Tunnelvision (1976)

Tunnelvision (1976)

“Tunnelvision is popular because freedom is popular.”

In a dystopian vision of 1985, a congressional committee holds a hearing to discuss an uncensored television station which Americans are staying at home all day to watch.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Courtroom Drama
  • Satires and Spoofs
  • Television

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary is generally dismissive of this darkly satirical spoof of public viewing tastes, featuring snippets from shows, previews, and advertisements that futuristic Americans can’t stop watching. He argues that “you’ll never be able to figure out why anyone would stay home to watch this stuff”, given that “it’s hard enough to sit through 67 minutes of it” — but I think his quibble misses the point. Thanks to the film’s strategic framing structure — attendees at the congressional hearing are shown a “representative sample” of clips — we’re privy to mercifully truncated snippets of the channel’s hit-and-miss offerings, just enough to either unhinge or bore us before quickly moving on. Notable highlights include James Bacon in a “funny bit as a movie reviewer”, clearly meant to gently spoof Rogert Ebert (RIP); and an eerily prescient public service announcement in which a cheery woman demonstrates how to utilize a “pollution control box, located at every street corner” while men collapse in real-time on the sidewalk nearby: “This may slow down your trip a little”, she chirps, “but at least you get to your destination alive. Remember, use your pollution control box: it’s a matter of life and breath.” Sadly, this message couldn’t be more salient today.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some spot-on satirical spoofs of the cultural zeitgeist

  • James Bacon’s “impersonation” of Roger Ebert

Must See?
No, but it’s recommended if you enjoy this kind of fare.


One thought on “Tunnelvision (1976)

  1. First – and last – viewing.

    Yikes! This is up (or, rather, down) there with some of the worst pieces of crap I’ve ever seen. As comedy, it’s sophomoric, almost completely without wit and embarrassing.

    One short bit is fun: the ‘Remember When’ quiz show – in which a male and female contestant compete to see how long it takes them to recall details of awful things they were involved in in the past.

    Other than that…this gets tiresome early on…and pretty much stays that way.

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