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Movie Review: "Cellular"

Did you know that there's a point, when you are flying from New York City to Chicago, where you can see both Detroit, and the western curve of Lake Michigan?

That means you can pretty much see the whole state of Michigan, and at sunset time on a Saturday, that's pretty cool.

That's what I saw on my flight back from NYC last night -- actually, Newark Airport, as I couldn't get the flight time I wanted out of LaGuardia, since I had originally booked a midafternoon flight back from my Directors Guild of America Eastern Directors Council meeting, in order to make what I figured would be our first home Cub playoff game, and though the Houston win over Atlanta Saturday was at noon CT, I think that had the Cubs been involved, the TV moguls would have wanted them in prime time...

and as we flew in over Lake Michigan, at sunset, I could see Wrigley Field, dark and silent, rather than brightly lit, as it should have been...

and isn't it annoying, when you fly in from the east, to fly about 30 miles PAST O'Hare to the west, then turn around and land facing eastbound? And then sit for another few minutes about 20 feet short of the gate, because you are early and the plane that was supposed to have vacated your gate is still there?

OK, so that was my afternoon yesterday.

Friday, in New York, it was a gorgeous early-fall day, with sunshine and temperatures in the 70's, so I took a walk through Manhattan, and bought the book "Fever Pitch", by British novelist Nick Hornby, who wrote "About A Boy" and "High Fidelity". "Fever Pitch", though, is no novel -- it's an autobiographical account of his lifelong fanaticism for the British football (read: soccer) team Arsenal... and if you're as obsessed with the Cubs as I am (and if you're reading this, I think you are), you ought to read this book.

I recognize a lot of me in Hornby, as he's almost exactly my age, and ... well, just read it. I found myself a bit jealous, as during his coming of age and young adulthood, his team actually won some championships.

Oh, well. The book is being made into a movie, Americanized to be about a Boston Red Sox fan, and starring Jimmy Fallon of Saturday Night Live fame, and Drew Barrymore, among others. In fact, if you can't wait, it has already been made into a movie in Hornby's native England.

What does all this have to do with "Cellular"?

Well, nothing, actually, except for the fact that when I got tired of walking around midtown Manhattan yesterday, I decided to kill a couple of hours seeing this film.

That's exactly what it did, too -- kill two hours. It's not a bad movie, just not a really good one, either.

The basic premise is: Kim Basinger, playing a mother of a 10-year-old boy, and living in fairly luxurious surroundings (we find out it's Brentwood, a ritzy part of Los Angeles), is kidnapped, for something her husband has.

It is, of course, not what you'd think, but the title of the movie comes from the fact that Basinger (who spends most of the film in tears) manages to wire together a smashed-up phone and gets, through random dialing, a twenty-something slacker on his cellphone.

At the beginning of the movie, this kid is thinking of nothing in life other than impressing the girl who's trying to dump him, but of course, he's going to become the hero.

There's plenty of implausible events, chase scenes that are cool but after you think about them, you ask, "How could they survive THAT?", and plot holes that you could drive the Porsche that gets carjacked not once, but twice, through.

Ah, what the heck. I asked for escapist fare and I got it, and it was worth seeing to see William H. Macy, a terrific actor, appear with an algae mask on his face. No, you'll have to see the movie to find out why. Oh, and it now costs $10.25 to see a movie in midtown Manhattan -- no bargain matinees, either (I saw a 3:50 pm show).

And there it is, a weekend, which would have been better spent at a Cubs/Braves playoff series. And, the Yankees finished off the Twins to set up their second consecutive ALCS with Boston, starting Tuesday.

Let's go Red Sox.

AYRating (for "Cellular"): ** 1/2