Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die, comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire. [imdb]

Nominated for 9 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Warren Beatty & Buck Henry
Best Actor: Warren Beatty
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Warden
Best Supporting Actress: Dyan Cannon
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction (WINNER)

I usually give 6, 7 or 7.5 to films that are either very good & impressive but also have terribly wrong elements OR are just somewhere in the middle with almost everything they have to show. Heaven Can Wait falls in the second category. It’s boring at times, but still relaxing to watch, it’s impressive and surprising, but still not all the way.

The thing is: it doesn’t feel at all as Best Picture material. And I also don’t think it deserved nominations for Best Actor: Warren Beatty (not that much of a stretch), Best Supporting Actress: Dyan Cannon (nothing special), Best Direction (nothing revolutionary) and maybe not even for Adapted Screenplay. The film itself is rather light, but it’s a feel-good and some jokes are actually funny. The best performances come from Julie Christie and, unexpectedly, from Oscar nominated Jack Warden who gives the only touching, emotional performance. The big twist took me by surprise (as I haven’t seen the 1941 original) and lifted the rating with at least half a point. Oh yeah: and the Art Direction win is bullshit.

My rating for the film: 7.5/10. I am being generous, but I can’t find any major flaws to it and I did feel good at the end of the film, without it offending my intelligence.

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