Forgotten Film Synopses: Second Sight

"Very rare!"'

I remember as a kid enjoying this lighthearted, comedic romp with a bunch of friends, making bets on the number of times Preston would announce that signature line.

Second Sight was one of those titles that joined the ranks of comedy films sporting a feel-good, unbiased, friendly, and easily enjoyable air, which seemed a recurrent thing in the 80's.

 (PG) - Comedy/ Mystery/ Sci-Fi

Suitable for basically all audiences, it's quite astute in the way characters, events, and even conflict remain sound, with a thriving and plentiful city, a caring and respectable take on authority and clergy, people of all races and professions on mutually decent terms, and bad guys that weren't that bad at heart.

More than anything, this is one of those movies you'll love not just for the lines and actors, but the general mindset of, and relations between the characters, along with the ideal it brings you regarding people and  environment. It's these types of films that are just what you need for a rainy day.

"You've reached the Second Sight Detective Agency. We know who you are, and what you want. So at the sound of the beep, hang up."

Indeed, the Second Sight Detective Agency is named for the real star of the group, Bobby McGee (Bronson Pinchot), a mystic/psychic quite flamboyantly in tune with his spiritual gifts and cosmic abilities.

He's joined by a PhD in Psychic/Medium Psychology, Preston Pickett (Stuart Pankin), who acts more as Bobby's caretaker and sticks to him like glue as he observes for any breakthrough in his condition, usually involving his wrestling around with Bobby like a buffoon.

Then there's former officer Wills (John Larroquette), a guy who'd prefer to be no-nonsense and retain some form of professional reputation, though in this company, constantly complains and is repeatedly embarrassed by Bobby's methods. As for the relation with Preston, the two are always arguing over the usage of Bobby's power. Wills loves to take advantage when he can, goading Bobby into giving him actresses' phone numbers and winning lotto picks. But never once has he managed to get anything, thanks to Preston's constant lecturing on Bobby's frailty as a "finely tuned instrument of psychic energy".

                                           "Great. Now I've got a psychic oboe on my hands."

Called to a rich couple's home to investigate a theft, the police are forced to put up with the unorthodox group's antics as Bobby exerts his odd behavior, crawling through a tunnel with Preston and rambling as he contacts his spirit guide, Murray.

As the police chide and the wife has second thoughts, Murray (expressed as a disgruntled Brooklyn smart-ass) reveals the crime was committed by someone in the room. Utilizing otherworldly psychic energy, Bobby identifies the thief, causing expensive works of art to fly through the air with dated light animation effects, as he finds the missing statuette.


At the diner the next morning, Wills gives the bad news that the payout for the case netted them only $11.00, thanks to the deductions taken from the other art Bobby destroyed. To make it up, Preston suggests they take a new case regarding a hit and run, and although Wills is miserable at the idea, he decides to at least meet with the potential clients.

So at the Agency, in the midst of Bobby's weird testing, a Sister Elizabeth (Bess Armstrong) and Maria Soledad come by, met with Wills' less than enthusiastic attitude. Although the Sister is put off by Preston's medical jargon and Wills' "rough hewn" sense of humor, Maria is impressed and charmed by Bobby, and insists they stick with Second Sight for the job.

Upon leaving, Bobby is suddenly attacked by the forceful intrusion of Murray, who angrily demands that Wills has nothing to do with the nun, before knocking his ass backward in his chair.

The scene then shifts to the emergency room entrance, where Wills' nursing an aching back is empathically emulated by Bobby. It also turns out that apparently, Bobby discovers Wills will soon be falling in love.
                             "He's reading your fifth-to-seventh Chakra! ... Very rare! (click)

Traveling to the Catholic church in order to meet with Sister Elizabeth and Maria, we learn a little bit more about the truth surrounding Wills' bitter disposition, brought about as a result of his former Chief sending him off on complex cases in order to secretly bang his now ex-wife.

Having been introduced to the Cardinal, tensions flare when Bobby jumps the old guy in an attempt to protect him from sensed danger, in another "very rare" psychic moment. Unfortunately, Preston is unable to determine exactly what danger that is, and the Cardinal exits with the idea he's in the presence of a group of kooks.

The next day at the Agency, Preston confronts Wills with the testing results showing Bobby's powers seem to be lessening. Wills suggests Preston drops the overprotective duty and allow him to gain one surefire chance at riches from Bobby, but of course, Preston won't hear of it.

It soon becomes clear, however, exactly why the readings turn out as such, given the fact Preston's wife has been taking down lottery numbers and winning scores as Bobby has slept, for months now. Good thing she was walked in on and realized she had become a "psychaholic" - otherwise Bobby may not have received a new message from Murray, claiming the men that damaged Maria's car are currently moving and the team can run into them if they leave now!

But as psychic intuition isn't always accurate, the quest proves uneventful. Aside from being caught in a traffic jam with Bobby on the hood, along with an annoyed Sister Elizabeth stuck with them the whole way, nothing more occurs than the perpetrators' vehicle side-swiping their own before zooming away.


Deciding to eat at the restaurant they're parked in front of, the group has a laugh at Wills' expense as Bobby speaks to the waiter in Chinese to order for them all, pissing off Wills, who checks the menu only to choose what Bobby had known he would.

