Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Call 911. We got a problem.

In my list of awful jobs, one of the worst had to be the few months I spent working in a call center. Imagine you worked in some office, and you went to make some copies, and the f--king copy machine was broken. You could do what pretty much everyone else does and find another machine, or you could do something about it/be a real asshole and call someone. Oh, that poor bastard on the other end, the one you arbitrarily blamed for your shitty day/life? Well, that was me. And I hated every minute of it.

Shockingly, I didn't feel the same way about the 94 minutes I spent in a different call center, however, with March's The Call. It kinda helps when the employees look like Halle Berry, even if she's got Justin Guarini's haircut. Though the 911 operator uniform is sadly cleavage free.

Anyway, this flick actually surprised me. Sure, it's ridiculous and ultimately not very good, but I went in expecting utterly terrible and was sort of bummed when it wasn't. It's simply a below-average thriller elevated to mediocrity by talented leads and able direction. In fact, it's far better than the shit show I was looking forward to, trust me.

I'll assume you saw the same horrid trailer that I did, but if you didn't here's the plot, as told by an idiot: A 911 operator quits her job after inadvertently being responsible for the death of a young girl. After some time off, she comes back, but only as a trainer, as she's still tormented by memories of that tragic day. In a twist that absolutely no one saw coming, she's thrust back into action when it happens again. Holy shit, I'm nervous just typing this. I mean, how's this going to end? I'm assuming she f--ks up again and the girl dies, right? I mean, there's no way she faces her fears and completely redeems herself. No way that happens.

As I kind of alluded to above, this movie isn't entirely terrible, and it moves quickly enough that it's all rather painless. Despite being in some pretty shitty movies, I've always found Halle Berry to offer an engaging performance (and um, she's f--king gorgeous), and a grown up Abigail Breslin is decent, even if she's only allowed one emotion (assuming distressed is an emotion). The main downfall is the bad guy, played by Michael Eklund. Not only is this character incredibly stupid and impossibly weird, but Eklund's portrayal screams Lifetime Original Movie. Though, those three words have probably never actually been screamed, just sort of whispered by a chain-smoking lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

What there is something wrong with, however, are the Yays and Boos. They've never dialed 911, but they used to call 10-10-321 all the time. Kids, that's a very old, very stupid reference. Please disregard and proceed.

There's something about this picture that reminds me of Mars Attacks!
  • Whether it's realistic or not I couldn't say, but the chaos of the call center is vividly portrayed. F--k that job.
  • Though I obviously hated Bad Guy, I kind of cheered when he went apeshit and stabbed some poor dude 700 times with a screwdriver.
  • Helpful People Who Ruin Everything. You have to cheer for the solid citizens who attempt to intervene but ultimately make things significantly worse. I'm talking to the dynamic trio of Driving Mom, Concerned Black Car Guy and Overzealous Gas Station Attendant (aka Human Torch). Turns out, the harder you try to help, the more dead you end up.
  • Ominous clanking. Who doesn't love the sound of something eerily rattling off a flagpole?
  • I always love it when someone who is supposedly dead, comes to and freaks the f--k out. Apparently, when you come back from the light, you're pissed.
  • Please don't take this literally, but there's a pretty sweet scene where Halle Berry gives Bad Guy head.
  • And finally, the ending. Sort of. For a minute, I thought they were going to turn the tables and get all Hard Candy on his ass. They don't, but sometimes, in a bad movie, it's the thought that counts.
Look in the tunk. He must mean trunk.
  • I hate when you're watching the previews and you see something that not only looks way better than what you're about to see, but was also in the same Redbox machine. F--k you, Dead Man Down.
  • Then, to complicate matters, you see a WWE production fade onto the screen and things go from bad to worse.
  • Morris Chestnut. I would never boo Ricky Baker, I mean never, but back-to-back movies with Chestnut playing a cop? Pretty sure there's a glitch in the Matrix.
  • Not since Robert Langdon's sophisticated mullet, has a main characters haircut distracted me so. Halle, I've heard of dreadlocks, but shitlocks?
  • F that Quiet Room. So, maybe after what would certainly qualify as a horrible day at work, maybe Halle could've taken the rest of the day off? Just a thought.
  • Dude. Trainee Josh? That guy is a douche. He better get real familiar with 911 when someone (fingers crossed) bashes his head in with a brick.
  • Her boss. Ruling over the call center like De Niro in Casino, this bitch certainly doesn't seem to help what seems like a moderately stressful job. Chill the f--k out, Roma. Damn.
  • Oh. My. God. Michael Imperioli. You're f--king kidding me, right? This performance is the right-kind-of-ridiculous, but it's also the wrong-kind-of-terrible. But what can I really say, I mean, his vodka just poured him a shot.
  • Everyone is all too eager to call 911. Unless of course someone is getting killed with a shovel. 
  • It's a good thing this guy doesn't kidnap people close to his house. I mean, there goes the second act otherwise.
  • You know those speeches in movies where someone is talking to another person, but is clearly just talking about themselves? F--k I hate those.
  • Another horrible horrible-movie feature? That thing where someone repeats a line and we figure out it's the same guy. That's stupid, but whatever. But when they flashback to the scene twenty minutes ago and actually show it to us again? That's f--king stupid. The only logical conclusion is the movie makers assume that if we're actually watching this movie, we're complete idiots. Hmm. That's fair.
  • There are some really weird moments of visual flair. Random extreme close ups, pauses, filters and such. You wanna wow me visually? Put Halle in that James Bond bikini.
  • Though speaking of showing some skin, let me just put it out there: I'm uncomfortable seeing Little Miss Sunshine in her bra. Seriously.
  • I've already said it before (like most of this shit, honestly), but a hearty F--K YOU to No Signal. In a movie about phone calls it's completely unacceptable for any part of California to not get cell phone coverage. Can we just go dead battery? I'd probably be less pissed if Halle tried to call, realized that it wasn't working, and yelled Shit! Out of minutes.
  • And finally, that moment when the pivotal Bad Guy catchphrase is used against him. Jesus. The only thing that infuriates me more than hearing it, is knowing that someone wrote it.
Wow. That was a record number of Boos. I'm actually a little exhausted after all that hate. Feeling a little... uncomfortable. Chest pains and such. Is it hot in here. Are you hot? Man. I'd ask you to call 911, but don't worry about it. I'm already in a hospital. They can just print out my medical records.

