The Cable Guy (1996)

PG-13, 96 minutes, Thriller

StarringJim CarreyMatthew BroderickLeslie MannJack Black

Back when I was a kid I had a neighbor friend named Bobby. Bobby was probably more spoiled than I was at that age as he had both a Sega AND a Nintendo, hordes of toys (some of which had set-ups that took the better part of a room), and a stack of Jim Carrey movies that the both of us watched until our mothers yelled at us to stop. Our constant viewings prompted us to act like complete weirdos as kids, but what else is new at that age?

I went back. Way back to my childhood and found this bizarre case of a movie. The Cable Guy is about Steven (Broderick) moving out during some relationship struggles only to find himself mixed up with a lonely cable installer.  The cable guy (Carrey) then proceeds to fling Steven’s life out of control and the helpless Steven can only hang on as his world falls apart around him.

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You either get it or you don’t.

I imagine this film is something that a large number of people have seen. It was probably on TV movie channels every two hours for a few years after its release, but while I had remembered it I didn’t exactly remember it being quite the way it was. I mean, it was a comedy, right? Gosh, did my perception change. While this movie is full of comedians in bit parts, this is really fits better in the horror genre. Well, let’s go more with thriller, but any introvert or anyone who has ever had an uncomfortable friendship with someone will understand just how freaky this is as the cable guy goes from weirdo to stalker in no time flat. Medieval battles, destroyed relationships, sexual references, and nightmares permeate this movie with the cable guy’s psychosis.

Can we talk about Ben Stiller for just a little bit? I mean, the guy DIRECTED this, which is something that totally threw me off. I had no idea he directed anything until I rewatched this. So much has seemed to make sense after finding that out. It completely explains why the same actors keep showing up alongside him–it’s part of the culture. And then there’s the murder trial subplot throughout the movie. I had no idea the suspect was Stiller–I thought it was a REAL trial. My childhood brain apparently replaced the very real trial of the Menendez brothers with the fictional one of Sam Sweet. Goes to show how crazy I am…

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I’m not sure how I escaped having nightmares about this face.

Speaking of surprises, something that pleasantly surprised me about this movie is how much of a snapshot it is of the ’90s. There’s an awful lot of media packed into it, because, well, our antagonist is obsessed with television. Not only does our cable guy keep making references to popular shows and movies, but he is a walking embodiment of the moving media. If you don’t get it, just watch it and you’ll understand. Further encompassing the media of the time, we’re given a soundtrack worth buying full of songs I’d nearly forgotten about. It’s great. And it’s great to see this cyclone of comedians, music, and media forming this bizarre, but memorable story.

Okay, so this movie doesn’t count as one of THE greats, but the things you grew up with always hold a special place, you know? Perhaps, dear reader, you aren’t as overly obsessed with watching and collecting movies as I am, so this may not speak to you. But if you grew up during the golden age of Jim Carrey or if you really just loved the ’90s you might want to take a look back at this little time capsule.

Rating: Watch it.

tl;dr
Watch: Because you were raised with ’90s culture and ’90s culture is the best so :P.
Don’t watch: Because what the heck is going on, man?

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