Miracle Mile (1988)
Directed by Steve De Jarnatt
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.
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!).
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. 😉
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“).
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.
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!
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.
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
**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.**