Stay Tuned (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Produced by||James G. Robinson|
|Music by||Bruce Broughton|
|Edited by||Peter E. Berger|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$10.7 million (US)|
Stay Tuned is a 1992 American dark fantasy adventure satire comedy film directed by Peter Hyams, written by Jim Jennewain and Tom S. Parker, and based on a story by Jennewain, Parker, and Richard Siegel, and starring John Ritter, Pam Dawber, Jeffrey Jones, and Eugene Levy.
Roy Knable (John Ritter) is a struggling Seattle plumbing salesman, former fencing athlete, and couch potato who lives with his neglected wife Helen (Pam Dawber), a vitamin product senior manager. After a fight (which involved Helen smashing the family television screen with one of Roy's fencing trophies as a wake-up call to reality), Mr. Spike (Jeffrey Jones) appears at the couples' door, offering them a new high-tech satellite dish system filled with 666 channels of programs one cannot view on the four big networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox). What Roy does not know is that Spike (later referred to as "Mephistopheles of the Cathode Ray") is an emissary from hell who wants to boost the influx of souls by arranging for TV junkies to be killed in the most gruesome and ironic situations imaginable. The 'candidates' are sucked into a hellish television world, called Hellevision, and put through a gauntlet where they must survive a number of satirical versions of sitcoms and movies. If they can survive for 24 hours, they are free to go, but if they get killed, then their souls will become the property of Satan (the latter usually happens).
The dish eventually sucks Roy and Helen into this warped world. They are pursued by Spike, who enters some shows, along with the Knables, to halt their advance. Roy and Spike continue to fight throughout several shows, even in a cloak-and-dagger scenario where Roy displays his long-buried talent as a fencer. Through tenacity and sheer luck, the Knables keep surviving, and their young son Darryl (David Tom) recognizes his parents fighting for their lives on the TV set. He and his older sister Diane (Heather McComb) are able to provide important assistance from the real world. This infuriates Spike to the point that he makes good on Roy's contract, releasing him, but not Helen, as she was not in the system under contract.
Roy re-enters the system to save Helen, bringing his own remote control with him, allowing them to control their journey. After being pursued by Spike through several more channels, Roy finally confronts his enemy in a Salt-N-Pepa music video, manages to get hold of Spike's remote, and uses it to save Helen from being run over by a train in a Western movie. By pressing the "off" button on the remote, they are evicted from the TV set moments before it sucks their neighbor's abusive Rottweiler into the TV and it destroys itself, leaving the Rottweiler trapped in the TV world forever. In the end, Spike gets eliminated by the Rottweiler on the command of Crowley (Eugene Levy), a vengeful employee he banished to the system earlier, and is then succeeded in his executive position by Pierce (Erik King), a younger upstart employee. Roy, who has learned a valuable lesson after his adventure, has dramatically cut back on his TV viewing, quit his job as a plumbing salesman, and opened his own fencing school and advised one of his students that watching too much TV can get you into trouble.
- John Ritter as Roy Knable
- Pam Dawber as Helen Knable
- Jeffrey Jones as Spike
- David Tom as Darryl Knable
- Heather McComb as Diane Knable
- Bob Dishy as Murray Seidenbaum
- Eugene Levy as Crowley
- Erik King as Pierce
- Don Calfa as Wetzel
- Susan Blommaert as Ducker
- Don Pardo as Game Show Announcer
- Lou Albano as Ring Announcer
- Salt as Herself
- Pepa as Herself
- DJ Spinderella as Herself
Stephen Holden of The New York Times called the film a "cleverly plotted movie" based on a "nifty satiric concept" but said that "most of its takeoffs ... show no feel for genre and no genuine wit." Rita Kempley of the Washington Post called the film "wonderfully silly" and a "zippy action spoof." Variety reported the film was "not diabolical enough for true black comedy, too scary and violent for kids lured by its PG rating and witless in its sendup of obsessive TV viewing...a picture with nothing for everybody"; it noted that the "six-minute cartoon interlude by the masterful Chuck Jones, with Ritter and Dawber portrayed as mice menaced by a robot cat...has a grace and depth sorely lacking in the rest of the movie." Time Out called it "pointless 'satire'" with the "emotional depth of a 30-second soap commercial."
Some film and television series parodies include:
- Three's Company, in which John Ritter had starred as Jack Tripper between 1976 and 1984.
