Miracle Mile (1988)
March 1, 2016 9:01 AM - Subscribe

I noticed this movie was streaming on Comcast's Xfinity service, so I watched it again and MAN IT HOLDS UP.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:01 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Haven't seen it since the early 90s, but there was definitely a sort of small cult of people I knew obsessed with it. I'll have to watch it again, and I have forgotten almost everything except that I liked the movie.
posted by maxsparber at 9:50 AM on March 1, 2016

Although it's by all rights an apocalypse film, it's really more focused on the chaos and disorder that erupts after word of the impending disaster leaks out. It's about madness and frantic activity and urgent, desperate, pathetic attempts to cope and plan in the middle of the night.

The movie its vibe is most parallel to isn't a disaster movie at all, it's After Hours. Just one guy, adrift in an insane city in the middle of the night, trying to deal.

It's really a pity this movie didn't get more love, because it's terrific. If you go in not knowing what you're going to get the famous phone call scene is as jarring and unnerving as anything you'll ever see.

And the score by Tangerine Dream is great. A bit of an artifact, in its way, but tastes have come back around to it, so maybe it's not so dated after all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:52 AM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

And it takes so long to get the main storyline started. It's like some quirky romantic comedy that gets hijacked by terrorists halfway through and steered suddenly way off course into hell.

Fascinating as I find it, I'm not surprised it didn't get more love.
posted by Naberius at 10:36 AM on March 1, 2016

It's like some quirky romantic comedy that gets hijacked by terrorists halfway through and steered suddenly way off course into hell.

You say that like it's a bad thing. That makes it sound awesome, to these ears.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:40 AM on March 1, 2016

And the score by Tangerine Dream is great.

I have seriously thought about proposing a Tangerine Dream club for FanFare. Which reminds me, I need to go through and tag any of my posts with tangerinedream tags, although I can only think of one that needs it right now off of the top of my head.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:42 AM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

The shift in genre is amazing - and really not knowing how much is real danger vs everyone getting psyched out in some kind of artificially generated panic was good. Until the very end, I wasn't sure which way things were going.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:43 AM on March 1, 2016

It's like some quirky romantic comedy that gets hijacked by terrorists halfway through and steered suddenly way off course into hell.
Ever seen Demme's Something Wild?
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:50 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

My headcanon for this is that the nuclear attack was launched by Skynet, and that it's Judgment Day--that would make Brian Thompson's character (the helicopter pilot) the twin of the guy who gets killed by the original Terminator at Griffith Observatory.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]

My ex and I used to mumble about becoming diamonds every time we passed the tar pits.
posted by sonascope at 6:29 PM on March 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

One thing that always bugged me though: where/how does a guy in 1988 get a snapshot of a girl he just met for the first time that day? Was he sneaking pics of her and then bugged out to the one hour photomat right after he left the museum?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:38 PM on March 1, 2016

I remember seeing this movie in the theater. It was a late showing and I was 18 and had grown up with the doomsday clock moments away from the end of it all; I simply took it as a matter of course that nuclear war was the way it was all going to end. We walked out of the theater into a fairly desolate closed mall in order to make our way back to the car. Much of our focus in the post-movie discussion was how much it would suck to know but not entirely know either, as there's uncertainty in it for most if not all of the movie.
posted by phearlez at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2016

I haven't seen it in at least ten years, but every viewing takes me back perfectly to the headspace of my university years when I was pretty sure I and everyone I knew would die in a nuclear fireball.

And absolutely the best thing about it is its gearshift from one genre to another. I wish more movies had taken a cue from this and Netflix was now full of comedies about a chimp who plays basketball until the 40-minute mark when his trainer injects him with an improved version of the serum that turns out to be Rage from 28 Days Later, or bittersweet family dramas that shift in third reel to alien invasions.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just watched this our kiddo who agreed: this is a straight-up goddamn classic.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:47 PM on February 20, 2022

I said nice things about this movie and its writer/director Steve DeJarnatt on FB when a friend was talking about great movies. I said something to the effect of how this is one of my top five movies ever and maybe the coolest "Go in blind and be surprised" movie I can imagine.

Shortly after, I received a nice FB message and friend request from DeJarnatt, who, unbeknownst to me, is apparently friends with my friend.

Anyway, he's very cool. He spent the 20-25 years after this movie getting paid handsomely to work in TV. He also has a new-ish short story book out.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:42 PM on March 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I asked Steve how Anthony Edwards' character got a developed snapshot of a woman he just met on the same day and, hilariously, he replied by pointing out a bigger plot hole.

he got it from the prop department (I still have it ) why does a wind-up alarm clock have an electric cord ?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:44 AM on March 4, 2022

Very cool stories from Steve about the movie:
Happy Birthday Snake Plissken !!

Mid-80s --- I had two 3 hour lunches with Kurt - (both at The Ivy at the Shore) - re: him star/ring in Miracle Mile - when it was going to be an Orion - 8 million $ picture for 5 minutes. At the end of each -- it was -- "I gotta do this !!" (we shook hands) but then Orion put it in turnaround - and though Hemdale who then produced on a 3.7 below the line / 4.4 all in budget -- offered him 500k -- he wanted to keep up his luster as studio star and he couldn't commit to a low budge indie at that point in his career.

I have no idea how that would have worked out.... and today - cannot even imagine anyone other than my beloved Tony and Mare -- but this is how it goes when it takes 10 years to get yer baby birthed ....

( an adjacent - casting tale -- I was once at a Hollywood party and Rosanna Arquette storms over to me --"Why wouldn't you let me read for Miracle Mile?" My jaw dropped -- "Uh -- John Daly offered you 500k and CAA said you passed."

They never told her about the offer. (that was to be the tandem - those two )
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:22 AM on March 19, 2022

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