Monday, August 11, 2008

Guilty Pleasures Blog-A-Thon Day #1: Cellular

I personally consider "Cellular" a guilty pleasure because it's your typical mediocre action flick that came out around the same time as other mindless action flicks, like "The Bourne Identity" and "The Italian Job".

The plot is as follows. Kim Basinger is Jessica Martin, a high school science teacher who's home one morning when some bad guys show up, bust into her house, and kidnap her. They take her to an undisclosed location and lock her in an attic. The bad guys immedately smash a telephone nearby so Jessica won't call for help. AH! But she's a science teacher!! And as you know, all high school science teachers know how to fix a broken telephone to make an outgoing phonecall!

She dials a number at random and get connected to Ryan, played by Chris Evans (The Jock from "Not Another Teen Movie"). Ryan has a hot girlfriend played by Jessica Biel but they're kind of on the outs right now. In order to get back in her good graces, he agrees to hand out some fliers about saving the planet or some crap like that.

Ryan thinks Jessica's call is a prank until he hears the bad guys threatening Jessica. She's confused and thinks it's a case of mistaken identity. Ryan decides to go to the police with the phone. At the police station, it's Sgt. Mooney's (William H. Macy) last day before he retires and open up some spa/salon thingy with his wife. It's more or less like Robert Duvall's character in "Falling Down", even down to the mustache.

After getting the run around at the police station, Jessica tells Ryan that the bad guys is gonna meet up with her husband Craig at a bar in LAX and Ryan has to get to him before the bad guys. So a funny chase persues.

First he steals the car of a complete asshole (Played by That Guy Rick Hoffman, he's the same guy that was in "Hostel" towards the end), then realizes he needs a charger so he causes a big scene in a cell phone store where it's like he's robbing them but he paid for the charger.

Finally, he shows up at LAX and tries to stop the bad guys there BUT GUESS WHAT??? The bad guys...ARE COPS!!! GASP!!!!

So now everybody's like "WTF?" and before Ryan can find Craig, the bad cops (one of whom is played by Jason Statham) find him and kidnap him as well.

Since Ryan screwed that up royally, Jessica tells him to get their son Ricky. I should point out this family's last name is Martin, so the kid's name is Ricky Martin. This is a pretty hilarious scene with Ryan shouting RICKY MARTIN! RICKY MARTIN! ANYONE HERE KNOW RICKY MARTIN!!! in a school. But of course Ryan fucked this up too and the kid is kidnapped as well. Damn it Ryan.

Eventually Jessica finds out the bad cops are heading to the family's secret deposit box in a bank so hopefully Ryan can't fuck this up. He manages to get there and get the thing in the deposit box but...he drops his phone. Aw crap!

So now Jessica and her family's life is on the line and the bad cops are aware of Ryan beating them to the safe deposit box. So what was inside and why is LAPD's un-finest (See what I did there?) kidnapping a typical family?

Craig is a real estate salesman and he was videotaping a piece of property early that morning when he noticed something weird nearby. Apparently some of the bad cops were shaking down some scumbag on the streets for something and they end up killing the scumbag. The cops saw that Craig filmed this and they "just want the videotape".

And of course Sgt. Mooney's superior is involved with this as well. Mooney, in between setting things up with the spa/salon, is getting to the bottom of that strange kid with the cell phone. He already paid one visit to the house and met a chick pretending to be Jessica, but something didn't sit well with him so he went back and this time something really doesn't sit well cause Fake Jessica shoots him. To distract Fake Jessica, Mooney tips over a fish bowl! NO!!! NOT THE FISH!! YOU BASTARD!!!

With Fake Jessica dead, the superior involved with the bad cops show up and brings Mooney into everything in hopes to keep him shushed. Meanwhile Ryan has to steal back the asshole lawyer's car cause he ended up using asshole lawyer's phone to store the number Jessica was calling from. So with the car and the phone, Ryan calls the number and talks to Jason Statham. They make an agreement to meet at a pier to exchange the family for the videotape. Of course it's never that easy.

The ending is a big whirlwind of double crosses, triple crosses, and single crosses when Mooney refuses to be in on the bad cops side. And the most hilarious match up in movie history happens when William H. Macy fights Jason Statham under the pier. It's just grand.


Of course during everything, the tape gets destroyed but hey what's a medicore action flick without a twist? Turns out Ryan had the time to upload the footage to his phone. Har-har-har.

So all the bad cops are dead, all the good ones retire, and Jessica and her family are safe. And it wouldn't be a medicore action flick without some sound bites for the trailer.

Jason Statham: How did you get involved anyway?
Ryan: I just answered my phone.

Jessica: If there's ANYTHING I can do for you for saving my life and my family's life...
Ryan: There's one thing. Don't call me.

This movie's pretty cheesy which is why it's a guilty pleasure of mine. I'm sure if anyone were to ask you what your favorite William H. Macy film was, they'd probably say "Fargo", or if they ask what your favorite Jason Statham film is, they'd probably say "Snatch" or maybe even "The Transporter" (Which could be considered a guilty pleasure as well). So for a cheesy good time, check out "Cellular", my first Guilty Pleasure pick.

