A committee investigating TV?s first uncensored network examines a typical day?s programming. This outrageous and irreverent send up of television launched the careers of top comics Chevy Chase, John Candy, Howard Hessem... more »an, Larraine Newman, Phil Proctor, Rich Hurst, Roger Bowen, Bill Saluga, Joe Flaherty, Al Franken and Tom Davis!« less
RD C. (allepaca) from TEMPE, AZ Reviewed on 11/6/2009...
An SNL/SCTV-like series of skits, of about the same consistency of a typical episode of either. Some skits are very funny, some not so, but all in all it was probably the second-best of the "skit-flix" of the time. Of the genre and time period, only The Groove Tube really stands up better. Both set the tone for later films such as Amazon Women on the Moon, and the multitude of National Lampoon and ZAZ farces that followed.
Tunnel Vision is particularly funny for those of us who are old enough to remember the TV shows, political hearings, and commercials that are being parodied... and the general tone of it's TV-industry and political satire is (unfortunately) just as valid today as then.
One supposes it's a matter of taste... but those who think that, say, Kentucky Fried Movie, was better, really need to justify their opinions with something other than simple sarcastic spewing. The writing in Tunnel Vision is at least as inventive and clever, and it's really only the 70's themselves that make it "dated". Yes, it obviously had a lower budget-- all the more reason to appreciate its accomplishments.
KFM was glitzier, and had more "starpower" (assuming you consider Bill Bixby a star), but in essence, was only a derivative attempt to latch onto The Groove Tube's inertia. Tunnel Vision is much more original. And to complain about the language, while then implying that KFM is "better"...? Well, there's just no accounting for hypocrisy, I guess. Almost any PG-rated film of today has worse.
If one doesn't care for the 70's in general, then yes, "it doesn't stand up well". But I would suspect that the real motivation for that opinion might be more rooted in personal disdain of the noticeable anti-authoritarian, don't-believe-the-corporate-bullsh$$t attitude that pervades MOST of the successful movies of that era, including this one. One has to remember that the country was still in recovery from Nixon, Vietnam, and a fairly major recession... an era all-too-reminiscent of the quagmires of today. No, this isn't a movie for die-hard Republicans....
And it is interesting to recognize some of the cast members (mostly comedians) so early in their careers, who would go on to other flicks, sitcoms and later stardom... Such as Chevy Chase, Howard Hessman, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Phil Proctor, Betty Thomas, Tom Davis, Neil Israel, a chubby(!) Larraine Newman, and yes, senator Al Franken (who is also billed as a "creative consultant"; i.e. contributing writer?)
If you liked The Groove Tube, and the unedited Putney Swope, you'll like this Flick.
A blast from the past but Chase and Candy are not the stars
moe sizlack | Little Apple Ontario | 01/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Tunnel Vision is the name of a fictional TV Network similar to S.C.T.V. The premise is that in the not too distant future (1985) Tunnel Vision will have knocked out the other three big networks and left the entire population a mass of vegetating slackers. I'm not sure if Howard Hesseman is all that believable as a Senator, but it's fun to see him in action. This upstart network is on trial and we are led to the courtroom where the "evidence" is put on display. One of the first items that date the video right away is when they run through a brief visual history of the US presidents. The list pauses briefly on Lincoln and Kennedy and makes its way up to Ford before it shows us the subsequent "future" ones.
Now of course the political commentary is not as sharp as the best of Saturday Night Live, there is nowhere near the polish, but it does have its charm. I was reminded of the similar vintage Woody Allen movies like "Take the Money and Run" with the voice-overs and exteriors.
Essentially it looks as though this tape was packaged to cash in on Chevy Chase's and John Candy's faces but they have very little to do on screen. Chase's bit is less than a minute and Candy's is not even a speaking role.
And the low spots are in the skits. There is one Hispanic Bunker-like skit that has Laraine Newman using the F-word and is generally just unfunny mostly due to the quantity of racial slurs which neither seem to comment on or inform any particular world view.However, the commentary on the Middle East is fun and probably gives a present-day viewer more to laugh about. What the contemporary audience might have seen as grim extrapolations on current 1970's affairs (but not likely), can now be openly praised for its insight (even though their predictions are still clearly farcical).
But the true value of this video is not for its biting social commentary or wit or insight (most half-hour Simpsons episodes have more of these qualities), it is in the nostalgia or even the historical value. We get to see what was important to a group of young writers and commentators in the mid 70's (the boomers were older now and took their protests out of the streets and into the airwaves). In its day it might have been pretty edgy stuff, and much of it would not have cleared the censors for SNL (then or now). These were young people who were just beginning to practice the skills that would lead to the true ironic detachment that we have today. Their goal no doubt was to entertain and inform, but there is the additional energy that is present when someone is doing something they believe might have a real impact. This is what is now missing in the new SNL crew and what is starting to go missing even in the Simpsons.
