Eddie Chandler is a young teen whose life is at a crisis point.
Heaven Sent is the story of Eddie Chandler (Vincent Kartheiser), a young teenager who is on the road to delinquency, hanging out with the wrong crowd against the wishes of his divorced mom. As the film opens, Eddie is trying to be accepted by two older teens Vinnie (David Stevens) and Mole (Glen Pratt). They tell Eddie that in order to become a “brother rat” like they are, he has to prove himself by stealing something from a nearby convenience store. Although reluctant to commit a crime, Eddie goes ahead with the theft, but when he is challenged by the store clerk, he panics, bolts from the store into the street outside, and is knocked unconscious by a passing car. When he awakes from his concussion in the local hospital, Eddie discovers that he is having an out of body experience as he watches the surgical team work on him. He then wanders through the hospital corridors, where no one notices him — no one except for Howard (David Bowe), who tells Eddie that he is an angel sent to earth to take him to heaven. After the two travel up in an elevator programmed to go to paradise, it turns out that Howard is actually a novice “field angel”, given his first assignment, and has bungled the assignment. When they reach heaven, Howard is told that Eddie is not supposed to be dead yet, and must be returned to earth to live out his remaining years. Returning to the hospital, Howard tells Eddie to jump back into his body, and we see the excitement of the medical team as his vital signs suddenly reappear on the monitors.
Eddie’s mom wants him to start being a more responsible person.
Back at home, Eddie’s mom, Kathy (Mary Beth McDonough), expresses her concern over his recent behavior and lack of application at school and that he is already on probation for a past misdeed. When his new probation officer arrives, Eddie is surprised to discover that he is Howard, who has been assigned to be his guardian angel to help him reform his attitude and ways. The first thing they do is return back to the convenience store to repay the clerk for what he stole. While they are there, another holdup takes place, this time with a real crook But the holdup is thwarted by Howard who distracts the crook into making his gun fall apart while Eddie pours a drink on the floor to make the holdup man fall down and then flee. Next Howard takes Eddie to a community center and tells him to work with a handicapped kid, Wilford (K. C. Clyde). First Eddie helps Wilford learn to shoot a basketball and later defends him when Vinnie tries to steal his lunch money. At each of these occasions, Eddie puts up resistance, but when convinced or rather made to do the right thing by Howard, Eddie discovers that he gains something positive from it. Later that day we meet Parker (Goeffrey Lower), who is Mary’s boss and also interested in her romantically. Eddie doesn’t like Parker although at first he thinks that his mom should marry him for his money. Parker and Kathy’s budding relationship and some shady dealings that are going on at the computer chip company they work at are the basis for the main subplot of Heaven Sent. Eddie’s real test comes when his mom suddenly faces grave danger, literally captured by criminals ripping off her company’s warehouse while talking to Eddie on a cell phone. Although Eddie tries to reach Howard, his guardian angel can’t at first be found, and when he finally appears, he tells Eddie that he is the only one who can help her, as angels can’t interfere in the lives of mortals. Will Eddie’s own survival skills and the values that Howard has instilled in him be enough for Eddie to save his mom?
Eddie is assigned to Howard, a novice guardian angel.
While the basic idea of Heaven Sent is nothing new, with Heaven Can Wait (1978), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1943), and Down to Earth (2001) being other films that use this story line, it seems that each remake has been done with a different message in mind. In the case of Heaven Sent, the idea is to present lessons of morality using a trinity of themes: a “heaven as a situation comedy” theme, along with a coming of age adventure story about an at-risk teenager, combined with a crime drama about corporate rip offs in the high tech industry. The first theme is promoted through David Bowe’s Howard character, a bumbling, neophyte angel, whose heart is in the right place, but has little experience in dealing with mortals on earth. Heaven is presented as sort of a corporate world of white, where the angels have voice mail, middle managers, offices, and job titles but don’t have wings. Vincent Kartheiser makes the second theme work, doing a convincing job as the rebellious Eddie Chandler, who serves as the devil’s advocate to Howard’s preaching when he is forced to confront his recent misdeeds, yet is stronged-willed enough to ultimately make the right decisions. The third theme involves the rest of the adult cast, and presents a rather unflattering picture of the high tech industry. Most of the characters are busy figuring out ways to rip off the chip company they work for, including character actor Wilford Brimley as a security guard on the take. When you think about it, Heaven Sent was created like a church service. To start, writer-director Craig Clyde made a list of moral messages to give, and then created scenes to match the sermon. Next, he chose the music for his “service”, including a fifties knock off song “Heaven Sent” that he wrote and performed for the soundtrack, and a choral “Alleluia” by music director Arlen Card. This would explain the appearance of another character actor, William Christopher (from M*A*S*H) as a harried priest trying to get his children’s choir to sing properly. And to finish, Clyde liberally sprinkles miracles throughout the plot line. It’s too bad that there are so many story elements and concepts running around loose in this film, and that it relies on a “deus ex machina” concept so often when the characters are perfectly capable of handling things on their own. And things would be a lot more believable if Eddie stumbled or made a wrong decision occasionally. But if you enjoy watching a family-oriented fantasy with a strong religious point of view, some interesting characters, and good production values, then give Heaven Sent a look.
Eddie discovers that good deeds get favorable attention from the opposite sex.
When Eddie tries to go off in a wrong direction, he finds his chucks are stuck to the sidewalk.
Vincent Kartheiser, in his role as Eddie, wears black high top chucks throughout the film. They help define the look and image of Eddie, as a rebellious, at risk kid, and they fit very well with his loose and baggy clothes look that you see among today’s teenagers. The best chucks scene is during a confrontation with Howard, Eddie’s guardian angel. When Eddie tries to go off in the wrong direction, he finds that his chucks are literally glued to the sidewalk until he agrees to do the right thing.*
Eddie tries to move, but his chucks are firmly stuck to the cement.
*Special Note: In order for this scene to look right and for Eddie’s chucks to stay firmly connected to the ground while he tries to walk away in them, a pair of black high tops had to be literally nailed into the cement. The photo below shows the process.
These chucks are solidly grounded!
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