Tune in Tomorrow... (1990)
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Hilarious, smart, sexy, surprising -- in other words, not your typical Hollywood comedy. Give it a chance!
It's a screwball comedy and first-rate farce. It kids soap operas, white-bread 1950's suburbia, and even points up the absurdity of racism, while still being joyous, fun, and affectionately good-natured. The acting is superb all around with delightful chemistry between the three main characters played by Barbara Hershey, Keanu Reeves, and Peter Falk. I'm amazed that anyone could fault Reeves' performance in this film. He is perfect - sweet, hopeful, naive and romantic. The May-late autumn romance between Reeves and Barbara Hershey is completely believable. You want these two to make it.
The secondary plot involves a playing-out of the radio soap opera as Peter Falk's character writes it. The acting is deliciously over-the-top as befits the absurd storyline. Extra kudos to Elizabeth McGovern. Who knew she could be so funny?
Peter Falk is the glue that holds the whole thing together. He wickedly manipulates everyone who comes within his sphere of influence - but all in the name of art and love.
As an added bonus, the music is wonderful, both as atmosphere and in and of itself. Wynton Marsalis wrote the score and his band plays the music. If you like jazz or even if you don't, the way it weaves in and out of and becomes part of the plot is a delight to the soul.
The movie might not be everyone's cup of sweet tea but it's a gem, nonetheless. Even if the story doesn't tickle your heart, the movie is definitely worth catching for the Wynton Marsalis score and the classic images of a pre-Katrina New Orleans.
The premise of "Tune in Tomorrow..." is one that could certainly be the springboard for some first-rate comedy and if it had been written by someone as imaginative as the writer portrayed in the film by Peter Falk, it might have been just that. Instead, the movie sputters along, never quite catching fire, except literally at the conclusion when those fed up Albanians bomb the station.
The cast is almost perfect. Almost, you say? Two words: Keanu Reeves. Affecting a less than convincing Southern accent, Reeves is as dull here as he's been in most of his films. Barbara Hershey is fine as his sexy aunt,
and in the strictly imaginary visual reenactments of the radio soap operas, John Larroquete, Buck Henry, Dan Hadeya, Henry Gibson, Peter Gallagher, and Elizabeth McGovern are terrific. The star of this show, however, is Peter Falk who saves "Tune in Tomorrow..." from being a total misfire with a wonderfully eccentric performance. As Carmichael, Falk dresses up as a maid, surgeon, rabbi, fireman, and cardinal, all in an effort to create new characters from a base of reality. Falk rates a solid four stars. The movie only rates two and a half.
The movie is clearly ambitious. It takes risks that most aspiring blockbusters wouldn't dare. The story of two mismatched real-life lovers -- the older and wiser Barbara Hershey and the younger and dumber Keanu Reeves -- is intercut with a radio play. This is 1951, mind you, so radio plays are listened to religiously. The radio play, a kind of soap opera with medical interludes, is written by Peter Falk, who steals from actual incidents in the lives of others, including the conundrum of Hershey and Reeves.
The performances are uniformly good. Even Reeves is passable. Peter Falk is outrageously hammy. For reasons that are a little fuliginous he dresses up at various points as a dainty French maid, a dovening Rabbi, and an Irish Cardinal. It's full of diverse themes involving love, art, so-called real life, the sociology of enmity, and some others -- I guess. I got confused.
The problem is that none of these themes are explored in enough depth to make the story gripping rather than just interesting. Of course, one hopes for a happy outcome. And one gets it -- out of nowhere. When the two lovers are alone in a field, Falk shows up driving a fire engine, gives them his blessings, and takes off dressed in the Cardinal's robes.
The whole enterprise is more of a puzzle than a satisfying artifact. If it weren't for my own magnificent performance, which lifts the film into the realm of the celestial, but which I have discounted, I wouldn't know how to assess it. I'll have to leave the judgment to individual viewers.
'The Best Comedy of 1990'. This review on the box came from the Lake County News Herald, serving Northern Ohio. Note the lack of an exclamation point.
I'm glad I only paid a dollar for this and that the money went to the Salvation Army. That's the only good thing to come out of this.
Keanu Reeves and Barbara Hershey (woeful actors, the pair of them) fall in love simply because she's bored and he's horny. They are aunt and nephew (in name only, not by blood) and this tinge of incest is incorporated into the soap opera which plays on the radio station where Keanu's character works.
This 'scandal' is milked by the shady scriptwriter played by Peter Falk who has survived a terrorist attack on his previous place of employment and risks the same at this other radio station because of his nonsensical, baseless hatred of Albanians that works its way into every insulting line of his scripts.
I hope the above paragraphs make sense or sound halfway interesting, unlike the movie itself. It's a wildly uneven movie, with incomprehensible and disconnected scenes featuring an assemblage of low-rent talents you may half-recognise from cancelled TV shows.
None of it makes any sense. Despite wanting to be a writer, Keanu's character is never seen with a pen in hand or sat at a typewriter. He neglects his character's Southern accent in several scenes. The incest storyline features in the soap opera well before the aunt and nephew actually begin their affair. Oddball characters (like the Sid/Sam radio boss) are just irritating, not funny.
The only thing I enjoyed about the movie (aside from the closing credits) was the brilliant music from Wynton Marsalis.
The story revolves around Peter Falk -- he's a fantastically crazy writer and director of a radio drama in New Orleans in the 1920s or 30s. He causes chaos wherever he goes and he's bringing it to Keanue Reaves and Barbara Hershey.
I watched it years ago and I still remember some of the jokes and laugh at them, especially the switch to persecuting Norwegians at the end.
It drags every now and then. But it is still fun.
Keanue Reaves cannot act. Oy Vey! PeeYeew!
I am also offended by the plot itself. It presupposes that all New Orleanians or Louisianians are inbreeders (as depicted by Aunt Julia and Martin's love affair), furthering an unfair stereotype.
I was disappointed by the deletion of a few scenes I saw filmed at my college, Loyola University. That was the main reason I wanted to see this movie.