Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I like flying because I actually manage to watch movies when I fly.

There are 2 things in this world that I love. 1) Peanut butter. Creamy. Sometimes on toast, sometimes on a bagel, in hummus, in anything. Hell I'll eat peanut butter by the spoonful! Yum! 2) Pants fresh from the dryer. Especially on a cold day in mid January.

There are two other things I love. 1) Radio. 2) Japanese movies about ghosts.

Of those two groupings, only one of them is well represented by 2005's The Booth.

The Booth starts off with some grainy footage of an older man hosting a call in show. A woman calls who wants to talk about a suicide pact that she entered into with someone when their parents didn't want them to get hitched. Homeboy, rockin the mic, asks her a bit about it and she says that it was 30 years ago! And the dude...LIVED. He let her kill herself and then moved on with his life. Apparently, he went on to host a radio talk show, because the announcer stood up and hung himself in the studio.

Studio 6.

Fast forward to present day Tokyo. You can tell it's modern because there's all sorts of bright lights and the director isn't using that grainy effect anymore. Shingo is a rocking late night radio host, or "jock" (as in disc JOCKey. That's an industry term for you), who hosts a show called Love Lines. A show about, you guessed it, people's love problems (that's a terrible sentence, isn't it? Ugh). Watch out Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Shingo is an asshole, or "jock." Well, maybe that's being overly judgmental. If you do a lot of shitty things to people, does that mean you're a shitty person? Scholars and philosophers have been trying to figure that out for years. And it's a discussion best left to the likes of them.

We've all done things that we regret. Or regret things we've failed to do. Ever joke with someone about their breath being fouler than...we'll something really foul? And that's what The Booth prey's on. What if it turned out that all of these transgressions came back to haunt you. The paranoia of everything coming back and biting you in the ass.

The fear of suddenly having everyone you know out to get you. All of a sudden, your phone screener with the stinky breath is giving you "weirdos" to talk to. Your board operator is "accidentally" leaving your mike open when you bad mouth a client. Your writer "is looking" for some new headphones for you. Your now ex-girlfriend shows up for work with that "scar" on her face from when you dragged her across the gravel parking lot.

All of this set against the backdrop of the "haunted" Studio 6.

And Shingo does exactly what you would do. He pisses himself. Twice.

And then he does that thing he does at the end.

I hate giving away the ending of a movie.

The Booth was written and directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura, who also wrote the screenplay for the original, Japanese, version of Dark Water. Itself an adaptation of a short story by Koji Suzuki who wrote Ringu, or the original version of The Ring. Somehow everything always comes back to Ringu.

At 74 minutes, it's a pretty short movie, and that's probably to it's benefit. It's a clever spin on the Japanese ghost movie, and if it had been much longer it may have tried to get too clever. As it is, the end of the movie was already a bit of a let down. At the same time, it was a pretty good ending for the movie. Does that make any sense? Well, watch the movie. Let me know how you would describe it.

Overall, it was enjoyable. I dug it. I'd been looking forward to it since I heard about it a year ago. So, I'll give it 7 presets on my car stereo out of ten.


Anonymous said...

Stryker is the anti-Loveline

Unknown said...

Stryker? I don't get it...

If you're referring to the armored vehicle that the Army uses, I can see your point.