Nov. 23, 2022

Midweek Mention... Phone Booth

Midweek Mention... Phone Booth

We've been stanning for Colin Farrell for some time now and following his portrayal of quiet and modest heroism in THIRTEEN LIVES. I thought we should take a look at his back catalogue to work out whether there were early signs of his promise. It turns out there were. PHONE BOOTH (2002) is Joel Schumacher's expertly-paced, gimmicky thriller set in real time and virtually a single-location which sees Farrell captivating as the sleazy and obnoxious New York yuppie who finds himself engaged in a cat and mouse game with Kiefer Sutherland's psychotic sniper. Tense and claustrophobic and showcasing a number of amusing early noughties trends, from the fashions and styles to the editing and themes, this is well worth a rewatch.

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Bad Dads


Phone Booth



Dan: Welcome to Bad Dances film with you. Phone booth.

Sidey: Yes, we watched phone booth. Re exist is your choice because I think we've got a collective heart on for Colin Fo at the moment.

Reegs: basically. Yeah. Really enjoyed him in 13 lives and I'm really wanting to see, what's it, the ban sheets of?

Sidey: In Sharon?

Reegs: in, she, is that how you say it? Ed Sheron? Yeah.

Dan: this is, this is early Colin, isn't it? This is early vintage

Reegs: and I wanted to see

Sidey: 2002. We were going back to

Reegs: if there's hints of that promise, you know that promise in some of his early stuff.

Sidey: Yeah. Cuz there was a time when I thought that he was just like that sort of bad boy wanker

Reegs: art

Dan: throb.

Sidey: just

like didn't like him, cuz as far as I could tell, hadn't made a film that I liked.

Reegs: There was a lot of sort of negative publicity around him for a long time saying kind of bad things or

Sidey: It's a bit, a bit of a prick, but probably he was fine and then came to love him. So we'd gone back to early days 2002 for phone booth.

Yeah. Yeah. So

Reegs: Schumacher,

Sidey: It starts off with him being like a sleazy PR kind of

Reegs: Well, we get a little bit of scene setting. There's a voiceover and it talks about like mobile phones and how X million New Yorkers still use public phones. And then it talks about a specific one public phone at 53rd and third on an eighth on Manhattan's West side. It's been burglarized 41 times in the last six months.

It's the last of its type and it's gonna be replaced with a. Inverted kiosk style phone booth tomorrow and now we're gonna meet the man who'll be the last occupant of the booth.

Sidey: yeah, we do see him. Stew Stu Stuart Shepherd.

Reegs: yeah.

Sidey: And he's got an assistant who looks like a sort of slave and he's just barking orders and phoning around, kind of hustling to get a deal for some client or other.

Reegs: some terrible rapper.

Sidey: m and m type. Pro thing.

Reegs: Big cue or

Dan: He's an agent, isn't he? Yeah. Getting

Sidey: away, but, but like sleeves, just phoning out the tabloids. Try and get a story playing one off against another.

Reegs: He's talking on the phone and we get, before FaceTime was even a thing, it's kind of, that's how it is because we get little inset

Picture and picture, thank you. Of the people that he's talking to. So it's like FaceTime, even though he is not FaceTiming him, he's just like, say hustling through his assistance

Sidey: Yeah.

And it's just playing one off. Get right. Tell them that this people will do this, and then tell them. And I think everyone understands the game, you know?

And when they know he's phoning, they

Reegs: that he's clever and conniving, right? Because some restaurateur phones him up and he's like, oh, you haven't paid your bill for ages. And then he's suddenly like, oh, he convinces him that he's gonna host this rapper's party there, and there's gonna be a bunch of celebrities.

He'll be good press. So we

Dan: it's all people. I've worked with him before and don't quite trust him. And it gives you a sense of who he is. Yeah.

Reegs: And then we finally get to the phone booth and he takes his wedding ring off.

Sidey: Yeah. Ale.

Reegs: And as he's about to dial, some guy immediately tries to deliver a pizza to him.

Sidey: Mm-hmm.

Dan: Yeah. And he's he won't take no for an answer and eventually look, he goes, you have the pizza. I don't give a fuck. Like,

Sidey: didn't order it?

Dan: you look like you need a meal, mate. And he's, he's quite. Guy. So, he's just been sarcastic with him and

Reegs: and then some hookers turn up and they'd need to use the phone as well. And

Dan: yeah. Well that's, that's a little bit later though, isn't it? I think

Sidey: he's, that's when he is on the

Dan: picked up, he's picked up the phone at this point and he's had his conversation. And it's with his girlfriend. Yeah. Which is Katie Holmes. And he's, he's talking about her being, you know, oh, you

Sidey: I mentioned you today.