They inform Sister Elizabeth that spirit guide Murray was a guy who died as a result of getting run over by a truck, after being nagged by his girlfriend to go out and get her some ice cream. His failure to let go of the event causes him to remain stuck in the realm of the living.

Suddenly upset, the Sister claims she needs to leave, and when Wills offers a ride home, Murray emerges, angered that Wills is still associating with her. As it turns out, Sister Elizabeth was that girlfriend who "killed" Murray, the entire reason she became a nun to begin with. She's also the one Wills is increasingly finding himself attracted to, and vice versa, which doesn't mean good things for Murray's predicament.

Preston takes off to buy some Goobers, the only thing that can calm Bobby down during an episode, and returns to find Murray has practically cleared out the restaurant with expressions of psychic torment, levitating Sister Elizabeth and dumping ice cream on she and Wills.

Back at the diner the next day, Preston informs Sister Elizabeth it's imperative she talk with Murray to resolve their dispute - otherwise, it could tax Bobby indefinitely and destroy their work on the case and future prospects. Once they finish with a bout of arguing and psychic expressions of anger, the group picks up Maria and head out to the scene of the accident so Bobby can channel.

He has a breakthrough, stepping out into the middle of traffic in an out-of-body episode. He's become of the bad guys, a large stereotypical black dude spouting Ebonics and taking off in the car with poor Maria in the front seat.

It's a pretty nutty scene with Wills on the hood as Bobby crashes the car into the perps' hideout, freaking them out with psychic mind-control that causes them to bang their heads against the wall, before taking off in a hurry.

With his back again in pain, Bobby feels so emphatic he psychically heals him, complete with holy-chorus sound effects.


The next day the press and authorities are in full-on panic as news has come in that Maria and the Cardinal himself have been kidnapped. Sister Elizabeth escorts the Second Sight Agency to investigate the Church, where they come across the very same Chief of Police that boned Wills' wife - and who makes it clear he wants Second Sight to have nothing to do with the case.

Fortunately, Bobby's no bullshit psychic, and the team discovers the men who hit Maria's car are the same ones that did the kidnapping. They had been casing the church when the accident occurred, and Bobby even provides Wills and Preston first dibs on the ransom note by stating the exact second it arrives.

At the Chief's office, Bobby starts doing the pee-pee dance as an indicator the Chief was taking a piss. When looking at the ransom note, he identifies Maria's blood, and since Preston knows Bobby has a crush on her, he calls off the channeling and takes him out of the room with the Sister. Wills decides to use the time alone with his friend Noogie to feign a psychic episode of his own, throwing the Chief's prized swordfish out the window.


After speaking to an especially strange Door Man, Wills does some research alone and finds that a Bishop O'Lynn was deemed unfit for the Archdiocese by the Cardinal, and has been his enemy for years. He visits the man for some simple questioning, finding him playing golf at none other than the Cardinal's comfortable digs. It seems the Bishop would also be taking the Cardinal's place should anything happen to him...

After informing the rest of the team, Bobby emits "psychic sonar" and blows up a building, believing the kidnappers to be inside. They weren't even there, thanks to a glitch in his messages. In fact, by nighttime, he, the Sister, and Preston are on a plane to Pittsburgh, thanks to misreading a joke spoken by one of the bad guys on places they could hide.

But Wills had stayed behind (thanks to Murray informing Bobby they didn't need him) and drove out to an alleyway to check up on a lead from that car which swiped theirs before. In the meantime, Bobby's powers snap back to full-focus as he senses his friend is in danger. He emits psychic warnings to Wills just as the kidnappers emerge in their effort to move Maria and the Cardinal, opening fire on him. No wonder Murray wanted him to stay behind!

Bobby decides some action needs to be taken, and utilizes "psychic tele-transportation" to control the plane, driving it out of the airport and right into the alley - "very rare!"

       "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking... there's absolutely nothing to worry      
       about,  but we do advise you put your heads between your knees, and kiss your ass

Separated by more gunfire, Preston has his hands full with a muddled Bobby, thanks to passing through an adult show in their escape. Wills runs right after the bad guys, who double back and trap him just as he reaches Maria and the Cardinal. They're soon joined by Preston and Bobby, caught by the one dude Wills had thought he knocked out.

They decide to off him right there, but Bobby snaps back into consciousness, using his psychic energy to stop the bullet in mid-air. The police bust in, thanks to the Sister leading them inside, taking not so much effort, seeing as how a plane sparking through the streets attracted a lot of attention.


A short time later, the group is enjoying a nice day in the park, with Bobby sporting a new, more reserved look now that he's doing better and having a great time with his new girlfriend Maria. Wills seems to have reverted back to his old sour-puss self, and is shocked to find Preston using Bobby's gift to gain basic info on a single woman across the way.

To his surprise and awe, it was a set-up. Sister Elizabeth turns to greet them, only she's not a nun anymore. Murray even makes an appearance, claiming he's met an entity on the other side, and will be spending more time there from then on.

The three couples walk off, as Murray gives a final half-joking word of wisdom on not going outside when he gets nagged.


film (c) 1989 Lorimar Film Entertainment, Ursus Film
Uploaded 08/26/2011
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