of a story. MIRACLE MILE even managed to capture a well-defined period AND one of the most recognizable neighborhoods that make up the vast number in our well-known sprawl. It’s easily one of the very few that met the criteria in a beautifully odd mashup of romantic comedy and apocalyptic thriller. Well done, my friend.”

      • Thanks! And thanks for the reblog! Happy to hear about how much this film means to you. I’ll come back & comment again properly on your comment on the reblog – I have to get back to work at the moment. πŸ™‚ There’s a misunderstanding on my blog that my name is Chris but it’s not. lol! I like that name, though…! πŸ™‚

      • Hey – I just want to say one more time here: Thanks so much for the reblog & lovely comment! πŸ™‚ I got a lot of new commenters from that and loved hearing from so many fans of this film. I honestly thought I’d get just one or two comments on this one as it seemed a pretty obscure movie. I’m going to go reply to what you’ve written on your blog now. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to earlier!

    • You don’t like Goose? How can you not like Goose?!? πŸ˜‰ This one is… Well, I thought it was alright! But am sure many wouldn’t like it. Hope you enjoy it if you see it. πŸ™‚

  4. I had a couple of WTF? moments when I watched this a while back, definitely not for everyone, heck I’m not even sure it’s for me, but I enjoyed the break from convention.

  5. A really wonderful review of this underrated gem of a movie. This one slipped through the cracks during that whole slew of apocalyptic movies that came out during the ’80s but I would say it is one of the very best. It’s amazing how the tension is maintained over the course of the movie and once Harry wakes up plays out in almost real time.

    Also, I love the reference to Thomas Pynchon in the diner.

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚ I wasn’t quite sure what to say about this one… I missed that reference – it did take me a while to get into this one at first but now I’d like to watch it again. It’s a shame it was so overlooked at the time! It’s certainly one I’ll remember for a while. πŸ™‚

  6. I think you give this film an excellent assessment. Personally I enjoyed this film a great deal, but then it’s a topic that I like seeing explored and I thought it was handled very well in this case. Now I think I’m due to watch it again which is handy for me since I own a DVD copy of Miracle Mile.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚ Oh – any kind of apocalyptic film is always something I’m interested in (I’m not sure why… Hmm… Lol). I did really like how they handled the story & really liked the ending. The whole movie was quite unexpected. I hope it sticks around on Netflix for a while – I’d like to watch it again now. πŸ™‚

  7. I publically admit, acknowledge and apologizer since the whole Chris thing was a joke 😦

    sorry 😦

    i didn’t mean for it to get outta hand.

    will u ever forgive me???

  8. So pleased you decided to review this one! It’s one of my long-time ‘desert island movies’. Perhaps my favorite Tangerine dream score. I actually bought the score on vinyl before I’d even heard of the film back in the late 80s. It wasn’t until ’91 that I was finally able to catch it on VHS here in Oz. Interestingly, it was almost made as The Twilight Zone: The Movie back in 1983 – before Spielberg decided on the omnibus approach. Another recent film which has a similar set-up and race against time approach (albeit far more serious) is the Australian film from a couple of years ago These Final Hours – also well worth checking out.

    • Thanks! I’m so happy that so many fans of this have come around & commented! πŸ™‚ It’s funny – it’s obscure so I thought it would just get maybe one or two comments. It’s normally just the new releases that people want to talk about but I have far more fun discussing interesting older movies like this one. I mainly chose to watch this after looking it up & reading that it had a Tangerine Dream score! I love that piece in the clip I posted. πŸ™‚ I’d read that about the Twilight Zone movie – I’m glad they didn’t do it as I think I read the ending would’ve been different? But I really liked the ending of this. Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll have to look into that film! Sounds like my kind of thing. Thanks again for the comment! πŸ™‚

  9. Miracle Mile is definitely a movie that, if you absolutely love it, you can’t recommend it to everyone. I think it’s what makes movies like this so special, though. It’s like their appeal may run deep but is very narrowβ€”and it’s no fault of the viewer whether jee likes it or not. (By the way, I was the one who claimed Mare Winningham might be called a “discount Lea Thompson” by Cinema Sins. I mean that different from “second rate”, more that the filmmakers really really wanted Lea Thompson and Winningham got a casting bonus point for looking a whole lot like Thompson.)

    • Ah! It was you! I couldn’t find the comment again. Lol – that sounds a bit better. I was thinking “poor Mare Winningham if she reads this!” (because I’m sure she reads my blog). πŸ˜‰ It’s true Lea Thompson was a bigger star, though. So kind of like how I always thought Michael Ironside was a discount Jack Nicolson. I’m still amazed at the amount of comments on this review. It’s great seeing that little movies like this one do have their fans. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! I love being able to blog about films like this one. I’ve watched so many movies over the years that I love when I discover one from my favorite era that I somehow missed at the time. Having said that, though, this IS an odd one. I hope you enjoy it if you see it but I don’t expect everyone to like it. Judging from the response to this post, though, more people really liked this one than I was expecting. πŸ™‚

  10. I thought this was about the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in Chicago, ahah. I hadn’t heard of this but now you got me curious about it.

    • Lol. That could be an interesting movie as well! Movies set in shopping malls are usually pretty awesome (Dawn Of The Dead, Chopping Mall, etc… lol). I love that I have so many people curious about this movie now… But it also makes me nervous as it’s a pretty strange one! Hope you enjoy it if you check it out. πŸ™‚

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  16. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    I noticed that Anthony Edwards turns 54 today. Happy Birthday, Goose! And Mark Greene! (Remember the good days of ER??). Well, I figured I might as well reblog my review of his little-known film Miracle Mile. I really liked this one & was shocked to get a big response from fellow bloggers who are also fond of this apocalyptic movie from 1988 (that I’d never even heard of before watching it last year). πŸ™‚

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  18. I was in High School in the middle of the 1980’s and I don’t remember this one. I’ve seen it floating around but have been ambivalent about it. To be honest, I still am, but I am more likely to give it a try now.

    • Yeah, it was the fact that it’s from the 80s that made me watch it. Plus the apocalyptic thing – I love apocalyptic. : ) It’s kind of a strange one but I liked the vibe. Let me know what you think if you watch it!

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