Sunset Limousine

I watched “Sunset Limousine,” the TV movie from 1983 starring John Ritter, Susan Dey, Martin Short, Paul Reiser, and George Kirby.  It had Ritter as Alan O’Black, an aspiring stand-up comedian kicked out of the house by his girlfriend Julie Preston, played by Dey.  It was one of those low-budget films that is set in Los Angeles, even though filming happened in San Diego.  Sometimes the geography didn’t seem right with a character going to Burbank and Inglewood on the way to Hollywood, maybe.  I thought that Susan Dey was making an effort to speak differently, as if she had a dialogue coach.  Julie was making a living selling valuable trees to people.  She drove a pickup truck, and she also had a young son named Steven.  We see some streets and shopping malls in 1983, and Dey has a chance in one scene to topple a video arcade game.  She also managed to work in references to Rainer Werner Fassbinder and The Motels.  The plot is rather foolish, with a touch of “Charade” in the money part of the story.  Ritter did decent stand-up routines, although he wasn’t really hilarious or creative.  He did do things that I haven’t seen from Jerry Seinfeld.  I thought that the sequence at the cemetery was rather funny.  It made me think of Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal bicycling through Chinatown in “What’s Up, Doc?”  It looked like Ritter was struggling a bit to keep this little movie going forward.  The Julie character could have had more life to her.  She only has car trouble delivering a tree and goes on an awkward date with Martin Mull.  Susan Dey acted as if she was undergoing some strain in her life.  Her hairstyle seems to show a lot.  The chemistry with John Ritter seemed to work better in “The Comeback Kid.”  The concept of “Sunset Limousine” also made me think of “D.C. Cab.”  Reportedly, pre-production on “Sunset Limousine” started in 1979, and filming began in May 1983.  It aired on CBS on October 12, 1983.  I would rate it as just slightly above average.  It has some amusing moments.  Mike Post did the music, although it sounded as if he had already used his better material for “The Rockford Files.”  Some of the people who died on December 2 include Edmond Rostand (1918), Sabu (1963), Marty Feldman (1982), Desi Arnaz (1986), Aaron Copland (1990), Bob Cummings (1990), Gail Fisher (2000), Odetta (2008), and Bobby Keys (2014).  Today is a birthday for Monica Seles (43) and Lucy Liu (48).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 2, Cindy Birdsong was kidnapped at knifepoint in 1969, although she escaped by jumping out of a car.  In 1982, Marty Feldman died of a heart attack at age 48 in a hotel room in Mexico City during the making of “Yellowbeard.”  In 1997, “Good Will Hunting,” starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, had its premiere.

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