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  • My husband and I have loved this hilarious movie since it came out years ago! The people who gave a bad rating seemed so negative and up tight. There are so many funny scenes that are just priceless. Dabney Coleman is great. This has to be one of his classic roles. He has so many funny lines, what a character! His line "I'm a damn good looking man" is an all time favorite! Chevy is just great being Chevy. He always makes me laugh and has such a great dry sense of humor. Nell Carter as Dorita is just a charm with her voodoo. What a character! All the actors are so perfect and funny. I recommend this to everyone who likes a funny, quirky and great movie from our past! Enjoy it like we have all these years!
  • The director and star of the 1974 classic "The Groove Tube" reunited to make the wacky "Modern Problems", in which air traffic controller Max Fiedler (Chevy Chase) gets exposed to nuclear waste and uses his new powers to play all sorts of tricks. It's hard to say what was my favorite scene; there were so many funny ones (the ballet sequence was a real hoot, as was the restaurant scene).

    Look, you just gotta see this movie. It's so hilarious and truly shows Chevy Chase during his heyday at his best. I know that in later years he degenerated into crappy fare like "Cops and Robbersons", but this affirms that he really can play a great role. A person would have to lack a sense of humor not to like this movie. Also starring Patti D'Arbanville, Dabney Coleman, Mary Kay Place, Nell Carter and Brian Doyle-Murray.

    And also check out "The Groove Tube".
  • gavin694221 February 2014
    Jealous, harried air traffic controller Max Fiedler (Chevy Chase), recently dumped by his girlfriend, comes into contact with nuclear waste and is granted the power of telekinesis, which he uses not only to win her back, but to gain a little revenge.

    The bloody nose scene goes from mildly amusing to rather revolting, and that made it something I could have done without. But that was the only really bad part of the film.

    Fans of Chase may not have seen this one, as it is not well known. Younger fans (those who now know him best from "Community") will definitely not have heard of it. Check it out. Please.
  • Acting Lesson #1:

    Let's say (hypothetically) that you (yes you!) are a cast member of fledgling hour-long skit-based comedy program Saturday Night Live in the Lord's year 1975. Perhaps you are one of the more popular performers on said program. All over America, SNL is exploding in popularity, and millions tune in to witness your own special brand of physical comedy. Now let's say you get cocky. You figure if you're already so popular on national television, you could become even MORE popular in the movies. So after only one year on the show, you leave to pursue a career in Hollywood. But you weren't ready. You hadn't built enough hype up as a TV star yet, and with what appears to be no consideration whatsoever, you accept every movie roll that comes along.

    That, ladies and gentleman, is the story of Chevy Chase. Despite his obvious comedy genius, he blindly accepted the roll of our protagonist Max Fielder in the godawful Modern Problems. Wrought with visible camera equipment, transparent special effects, weird and upsetting continuity errors (including teleportation), and more shots of the boom mic than of Chase himself, Modern Problems is much like a poorly edited home movie.

    Now we've established Chases's undiscriminating attitude, but what on earth possessed the rest of the cast? This stinker touted a few reasonably well-known names such as Dabney Coleman, Nell Carter, Mary Kay Place, SNL alum Brian Doyle-Murray, and a guest shot by Pat Proft. Perhaps the first 100 actors to sign up were given a free calendar.

    Regardless, I would never pretend that this movie had no value. Like at least 60% of all films, it becomes an instant classic when you and a group of friends gather to guffaw at it's obvious shortcomings. And, heck, there are some legitimate Chevy jokes in Modern Problems. Don't miss the line "Smells like feet!"
  • If you did not like this movie, you have the personality and charisma of a carrot. LOSERS! This movie is awesome and funny. Chevy Chase kicks ass and knows how to treat a lady. We should all have those powers to put the stuck people this world in their place. NOSEBLEEDs to all those who hated this movie.

    Hats off to the TUBES for a awesome intro song which depicts the trials and tribulations we all have to deal with on a daily basis. LIFE IS HARD. I recommend Modern Problems to all with a pulse rate higher than 3. If you didn't like this, you probably like "Fried Green Tomatoes" or "Steel Magnolias" or crap like that...
  • "Modern Problems" was one of those movies that got a lot of play on HBO when I was a kid in the early 80s, and since I was a big Chevy Chase fan at the time, I watched it over and over again. Nearly 30 years later, the film had all but faded from my memory except for a few random bits so when it turned up on Fox Movie Channel over the weekend I decided to give it a shot.