You know, I, I put your name about, you know, she's, she's a restaurateur.

Clearly like a budding actress Yes. Of some, some kind. And he mentions, he looks across the street at the hotel and says, well, why don't we come down, have a chat at the hotel? And I'm, I don't think he was talking about having a

Dan: chat.


think he was talking about having sex with her.

Do you think so? Yes.


but I, because I, I think that's the kind of sl he was. And and he's taken off his ring and he walks, he puts the phone down, and just as he takes a step out, the phone rings. And this then changes his life, doesn't it? Because he goes back and, and picks it up and

Reegs: I wonder what would've happened if he just hadn't, if he'd had

Dan: not much of a film, then short,

Reegs: it's a different film.

But would you know Keith Sutherland have tracked him down and done it? You know,

Dan: Potentially not even forests. Whitaker, who later turns

Sidey: out well, he does answer it and he says, oh, you know, does he say straight out the gate?

You know, isn't it strange? You know, ringing phones gotta be answered. That's right. And then he lays into him and about,

Dan: he keeps

Sidey: have taken the pizza cuz it's, you'll be useful. You know, you'll need the energy

Reegs: You'll need the

Sidey: for what's to come.

Dan: And then just about, is put down the phone. He goes, Stu, and he goes, what? How'd you know me? He, oh, I can see you. And he, he says, oh, you know, if you, I can see that. You're holding your head. I can see that you're, this, that and

Reegs: sticking your finger up.

Dan: Yeah. And oh, that's

Reegs: not, that's not very nice.

Dan: And he shoots a toy which is just outside the telephone booth to prove that look, I've actually got a gun. And you can actually hear him lock it and Farrell's face just drops. And then it, it comes down this shot. And he realize, Wait a minute, I'm, I'm under CIA in a telephone box and I dunno where it's coming from.

Reegs: And it turns out there's been a spate of these type of.

Sidey: Yeah.

Reegs: Situations where Sniper has, has targeted wealthy

Dan: individuals,

And he says, doesn't he? You're you'll be people you can't shoot. People will be all over the place that we pandemonium. We go, oh, let's see, shall we? And he shoots and nobody even notices.

It's just another day in the street.

Sidey: Then we get the, we're in a kind of sleazy part of town, I guess, and there's, there's a. Live girls dancing topless dancers, they strip clubs, et cetera, around, around the neck woods, and some of the girls come over, it's their call box, which they use for business.

Yeah. They want him to get, he's, you know, hogging their phone. They, he wants,

Reegs: they're costing, he's costing them time and

Sidey: money. Yeah. But he can't get off phone.

Reegs: He says, oh, you're, you know, you're just filthy hooks or something. And they prefer the term escorts, don't they? Yeah. And there's like a little bit of an altercation. She says, oh, you hurt, you hurt, you hurt my dick.

what she

Sidey: It doesn't to fuck off. So they go get their pimp


tries to calmly explain that, you know, he needs to find a different telephone to use

Dan: And Farrell just tries to pay him off because he, he knows that this guy's got a. Gun and he can't leave. And he's saying, get away. Get away. And I, I think he's not interested.

Is he

Sidey: Well, keep Southern says on the phone, I can get rid of him if you want. I can, you know, I can make this go away. Just say the word. And so he says no, and he's, I think he passes a hundred something bucks through the door and the guy says, you know, that'll give you a few minutes, you know, if you want, it's 500 bucks for an hour, or whatever it is that he says to him.

And it just starts to escalate. He goes back to his, his place of business gets a baseball bat.

Reegs: Yeah.

Sidey: smash it smashes it up. Yeah. And it's getting more and more violent and

Reegs: And on the other,

Sidey: guy, this can't, this guy can't be seen to, you know, take no from some like wiener guy in a phone booth. So he's, you know, he's, he can't lose face here.

Dan: No. And it, it results in him getting shot though. And they,

Reegs: well, there's, it's a bit of a, there's an altercation. He's smashing up the booth and the voice on the other end is saying, you need to make this stop. You need to make this go away. I can make this stop. And kind of, there's like a bit of confusion.

It's not completely clear, but does Farrell ask him to make it stop? I don't know. I

Sidey: clear. They did. He said yes. Yes. Do it.

