Fletch Lives (1989)
Fletch is a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper, but he acts more like a detective. When an obscure relative leaves him a Louisiana mansion in his will, Fletch is naturally curious. Arriving in Louisiana, events occur that make him suspect that all is not well, and there is more to the property than he has been led to believe.
When Irvin "Fletch" Fletcher inherits "Bell Isle", a Louisiana estate, he quits his job at the paper and takes off to live like a king. Or so he thinks. But shortly after arrival he has to find out that the palace he expected really looks more like a run-down shabby mansion. In addition, the young and attractive lawyer he takes to bed that night does not wake up the next morning. After being released from prison, Fletch starts investigating about the murder, an enormous sum of money offered for his rather worthless piece of land, about TV priest Jimmy Lee Farnsworth and his Bibleland and about tons of toxic waste on his ground. Additionally, someone is after Fletch with a serious gun pointed at him. But they all underestimated Fletch, whose journalistic instinct always leads him into the right direction - hopefully.
Fletch fans rejoice! The reckless I.M. Fletcher, investigative reporter, returns to the screen. This time, the chameleon-like reporter ventures to Belle Isle, a sprawling 80-acre Louisiana plantation which Fletch inherits from his aunt. Trouble begins when a lovely attorney mysteriously turns up dead, a neighborly lawyer warns him to leave town, and a ravishing real estate agent comes calling with a persistent offer he may not be able to refuse. Fletch must unravel the reasons for the mad land scramble with his trademark bag of hilarious disguises.
After receiving an inheritance in Louisiana, Los Angeles reporter Irvin Fletcher heads to the Belle Isle plantation where he gets himself into hilarious trouble.
- Irwin M. Fletcher (Chevy Chase) is back. Our hero starts out dressed in drag as a waitress at a Greek restaurant. He is there getting a story about a gambling ring that is run out of the restaurant. When he gets back to the office with the story, his boss is happy with it,but denies Fletch a vacation he promised him, saying he needs to finish another story first. Of course, Fletch is angry. The phone rings, and it is an attorney from Louisiana calling to tell Fletch that his great aunt has died and left him her plantation- "Belle Isle" - there. Fletch immediately quits his job and tells his boss to send his stuff to "his mansion in Louisana." He flies down, and the attorney - Amanda Ross (Patricia Kalember) takes him to see the plantation. It is a mess. Fletch says that with a little spackling and Napalm it would make a nice mausoleum. The go in the house and Fletch meets the caretaker, "Calculus Entropy" (Cleavon Little). He worked for Fletch's aunt and wants to continue on with Fletch. The caretaker doesn't seem quite the simpleton that he makes out though.
Fletch's attorney takes him back to town to sign papers and make him dinner. She informs him that someone wants to buy his property for $225,000.00. Fletch is immediately suspicious and tells her "no sale." They hit it off and end up spending the night together. While they are both sleeping, someone comes into the house and kills the attorney, and Fletch wakes up in the morning to find her dead in the bed. The police come and they question Fletch about the death. The chief of police decided to arrest Fletch, not for murder, but for "Pissing him off." Fletch is taken to the jail and put in a cell with a transvestite necrophiliac named Ben Dover (Randall 'Tex' Cobb), who threatens to molest him. Fletch is saved by another attorney - Hamilton "Ham" Johnson (Hal Holbrook), who gets the Ben out of jail. Fletch asks the new attorney to take his case, and he does. He gets Fletch released and they leave.
Fletch goes back to his house and talks to Calculus. They sit on the porch to relax, but the KKK shows up chanting over a bullhorn. Fletch puts on a couple of white sheets and joins them - telling them his name is Henry Hiemler. He finds out that they are not there on their own, but are on a "contract job" - someone hired them to get rid of some "undesirable carpetbagger" - presumably Fletch. Calculus runs them off with a shotgun.
The next morning, a real estate agent - Becky Ann Culpepper (Julianne Phillips) comes to put another offer on Fletch's property. This time it's up to $250,000.00. Fletch asks her who is offering the money and she tells him that it's confidential. Fletch decides to do some snooping, so he goes back to Amanda Ross's house and goes in as an exterminator. He finds out that there are others involved in the mystery of his aunt's estate - the Rev. Jamie Lee Farnsworth (R. Lee Ermey) and a mysterious corporation by the name of Bluebird. The police catch him there, but he talks his way out of it by telling them he's searching for termites. He leaves and goes back to the plantation and talks to Calculus about the Reverend and finds out that he is a local icon with his television show and "Bibleland" amusement park. Fletch decides to check this out.
He goes to a live taping of the television show the next day and is called up front by the Reverend to "confess his sins" and "be saved." Fletch makes friends with the Reverend and learns that he wants Fletch's property to expand Bibleland. The next day, Fletch goes to talk to Ham and finds out that he has been cleared of the murder charges and that Amanda's death has been ruled "natural causes." The attorney confesses that the reason Fletch has been cleared is because of his "religious conversion" on the Reverend's show. Ham also tells Fletch that the good reverend is a scam artist who tricked his mother out of her land and plantation.
Fletch goes fishing that afternoon with Calculus and they discuss the possibility that Amanda's death was natural. The both say that's very improbable, and Fletch decides that he needs to get a look at Amanda's body to know for sure. He asks Calculus to help him get into the morgue. They put Fletch on a gurney under a sheet and take him in. The morgue operator is Ben Dover. He takes Fletch's prize Laker watch. Calculus tells him that Fletch's name is "Eldridge Cleaver" (the great civil rights leader) so we know that Calculus isn't as ignorant as he pretends to be. Once they get back into the morgue, Fletch checks for Amanda's body, but it has already been cremated. This convinces Fletch that she was murdered and cremated quickly to cover it up. So, Fletch goes on the hunt for a murderer.