    90 minutes later I'm sitting here thinking to myself "Wow, this was pretty bad wasn't it?", and I'm not sure if the film hadn't aged well, or if it simply wasn't a very good film to begin with. All I can say is that I remember enjoying it a heck of a lot more as an easier-to-impress 12 year old.

    Chase plays Max, a stressed out Air Traffic Controller who's got serious relationship problems. He's recently broken up with his live-in girlfriend, and his ex-wife (Mary Kay Place), whom he apparently has kept a friendly relationship with, is now "schtupping" (that's an exact quote) an old friend of his from high school (Brian Doyle-Murray, aka Bill's brother). As if that weren't enough, a chance meeting with a leaky Nuclear Waste truck on the highway one night splatters him with radioactive goo, and he wakes up the next morning with telekinetic powers.

    You'd think that this would be a license to do a totally go-for-broke slapstick comedy but oddly enough very little is made of Max's newfound abilities till the film is almost over. Chase isn't his usual wild-and-wacky self either, preferring to mope around mooning over his girlfriend (Patti D'Arbanville). Eventually the dysfunctional foursome (Chase, D'arbanville, Doyle-Murray, and Place) go off to Murray's beach house to spend the weekend, joined by one of Murray's clients, an insufferable self-help author played by Dabney Coleman. Coleman is the funniest thing in the film, as his constant jabs and insults finally poke Chase's character into a full on telekinetic meltdown that can only be stopped by a voodoo ritual (?) performed by Murray's Haitian housekeeper (Nell Carter).

    "Modern Problems" tries to be quirky and wacky but spends most of the film falling flat on its face. It's got a decent cast and an interesting premise, but its greatest sin is that it casts a gifted comic like Chase and then tells him to be morose and unfunny for much of the run time (till he finally explodes towards the end).

    There are a few good bits (Chase using his power to give a guy a massive nosebleed in the middle of a swanky restaurant is a highlight, as is the entire "voodoo" scene) but otherwise "Modern Problems" isn't very "modern" anymore. Easily skippable even for hardcore Chevy Chase fans.
  • First of all, it is worth nothing that director Ken Shapiro seemingly hasn't been employed since this near-catastrophe was released in 1981. It's pretty safe to say that's a bad sign. Secondly, even a stellar cast cannot make a movie very good (what I like to call "Mars Attacks!" syndrome). Now that I have gotten that out of the way, a quick synopsis : Chevy Chase (that in itself is a bad sign) stars as an air traffic controller who, after an encounter with nuclear waste, acquires telekinetic powers, which he uses against his romantic rivals. The premise in itself is engaging and open to the possibility of great comedy. So what happened?

    Well, Ken Shapiro could be blamed. The direction is sloppy; actually it is downright pathetic. The pacing is WAY too slow, the action is ineptly handled, and many of the actors seem bored. And worst of all, the special effects are woeful...I haven't seen so much camera equipment on-screen since the glory days of Ed Wood. Case in point...the scene with the Flying-Airplane-Ashtray (don't ask), where some strange, large object is obviously present in the close-ups, holding up the Ashtray next to the camera. I've made home movies with better effects.

    What about the actors? Well, Nell Carter is an absolute hoot; she deserves better. And Dabney Coleman is entirely in his element here as a shady, egotistical author. Brian Doyle Murray and Mary Kay Place are also entertaining. Patti D'Arbanville is a bit lacking in comedic talent; she is given nothing more to do than pout and screech. But the real problem here is Chase. He is just going through the motions here, playing the hapless bumbler bit to death and looking very bored doing it. There is no life to his performance, and it grinds the movie to a halt.

