One Call You May Want to Miss

Last night was another of those all too familiar “nothing to watch on television” nights. So Hubby and I went into the “free movies” listing on our cable on demand schedule to choose a movie we might snooze to (or not, depending on how absorbing it turns out to be). Most of the movies in the free zone are quite old, some are classics, some two-star entries from all over the world, but we usually prefer those we haven’t seen before.

While I was growing up I probably saw all of four or five movies a year until I reached dating age, then once a week until I was married. Soon after, as parenting responsibilities took over most of our free time, the number dropped again, to four or five a year.

When cable tv movies began to make their mark on the world 20 years or so back, and the kids had fairly strict bedtime schedules, the number began to rise again. Now, in our retirement, and movies can be rented in every corner grocery for $1 a day, there have been times when we’ve watched one movie per evening, sometimes after seeing a new release at the theatre at an afternoon matinee.

Hubby insists that this summer, we probably averaged only about two movies a week. He may be right, but this is a man who has insisted that we eat out “all the time” when I can only remember having had a sandwich combo in Subway 2 weeks ago come Friday. The point is I’ve seen so many I sometimes confuse what character was in which movie. In choosing something new to watch our argument on whether we’ve already seen that goes like this.

Speed. Oh yeah, we saw that. You know that girl that lives in Austin, you know, black hair, cute face, smart mouth, and what’s his face and she has to drive the truck on that curvy highway . . . 

“No! It was a train, or a bus or something in a big city with a lot of turnpikes and expressways . . .

“Whatever. We saw that.” 

“Oh yeah? Then what happened at the end?”

“Never mind, just trust me, we already saw it.”

Last night we chose a Japanese movie with English subtitles called “One Missed Call.”  The plotline is that several people begin receiving cell phone voice mails dated three days from now and include the date, time, and a few of the details of their impending deaths. If psychological- or para-psychological-horror movies get you on the edge of your seats, this is one for you, since the mystery must be solved in order to prevent the heroine’s death. 

It builds slowly, but, and I don’t mean to sound mean or politically incorrect here, it’s really hard to figure out who’s who, since Yumi, Yoko, Miyuki, and Natsumi are all played by cute, petite, Japanese actresses with long, glossy straight hair and almond shaped eyes who all look very much alike. When they begin dying off, you’re not sure which one it was, until sooner or later you begin to realise that it really doesn’t matter because Yumi is the only female character left at the end. (I’m pretty sure!) A lot probably gets lost in the subtitled translation. 

There are lots of scenes with cell phones ringing with a dead-giveaway ringtone, which you don’t want to hear if it belongs to you. The ending is a bit muddled when they blend in a little too much paranormal and Munchausen syndrome by proxy and other things in the blend.

When you start looking at the clock to see how much longer until the end you know something’s not working. If psychological horror drama is your genre, then this is one call you might choose to ignore. Go for the American made Grudge or Ring instead. At least it’s easier to distinguish the characters from one another.

There’s another call you might want to miss, also. According to an email Hubby received, on September 8 all cell phone numbers were scheduled to be released to telemarketing companies. You will be charged for these calls if you receive them on your cell phone. 

Also, if you were one of the first to sign up your land line phone on the do not call registry in late 2002, good for five years, those sign ups are due to end very soon. As far as I know, this warning is real. If you haven’t already registered or re-registered with the national do not call registry, you may want to do so soon. 

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