Thursday, January 31, 2019
WHY DO I OWN THIS?: Date with an Angel (1987)
a 30,000 year old cave painting of a human woman and a half-man, half-bison creature getting cozy. In other words: Pretty much from the moment humanity formulated myths, certain people have dreamed about fucking magical creatures. I guess it's just human nature to not be romantically satisfied with other people. This is a proud tradition that carries through most myths and religions in history. The ancient Greeks especially loved it. The concept remains in our pop culture to this day, in material ranging from pornographic novels to a Best Picture winner. In 1984, Ron Howard's “Splash!” was an especially popular and family friendly riff on this concept. In 1987, “Date with an Angel” would take more-or-less the same premise but trade a fish tail for feathery wings. This film is not especially well regarded or even remembered but, for some reason, I own it.
Jim had dreams of becoming a musician but, now, he's engaged to marry Patty, the daughter of a rich cosmetics company executive. He's not happy with this situation but tells himself he loves Patty. His friends drag him off to a bachelor party and he awakens in a drunken stupor the next morning. That's when a beautiful woman falls from the sky into his pool. She's is quite literally an angel, sent from heaven. Upon setting an eye on her, Patty immediately assumes Jim is cheating on her. The angel, who cannot speak and doesn't understand how the mortal world works, gets involved in lots of shenanigans. Naturally, Jim really does develop feelings for her soon enough.
Writer/director Tom McLoughlin, previously of clever eighties horror flicks like “One Dark Night” and “Friday the 13th: Jason Lives!,” was obviously way more interested in the fish-out-of-water antics an angel landing on Earth presented. Angel doesn't speak, only communicating in high-pitched, bird-like vocalizations. She's baffled by human food but, thanks to some gratuitous product placement from Wendy's, soon discovers a love of french fries. Better are the gags that result from people being shocked by her appearances, her wings and behavior often confusing or shocking people, such as a man in a church. Or how her angelic abilities, like a kinship with animals, gets Jim out of a jam with Patty's dad. This stuff, which also includes a singing telegram dressed as a ladybug, is odd enough that it at least inspires some baffled chuckles.
Why Do I Own This?: “Date with an Angel” received negative reviews. Roger Ebert compared it unflatteringly to “Teen Wolf Too.” Its box office was even worst, the film barely grossing over a million dollars against a six million dollar budget. Tom McLoughlin hasn't directed a theatrically released film since, though he's become a prolific director of television films. But when I saw the director of two horror movies I liked made a rom-com with a really strange/dumb premise, I decided I had to track it down. This is also one of those movies my dear mother considers “sweet” and she watched it often during my childhood. So that's why I own this totally forgotten, oddball motion picture. I doubt I'll ever watch it again. [5/10]