Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
  • The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before

Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…

Stay Tuned (1992)

I remember when Stay Tuned was first released, because I was very keen to go and see it at the cinema. The premise – a suburban couple get sucked into their TV set – just seemed too good not to want to see!

Of course, I didn’t go and see Stay Tuned and despite the fact that 26 years have passed since the film opened in cinemas, I’ve still not watched it. Well, not until today anyway.

Now I’m under no illusions that Stay Tuned is going to be a good movie. The fact that I’ve waited 26 years to watch this movie tells me that somewhere, in the back of my mind, I know this is going to be a disappointment, but still I’m watching it.

As for what I know about the film?

Quite a bit actually. I know that Stay Tuned is a satire of TV programmes; I know that the film stars John Ritter and Pam Dawber; and I know that the film includes an animated sequence where Ritter and Dawber get turned into cartoon mice. This sequence was animated by legendary cartoonist, Chuck Jones.

So yeah, despite not having seen the movie, I know a fair bit about it.

Right, it’s time…

*Clicks the play button*

1min 30secs – The film has opened with a mysterious man approaching an elderly couple with some kind of offer of a lifetime. This feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone or to a lesser extent, Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. Yeah, definitely Amazing Stories.

2mins – The opening credits have kicked in and they’re like a low budget version of the Superman titles. A really low budget version of the Superman titles.

9mins – So… John Ritter and Pam Dawber are married. Life is great except the TV is getting in the way. Damn TV!

9mins 40secs – Pam Dawber is pissed. Probably because John Ritter is watching countless TV shows yet none of the shows are Mork and Mindy. I’d be pissed too if I was the former star of a TV show and my other half didn’t watch it. Unless I was the star of Love Island.

10mins 40secs – And now Pam Dawber has just smashed up the TV! I told you she was pissed.

11mins 30secs – Jeffrey Jones has just turned up. He was the mystery man at the start of the movie. He’s just offered John Ritter a new TV. How nice is that?

15mins – Yeah… it’s possible that Jeffrey Jones is the devil. Still – free TV!

15mins 30secs – John Ritter has just put the TV on and the film being advertised is Three Men and Rosemary’s Baby. Now that’s a movie I’d watch! Seriously. It can’t be any worse than Three Men and a Little Lady, can it?

18mins – Oh dear; John Ritter and Pam Dawber have just been sucked into the TV.

22mins – OK, so Jeffrey Jones isn’t the devil. He’s just making TV shows for the devil. Oh, well that’s OK then.

37mins – John Ritter and Pam Dawber’s kids have started to question their parents disappearance. Yet they don’t seem to be doing anything productive. Great going, guys.

38mins – So, currently the film is working its way to the end of a fair lengthy sequence inspired by the ’90s TV show, Northern Exposure. Remember that one, kids?

39mins 30secs – Yes! I’ve reached the animated sequence. This is the part that made me want to watch this movie as a kid. PLEASE BE GOOD. PLEASE BE GOOD!

46mins 30secs – Yeah, that was pretty good. The whole animated sequence had a Tom & Jerry/Looney Tunes vibe, complete with ‘That’s All, Folks!’ ending and a Chuck Jones cameo. Works for me!

47mins – This film is now doing a parody of Saturday Night Live/Wayne’s World. Er… that’s not Mike Myers under that Wayne Campbell make-up. I’m pretty sure that’s not Dana Carvey either.

1hr 6mins – The last 20 mins have largely involved two sequences – one set in a gangster movie and one set during the French Revolution. Neither was particularly interesting/funny/exciting* (*please delete as applicable). Bring back the cartoon mice!

1hr 7mins – John Ritter has been sent home, but Pam Dawber is still stuck in the TV. There’s a re-run metaphor here somewhere.

1hr 10mins – And John Ritter’s gone back into the TV.

1hr 11mins – Things are starting to wrap up and…

1hr 12mins – Oh, a Star Trek: The Next Generation parody.

1hr 12mins 40secs – Sorry, where was I? Oh yes; so things are starting to wrap up and yet it feels like the movie hasn’t really gone anywhere. This is just an endless array of parodies and sight gags – which aren’t funny.

1hr 14mins – ‘Driving Over Miss Daisy‘. OK, so that was funny.

1hr 22mins – John Ritter and Pam Dawber are back home safe and sound and Ritter has pretty much given up watching TV. There’s a lesson here about watching too much TV… but screw that, TV rules!

*Clicks stop and flicks on the TV*

Jeez, what’s this crap? Bloody TV, there’s never anything good on!

*Clicks TV off*

Well… Stay Tuned wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t particularly good. Stay Tuned is one of those movies which has a lot of potential but it just doesn’t really live up to the premise.

The references and parodies to old TV shows are fun to begin with, but they wear thin pretty quickly. That said, I’m surprised this film isn’t shown on TV more often (or at all) as the premise at least makes it memorable.

So, 26 years on and I’ve finally watched Stay Tuned. I probably won’t watch it again for at least another 26 years – and that’s OK with me.

18 down; 72 to go.

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: Murder at 1600 (1997), Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993)My Own Private Idaho (1991)Wagons East (1994)In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993) Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).