Theme Song: No.
Interesting Dated References: People fighting for their rights.
Best Line: “How’s your heart? Still Bleeding?”
Social Context: Somewhere in this script there was a fabulous diatribe about utility companies, politics, and big business. But along the way it got buried in shitty jokes, bad acting, and padded dialogue.
Summary: So in 1981 Airplane! had been released and was a smash hit. The main pilot in the film, Robert Hays, was part of the hit and all of its success. Unfortunately, sometime before Airplane! hit theaters, he decided to star in Utilities, an uninspired stab at the romantic-social-commentary-comedy genre.
Hays plays the cleverly named Bob Hunt, a social worker who handles elderly patients. He becomes fed up with the gas and electric companies and decides to do something about it. While blandly trying to convince gas company employees not to shut off service for an old lady, he is arrested by Officer Edwards. The officer is played by Brooke Adams, one of those 80s actresses who you see in stuff and go, “Hey that’s that one lady who was in that movie.” So go fucking figure, Officer Edwards arrests Bob a few times and finally he asks her on a date. She turns him down.
I was surprised to see one of the elderly gentlemen that Hunt takes care of was none other than actor extraordinaire John Marley of Godfather and Cassavetes’ Faces fame. Of course he doesn’t have much of a role, but it was a pleasant surprise in the middle of film mediocrity. After one of the fellow elderly die, Hunt and his roommate break in to the gas company and switch the large tape reels that are called a computer so they pay out money to all the citizens. This concept is totally asinine. There are some stellar burnt umber office interiors at the gas company as well as some fabulously outdated technologies. After that they screw with the phone company, but are arrested. Meanwhile there’s a big symposium about gas prices. The whole plot is uncovered, then Hunt and Officer Edwards have sex over some shitty music.
Poster and Box Art I could not find a poster for this movie, which leads me to believe it may have been one of the early direct-to-video releases, although you can usually still find posters for those films left over from in-store promotions. The art for the Beta makes it look like a silly romantic comedy, which it is, so there’s no point in discussing it further.
Availability: Used VHS on eBay.