    True, there are some funny moments here...Nell Carter gets most of the laughs in a woefully small role, the scenes involving Chase's romantic rival Barry (Mitch Kreindel) are pretty amusing, and one reviewer here has already mentioned Chase's throwaway line "Smells like feet," which for some reason made me laugh hysterically...but the funny moments are few and far between. There is so much BAD to sort through to get to the GOOD stuff, and it just isn't worth the time and trouble. Perhaps in better hands, "Modern Problems" could have been a good movie. This certainly isn't it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Modern Problems (1981): Dir: Ken Shapiro / Cast: Chevy Chase, Patti D'Arbanville, Mary Kay Place, Dabney Coleman, Nell Carter: Innovative high strung comedy that takes average daily issues and jacks them up on steroids. Chevy Chase plays airline controller Maxwell Fiedler whose girlfriend moves out because of his jealousy issues. Central plot regards the telekinesis power he develops after some sort of toxic spill from a truck. The film fails to have fun with this and instead is reduced in a dark tone that doesn't work. Chase has fun moments where he arrives at a restaurant and cause his ex-girlfriend's date to have a massive nose bleed, or the ballet that he totally wrecks. Patti D'Arbanville plays the girlfriend whom he is trying to win back. Mary Kay Place has a nifty supporting role as Chase's ex-wife who drags him to a nightclub where he unfortunately encounters D'Arbanville with a cocky date. Dabney Coleman plays an egotistic novelist who insults Chase and makes a play for D'Arbanville to the point of disrobing casually in her presence. They all get together at a beach house where the telekinesis hits a high sending Coleman through the ceiling. Nell Carter has an idiotic role as a maid doing voodoo on Chase but to no avail. While it is not as funny as it could be and certainly misses a grand opportunity, the theme addresses stress and all other modern problems that lead to bizarre incidents. Score: 7 ½ / 10
  • intenseyes23 January 2003
    I personally loved this movie. It is silly funny, one of those movies where you do not have to think and you can laugh. After a long day at work Modern Problems is a good way to laugh your cares away.
  • This was an obvious attempt at a silly fantasy that like most Chevy Chase movies can not be taken too seriously. Typical Chevy is down and out with nowhere to go but up. After a run in with a tanker truck hauling waste he discovers his new powers of telekinesis. The rest is mostly slapstick with a twist and getting back a Dabney Coleman's character. Nell Carter has a fun little bit as a housekeeper that practices voodoo. She senses something is wrong and tries her spells to gain control. There is but one great Chevy movie but this by any means was not an awful movie!
  • Being a Chevy Chase fan I might cut this one a little more slack, but even so there's no denying there's more cold side-effects than are hot ones in this early, but quite minor leading Chase vehicle (which two years later the very successful and iconic 'Vacation' would follow).

    Coming from the feature is a cruel, rude and mean-spirited vibe (which was done better in Martin Scorsese's 1985 dark comedy 'After Hours') that sees Chase in quite a dreary cloud of sappiness and finding himself in one degrading mishap after another and to cap it off his girlfriend has just left him because of his clingy nature. One night while driving his car behind a truck, the context in the tanker (nuclear waste) ends up on him giving the abilities of telekinesis and a nice green glow. He then begins use this power in ridding any sort of obstacles that get in the way of reuniting with his ex-girlfriend (which is beautifully played by Patti D'Arbanville).

    With a better script (which includes plenty of sexual innuendo), it could have been so much more, but while the cast (featuring Dabney Coleman, Nell Carter, Mary Kay Place and Brian Doyle-Murray) do the best. The one-joke script lets them down. The humour is mainly off the mark, as it never rises above the superfluous material and characters are not particularly engaging (especially Chase's loathsome character). It's a story were the humour contributes, rather than just being there for the sake of it, however it's a awkward mess of staged ideas and plastered visual gags. The special effects are modest, pacing is flat, style seems bland and the film looks quite murky. There's a real lack of passion, but director Ken Shapiro is saved by a few amusing (brisk, but enjoyable) comedic inclusions. But in the end these peculiar touches just weren't enough.

