Tunnel Vision (1976)
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However, it is very interesting to watch now, at the start of 2005. Twenty years after this movie is supposed to take place, look at how many of their gags have become absolutely true: There is a mock movie trailer, that probably wasn't even clever at the time, for something called "The Pregnant Man" which came true with Arnold Schwarzenegger's dumb movie "Junior" There is a commercial spoof, that probably wasn't even clever at the time, for something featuring Sammy Davis Jr. and Jackie Onasis called "Celebrity Wrestling" which has now come true with a popular show called "Celebrity Boxing" There is a mock movie trailer, that probably wasn't even clever at the time, that features John Candy in a movie about a severed head. Watch this trailer and look how similar it's shots and plot are to Frank Hellenlotter's Basket Case!! And finally there is an ad for a late late show documentary about "a dead dream, the only two left ..." The name of the documentary is ... THE LAST HIPPIES! LOL.
Four prophecies come true!
I first saw TUNNELVISION at a party back in 1983, and the effects of the intoxicants that were rampant in my 18-year-old brain led me to belive that it was a comedic masterpiece. NOT SO, I say! Bear in mind that this was made at a point in the seventies when it seemed like everyone (including the president) was stoned out of their minds, and most of these gags are geared to a seriously baked audience. Sadly, that type of humor doesn't necessarily work if you aren't stoned, and out of the seventy-five minute running time, I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 minutes of solid laughs. Take my advice and don't miss:
REMEMBER WHEN- a gameshow where the contestants are chosen by how foolish and embarrassing their outfits are (Betty Thomas in pasties and a g-string and Joe Flaherty in a ludicrous red dress), with questions asking them to remember the various crimes and degradations that they have committed.
RAMON & SONYA- an "All In The Family"-style sitcom about a bunch of foul-mouthed, incestuous gypsies living in New York city.
THE BIG BEAT- a wish fulfillment segment reminiscent of Don Kirschener's Rock Concert, only here the audience gets to beat the living hell out of the various performers.
HOW TO BE BUTCH- perhaps the ultimate PSA, and hilariously self-explanatory.
I hate the term "dated", but TUNNEL VISION certainly qualifies if you must use the term. Postulating a future where an unregulated TV network could literally become the opiate of the masses, TUNNEL VISION, has the misfortune of pre-dating an era where cable and (later) satellite TV (not to mention the internet) made such raunchy material commonplace on the airwaves (or on your desktop). That fact isn't what truly hurts the film, it's the scatter-shot attempts at humor that too often fails that does.
Indeed, the wrap-around story is what works best. Set in the year 1985, the TV network becomes the center of a Government inquiry into its massive popularity (and alleged negative consequences). There are numerous Nixon jokes and the like that, as is often the case in such "futuristic" endeavors, play much more to the thoughts and fears of the year the film was MADE in as opposed to the year it is SET in. Some of the jokes require a I LOVE THE 70'S primer to "get". More disappointingly, the low budget production design makes little or no attempt to depict a film 20 years in the future. The dark finale fits in well with the Post-Watergate conspiratorial era.
A few funny gags, not to mention appearances by a virtual Who's Who (and Who was to become WHO's) such as Al Franken, Howard Hesseman, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Laraine Newman, Betty Thomas (a surprisingly sexy performance), Chevy Chase etc. will keep you watching, if not laughing out loud. Considering the supposedly taboo-breaking nature of the Tunnel Vision TV network, there is precious little nudity to go along with the language, violence, and subject matter. In a trivia note, the one full-on nude scene is by Oscar Nominated Film Editor Dody Dorn (MEMENTO).
The skits are all very short, and yet most of them are still too long. The majority of them, they seem to have forgotten to have something funny! Quite a lot of racist/sexist/"homophobic" humor in it, skits based on stereotypes, or skits which use racist terms for people.
I'm trying to remember anything I thought was funny in it, and I'm having trouble.... The logo for the Tunnel Vision network is a lipsticked mouth with an eyeball in it. The mouth opens and closes over the eye like eyelids. Kind of creepy.
What a disappointment. Most of the actors went on to better things, and it's lucky this bomb didn't hold them back.
It was a joke independent feature movie house film made shortly after the counterculture revolution of the 1960's (which spilled into the early 1970's) ended.
People were calling for more freedom from censorship, and they got it.
Tunnel Vision (1976) jokingly examined the proposals for "absolutely no censorship" in a "reductum ad absurdum" manner.
It showed intentionally ridiculous violations of traditional censorship rules and traditions. Intentionally violated many then (middle 1970's) still "sacred" political and social taboos and rules.
It implied legitimatization of famously unacceptable subjects and topics, and was, arguably, heroic in breaking new ground regarding all this. It tried to be offensive (Lennie Bruce style) for the sake of being offensive, and for the sake of making a point about the absurdity and arbitrary nature of the entire subject of taboos.
At the end of the movie, the founder and CEO of the fictional "Tunnel Vision TV Uncensored Network" is shot to death on television, Lee Harvey Oswrld style.
It shows that intolerance leads to violence and tragedy, not matter how illegal intolerance is declared to be, and how much the government and other oversight forces (such as religion, etc.) objects to intolerance and promises to punish those who are intolerant. No matter how fairly those who give offense are treated and how permissive the "new society" where tolerance is declared the new supreme law of the land is, the sudden and unexpected removal of old taboos and rules of censorship will always result in violence and even human death.
The movie is a comedy.
Even so, it is intentionally offensive and makes an important and valuable political and social statement about the subject of traditional taboos, censorship, and inteolerance, and the inevitable fate of any person or group of people who purpose to change things, break the old rules, and "liberate the world from the shackles of intolerant censorship." This may be a noble goal, but those who pursue the goal of a "censorship free, totally tolerant society" will pay a big price for their undoubted heroism. Food for thought.
No wonder "prudence" is included as one of the eight traditional Cardinal Virtues.
Written January 1, 2018 by Tex (David) Allen, movie history writer. More about Tex Allen by visiting WWW.IMDb.Com, world's largest movie, TV, and celebrities information database website owned by Amazon.Com. This movie review is the 122nd movie review written by Tex Allen and published by IMDb.Com. -------------------------------------------------
The writers must have thought we will throw in some grossness, some flatulence jokes, some cheap sex and hey we have a risky side splitting laughable comedy. The game show skits are nothing more than cheap unimaginable take offs on Let's Make a Deal with stupid grossness. The sit com take off involving the single girl and her boyfriend was just plain bad high school humor. The stun gun advertisement was suitable humor for Seasame Street. The LA subway skit was bland humor using tasteless bloodiness. The french chef walking around blind constantly uttering "there is no difference" with a french accent was, well you get my point.
The only funny skit involved Chevy Chase which lasted for a whole minute. This means you get 60 seconds of entertainment in this movie. Oh yea I've read the comments about the entire country being stoned in the 1970's and you will like this movie if you are high. Well most of the country was not stoned in the 70's. If the inept writers were stoned it must have been on drowsy sinus medicine. There were 4 other people in the theater besides myself when I saw this movie. Of course word did not get out yet about how bad the movie was.
My Grade: F
Eye Candy: Dody Dorn goes full frontal
So, in conclusion, the best movies ever made about TV are: "The Groove Tube", "Tunnel Vision", "The Kentucky Fried Movie" and "UHF".
This movie suffers due to bad writing. I can't imagine that I would've thought this movie was funny even back in 1976 and stoned. I think I chuckled once, not sure when. It's really only worth watching to see these folks in their youth, before they became big and famous.