Staying with movies today with two this time, starting with The Cable Guy, which (I always forget) was directed by Ben Stiller.
Matthew Broderick has broken up with his girlfriend and had to move out, so he’s moving in to a new apartment.
He needs the Cable TV installed, so waits in for the Cable Guy to arrive, which he finally does in the manic form of Jim Carrey. If you like the Jim Carrey performance that Jim Carrey gives in virtually every Jim Carrey film, you’ll probably love him here as he’s taking the Jim Carrey to 110% here.
Sadly for me, I side with Tommy Lee Jones when it comes to Jim Carrey. When they were working together on Batman Forever, Jones didn’t like Carrey, and once, when Jones was eating at a restaurant, and Carrey happens to come in. Carrey himself tells the story:
“The maitre said, ‘Oh, I hear you’re working with Tommy Lee Jones. He’s over in the corner having dinner.’ I went over and I said, ‘Hey Tommy, how are you doing?’ and the blood just drained from his face,” Carrey said. “And he got up shaking — he must have been in mid kill me fantasy or something like that. And he went to hug me and he said, ‘I hate you. I really don’t like you.’ And I said, ‘What’s the problem?’ and pulled up a chair, which probably wasn’t smart. And he said, ‘I cannot sanction your buffoonery.'”
I’ve always liked Tommy Lee Jones.
When Carrey sets up his TV, there’s a news piece about two former child stars, twins, one of whom killed his brother. You can tell this is going to be significant because a) it’s a news report on a TV and b) the accused killer is played by Ben Stiller.
Carrey wants to be friends with Broderick. Yet another element of the film that makes me deeply uncomfortable. But Broderick is persuaded to join him on a visit to the satellite. I like this shot in particular.
But Carrey keeps trying to insert himself into Broderick’s life, ruining a basketball game with his friends. Jack Black plays his best friend.
He takes him to a Medieval Themed restaurant and jousting place. Janeane Garofalo plays a waitress.
He and Broderick end up fighting – it’s the second reference to Star Trek’s Amok Time in a few tapes.
It gets creepier, as Carrey installs a whole bunch of new home cinema equipment in Broderick’s home, then hosts a Karaoke party. As Carrey does more Jim Carrey stuff, performing karaoke, he’s set up Broderick with another woman who (we later learn) is a prostitute.
To make up for this, when Broderick is appalled that the woman was a prostitute, Carrey starts working on Broderick’s girlfriend, Robin, who’s having a date with Owen Wilson.
That twin brother murder thing is still happening – now Eric Roberts is playing both brothers in the TV Movie.
Carrey, after Broderick tells him they can’t be friends any more, gets him arrested for possession of stolen goods. Charles Napier is one of the officers.
After a brief spell in jail, he’s out on bail, and now Carrey is organising a party for his family. His mother and father are played by George Segal and Diane Baker. There is an embarrassing game of Porno Password. This really is pushing all my social anxiety buttons.
After Broderick punches Carrey at the party, the revenge is quick, as Carrey has been bugging his apartment, and he sends a video of Broderick slagging off his boss to the whole company.
Then there’s a final confrontation, on the big satellite dish, and Carrey plummets to his
doom vaguely unspecified injury.
And the very dull payoff of the twin murder Ben Stiller running theme is that his fall interrupts the cable signal for everyone watching the live verdict.
After this, over to Sky Premier for another movie, Coming To America. I’ve watched part of this before, but I think the first time I tried, the recording cut out before the end.
This is definitely a wish fulfilment fantasy, as Eddie Murphy is playing a 21 year old prince of the wealthy African country Zamunda.
James Earl Jones plays his father, the King.
Arsenio Hall is his best friend Semmi.
He doesn’t like the idea of an arranged marriage, so he persuades his father to let him to travel to America to find a wife. He flies to New York, and heads to Queens. Nice product placement for British Airways Concorde.
Visiting the local barber shop, the regulars are familiar. Here’s Eddie Murphy, under some impressive Rick Baker makeup.
This is Arsenio Hall.
And this, too, is Eddie Murphy.
They attend the ‘Miss Black Awareness’ pageant, where the host is another Arsenio Hall character.
And Eddie Murphy also has another character.
Prince Akeem is smitten by Lisa McDowell, who organised the event.
Finding out her father runs the nearby restaurant, McDowell’s, he gets a job there. Her father is played by John Amos.
But she has a boyfriend, the rather weaselly Darryl, played by ER’s Eriq La Salle.
Louie Anderson works at the restaurant.
He’s trying to stay undercover, but he’s recognised at the basketball game by a fellow countryman, played by Vondie Curtis-Hall.
Sam Jackson has a small role as a man holding up the restaurant, who is subdued by Akeem.
Lisa is upset with Darryl when he tells her father they’re engaged without asking her first, making for a very awkward moment at a party.
Semmi is finding it hard to live like a poor person, so he has their room upgraded.
There’s a nice callback to a previous John Landis/Eddie Murphy film, when Akeem gives a big wodge of cash to two homeless men, and it’s Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy from Trading Places.
Lisa’s sister Patrice visits their room, and Semmi tells her that he’s a prince, and Akeem is his servant.
It’s bad news for Akeem, though, when his father and mother arrive in New York, after Semmi sent a telegram asking for more money.
Mr McDowell is visited by the king, and all of a sudden he’s very nice to Akeem, but when the King learns that Akeem was seeing Lisa, he tells her that Akeem isn’t interested in her and is just ‘sowing his wild oats’. Then he tries to pay off Mr McDowell for his inconvenience, but McDowell stands up for his daughter. This film is doing everything right in my book.
Akeem follows Lisa onto the subway and tries to persuade her that he really loves her. But the fact he’s a prince has changed things, and she can’t be with him. Even after he says he’ll renounce his kingdom.
So Akeem has to return to his country, and his arranged marriage. That’s an impressive train.
But – surprise – it’s Lisa beneath the veil. Of course it is.
I really enjoyed that. It definitely pushes all my buttons, and I can see why it’s still regarded so highly by people. Now I’m quite looking forward to the sequel they’re promising.
After this, there’s the start of another film, The Myth of Fingerprints. The tape ends after about 20 minutes of that.
- Coca Cola – Holidays
- Jet Force Gemini
- Sky Digital
- Murphy’s – Sisters of Murphy’s
- Nescafe – Ian Wright
- Bacardi Breezer
- The Muse in cinemas
- Nintendo 64
- Kodak Advantix
- Ford Fiesta
- Miller Genuine Draft
- One 2 One
- Sega Dreamcast
- More Music To Watch Girls By
- Renault Scenic
- BT Cellnet
- trail: The Exorcist
- trail: Senseless
- trail: Dream Team
- Billy Connolly on video
- Royal Mail
- Kleenex Balsam
- trail: Blade
- trail: The Exorcist