    Far from a laugh-riot with a little too much dead space, but 'Modern Problems' remains barely a passable throwaway.
  • I liked this mild Chevy Chase comedy. It is not the best in the world, but I found it pretty funny with some scenes really taking the cake. The movie has a guy having a really bad day, but then he gets a little toxic waste thrown on him and he develops powers of telekinesis...and of course he does what any of us would do, he uses them for revenge. The ballet scene and restaurant scenes are the best, I do not really care for him going a bit crazy at the end, but all in all it is a funny movie. Though it does seem kind of generic in a way, almost like something that was a television rather than one shown at theaters. Chevy is good as is most of the cast and the special effects are what you would expect for a movie from this time, quite bad.
  • MODERN PROBLEMS is one of those films that is ALWAYS on cable -- and yet no one would ever want to watch in its entirety. Blame Comedy Central. Probably Chevy Chase at his lowest. Although his career has had so many low points, it's hard to say. He must be a masochist who deliberately chooses godawful movies to destroy his career. Or he's a sadist who enjoys inflicting these turkeys on the rest of us. Don't listen to anyone who claims, "Actually, it's not that bad;" they didn't actually sit through it.
  • I never really got into this movie, it's more strange than it is funny. And Chevy wasn't his usual self either, he was way to morose and distant to really side with his character or empathise with him in any way.

    Chevy plays Max Fielder, an air-traffic controller who's life is constantly in the toilet and bad luck follows him everywhere. He's very paranoid and possessive over his girlfriend, so much so that she dumps him for some total dork.

    On his way home from a disastrous night out his car is sprayed with radioactive gunk from a leaky government truck. He is soon blessed/cursed with telekinetic abilities, which he uses to get revenge on those who make his life miserable.

    It could have been really fun but it's just...weird. Ken Shapiro (who?) does not have the same edge in his direction as Harold Ramis, Michael Ritchie or John Landis and he doesn't know how to fully use Chevy's brand of humor. There are some laughs to be had though, but their not so memorable.

    The DVD is in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen but it's mostly all shot in soft focus so there's nothing outstanding here. The sound is plain old Mono and it's alright if nothing else, though the dialogue has very heavy use of ADR. A trailer and TV spot are included. Oh...and that theme song playing over the menu, opening and closing credits? Yuck!
  • Chevy Chase stars as an air traffic controller who has an accident involving some radioactive materials which gives him telekinesis..he discovers this power and then uses it in sometimes hilarious manners..the restaurant and the bedroom scenes are almost reason enough to watch it.. on a scale of one to ten..7
  • Sheesh, I have read a lot of the reviews posted here and many are unfavorable...bad acting, poor directing, (not so) special effects, mono sound, blah photography....so I understand that after I post my (favorable) review I will probably not be able to run successfully for high public office. Of course, that deal was sealed long ago...its only a matter of time until they dig up and publish my history of my porn site visits in Google archives...so what the heck, here goes.

    I could NOT stop laughing. Did the other reviews mention casting? It is brilliant...who better to cast as a moody, feckless scorned lover (who happens to be an air traffic controller) than Chevy Chase...add to his performance that of Mitch Kreindel as the more feckless foil and you have a recipe for doubled-over laughter that would make you glad you wore your depends that day, if only they had them back in the 80's when this film was first screened. I loved the telekinesis device, especially the moment when an airplane ashtray complete with roaring engines and laden with cigarette butts, flies across the airport employee lounge and crashes in flames into a wall poster featuring some alpine peak. This is our first clue that Chevy has developed special powers, the rest is charming and fun (thanks to the great cast including Dabney Coleman, Mitch Kreindel, Patti D'Arbanville, and Nell Carter). Detractors will say (have said) otherwise. All that critical nit picking is only detail. Years later, when I think of this film, I smile. How bad can that be?
  • Terrible Chevy Chase-vehicle that is rude, ugly, disgusting, and totally terrible. Chase stars as an air traffic controller who experiences some changes after coming into contact with some radioactive material. The film never does make much sense. Gross-out scenes and stupid sexual references make "Modern Problems" a pure waste of a film that should be avoided at all costs. Turkey (0 stars out of 5).
  • cdorschel23 October 2005
    then we're in serious trouble. I realize this is not to be taken seriously, but the bottom line for me: if you find others' physical pain funny, you've got some SERIOUS issues. Chevy Chase plays a pathetic, selfish, sexist, homophobic, coked-up loser who rightfully so loses his girlfriend. He's given a self-destructive gift as a vehicle for humor in the end teaching him a valuable lesson? Giving his ex-girlfriend's date a serious bloody nose?!?! Sending a ballet dancer flying across the stage and exploding his crotch?!?! THIS is supposed to make me laugh??! If anything, it demonstrates the lack of intellect and decency in American audiences. I don't find this humor humorous, even if it is a sci-fi movie. It's drenched in sexism, homophobia (bringing a gun to ward of homosexuals? nice), and seriously BAD special effects and dialog. The only thing funny now is how much make-up Patti D'Arbinville is wearing and Nell Carter's character (rest in peace Nell, but what were you thinking?). It seems to draw a fan base of anti-social heterosexual men that fantasize about killing everyone that wronged them because they're pathetic. Nice! Should have never been imagined let alone produced...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this on HBO the other day and I have to say i was not quite impressed (but then again i had low standards going into the movie in the first place). The script was an amateur attempt at making a Chevy Chase vehicle, the jokes were terrible and the special effects were a bit to be desired. The movie was bad...it was bad bad bad.

