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Pleasantville, Stay Tuned, and Cool World:

Pleasantville (1998)

The Doctor needs help

movie poster You may think that black & white TV reruns are taped or filmed, but they are actually coming from the b&w town of Pleasantville, where the b&w people don't know that they're saying the same things over and over in their colorless world. Two teenagers acquire a special TV remote from a wierd TV-repairman that zaps them into Pleasantville (a 1950s burg similar to Leave It To Beaver, Mayberry, etc). It's a twist on Woody Allen's "Purple Rose Of Cairo" (in which a b&w character steps off the movie screen into our world). The boy is delighted. He loves the warm fuzzy world of 1950s sitcoms but his sister finds it very boring. Since all teens have sex like bunnies (at least in Hollywood movies), she takes a local b&w basketball player to Lover's Lane and introduces him to sex. She advises others on the previously-unknown subject, but the b&w people discover a horrifying side-effect to having fun - they lose their b&w skin color!
A Barbara Billingsley-type 1960s mom tries despirately to cover up her affliction with b&w cosmetics, but soon other people start turning up in color too. Then the cranky old TV repairman (Don Knotts in his final role) pops up on a TV screen in Pleasantville and asks them what the (blank) do they (blankety blank) think they're doing? But by then it's too late, color is breaking out all over Pleasantville. This doesn't sit well with the more traditional people, who start discriminating against the "colored" people and decide to hold a secret meeting about it. No heavy messages here, though at one point a carload of boys pulls up next to him and one harrasses him for walking with a "colored" girl. Not a hit at the boxoffice (it cost $40 million and grossed the same amount), Pleasantville seems to be building quite a fan following on cable TV. This was the first movie together by Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, with William H. Macy (Fargo) and Joan Allen as their fictional parents in Pleasantville. The soda-shop owner/secret artist is played by Jeff Daniels; with the late, great character actor J.T. Walsh as Big Bob
Written/directored by Gary Ross
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films' Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, Best Performance by a Younger Actor/Actress

"Pleasantville" availability on video and on DVD from

Stay Tuned (1992)

A strange satellite-dish salesman (drive-in movie favorite Jeffrey Jones) signs up a couple of couch potatoes (John Ritter and Pam Dawber) with the promise of 666 channels. What they don't know is that they've just made a pact with the Devil. They're sucked into the TV world, finding themselves the unwilling participants of everything from professional wrestling (hey, it's good enough for the SCIFI channel) to private eye shows. Leonard Maltin calls it a "dismal comedy," though he did like the spoofs of TV titles, and the segment animated by great Warner Brothers cartoons director Chuck Jones in which Ritter finds himself the mouse in a cat & mouse cartoon (Scott Bakula wanted to reprise this scene in Quantum Leap but the TV-series was cancelled).
Additional cast:
Eugene Levy (Splash, American Pie 3), David Tom, Heather McComb, Bob Dishy, Salt N Pepa.
87 minutes rated PG. John Ritter had previously played the President in Americathon (1979)

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Funny, it uneven comedy of high school slacker with endless list of ways to cut school and get away with it, making him a legend among schoolmates. Jeffrey Jones is determined to catch him, but never quite does. A big hit for Matthew Broderick (WarGames, Ladyhawke, Project X).
Additional cast:
Alan Ruck, Jennifer Grey (Red Dawn) Edie McClurg, Charlie Sheen (The Wraith), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie). Ben Stein (of Comedy Central's Win Ben Stein's Money) plays Bueller's long-suffering home-room teacher. Written & directed by John Hughes before he was Home Alone.

"Ferris Bueller" availability on video and on DVD from

Cool World (1992)

Oddball movie from director Ralph Bakshi (Lord Of The Rings, 1978) in which comicbook artist (Gabriel Byrne) discovers that his creations are real, living in a parallel universe called Cool World. Holli (voice of Kim Basinger), one of his sexy doodles, has sex with him, turning her into a real human being (and you probably thought Pinocchio's Revenge was a wierd movie). She escapes, with detective (Brad Pitt) close behind. Cast includes Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Leonard Maltin says, "Too serious to be fun, too goofy to take seriously; lead characters are unlikable and unappealing. This looks like a Roger Corman version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit." 101 minutes rated PG-13

Ralph Bakshi availability on video and on DVD from
Previous broadcasts in 2007:
Pleasantville (Don Knotts)
Last seen Jan 29 on Starz Kids and Family
Last seen Feb 22 on Encore
Last seen Feb 17 on Encore Drama Channel
Last seen Feb 17 on Movie Plex

The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964 animated & live-action, Don Knotts)
Last seen Feb 21 on HBO Comedy

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)
Last seen Feb  1 on Turner Classic Movies
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