Assuming their printer works.


  1. My younger brother works at a call center, and so do a few of my friends, so I do know what a shitty job it is. They probably have the least respect from customers, maybe even 80% of callers are angry. But I know of a guy who came from the slums of India and worked at a call center. His work there helped him win a millionaire show and get his girl. Wait... that was a movie........ Slumdog Quizshow or something... no way that will win any awards!

    I know you are a little uncomfortable, but I actually look forward to Little Miss Sunshine turning 18 next year... finally a little less creepy when someone calls her hot... which I sure she will turn out to be!!

    1. Exactly. Everyone is mad. And everyone hates you. Almost like teaching middle school English, when I think about it.

      If only Danny Boyle would tell my life story, too.

      Dude, it's Little Miss Sunshine. I don't care how hot she may or may not turn out to be...it's just wrong. I saw that movie in my mid-twenties. I can't erase that.

  2. I bet you aren't nearly as uncomfortable as your wife. :-) As I recall, the last month of pregnancy completely sucks balls, not to put it delicately. I hope your daughter arrives soon.

    What's up with Halle Berry's hair??? I feel like I just fell through a hole in time and I'm back in the 70s. Still gorgeous though.

    1. I'm soooo glad it's over...for the most part. What an incredible/awful/disgusting/miraculous/amazing/baffling thing, being on the southern end of a delivery. I was way more skittish last time - stayed high. This time, I was kind of like...screw it. I looked into the abyss.


      Speaking of messed up hair, I really don't know what to say about Halle's mane. It's a testament to her hotness, that she comes out unscathed. Impressive.

  3. "Though, those three words have probably never actually been screamed, just sort of whispered by a chain-smoking lesbian. " - haha, oh God this is priceless :)

    I need to watch something stupid tonight because it's crazy hot outside and I don't feel like thinking during watching movies so this will do. Also I can't wait to see how awful the bad guy performance is.

    I cannot believe how grown up Abigal is, apparently she has another weirdo-chases-young-girls thriller lined up.

    1. Apparently, that weirdo-chases-young-girl character is part of the requisite coursework for young actresses. Pretty much everyone has done some form of it. It's seriously weird how old she is. I saw a few minutes of Signs the other day and almost shit myself: I didn't even remember she was in that! (so young)

  4. I saw it! Actually enjoyed it, gave it 5/10 - the first hour was very skilfully made and exciting, unfortunately when Halle starts playing detective and doesn't even bring a gun with her things go downhill fast.

    I did appreciate that it wasn't just a silly film, well it was but they tried to do stuff here - those visual flare moments were at least an attempt at that and there was one very creepy moment when Halle is looking through the pics of his dead sister and the eyes on the picture glow for a short moment, that was freaky.

    What the hell happened to Michael Imperioli's career, though? It was awful!

    1. This is so awesome! I'm stoked that you watched this. Are you going to write it up?

      Those pictures were creepy as shit. I thought I mentioned it in the Boos, but those pictures are ridiculous!! Who, upon seeing their loved one looking like a f--king DEMON thinks...Say cheeeeeese!. Insanity!

      Holy shit, Michael Imperioli! When he comes to in the trunk I pretty much pissed myself. That was hysterical.