Film Review: Wire Room (dir by Matt Eskandari)

Wire Room tells the story of Justin Rosa (Kevin Dillon).

Once upon a time, Justin was a member of the Secret Service.  But, for reasons that are never really made clear, Justin was eventually demoted and found himself working for Homeland Security.  After 18 years, Justin has finally achieved his dream.  He’s been assigned to a wire room, a high-tech command center where HSI agents conduct surveillance on high-profile criminals.  On his first day, Justin shows up late.  He gets yelled at by his superior, Shane Mueller (Bruce Willis).  Justin explains that he couldn’t find anywhere to park.  Shane is not impressed.  Of course, Shane takes a taxi to and from work because Shane is a total alcoholic who likes to spend his free time at the local strip club.

After meeting Shane and Nour Holborow (Shelby Cobb), Justin is left in the wire room alone.  His sole job is to keep an eye on a British arms dealer, Eddie Flynn (Oliver Trevena, who chews the scenery with relish).  Shane is obsessed with taking down not only Eddie but also all of the corrupt cops that are on Eddie’s payroll.  Eddie has no idea that his entire mansion is wired and that Homeland Security is watching him while he wanders around the house in his leopard-print robe.  Eddie also doesn’t know that a bunch of assassins are coming to his house to try to kill him.

Realizing that Eddie is about to be killed, Justin tries to call Shane but Shane is too busy getting drunk to answer his phone.  When Nour calls about an unrelated manner, Justin asks her for advice.  She tells him to call Shane.  He already tried that!  Realizing that Homeland Security is full of drunks and incompetents, Justin decides to call Eddie himself.  Soon, Justin and Eddie enter into an uneasy partnership.  Justin tries to keep Eddie alive while Eddie tries to figure out how Justin knows what’s happening at his house.  To me, it would seem like it shouldn’t be difficult for Eddie to figure out that Homeland Security has wired his house but no one in this movie is particularly smart.

Wire Room was one of the last movies that Bruce Willis made before announcing his retirement from acting.  Willis doesn’t get much screen time and his dialogue consists mostly of profane insults.  That said, it is nice to see Willis playing a good guy again and there’s even a few hints of the old Willis charisma to be found in his performance.  If nothing else, he seems to enjoy the scenes in which Shane gives Justin a hard time.  As for Justin, he really is a truly stupid character who makes so many obvious mistakes that it’s hard not to worry about the fact that he’s been entrusted with keeping the homeland safe.  Fortunately, Kevin Dillon is an actor who can make stupidity likable.  (There’s a reason why Johnny Drama was the only character on Entourage that anyone really cared about.)

Like the majority of Willis’s recent films, Wire Room is a low-budget action film.  The special effects aren’t particularly special and the action scenes are fairly rudimentary.  A huge problem with the film is that the viewer is never quite sure how close or how far anyone is from the titular location.  For instance, we’re continually told that people are heading towards the wire room but it seems like it takes them forever to actually show up.  At one point, we see a group of bad guys heading up to the wire room but, somehow, Justin and Shane still have time to scrounge up some weapons and have a fairly detailed conversation before any of them actually arrive.  For all of the shooting and the yelling, Wire Room also never convinces us that there’s much at stake as far as the story is concerned.  Shane, for instance, doesn’t seem to be particularly upset when Justin tells him about what is happening at Eddie’s house, despite the fact that Eddie’s death would destroy Shane’s investigation into police corruption.  If Shane, the man in charge of the investigation, doesn’t care about what happens then why should we?

That said, there is some perhaps unintentional enjoyment to be found in Wire Room.  Kevin Dillon plays Justin as being so dense and so slow-witted that the film almost becomes a parody of the recent spate of movies and television shows that have been released about hyper competent government agents.  There are laughs to be found and Bruce Willis gets to be the good guy again.  Wire Room is not a particularly memorable movie but it is a decent time waster.

Retro Television Review: The Love Boat 1.22 “A Selfless Love / The Nubile Nurse / Parents Know Best”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986!  The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!

All aboard!

Episode 1.22 “A Selfless Love / The Nubile Nurse / Parents Know Best”

(Dir by Roger Duchovny, originally aired on February 25th, 1978)

The week’s cruise begins with the walking HR nightmare known as Dr. Adam Bricker announcing that he’s hired a new nurse and she’s a former Las Vegas showgirl!  Gopher and Isaac are excited to learn this but no one is more excited than Doc, who quickly makes it clear that he’s hoping that she’ll be more than just his nurse.

However, it turns out that Dawn Delaney (Elaine Joyce) not only takes nursing very seriously but she would also rather do her job than make out with her boss.  Needless to say, this upsets the doctor.  It also turns out that she knows about all of the latest medical developments.  This also upsets Doc Bricker because it leads to him getting upstaged.  The final straw is when Dawn manages to cure Captain Stubing’s hiccups.  Bricker gets upset but then Dawn explains that she actually wants to be a doctor but, because she’s a former showgirl, no medical school is willing to accept her.  Bricker promises to use his contacts to got her admitted and then they share a long passionate kiss.  And that’s the end of that story.

