Monday, August 22, 2011

Bummer #2: Angels in the Outfield

With complete, innocent, and sort of enviable Christian sincerity, a friend of mine once told me that she'd be thrilled to finally be face-to-face with her guardian angel. As far as I'm concerned, there's no scenario where an angel just appearing out of nowhere could be anything less than 100% horrifying.
Despite the foreboding title, Angels in the Outfield is not a horror film; it's one of those heart-tugging, inspirational jobs. 

But it's also kind of a drag. 

Perhaps, not an overt or overwhelming drag like My Girl, but it definitely has it's moments. One scene specifically sticks out in my mind and, next to the phrase "it could happen," is what I associate most with this movie...

Al and his seraphim horde have "helped" the last-place California Angels advance to the division championship. When the final game starts, Al materializes in the dugout and tells Roger that the team must win this one on their own--angels apparently have a real arbitrary sense of morality. Al then serves up a delicious piece of gossip about grizzled pitcher Mel Clark--who'd been taken off the disabled list during the initial stages of the angel infestation.
Mel only has six months to live and Al delivers the news with such nonchalance, sort of sugar-coating the tragedy of it by saying that after Mel eventually succumbs to lung cancer or emphysema or whatever (Al mentions that Mel has been a smoker for years), he's going to become an angel. 

Wings are cool; not being dead is slightly cooler. 

This scene probably isn't going to make anyone cry, but still, it's a total bummer. It's also incredibly calculated, obviously meant to heighten the emotional drama and give the outcome of this championship game more weight. Al says he's dropped by to "check up on Mel." Seriously, what's he checking? I'm no expert on the subject but I'm pretty sure that angels can "check up" on people from Heaven or the 8th dimension or wherever they're from. So, why is he really there? The whole thing feels kind of contrived and plot device-y. Somehow, though, that fails to diminish my enjoyment of  Mel slow-mo catching that game-winning ball.
In spite of my usual anti-angel stance, I'm definitely pro-Angels in the Outfield. Sometimes, I suppose, it's all right to have your heart manipulated a bit by conveniently tragic plot points, if that manipulation is (a) in service of a really good finale and (b) thorough enough to spawn two direct-to-video sequels. 


Stephanie said...

Yeah, I never liked this movie.

But, as for your last post, I like forts and I LOVE Freaks and Geeks. The best part of having a kid is the fort building.

Munk said...

Amber, I love your blog. Right.

Lorraine said...

I completely blocked out the bit about the guy DYING. Nice job, clearly traumatized brain. I'm really glad you've taken to deleting these childhood traumas.

Also, kudos on committing to the wing flapping for so long. My arms would've gotten tired, I think.