A Guilty Pleasure That I Reviewed:
Dead Alive

Finally, I asked my fellow Mass Invaders (AKA my friends who help out with reviews on the site) to list their 10 guilty pleasures.
To start things off, here's Adam:

Guilty pleasures might be different for me than most people. The way I understand the guilty pleasures concept is that you like something, but you're a little embarrassed that you like it. But my preferred movie viewing consists of smut, crap, and/or gore. So what are my guilty pleasures? Here are my top ten.

10. Karate Kid III: I legitimately like the first Karate Kid. Part 3 is like the bastard offspring of the original movie and Carrie. It's cynical, vengeful and fairly stupid. And I love it.

9. Cat's Eye: Horror anthologies are usually awful. Really, this one is too. But I never remember that when the digital cable guide tells me that Cat's Eye will be on in 3 hours. Instead, I wait anxiously and work myself into a frenzy. Then it starts. And I'm bored to tears. But I never turn away. Why is that?

8. Brainscan: If America had to make a time capsule and could only put one thing from the 90's in it, I think I cold make a case that a VHS copy of Brainscan sums up the decade perfectly. White Zombie, Edward Furlong, CD-ROM based video games, virtual reality, chicks in combat boots & dresses, and angst. This isn't a good movie, but it sums up the popular culture at the beginning of my teenage years so perfectly that I'll always have a soft spot for it.

7. Contact: Have you ever done something really stupid once and vow you'll never do it again, but then you do? That's Contact. People can be forgiven for seeing it once. But nobody should watch it after that, nor should they want to. So why do I watch this movie when I can? I'm like a battered wife who is married to this movie. I don't know why I always run back to it, but I do. Maybe someday I'll be strong enough to let it go.

6. Kindergarten Cop: No matter what Arnold says, this movie is a tumor. It crept into my brain and started to attack my healthy obsession with movies that aren't this fucking stupid. Arnold is an undercover cop doing a stint as a kindergarten teacher after his partner gets food poisoning or something. He's trying to capture a drug dealer or murderer or whatever whose son is in the class. And somehow he falls for that boy's mother, who is this pristine virginal woman who was at one time married to the aforementioned drug dealer/murderer. She also happens to be a teacher at the school. The many ethical questions about police tactics and procedures are ignored completely. And a vicious ferret is the hero. 95% of the movie feels like a schmaltzy family movie, but the other 5% snaps you out of that sense of security. That's the beauty of Kindergarten Cop.

5. Karate Kid II: While the first Karate Kid movie is a good movie, part 2 plain old sucks! Daniel-san goes to Okinawa with Mr. Miyagi. While in Japan, he falls in love, saves children, and reunites a community while somehow finding time to ostracize the antagonist to the point where he becomes a knife-wielding maniac.

4. Big: Yes, Big. I grew up with this one and have seen at least 30 times. But it's such a stupid fucking movie! And god, can you imagine if this movie was about a 10 year old girl who made a wish, became 30 and had sex with a male co-worker? Actually, that would be a great movie! She'd get knocked up and then she'd go back to being 10 and she'd be preggers and that guy would go to jail and be like, "I thought she was 30!" Also, I think this movie single-handedly ruined my entire generation. We all want to be 30 year olds who live like 10 year olds. Fuck you, Big! And fuck me for watching it every time it's on basic cable.

3. Vision Quest: The most inspirational piece of shit ever. A high school wrestler decides to become state champ and fucks a hot drifter-type chick along the way to achieving his Vision Quest. And because that description makes it sound like a total guy movie, the filmmakers decided to fill the soundtrack with more early soft pop Madonna songs than you can possibly stomach. Vision Quest, I'm crazy for you!

2. American History X: Some people think this is a legitimately good movie. Those people are idiots. This is the most simplistic take on race relations ever. The script is a giant cliché. And the running time could probably be shortened by an hour if all the unnecessary slow-motion moments were removed. It's completely asinine. I'd like to tell you that we're all going to be laughing at this movie in another 10 years, but this movie has already been getting midnight screenings. Fuck Rocky Horror. I want to see audience participation for this movie. So why do I like it? Despite its incalculable number of flaws, it still manages to be compelling. Kinda like a retard telling you a joke. You might laugh because the joke is funny, or you might laugh because it's being told by a retard. But no matter why you're laughing, you have to give them props for trying.

1. Rocky IV: The guiltiest of my guilty pleasures. I will stop everything I'm doing and watch this movie if it is on T.V. I've honestly watched this movie on Telemundo before, and I don't speak Spanish. It's so formulaic. Cold War-era patriotism + boxing + everything tacky about the 80's = Rocky IV. This movie has James Brown, Dolph Lundgren, a robot, the Queen Mother of all movie montages, and an ending that's visible from space. (Hint: Rocky beats the evil Russian!)

Come back tomorrow for another so bad it's good film. And if you have a blog and want to participate, write your list on your blog and either post the link in the comment section of this post, or email it to me at invasionofthebmovies at gmail dot com.

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