As I watched Doc react to his nurse, it occurred to me that this show was very lucky that Bernie Kopell agreed to play the role because Doc, to be honest, is a terrible doctor who violates his Hippocratic oath on every cruise.  In the real world, Doc Bricker would be unemployable.  On The Love Boat, everyone loves him and the reason that we believe he would be so popular is because Bernie Kopell was so naturally likable that it made it easy to overlook all of the character’s shady behavior.

While Doc hit on his new nurse, two parents (Monty Hall and Janis Page) tried to hook their dorky son (Mark Shera) up with a girl (Laurie Prange) on the cruise.  What the parents didn’t know is that the girl was actually their son’s girlfriend and the entire cruise was an elaborate ruse to get them to finally meet.  Seriously, that was the entire story.  It was a bit forgettable.

Finally, Harry Morrison (Leslie Nielsen) is an old friend of Captain Stubing’s.  He’s going to Mexico with his much younger girlfriend, Laura (Lynda Day George) and they plan to get married.  However, Harry starts to worry that Laura is too young for him and Laura starts to worry that Harry would rather hang out with people his own age.  She makes a reference to Donnie and Marie Osmond and Harry admits to not knowing who they are.  Agck!  Fear not, though.  After talking about it, Harry and Laura decide to get married anyways.  It was a predictable story but how can you not like watching the future stars of The Naked Gun and Pieces acting opposite each other?

It was a bit of an odd episode.  The Doc/Nurse storyline was cringey.  The son and his parents storyline were forgettable.  But I liked Leslie Nielsen and Lynda Day George’s story.  They saved the cruise!

Next week, we’ll continue to set sail for adventure with three new stories!

The Writers Guild Announces Their Nominees For The Best Screenplays of 2022!

Earlier today, the Writers Guild of America announced their nominees for the best screenplays of 2022.  As happens every year, a lot of screenplays were deemed ineligible, largely because they weren’t written by members of the WGA.  That’s certainly fair enough.  (Among the “big” films to be declared ineligible: Triangle of Sadness, Banshees of Inisherin, RRR, and All Quiet on the Western Front.)  Here is what was nominated:


Everything Everywhere All At Once – Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert; A24
The Fabelmans – Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner; Universal Pictures
The Menu – Written by Seth Reiss & Will Tracy; Searchlight Pictures
Nope – Written by Jordan Peele; Universal Pictures
Tár – Written by Todd Field; Focus Features

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Screenplay by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, Story by Ryan Coogler, Based on the Marvel Comics; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Written by Rian Johnson; Netflix
She Said – Screenplay by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Based on the New York Times Investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey and Rebecca Corbett and the Book She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey; Universal Pictures
Top Gun: Maverick – Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, Based on Characters Created by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.; Paramount Pictures
Women Talking – Screenplay by Sarah Polley, Based upon the Book by Miriam Toews; Orion Pictures/MGM

2nd Chance – Written by Ramin Bahrani; Showtime Documentary Films
Downfall: The Case Against Boeing – Written by Mark Bailey & Keven McAlester; Netflix
Last Flight Home – Written by Ondi Timoner; MTV Documentary Films
Moonage Daydream – Written by Brett Morgen; Neon
¡Viva Maestro! – Written by Theodore Braun; Greenwich Entertainment

How will the WGA nominations effect the Oscar nominations?  They won’t, seeing as the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday.  Personally, I respect the WGA’s commitment to not being a precursor.  The winners will be announced on March 5th.

Scenes That I Love: Nick Confronts Rick Von Slonecker in Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan

The Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to director Whit Stillman!

Today’s scene that I love comes from Stillman’s first film, 1990’s Metropolitan.  In this scene of preppie-on-preppie violence, Nick (Chris Eigeman) confronts the loathsome aristocrat Rick Von Slonecker (Will Kempe).  Upper class fisticuffs follow.  Chris Eigeman is about as perfectly cast as any actor ever has been in the role of Nick.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Tobe Hooper Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, on what would have been his 80 birthday, the Shattered Lens pays tribute to Texas’s own, Tobe Hooper!

The Austin hippie who redefined horror and left thousands of yankees terrified of driving through South Texas, Tobe Hooper often struggled to duplicate both the critical and the box office success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s only been in the years since his death that many critics and viewers have come to truly appreciate his unique and subversive vision.

Down here, in Texas, we always believed in him.

It’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 Tobe Hooper Films

Eggshells (1969, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Tobe Hooper)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Daniel Pearl)

The Funhouse (1981, dir by Tobe Hooper, DP: Andrew Laszlo)

Lifeforce (1985, dir by Tobe Hooper. DP: Alan Hume)