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— W.C.U.N — Pittsburgh!!

MIRACLE MILE (1988) Dir. Steve De Jarnatt. Written by Steve De Jarnatt. Starring: Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, Mykelti Williamson, Kelly Jo Minter, Kurt Fuller, Denise Crosby, Robert Doqui, Jeanette Goldstein, Eddie Bunker, and O-Lan Jones.

There are 70 minutes to the end of the world. Where can you hide?

I was lucky enough to catch Steve De Jarnatt at a screening of Miracle Mile a couple of years back at Northwest Film Forum here in Seattle. He was there promoting the Blu-Ray release of the film which has haunted my dreams of nuclear apocalypse and loving but doomed relationships since that summer of 1988. I was ten that summer and would ride several miles with my best friend Bryan to Walker Corner Video, on our BMX bikes, to rent horror movies nearly every day of the summer and every weekend during the rest of the year. We were admittedly too young to be renting the movies we did (we tended toward Troma released films; Troma's War, Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator, Blades, Rabid Grannies were just a few we watched that year) but we never seemed to have any issues renting them at Walker Corner. For whatever reason, perhaps all the Troma releases were out that day, we happened upon Miracle Mile. I imagine the cover image and the promise of nuclear destruction convinced us it would be worthwhile. If you've ever sat through any of the above-mentioned movies, you will know we were already battle hardened against boredom in service of a cheap gross-out and while we never got that gross-out, we were not once bored with Miracle Mile. The tale of a meet-cute between a Trombone player and Mare Winningham turned first date turned last date for mankind in the shadow of nuclear war is ultimately a quirky romantic comedy and end of the world action film that chilled our hearts and elicited our first tears over a movie not called King Kong or Old Yeller. It was a milestone in our movie viewing journey and one that taught us Independent Cinema didn't have to mean Troma. It could deliver just as much as the big boys, often times a helluva lot more so and nearly 30 years on it still holds just as much capacity to make us laugh and cry as it did that first time in the summer of '88. I didn't ask De Jarnatt any questions during the Q&A and I didn't approach him after the show though I wanted to tell him just how much his film meant to me. It was pleasure enough just to watch the film with him and buy my copy. I hope he gets back to feature films someday, but if not we will always have Miracle Mile. At least until our own trip to the Labrea Tar Pits of time.

 

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