- Wayne's World – Duane's Underworld in a twisted zombie sketch show Saturday Night Dead (a parody of Saturday Night Live)
- The Silence of the Lambs – Silencer of the Lambs commercial, a couple binds and gags their kids to keep them quiet during a car trip
- Three Men and a Baby, Rosemary's Baby – Three Men and Rosemary's Baby
- The Dukes of Hazzard – David Dukes of Hazzard
- Driving Miss Daisy – Driving Over Miss Daisy
- Northern Exposure – Northern Overexposure
- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – Autopsies of the Rich and Famous
- The Exorcist – The Exorciseist
- Murder, She Wrote – Murder, She Likes
- Leave It to Beaver – Meet the Mansons
- thirtysomething – thirtysomething-to-life (in prison)
- Beverly Hills, 90210 – Beverly Hills, 90666
- I Love Lucy – I Love Lucifer
- The Golden Girls – The Golden Ghouls
- Married... with Children – Unmarried with Children
- Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – Fresh Prince of Darkness
- The Facts of Life – Facts of Life Support
- My Three Sons – My Three Sons of Bitches
- Diff'rent Strokes – Different Strokes (about two elderly men literally having strokes)
- World Wrestling Federation – Underworld Wrestling Foundation (includes a cameo by former professional wrestler/manager Lou Albano)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation – Death Trek: The Next Generation (additional minor reference to William Shatner of the original Star Trek series)
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – This reference is made during a scene in Spike's control center. The center is modeled after the War Room and also features a Dr. Strangelove impersonator.
- Looney Tunes – Rooney Tunes, a cartoon, animated by Chuck Jones, depicting Roy and Helen as mice trying to evade a mechanical cat
- Home Shopping Club – Home Shoplifting Channel
- Yogi Bear – Yogi Beer commercial, a kid drinks a beer that has no alcohol, but sounds just like his father
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||August 29, 1992|
|Producer||Hurby Luv Bug, Full Force, Black Sheep, Jason Hunter, Ced Gee, LaVaba Mallison|
The soundtrack to the film is made up entirely of hip hop songs with the exception of the last two tracks, which were themes composed by Bruce Broughton. Tracks in bold are used in the movie.
- Start Me Up - Salt-n-Pepa (4:45)
- The Choice Is Yours - Black Sheep (3:22)
- Taste - Cherokee & Auto (4:07)
- Xodus - X-Clan (4:22)
- Strobelite Honey - Black Sheep (3:07)
- Message From the Boss - Ultramagnetic MC's (4:47)
- The Mic Stalker - Doctor Ice (2:57)
- Bad, Bad, Bad - Kool Moe Dee (4:48)
- Darryl's Dad - Bruce Broughton (1:17)
- Stay Tuned (Main Theme) - Bruce Broughton (2:07)
Broughton's score was released in 2011 by Intrada.
- Main Title 2:57
- Meet Darryl 1:03
- The Dish 2:56
- A Bumpy Ride 2:12
- Sayonara, Mrs. Seidenbaum 0:33
- Field Work 0:55
- Gordon Bashing 2:04
- It Ate My BMX 2:01
- Wolf Attack 0:45
- That's My Bike! 2:53
- Offering to Help 1:47
- You Have Tits 1:35
- Aim The Dish 0:30
- Off With Your Wig 3:34
- Darryl Breaks Through 0:52
- Redemption 1:31
- Roy Goes Back 1:10
- The 3:10 to Yuma 1:55
- Roy Gets Shot 0:53
- Crashing In 0:32
- The Big Sword Fight 1:19
- Turn It Off! 1:50
- So What Can I Tell You... 0:53
- The Game Show 1:29
- TV Theme Medley 3:32
- Roy Knable, Private Dick 3:26
- We’re Cartoons 6:42
- "Stay Tuned (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. October 1, 1992. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
- "Stay Tuned". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
- Childs, Paul (July 18, 2018). "Looking back at Stay Tuned". denofgeek. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- Review of Stay Tuned from Variety
- Stay Tuned at Rotten Tomatoes Accessed 15 June 2012
- Bedeviled Suburbanites With a 24-Hour Deadline, an August 15, 1992 review from The New York Times
- Review of Stay Tuned, an August 18, 1992 review from the Washington Post
- Review of Stay Tuned Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine from the Time Out Film Guide
- "Weekend Box Office : Eastwood Still Tall in the Saddle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
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