The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
February 15, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Audacious and disturbing, Ben Stiller’s dark comedy “The Cable Guy” features one of the more creepier performances by Jim Carrey. If you enjoyed the film, this 15th Anniversary Blu-ray edition is definitely for you!
Images courtesy of © 1996 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition
FILM RELEASE DATE: 1996
DURATION: 96 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Thai
COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG-13 (Dark Thematic Elements and Crude Humor)
RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2011
Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Lou Holtz Jr.
Produced by Judd Apatow, Andrew Licht, Jeffrey A. Mueller
Co-Produced by William S. Beasley
Executive Produced by Bernie Brillstein, Brad Grey, Marc Gurvitz
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography by Robert Brinkmann
Edited by Steven Weisberg
Casting by Juel Bestrop
Production Design by Sharon Seymour
Art Direction by Jeff Knipp
Set Decoration by Maggie Martin
Costume Design by Erica Edell Phillips
Jim Carrey as The Cable Guy
Matthew Broderick as Steven M. Kovacs
Leslie Mann as Robin Harris
Jack Black as Rick
George Segal as Steven’s Father
Diane Baker as Steven’s Mother
Ben Stiller as Sam Sweet/Stan Sweet
Eric Roberts as Eric Roberts
Janeane Garofalo as Medieval Times Waitress
Andy Dick as Medieval Times Host
Owen Wilson as Robin’s Date
Jim Carrey is Chip Douglas, cable installer. Raised on television sitcoms, he wants life to look just like My Three Sons. And when he meets single guy Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick), he sees his chance for some serious male bonding. But Chip’s idea of friendship – which includes physical assault, a game of ‘Porno Password’ and a medieval joust – may be hazardous to Steven’s health. In Chip’s own immortal words, “I can be your best friend… or your worst enemy.” Directed by Ben Stiller (Reality Bites).
In 1996, Ben Stiller who was known for his TV series “The Ben Stiller Show” and the 1994 film “Reality Bites” directed a dark comedy starring Matthew Broderick (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Glory”, “Godzilla”) and Jim Carrey (“Ace Ventura”, “Dumb & Dumber”, “The Mask”, “In Living Color”) in the role of the antagonist. The film would also star Jack Black, Leslie Mann, Janeane Garofalo, Owen Wilson, George Segal and Andy Dick.
Despite the split reviews from film critics, “The Cable Guy” which was budgeted at $47 million ($20 million went to Jim Carrey alone) would earn over $102 million in the box office.
The film revolves around Steven M. Kovacs (played by Matthew Broderick), who had recently moved out of his girlfriend Robin Harris’ (played by Leslie Mann) apartment. On the first day of moving in to his new apartment, he waits for the cable guy to arrive. His friend Rick (played by Jack Black) tells him that if he slips the cable guy $50, he can get free cable channels.
When the cable guy arrives, Steven is shocked about how strange this guy is. The Cable Guy, Ernie “Chip” Douglas (played by Jim Carrey) ends up rearranging Steven’s apartment (in order to get the best viewing area) and when he leaves, Steven tries to ask Chip about something he has heard about free cable. At first, Chip tries to make Steven feel bad for bringing something up illegal but needless to say, Chip likes to have fun with Steven. And Steven ends up calling Chip a friend.
This triggers something within Chip and now as a “friend” to Steven, he wants to take him on a trip to see the satellite where cable is beamed from. At first Steven is reluctant but he goes. The two hang out and Steven starts to learn some strange details about Chip.
The following day, as Steven has a date with Robin and invites her to his home to watch a movie, he sees dozens of messages left by Chip. Steven ignores it. While he and Robin try to watch cable, the cable seems to be off. When he calls Chip to check on it, within seconds, Chip is there and reveals that he turned off Steven’s cable because Steven was not a good friend and didn’t return his call. But in order to fix the relationship, Chip tells Steven that he must hang out with him the next night and Steven agrees.
Needless to say, things between Steven and Robin are still not good and she wants her space. To make him happy, Chip takes Steven out to a restaurant known as “Medieval times” and the two partake in knight suits and go into battle. Chip and Steven do battle and Chip seems quite brutal but in the end, Steven wins and their friendship gets stronger (in Chip’s mind).
The following day, Steven is shocked to find out that Chip had broken into his house and installed a full entertainment system. Upset that Chip broke into his house, Steven makes it up to him by throwing a karaoke party at his pad and introduces him to a woman named Heather. Thinking that Heather was a good friend of Chip’s, needless to say, Steven and Heather have a good time with each other. That is until the next morning when Chip reveals that since he treated him and paid for it, he can do the same for him next time. Shocked, Steven is angered that Chip had hired a prostitute. Steven then kicks Chip out of his life.
Chip wants to make it up to Steven, so Chip feels to get Steven back is by getting Robin back with him. So, while Robin is on a date with a guy (played by Owen Wilson), when he goes to the restroom, Chip beats him up and threatens him. When Chip goes to meet with Robin, he convinces her to get back with Steven.
But as Steven shows his gratitude towards Chip, Steven feels that Chip is way too strange for him and tells him that he has no room in his life for another friend.
And now, Chip starts stalking Steven and Robin until he gets Steven’s attention and gets their friendship back, by any means necessary.