Reegs: and then,

Sidey: He's,

got, he doesn't know what's happened. The guy, he's surprised, he's obviously knows something's up. He reaches for his back and sees blood, and then he takes a few steps and hits the deck and everyone's, then everyone's like, oh my God, you know?

Yeah. Then the shit hits the fan.

Dan: Well, they, the, the escorts run off and call the police and say that Farrell's got the gun in the and they saw it all. And you know, he's, he's, he's hiding it all. So, Forrest Wick is on the scene with LAPD's

Reegs: They cord off the whole area. That's right.

And, and Whittaker turns up. What

does he say to him? It's quite an interesting scene, isn't it? Because he, he Oh, that's right. He, cuz he needs to stay on the phone and he says, I'm talking to my psychotherapist. And Sutherland's just laughing in the

Sidey: background.

Dan: Yeah, well he, he can't tell him what's, what's up. That's Obviously the killer is is listening to every word that he says and he's also got really good visuals. And also he's planted a. In there. So it looks like

Sidey: well he's more. Devious than just shooting people. And intimidating, he makes him phone his wife and demands that if he doesn't tell his wife about the girlfriend, he will execute him. And so he's really putting him through the ringer emotionally. And Colin fouls really good at you know, he looks fucking distressed.

I think he was really good at portraying it. So it's not, he is not just a simple, like having this guy at gunpoint, he really makes him

Dan: Well, this is the reason, isn't it?

The why he's done it is that these people that have been in, they're greedy. They're, they're fucking people are over. They're not who

Sidey: they, yeah.

It's got a pretty strange message this Phil

Reegs: Yeah.

Dan: he, he's and he's found out about this and then wants to, to kill them for it or at least punished them. And so, yeah, he's having the phone, his wife Kelly is it, and tell her that he's been having an affair and that he's really sorry and that he loves her and she.

When she finds out the situation, I don't care. Let's just get you safe. Let's, she's still into him.

Sidey: Yeah, that was weird as well. Yeah. So Forrest whi they do at this point believe that he is the shooter. Yeah. Because they've had eyewitnesses confirm that, you know, they saw him with a gun and, and this guy did die clearly.

You know, there was a, there was a murder at, you know, at large. So it's an awkward one for Colin cause he can't hang up.

Dan: No. And he can't, can't walk away.

Sidey: He can't explain, he can't put it on the phone. He

Dan: But Forrest Whitaker he, and he's armina and he can see there's something strange about this situation.

It's not until the wife turns up and says, look, this really isn't does he get a, he gets a bit on the, he's managed to get a message to her, doesn't he? I

Sidey: he gets his phone, he gets his cell phone and dials so that his wife can listen to the,

Reegs: the other

Sidey: the other side of the court. And she then is able to tell Forrest Whittaker that you know

Dan: There's somebody else's, a shooter on the roof and yeah, he manages to farm the people out and slowly, slowly they

Sidey: stop. Well, he has to, he has to explain. The feds there as well now.

Reegs: Yep.

Sidey: He has to explain to them that there's someone above, but they can't obviously point at the windows, you know, so cuz you give the game wave.

But he is like someone up there in one of those windows and he is everyone to go around door to door, you know, discreetly and try and take this guy down before he fucking kills again.

Dan: And they, they managed to, to kind of do that really, don't they? They managed to get to a situation where the net starts closing in. And

Reegs: well all the time, you know, he's trying not to alert Keith and Sutherland on the other end, and Yeah, they do, they do track it down to a swat team, track it down to a rim, don't they? And they find they find a, a corpse on the floor and a rifle at the window

Sidey: build to a crescendo because you can hear, you know, we get shots of foul on the phone and he can hear people saying that they're going up onto the, into the room and getting closer and we're just,

And you know, it's building and building, building and there is a gunshot.

F goes down, they burst in the door, see over the radio, the guy's shot and he's cut his own throat with a knife. And you're like, I know,

Dan: doesn't he first go out and Farrell comes out the

Reegs: Yeah. You're saying . Yeah.

Dan: he gets shot. Look, take me, take me, and he gets shot. Boom. Any rubber bullets, which we find out after they find the

Sidey: but they radio into the to for whi and say, you knows pizza guy, he's killed it.

No, but they just say like, you see like a foot and a pile of blood or whatever, and the standing knife on the floor and they say, oh, he slit his own throat before he, before he got here. And you're like,

Reegs: no, I dunno.

Sidey: really feel right. I dunno if that's what would happen.