If you think you are going to see Chevy Chase and John Candy in some kind lost classic that has an eternal entertainment value, your hopes are set too high and you should look for "The Best of SNL" or some early Simpsons instead. But, if you want to get a good look at the unpolished beginnings of the modern history of popular social commentary, this is a fine video, but nothing more."
Tunnelvision the (unofficial) sequel to The Groove Tube
moe sizlack | 07/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A step below Groove Tube, Tunnelvision is still pretty funny. The best parts are of course Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman in Ramon & Sonja, a hilarious sketch, the game show, John Candy's spot in Get Head, as well as many of the many commercial parodies. Only a few problems exist.
1: no inside booklet
2: too jumpy, there are 12 chapter selections and, like... thirty chapters
3: no cast bio's (other cool features, but, no bio's!)
Still it's worth a few laughs and the money, should be intended for those who have seen the Groove Tube & want more.
Great cast though: Chevy Chase (Caddyshack), John Candy (Great Outdoors), Laraine Newman, Al Franken, Tom Davis, Betty Thomas, Howard Hessman, Neal Irael (Bachelor Party)."
No DVD extras / 70s comedy, love it or hate it
Michael R. Airhart | Providence, RI, United States | 06/17/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Tunnelvision mocks -- or perhaps it just reflects -- tasteless mid-Seventies TV programming. A disclaimer suggests that the film parodies the era's rampant on-screen sexism and assorted prejudices, but the script lacks the timing and understatement needed to accomplish this successfully.
Mid-Seventies television was schlocky. The writers and comedians behind Tunnelvision -- fresh from Second City Television (SCTV) or not yet honed through SNL -- knew TV was tasteless. But regrettably, their early effort at parody is often more cynicism than wit. Are we really expected to laugh when a "Spy TV" victim kills himself, giggle when a male news anchor tries to shack up with compliant "weather girl," or roar with delight when a nearly naked Betty Thomas must pass gas to win a game show?
The political vision behind Tunnelvision is sharper: The film takes jabs at Exxon, air pollution, the 1970s phone monopoly, political mudslinging, and a sporty new national anthem punctuated by nuclear missiles. Some of these parodies of Seventies current events are worth seeing, and the DVD format lets the viewer skip the stuff in between.
Ultimately, Tunnelvision's theme -- TV on trial -- is a well-crafted excuse to string together 70 minutes of SCTV skits and SNL-style fake commercials. Tunnelvision offers us a worthwhile glimpse at countless great comedians' humble beginnings, and it reminds us of an era that was coarser, more troubled, more cynical, and less hip than the fantasy depicted in "That 70s Show" or SNL's "Best of" retrospectives.
DVD buyers please note: While it lets you skip to the good skits, the DVD format also exposes Tunnelvision's low-budget video and audio production quality."
Tunnelvision - They don't make movies like this anymore.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Texas, U.S.A. | 01/31/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Tunnelvision" is a movie that pokes a lot of "R" rated fun at serious television programming. Perhaps the definitive film of it's kind. Even more so than it's predeccesor "The Groove Tube". And yes, it features some comedy stars that you would easily recognize today such as Howard Hessman, Laraine Newman and Richard Belzer to name a few. This movie is still one of my favorites from the '70's. Standout bits include a sit-com about a very disfunctional family called "Ramone and Sonia", featuring the above mentioned Miss Newman, and a "commercial" about an attractive woman who wants to look more butch. A nice little "throw-away" touch is the cool looking "eyemouth" station logo. Tunnelvision is an aquired taste, and repeated viewings may be nessesary to really appreciate this very obscure and even harder to find film. But give it a chance. It's only 70 minutes long. Watch and enjoy, you'll thank me for it."
Wingnut dzy88p | Colorado Rockies | 12/01/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"OK so it's sick and dated.
The most interesting thing about the movie IMHO is that the news anchor is none other than Ernie "Ghoulardi" Anderson.
He was also the voice of ABC (Carol Burnett Show announcer and "The LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Boat") and later AFV.
Every once in a while Carol Burnett would introduce him in her audience as if everyone knew who he was. He was extremely close friends with Tim Conway.
He tried to make it as an actor but could never remember more than a few lines, so they made him a news anchor and he used a teleprompter during filming.
He was the father of Paul Thomas Anderson, who is now a famous movie director.