“The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1). On Blu-ray, the film looks very good. You can see quite a bit of detail, especially when you see Steven and Chip in their knight outfits, you can see the beads of water from the rain on Chip’s leather jacket and the detail of the leather. You can see the skin pigments on the characters, as well as the rain or grime (towards the end of the film) on the characters. There was one scene during the deep rain and you see a bit of steam rising and during that moment I saw a bit of banding but for the most part, this film looks very good on Blu-ray. There is a good amount of grain, blacks are nice and deep (and there are a lot of scenes shot during the dark) and scenes that will occasionally showcase color.
But overall, watching this film in HD, I’m confident that the Blu-ray looks much better than its 1997 DVD counterpart.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition is presented in English, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. For the most part, the film is dialogue and musically driven through the front and center channels. Dialogue is crystal clear as is the music by John Ottman (“X2”, “Superman Returns”, “The Usual Suspects”).
Where the surround does come into play is more towards the second half of the film, where rain and thunderstorms can be heard through the surround channels. When Chip is on top of the Satellite tower, you can hear his echoes coming through the surround channels, you can hear the thunder, the helicopter’s spinning blades also quite clearly through the surround channels as well. I didn’t notice any LFE but for the most part, the lossless audio was good for this type of film.
Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Thai.
“The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features (presented in standard definition, English stereo and optional Spanish subtitles):
- Audio Commentary – A hilarious and informative commentary by Judd Apatow, Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller.
- Gag Reel – (6:31) Bloopers during the filming of “The Cable Guy”.
- HBO First Look – (24:14) The original HBO First Look on the making of “The Cable Guy”.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes – (24:03) Featuring nine extended and deleted scenes.
- Comedy Central Canned Ham Presents: The Cable Guy – (21:38) Judd Apatow interviews the cast and crew of “The Cable Guy”.
- Rehearsals: (17:14) Rehearsals for the following scenes: Basketball, Medieval Times, Breakfast, Ending Mud Fight, Karaoke Alt. – Bust A Move
- Nightmare Camera Test – (1:15) Jim Carrey testing out his nightmare eyes and look on the camera.
- Leslie Mann Audition – (3:01) Judd Apatow auditioning Leslie Mann for the role (note: Both would meet for the first time and eventually got married).
- “Leave Me Alone” Music Video – (4:34) Jerry Cantrell’s music video for “Leave Me Alone”.
- Original Theatrical Trailer – (2:28) The original theatrical trailer for “The Cable Guy”.
When I first saw this film back in 1996, I was freaked out!
It was one thing to get used to Jim Carrey on “In Living Color”, “Ace Ventura” and “Mask” but his character role of the Cable Guy was just too bizarre and disturbing. And it didn’t help matters much as I knew someone that had similar qualities to Chip, that freaked me out even more.
But as far as black comedies go, typically I’m all for it, but somehow, “The Cable Guy” was frightening and one can only imagine the possibilities if this film was made into a horror/thriller film. Jim Carrey knows how to play creepy guys and in the case of “Chip”, possibly one of the most disturbing characters to watch in a comedy.
But here we are 15 years later with the release of “The Cable Guy: 15th Anniversary Edition” and as I was in 1996, here we are in 2011 and I still find the film hilarious and Carrey’s character more disturbing as ever.
But watching it again, I think there was a time when Carrey used to be too obnoxious and overplayed his characters. While “The Mask” was tolerable, I felt that his version of Riddler in “Batman Forever”, the Grinch in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and Lloyd Christmas in “Dumb & Dumber” were too over-the-top. As the Cable Guy, it was too obnoxious and too creepy and for some, I guess the fact that he was quite audacious does help for the role. I felt that the character of Steven must have been too sympathetic because there are constant red flags all over the place when he first met Chip. What could have been a hilarious comedy becomes too dark to the point that I felt uncomfortable watching this film.
If “The Cable Guy” was a horror film, I would have felt that Chip would be much more creepier than Jason and Freddie, because we know that disturbing individuals like Chip do exist. Could you imagine if “The Cable Guy” became the bromance version of “Fatal Attraction”?
If there was a benefit to this film and for its talent, everyone went on to bigger things. May it be Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Owen Wilson and even producer Judd Apatow, not too say that the “Cable Guy” launched their careers but it sure did showcase their potential of going on to do bigger projects, especially for Jack Black and Owen Wilson.
As for the Blu-ray release of “The Cable Guy”, the 15th Anniversary has over 50-minutes of never-before-seen extras. The picture and audio quality is the strong points of this 15th Anniversary Edition release, while the special features does show its age, it would have been nice to have an interview with Stiller, Apatow or some of the cast members 15 years later or something shot recently to celebrate the film’s 15th year anniversary.
Overall, “The Cable Guy” is one of those films that you will either enjoy or dislike, similar to the 50/50 split from the film critics and it has been the case for many Judd Apatow and Ben Stiller films, it all comes down to whether you enjoy black comedy. For me, I loved the first half of the film, I loved the humor, especially when Chip mimics “The Silence of the Lambs” to even the most crazy scene when he meets Steven in jail. But the enjoyable comedy side of “The Cable Guy” tends to get left behind in the first half as the film starts to delve to focusing on Chip as we see a much more of a pest than ever.
Once again, if it’s a good thing or bad thing is up to the viewer but for me, the film had its share of audaciously funny moments but Carrey’s character became more psychopathic, more disturbing as the film progressed.
If you are a big fan of “The Cable Guy”, then the 15th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray is for you!
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