After the morgue, Calculus and he go back to Belle Isle and there's a fire. Fletch has to move in with Calculus. Later they go out to eat so they can talk. While at the restaurant they run into some friends. They offer to take Fletch "Coon Hunting" and he goes. While running around the Louisiana night, they go across several properties that were recently sold to the mysterious "Bluebird" corporation. The properties are barren and have puddles of goo all over them. Fletch steps in one. As he is checking this out, someone shoots at him. He ducks and runs toward the shooter and gets in a struggle with him. Another gunshot scares off the first shooter, and Fletch finds himself alone...but, on the ground is his Laker watch. He goes back to Calculus' house and tells him he was shot at and he goes to check out Calculus's shotgun to see if it's been used recently, but Calculus grabs the gun off the wall before Fletch can touch it and goes outside. We hear a shot and Calculus tells Fletch that he thought he saw something and shot in the air to scare it away.
Fletch decides it's time for some outside help...so he calls his boss back in California. He finds out that Becky Culpepper - the real estate agent is the Reverend Farnsworth's daughter, and he sends his tennis shoes to his boss to have the goo analyzed. The next morning he goes to see Becky and asks if the $250,000 offer is still good. It isn't. He confronts her with the information he received about her paternity and she admits that the Reverend is her father, but that she doesn't believe he's a murderer.
Fletch decides it's time to go back to Bibleland and check out the Rev. Farnsworth some more. He dresses up and goes onto the show disguised as a "faith-healer." He sneaks backstage and checks out the computers. He finds out how the Reverend knows how to call specific people out of the audience - he has a computerized system and someone who tells him names and specifics in an earpiece during the show. He also finds out that the Rev. Farnsworth has plans that would expand Bibleland to all of the neighboring plantations, not just his. Fletch gets rid of the computer operator and checks the files. He sees that the Reverend wasn't trying to buy the properties, but another mysterious corporation named "Everest Development" was.
Knowing he needs more information, Fletch decides to start with Ben Dover since he was the one that was shooting at him. He follows Ben from the morgue to a biker bar. Fletch dresses up as "Ed Harley", goes into the bar and claims to be the owner of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. Ben doesn't recognize him, and offers to let him go on a ride with his gang. Fletch does - with Becky on the back of his motorcycle. During the ride, Fletch's disguise comes off and Ben recognizes him. They give chase, but Becky and he get away. They go back to her house to clean up. While there, Fletch calls his boss in California and finds out that Bluebird is a corporation that finds dump sites for toxic waste. There is only one near Louisiana and it's in Mississippi. Fletch goes to check it out.
In Mississippi, Fletch poses as the CEO of Everest Development and talks to the Bluebird factory foreman (Phil Hartman). He finds out that Belle Isle is scheduled to receive a large shipment of the toxic waste in a few weeks. He also finds out from the paperwork there who the "owner" of Everest is.
Fletch goes back to Louisiana and goes to a party thrown by Hamilton Johnson. He tells him that he wants to talk to him privately. When they get upstairs, Fletch tells him that he knows that he is the one who tried to buy his land, killed Amanda, framed him, and has planned a shipment of toxic waste for Belle Isle. Ham then admits to everything - saying he hates Jimmy Lee Farnsworth for what he did to Ham's beloved "mamma." He says he wanted to turn everything around Bibleland into a toxic waste dump to ruin the reverend. Ham pulls a gun and tells Fletch that he's going to kill him. Fletch tells Ham that he left all of the incriminating evidence with Becky and if he doesn't let Fletch go, she'll send it to the FBI. Ham tells Fletch that he's bluffing - and out walks Ben, who has kidnapped Becky. Ham has ordered both of them to be murdered. Fletch is stuck...until he gets an idea. He picks up a picture of Ham's mom and begins insulting her...and this infuriates Ham. Then Fletch grabs Ham's mother's ashes and begins playing with them. He tosses them across the room at Ham, and this causes Ben and Ham to fall, this allows Fletch and Becky to escape. They run to Bibleland and into a live taping of the Reverend's show. Ham comes in with his gun and tries to shoot Fletch, but the Reverend gets in between them and tells Ham he'll have to shoot him first. Just then, shots ring out and Ham goes down...the FBI is there and have killed Ham...the FBI agent in charge is Calculus...whose real name is Agent Goldstein. They have had the ministry under investigation for months. They all go outside and talk about things a bit...Fletch tells Calculus that he knew he wasn't a backwoods simpleton all along. The Reverend says he's going to rerun the show with the shooting incident every day for Sweeps month. Fletch kisses Becky and mentions the possibility of her coming back to California with him.
When Fletch gets back to California and his job at the newspaper, there's a big party for him and his boss has given him a raise and a corner office. Fletch also receives an insurance check for $100,000 for the fire and the toxic waste dumping at Belle Isle. Just then, Fletch's ex-wife's attorney shows up and says that Fletch's ex-wife wants the property in Louisiana as part of the alimony. He tells Fletch if he'll sign over the property, that they'll leave him alone for the rest of his life and he'll never have to pay anything to her again. So, Fletch gladly does...pretending all the time it's killing him to do it...and never telling the attorney that they plantation is now a burned-down toxic waste dump...