Cast: John Travolta, Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins,
Robert Pastorelli, Jean Stapleton, Teri Garr
Director/Writer: Nora Ephron
Theatrical release: 1996; available on DVD
Michael is Travolta at his irreverent best — a grubby angel who smokes cigars, drinks beer, wolfs down copious amounts of food, and plays tricks on his charges. He also smites the wicked — literally imploding a bank that treated a customer unfairly. In his limited time on Earth, Michael also intends to pierce a few hearts and set their owners on better paths.
William Hurt, Andie MacDowell, and Robert Pastorelli play tabloid journalists sent by their boss (Bob Hoskins) to get the scoop on the "angel sighting" that followed the bank collapse. In a decrepit rural motel, they find the elderly woman (Jean Stapleton) who requested divine help to handle the uncooperative bankers and who's been providing shelter to the itinerant Michael. When she invites the trio in for breakfast and calls to Michael, he descends the stairs, clad only in baby blue boxers and giant white wings. In no time, the group is on the road to Tabloid Headquarters, aiming to prove the existence of angels to its cynical editor. But the journey is a circuitous one, with Michael's machinations designed to shake up and wake up these clueless characters.
The film also offers a fantastic soundtrack. Music director Randy Newman collects contributions from Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, The Mavericks, and others to combine with his own acerbically witty tunes.
This is also the film with Travolta's signature dance move to the song Chain of Fools and the film that offers musical homage to both pie and Sittin' by the Side of the Road.