140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
Franchise is pretty solid with understated charm of George Burns, but this is my clear favorite. Very good story arc, quiet scenes & acting.
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Oh, God! You Devil:
Here’s another family favorite from the back of the VHS tape cabinet. I don’t think I saw this in the theater, but I know we rented it (remember renting videotapes?) and also taped it off of cable. I can see the yellowing cassette label in my mind still.
Even though this picture was made 30 years, I believe there’s still room for this kind of quiet picture. I like the little moments that George Burns is capable of. Such a gifted comic. This picture sort of killed the franchise, since it’s much more fun to watch Burns as the Devil than as God. But after they pushed out three of these films I don’t think anyone was in a position to complain…
Rather than trying to write a narrative review of this picture that I’ve seen so many times, I just queued it up with my laptop in front of me and put down some thoughts. And these are those:
- Caring father singing Fugue for Tinhorns (from Guys and Dolls) to his sick kid. What a sweet little opening. Possibly the subconscious reason I sang this to my little girl as a baby…
- Y’know what’s funny? Even the actor names in the 80’s sounded like the decade itself; Ted Wass, Ron Silver, Roxanne Hart, Eugene Roche, Robert Desiderio, these are 80’s names. When’s the last time you ran into a Roxanne or Eugene?
- This film is the only example I can think of where I approve of one actor playing multiple roles. It isn’t just cool to see George Burns play God and the Devil, it makes narrative sense.
- The Devil goes by the name Harry Tophet. “I love to scare the hell out of people.”
- “He hates it. Says he wouldn’t play it for his dog. You ever heard that? Wouldn’t play it for a dog?”
- Love that Tophet has a “computer” in his dashboard. Pretty good for 1984. But what is the Devil driving? Is that a K car?
- “Hawaiian Chablis? I just never saw a wine with an expiration date before.”
- I do enjoy watching movies where the answering machine figures into the story, even mildly. It’s just amusing to me…
- The fire and brimstone to alert the lead character that he’s messing with sinister forces? A vaudeville/ballpark organ and a sound effects tape, mixed with a Hitchcockian dolly zoom?
- At the time I saw this picture I’d never been to a real wedding reception. When I finally attended one many years later, I somewhat expected people to actually do the hokey pokey, thanks to this movie…
- Interesting that someone who was perfectly willing to eat a dead snail would suddenly object to a living snail. I don’t get escargot. People are weird…
- “It’s the little things I enjoy.”
- Little old-fashioned tricks are so effective.
- I remember just about every single line and moment of this movie. I have no idea how many times I watched it from 1984-1986…
- Billy Wayne’s contract expires and he’s nothing but a burning contract. See, there’s some real menace here, under the soft and safe exterior. Burns actually has an nice underlying edge.
- “Things have a way of working out.”
- The scene at the record label is just fantastic. Burns would have made a great negotiator had he not gone into showbiz.
- I know that Billy Wayne’s music is terrible, but I can’t dislike it – I grew up with this cheesy soft rock. I actually really like the song for the rock n roll lifestyle montage…
- Also, the little piano ballad Bobby Shelton is writing for his wife is lovely…
- I wonder if this film was a big influence on Richard Marx. There’s a real resemblance…
- The best moments in this picture are the quiet conversations. There’s a really interesting pace going on here. Nothing moves fast, but it never drags. Scenes have lots of room to breathe. I genuinely do miss this 1980’s film-making style. Mostly…
Maybe there’s a lot of nostalgia going here, but I really still enjoyed Oh God!, You Devil decades later. I don’t know if it can be said that it holds up, any more than anything from the 80’s does, but it still works. Give it a watch; I bet you’ll enjoy it far more than you expect…
The Representation Test Score: C (6 pts)
|Main Cast||George Burns God/Harry O. Tophet, Ted Wass Bobby Shelton, Ron Silver Gary Frantz, Roxanne Hart Wendy Shelton|
|Release Date||Fri 09 Nov 1984 UTC|
|Plot||George Burns is back as God, but oops, here he is as Satan, too. A young rock star is ready to sell his soul to Satan…|
|Tagline||That’s funny, they both look like George Burns.|
|Writers||Andrew Bergman, Avery Corman (novel)|