Tunnel Vision (1976) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

I really miss the old sketch comedy movies about movies and TV. While they produced plenty of embarrassing moments, they also produced many wonderfully creative sketches. The beauty of the format is that the writers run in an open field. They can go anywhere their imaginations lead them, because they are not restricted to making their humor fit a specific plot line. Both SCTV and SNL made a lot of people rich and famous doing this type of humor.

The genre began, about the same time that SNL debuted, with 1974's The Groove Tube (5.5 at IMDb), and led eventually through Amazon Women on the Moon (5.5), Kentucky Fried Movie (6.5), and UHF (6.5), all of which had some moments of inspired lunacy. On the negative side, the genre also spawned Americathon (3.6), Stay Tuned (4.9), and Tunnel Vision (5.0).


Betty Thomas played a "make a fool of yourself for money" game show in pasties and a thong.

Dody Dorn played a hot, naked archbishop in a campaign to make religion more appealing.

Three guys showed their butts in an ad for a proctology home-study course.


DVD info from Amazon.

  • poor transfer

  • full-screen format

  • no features

The premise of 1976's Tunnel Vision was to look into the future and show how one network managed to dominate 1985's programming with "no bullshit" shows and news. The United States Senate is holding hearings to investigate their virtual monopoly and its impact on America's children, giving the director a chance to enter short snippets from the programming as evidence in the hearings.

Somebody obviously saw Groove Tube and liked it, and thus decided to make their own extension. It sounded like a better idea than it was.

Frankly, almost all of the sketches fall flat on their faces, despite the presence of some of the once and future stars of the sketch comedy biz, including Dr Johnny Fever, Larraine Newman, John Candy, Chevy Chase, Roger Bowen, Joe Flaherty, Ron Silver, Gerrit Graham, Betty Thomas, Al Franken and Tom Davis. The film strikes me as evidence that pot will improve your experience if you smoke it before watching a dumb comedy, but not if you smoke it before writing one.

On the other hand, even though the transfer stinks and the film is almost as bad, I really enjoyed going back in the time tunnel to see this film, which has often been unavailable in the intervening years. You older guys might enjoy the nostalgic aspect of it.

Tuna's thoughts

Tunnel Vision (1976) is one of those films made up of a series of short sketches with some underlying premise, in this case, a senate hearing into the damage being done to America in 1985 by a censor-free TV station. They supposedly screen excerpts from a typical days programming. Despite some real talent, most of the skits just weren't funny, especially in 2002. However, Henry Kissinger calling Nixon a big jerk on a children's show would have gotten a big laugh from me in the mid 70's. Several of the skits were biting satire, for example, Charlie's Girls, referring both to Charlie's Angels and the Manson family.

The best exposure is from Dody Dorn where she starts dressed as a bishop and ends up showing full-frontal in an ad to join the church. She abandoned acting shortly after this film, and tried her hand at several other crafts, finally becoming a talented editor, and received an Oscar nomination in 2000 for Memento.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D+ (both reviewers). Sub-par for a sketch comedy movie. Very few creative laughs.

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