Reegs: Yeah.

Dan: and sure

Sidey: then he comes down on the gurney and it's pizza guy and you're like,

Dan: and he goes, do you recognize this guy? He's like, yeah, fucking hell. So he, he actually thinks, oh, that is it. Case close. But he ends up getting some attention from the, from the hospital ambulance just on the scene. And he takes a, a call doesn't.


Reegs: Well there's Sutherland is just kind like leaning at the door, isn't he? And what does he say to him? I can't remember. He,

Sidey: but He,

just says like, you know,

Reegs: you were apri watching you, you were apri mate. I'll be watching you.

Sidey: That's it. He just walks off and he just walks past all the feds and all the cops with a clearly a fucking gun case.

Reegs: Yeah. With a, obviously holding a, a, a sniper rifle box.

Dan: But it's the perfect Kaiser, so moment for him

Reegs: And then I think it ends with a phone ringing in somebody else answering, doesn't it? Yeah.

Dan: Yeah. It's it is full of anxiety again, isn't it? I mean, it, it's got for a film that's just in, so. Shorter loca, you know, smaller location. It, it is been able to, to get that feeling of

Sidey: it's quite gripping. It does give you, it does, the tension does build very well. Obviously they, they do keep it quite brisk run time, which is good, I think wouldn't work if it, you know, went on and on.


Reegs: Well, cuz it's almost entirely in a single location as well. Farrell is in virtually every scene of the movie and he goes from like, like entitled sleazy operative to kind of, emotional wreck character.

Dan: arc with him, isn't there in a sort of 90 minute movie or whatever it is.

Reegs: Well, that's why I guess it was a good role for him, and that's kind of what I remembered about it, that he got to show off a little bit of everything.

He could be brash, he could be vulnerable, he could be a bit actiony, he could be yeah,

Dan: Yeah, it

Reegs: man.

Dan: it was

  1. I'd seen a long while before. So it wasn't new to me. But it's a memorable film, you know, it is,

did something different with that kind of genre, you know, I mean, you had speed and they did it on a bus and they've sort of done other films where it's all the race against the clock and, and but this was just in a telephone box and, and the fact that, you know, it just plays.

A ringing phone needs to be answered. Which we can all kind of relate to if you Oh, hello. Who's that? You

Reegs: I always like those single location movies as well,

Dan: but I've got really good at not picking up my phone.

Sidey: Yeah. But the message is that

Reegs: you should execute yuppies.

Sidey: don't like people, so I'm just gonna like hold them hostage and shoot them if, and then

Reegs: it's no comeuppance at all. No.

Sidey: Weird. He puts his wedding wing back on and his wife seems to totally accept him,

Reegs: but he's, you know, once the philander, I say

Dan: they'll be watching him. It is. I think she put him onto him.

Sidey: You think

Dan: Maybe. Who knows.

Sidey: oh, okay. We kind of deserved it.

Reegs: Was it Joel Schumacher joint?


Dan: would, that would've been nice, wouldn't it?

If you'd have just seen the wife just right at the end. Just go, thanks for that.

Reegs: If she'd have been, if she'd have done it, yeah, that

Sidey: It was at one point gonna be a Michael Bay joint.

So they could add way more helicopters and

Reegs: how many times they'd have spun round that phone base.

Sidey: Yeah. And the screenwriter, Larry Cohen, originally pitched the concept of a film that takes place in a phone booth to Alfred Hitchcock that's been hanging around a long while. Do you know about the financials? First down, it was a budget of 13 mil.

Dan: Well, I reckon it made, I'm certain it made

Sidey: Res.

Reegs: Yeah. I'll go with that as

Sidey: It made 98 gajillion

Dan: Wow.

Sidey: That has a lot. That is a lot. Do you know how many times they said the word fuck in this film?

Dan: Never.

Sidey: Nope. No, it was 143 res. It was much closer than you.

Dan: Yeah.

Reegs: that seems a lot because it was only like 85

Sidey: minutes

Reegs: long or

Sidey: so.


I enjoyed it. I did enjoy it. Yeah. Had that nine, like cuz it was just coming out into the noy, it had that kind of cheesy aesthetic and, you know, it's all the, all the cell phones looked different, whereas now it's just a black

Reegs: well they weren't smartphone were

Sidey: Yeah. They were like flip phones and had the antenna and stuff like that.

It was quite, quite interesting to look at.

Dan: at. Well,


yeah, I'll look forward to seeing Farin in more stuff.