    However..

    This is one of those movies that is so bad that it leaves you going back to see it again. I had originally taped it on DVR, and afterward, I found myself keeping it and not deleting it like I had originally planned.

    "Modern Problems" has Chevy Chase as a guy who has an extremely bad day. However, as the Hollywood rules go, dump some toxic waste on him and give him some supernatural powers. Cliché I know. But oh so fun. In movies like this you see the person becoming some sort of superhero. This movie breaks away from the cliché and has the guy act out revenge towards the people who have harmed him (not to mention giving his girlfriend one hell of an orgasm.)The end is a little weird, and definitely stupid, but I couldn't help but laugh at the wackiness of it all. And the message at the end (if you haven't been disgusted by it just yet), just goes to show that there is always someone who will love you.

    Patti D'Arbanville also surprised me. She wasn't bad at all. She was pretty good. She's a great crier and shows great emotion when she acts.

    5/10. Simply because it had potential but someone completely missed it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Chevy Chase plays a depressed air traffic controller who acquires telekinetic powers after glowing green nuclear waste liquid from a tanker truck on the highway splashes out onto him. "Groove Tube" director Ken Shapiro has assembled a quality cast, and the premise generates some amusing moments in this average romantic comedy. The logic between our hero's affliction and the powers that he gets seems fractured. Nuclear waste usually precipitates debilitating diseases rather than spectacular telekinetic powers. The first scene at the air traffic control center is reminiscent of a "Saturday Night Live" skit with everybody preoccupied with other matters than the aircraft they are supervising in the skies above New York City. After Max (Chevy Chase of "Foul Play") gets off duty and heads home, our ill-fated protagonist has to contend with mechanical problems with his car. First, he retracts his moon roof, and the handle comes off in his fist. Second, he then finds himself jammed between trucks, and the truck in front of him is loaded down with caged chickens. Third, chicken feathers swirl onto his windshield, through his moon roof, and onto his face. He tries to remove the feathers from his windshield with washer fluid, but he showers himself with his own water. Clearly, this scene anticipates Max's encounter with the nuclear waste truck. Afterward, he has to deal with the departure of his girlfriend Darcy (Patti D'Arbanville), and this predicament pushes him over the edge into massive depression. One of the funnier moments has Max using his powers when he gets upset about a rival, Barry, has convinced Darcy to go out on a date. While Max and Darcy are arguing over her date with Barry, Max's rage grows to the point that he makes a C-47 ashtray fly around the room. Predictably, Max manages to win Darcy back with his special telekinetic powers. First, he induces a case of nose-bleed on her stuck-up boyfriend, Barry (Mitch Kreindel of "Being There"), to force him to leave the restaurant. Later, he sabotages Barry's opera, making the lead dancer plunge off the stage at one point during his routine. Afterward, once Barry has taken Darcy home, Max steps in and takes Darcy to bed and gives her orgasm after orgasm before admitting that he isn't doing it. The major set-piece takes place as a Victorian beach house where Max and Darcy are invited by an old friend, Brian (Brian Doyle-Murray), who is a decorated Vietnam veteran confined to a wheelchair after an explosion crippled him following a sexual encounter with a Vietnamese woman. As it turns out, the enemy woman left a bomb under his bed after they had sex. Brian meets Max's ex-wife Lorraine (Mary Kay Place) one afternoon while Max is discussing his loss of Darcy with him. Lorraine falls head over heels in love with Brian after they meet at a gay bar where Brian is holding a publicity party for his bestselling self-help author, Mark Winslow (Dabney Coleman of "9 to 5"), who is so conceited that he thinks all women crave him. Coleman excels at being obnoxious and has a funny moment when he bares his butt to seduce Darcy. Darcy doesn't take the bait because she has refocused her sights on Max. At the beach house, Max goes nuts, turns luminous green, and behaves as if he were possessed. He dangles a white mouse in the air and then sniffs all of the white powder that superstitious Dorita (Nell Carter), a Haitian maid from Port Au Prince, has sprinkled around his bed to confine him to the mattress. This is probably the best scene after the opera scene. Darcy struggles to reassure Max on the roof of the beach house that she genuinely is concerned about him. Eventually, Dorita is stricken with the same powers. Abruptly, the film concludes as if Shapiro and co-scenarists Tom Sherohman and Arthur Sellers exhausted their creativity. Dabney Coleman adopts a phony accent that makes him sound funny, and Max subjects Mark's character to one humiliation after another during a dinner table scene. Chase delivers another low-key, laid-back performance where he relies on his deadpan behavior for maximum impact. The cast is charismatic, but the comedy is sporadic. "Modern Problems" boasts several goofy moments, but it isn't the tour-de-force that "The Groove Tube" was. Altogether, "Modern Problems" isn't Chase's best, but neither is it is worst.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    an average Joe air traffic controller is having problems.

