The Meanest Man in the World (film #11 on TV Turkeys (Rhino, 1987)). [Category: Public Service]

Guilt is used to solicit donations to the United Fund, a precursor to the United Way. A man decides he just can't afford to contribute to the United Fund this year. He then abruptly falls asleep and has a nightmare in which he watches himself committing acts of cruelty such as kicking the crutches out from under a handicapped child, knocking away the glass of milk a little girl in a daycare center is drinking, cutting off the IV of a disaster victim, or hanging a sign on an orphanage that says, "From now on, all kids without parents must stiff for themselves. This place is closed!" (another item for the Film Ephemera Museum of Quirky Devices). The message is, of course, that not contributing to the United Fund is just as cruel as the above acts. One of the most blatant guilt trips I've ever seen, which actually undercuts its effectiveness. I think the United Way agencies do great work and well deserve our contributions, but when I see something like this, it brings out the W. C. Fields in me (he once said, "When I think of all my money, I think of all the little orphans who could use some change, then, on the other hand, I say Fuck 'em!").

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.

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