A woman secretly witnesses the murder of her blind date for the evening by a top Mafia boss. She immediately goes into hiding without informing the authorities. When they finally catch up ... See full summary »
Jay Austin is now a civilian police detective. Colonel Caldwell was his commanding officer years before when he left the military police over a disagreement over the handling of a drunk ... See full summary »
LA cops Gould and Blake get in over their heads when they don't heed orders from above and go after a big crime boss. While higher ups in the police department want the cop duo to just ... See full summary »
The Knables are having marriage problems: Roy is a lousy plumbing supplies salesman by day and couch potato by night, and his wife, Helen, is a successful senior product manager for a vitamin company. Roy watches too much TV every night and Helen just cannot stand it. Then one night, Helen offers Roy a night to save their relationship: a romantic getaway without phones, their children, and especially no TV. Unfortunately, when Roy's hooked on the big screen, there's no going back. This frustrates and angers her and Helen decides to smash the family console with one of Roy's trophies as a wake-up call to reality. A heartbroken-to-disoriented Roy then hears the doorbell and finds out that it's a mysterious salesman named Spike who offers him the "ultimate getaway" from all the hate, frustration, and failures: a new remote controller and a new state-of-the-art satellite TV. Roy accepts the new TV by signing a free trial contract not knowing that he just sold his soul to the devil himself... Written by
Roy Knable (John Ritter) loves watching television so much that his marriage is falling apart because of it. When a door-to-door salesman shows him a high-tech remote control, Ritter listens to his pitch, and buys into it when he discovers that it's for a new television and satellite system that offers 666 channels of programming--much of which is not available anywhere else. However, the salesman may not have been what he seemed to be, and Knable soon discovers that he may have agreed to a contract that obligated him to give up more than money.
Oh, how I loved this film! Director Peter Hyams and the writing crew of Tom S. Parker, Jim Jennewein and Richard Siegel definitely had my number on this one. Stay Tuned is a very clever horror comedy that is extremely underrated and perhaps was a bit mismarketed. Although I'm a huge horror fan, and love horror comedies, I'd never heard of this one before (however, later I did find references to it in a couple horror sources, so it seems it wasn't completely overlooked by the industry and fans). But the horror aspect of the film doesn't appear to be advertised anywhere. I watched this on HBO's Family Channel. Even though Knable's son is important to the plot and there are strong fantasy aspects, this is not really a family film. Not that kids might not like the film, but they'd have to be kids who like horror (comedies) and whose parents let them watch horror (comedies). Enjoyment of the film is also helped by having a familiarity with the material that is being spoofed, and the references are broad enough that it would take years of experience to acquire that familiarity.
Why spoofed? Well, on one level, Stay Tuned is just a long series of crafty takes on film and television programs and genres, giving many well-known classics a more immediate horror twist--immediate because they all put our heroes, Knable and his wife Helen (Pam Dawber), in peril in some way. There are many more subtle jokes, as well, and the film even pokes fun at film students/film geeks. The spoofs range from silly to poignant, and can be as quick as a title or as long as ten minutes or so. One of the best is a classic Warner Brothers-styled animated segment. The style and the quality should not be surprising, as Chuck Jones designed and supervised the animation.
Under different hands, maybe this material wouldn't be quite as good as it is. Hyams' direction is spot-on throughout the film, the script (including the dialogue) is very intelligent, and in addition to Ritter and Dawber being as good as I've seen them, Stay Tuned also features Jeffrey Jones (one of my favorite character actors) and Eugene Levy. Both are fantastic.
Stay Tuned deserves much wider recognition. It is funny, suspenseful and seems to draw from a well of endless inventiveness. It's as good as any other horror comedy I've seen. There is also a surface message of turning off the television and living your life, which is a worthwhile sentiment, but perhaps a harder sell when it is packaged in a film as excellent as this.
A 10 out of 10 from me.
26 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?