    He is having little success winning back his girlfriend until nuclear waste spills on his car giving him telekentic powers.

    The once meek, but now suddenly empowered he begins to wreak havoc on those who have annoyed him culminating in a weekend getaway at his friend's beach house where his powers go out of control.....

    This is a really odd movie. Really, really odd. The first couple of minutes, I thought I'd be in store for a spoof in the style of a Zucker movie. The first couple of minutes are quite fast, zany, and blooming deceptive.

    Because after that, it goes really dark, and from then in it cant decide whether it wants to be a dark adult comedy (it is because of the nudity) or whether it still wants to play for the young ones.

    At the end of the day, it's far to silly for adults, and way too sinister for kids, and it just misses every demographic it tries to aim for.

    The cast are okay, Chase is as watchable as he ever is, and the support is brilliant as well, but all in all, its a wasted opportunity..
  • Putrid, vapid, insipid and all the -id words. I almost stopped watching Chevy Chase movies entirely after this festering pile of parrot droppings. It's been over 20 years since I've seen this and I'm still angry at this movie for robbing me of 89 minutes I could have spent in the dentist chair.

    In checking the credits, I see the director, Ken Shapiro, wrote, directed, and starred in THE GROOVE TUBE which was shocking and passibly funny, and which featured Chevy Chase. Was MODERN PROBLEMS the death knell, the swan song for Mr. Shapiro?

    Rancid? Did I mention rancid?
  • Chase does what he can with this comedy about a lonely fellow who acquires telekinetic powers. The story is thin and the conclusion is sappy and drab. The support, with the exception of Coleman, is lifeless and dull.
  • Chevy Chase stars as Max Fiedler, a down on his luck air traffic controller who develops the power of telekinesis via nuclear waste. He uses said power to take vengeance on anyone that had wronged him. A mildly intriguing premise is undermined by loose, unfunny writing, horrid acting, and dated material. I couldn't even count the laughs I had on one hand. It's a chore to sit through with the only actor coming out relatively unscathed being Brian Doyle-Murray who is pretty damn good in ANYthing he does no matter how horrid the material (case in point)

    My Grade: D
  • Mister-615 August 1999
    No man is invincible.

    Just look at Chevy Chase.

    And I don't mean the drug abuse, health problems or turbulent personal life he's had, either. I mean movie choices.

    Here's a man who made good impressions in films like "Foul Play" and "Caddyshack" and "Seems like Old Times", floundering badly in tripe like "Modern Problems".

    As a fired air traffic controller who suddenly acquires great mental powers thanks to a nuclear accident (don't even ask), Chevy mugs, flails and clomps around like an idiot, winning back the love of his life (D'Arbanville), humiliating his nemesis (Coleman) and thoroughly confusing a maid (Carter).

    The special effects are okay, but that's like taking a car that's already been through the crusher to the paint shop.

    One star, with thanks to my vision for ESP (Extra-Stupid Pictures).
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