It’s December 1990 (Just a few days before Christmas) and my mum has taken me to the US to spend Christmas at my aunt and uncles place which is just outside San Francisco. We are going to spend 6 weeks in total and celebrate Christmas day with the family in California.
13 Year Olds Don’t Get To Watch The Godfather Part III
In the lead up to Christmas, one of my favourite aunts and her partner at the time take me to the cinema.
Having seen Kindergarten Cop on the flight over and that The Godfather Part III wasn’t out until Christmas Eve, besides I was 13 and had no interest in the Al Pacino film, we had little left to choose from.
No, You Got Lens-cap On It
In steps Paul Hogan, I had seen Crocodile Dundee, and it was agreed that his latest movie Almost An Angel would be the best option. In memory of Neville in Crocodile Dundee upon asking is he could get his photo taken I would probably be asking that the cameramen on Almost An Angel kept the lens cap on!
Paul Hogan was riding a wave bringing Aussie humour to the world. Crocodile Dundee had been a massive hit across the globe, and had seen kids adopting the one-liners Mick used in playgrounds as part of their shenanigans! Although let’s be honest, not many were suitable for the playground!
Crocodile Dundee had been such a success that it had spawned a sequel in 1988, two years after the original. I just want to be clear I can quite happily switch off and watch both of these movies today to pass the time and chuckle. I am sure there are various issues with equality and diversity on many levels in these films, and saying ‘it was a different time’ doesn’t make it right. But I am just saying in case you think about jumping into these movies now.
An Angel? Me?
So anyway, I settled down to watch Almost An Angel and, for the purposes of this article, did revisit it. So, first things first, Almost An Angel bombed at the box office. It tanked badly, taking in less than a tenth of Crocodile Dundee. Critically, it was also panned.
Anyway, Terry (Paul Hogan) is a bad bad man. He’s a thief and a scoundrel. He’s no Robin Hood either. I mean, he’s a “nice” guy in that he is funny. But, let’s be clear. He chooses to up the ante from burglary to bank robbery, which to me seems like a big step up. Then he acts all nice again by saving a small boy from being run over by a van, in the process getting hit instead.
Now, this is where the angel bit starts to creep in. During his hospital treatment, Terry has a lucid dream/vision of having a conversation with God played by Charlton Heston. Anyway, after a conversation about being sinful etc. God gives Terry a second chance to save his soul working as an angel.
Friends! Friends! Bar Fight Friends!
A short while later, after leaving the hospital, Terry decides to hold up another bank. This time another gang of robbers appear (I mean, wtf!?! Who knew bank robbing was so prevalent?), and, using a gun with blanks in it, shoot Terry. This is it, this is the moment Terry decides he is indeed immortal and an angel. So Tel runs off to church to have a chat with God and get some advice. He then follows various “signs” to another town. Happening upon Steve (Elias Koteas), a young man suffering from a terminal illness who is now confined to a wheelchair. Tel decides the best option to lift his spirits to challenge him to a fight, ensuring things are even by sitting on a bar stool throughout. In short, Steve thinks this is great as he has been treated as a man for the first time in ages and strikes up a friendship with Tel.
Getting The Team Back Together
Steve then invites the now homeless Tel to stay at the local youth centre he runs with his sister Rosa (Linda Kozlowski, she starred in Crocodile Dundee too, and had recently married Paul Hogan). Rosa, rightly, identifies Tel as the type to get up to shenanigans! However, after scaring off some young hoodlums, Rosa gradually falls in love with Tel, funny that.
Tel basically ends up working at the youth centre as a handyman, boxing coach and more. He teaches kids to follow through in boxing with their elbow to take out their opponents, and all the other usual wholesome methods for seriously injuring their sparring partners. But, alas, the youth centre is experiencing hard times financially and the main backer George is refusing to help any further.
If “Plan A” Didn’t Work There Are 25 More Letters In The Alphabet
To change George’s mind Tel concocts a plan. This plan involves using his electronics wizardry and playing George’s faith (run-of-the-mill shenanigans then) to get him to back the centre further. In short, Tel makes a cross glow and a light-show kick-off using a remote control when George’s favourite TV evangelist’s show is on, saving the youth centre. Yay! You say. But we aren’t done yet.
There’s A Bit Of Truth In Everything I Do, You Know
Steve on the evening of the shenanigans, overhears two police detectives talking about Tel and how they are closing in on him. Steve decides to rush to tell Tel (aha!) but mortally wounds himself, and while slowly bleeding to death, he delivers his message. Absolutely terrified of death, and with Rosa trying to get an ambulance, Tel uses the remote to produce a sign for Steve. Steve then dies in the arms of Rosa and Tel, no longer afraid.
Catch You Later (Just like that)
With Steve’s death still, the main plot point old Tel announces he’s off! I mean, of course he is! The police are just a step behind. In saying goodbye, Tel announces he is “almost an angel”. Rosa being of sane mind and body is rightly skeptical, and she lets him wander off. She then takes the remote control and checks for batteries, and there are none! Surprise!
As Tel walks down a steep embankment, Rosa runs over and shouts out to him. Tel then slips and stumbles in front of a truck with him passing through it and emerging unscathed! Rosa realises Tel is an angel, as does Tel. Tel then says he’ll be back and everyone is happy a Larry, or Terry or something.
No Coke, Pepsi
So my evening out was complete, and the time had arrived for my aunt to drop me back off at home. My first ever experience of an American cinema was to see an Australian comedian in a critically panned and commercial flop of a movie. And guess what? I had a great time! At the time, I absolutely loved the movie and having the worlds largest tub of popcorn and a massive Pepsi.
Okay, Almost An Angel is cheese. It’s terrible in many ways, but my memories of going to see it during a Christmas in America made it special. See that’s the thing, a truly terrible movie can be one of your favourites of all time. It’s okay to like cheesy and bad movies.
On that note, I should really warn you that I went to the USA and Canada a lot and have a lot of movies to share! Nae luck!