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13 Hooked Up Facts About The Cable Guy

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In 1996, The Cable Guy was known as a critically panned movie that marked a major career misstep for cinematic supernova Jim Carrey. Today, The Cable Guy is better known as the cult black comedy that grossed over $100 million and showed off Jim Carrey's acting range. The film, which was directed by Ben Stiller and produced/unofficially co-written by Judd Apatow, starred Carrey as Chip Douglas, a sociopath masquerading as a cable repairman who will do anything to maintain a friendship. Matthew Broderick played Steven M. Kovacs, Douglas's "best friend."  On the 20th anniversary of its release, here are some facts about The Cable Guy to read before you conclude your broadcast day.

1. IT WAS WRITTEN BY A LOS ANGELES PROSECUTOR.

Lou Holtz Jr. (no relation to the legendary football coach) told Entertainment Weekly how he got the idea for The Cable Guy: ”A few years ago I was in my mother’s apartment building one night and I saw a cable guy walking down the hall. I remember thinking 'What’s he doing here so late?'" Columbia Pictures ended up buying the script for a total of $1 million. Holtz would ultimately end up writing five drafts.

2. CHRIS FARLEY WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO STAR.

Talent manager Bernie Brillstein believed his client Chris Farley would be ideal for the lead. Holtz took a leave of absence from his day job to fly to New York and meet with Farley to talk about the movie. Farley officially dropped out because of a scheduling conflict, but executives told The New York Times that Farley's involvement ended as soon as Jim Carrey expressed interest. Holtz said Carrey never wanted to meet with him.

3. JIM CARREY WAS PAID A RECORD-BREAKING $20 MILLION.

Carrey was the first actor to ever make that big a paycheck. Carrey's salary was reported to be half of the film's total budget.

4. JUDD APATOW LOST A BATTLE TO GET OFFICIAL CREDIT FOR WRITING.

Judd Apatow lost an "intense" Writers Guild arbitration battle with Lou Holtz Jr. over credit for writing the script. Holtz's version was, according to director Ben Stiller, "basically a silly buddy comedy." Apatow revised the script to make it bleaker, per Carrey's request, going for a "funny version of the classic stalker films." Apatow claimed there was no physical humor for Carrey in Holtz's version of the script. Carrey described the finished product as "Hitchcock meets Jerry Lewis," and "Rosemary's Baby meets The Odd Couple."

5. CARREY WANTED TO DIE AT THE END OF THE MOVIE.

In one Apatow draft, Chip gets impaled on a cable dish. Apatow later admitted, "Jim was very intent on dying at the end of the movie. That was something we couldn’t get past everybody. He thought he should sacrifice and die at the end."

6. CARREY CAME UP WITH THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS PARODY.

Apatow and Stiller went to South Carolina to meet Carrey while he was shooting Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls (1995) for a few days of creative discussion on the script. At a bar, Carrey came up with the idea of having his character push his chest up against the glass like in Midnight Express (1978), writing "T*ts on glass" on a bar napkin.

7. LESLIE MANN AND APATOW MET AT HER AUDITION.

Leslie Mann, who played  Robin Harris in the film, read with Apatow for her audition. Apatow read Carrey's part. They got married in 1997.

8. BEN STILLER CONSIDERED IT A MUCH BIGGER-BUDGETED VERSION OF HIS CANCELED TV SHOW.

Stiller told Joel Murray ("Basketball Player" in The Cable Guy), “It’s like doing a $40 million Ben Stiller Show sketch!” Stiller had all of his co-stars from the Emmy-winning-but-quickly-canceled sketch series in the movie: Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Odenkirk, and even writer David Cross. Murray's response was a dubious, "Yeah, okay."

9. THE STUNT COORDINATOR GOT FIRED.

When the stunt double dunked, the backboard shattered on his face and chest. The backboard glass was supposed to fall backwards. "The pyrotechnics didn’t work the right way and pushed all the glass the wrong way, so the guy got fired on the spot," Keith Gibbs, the basketball coordinator remembered. "I think, in the actual scene, they ended up using it."

10. CARREY WAS HOPELESS WHEN IT CAME TO BASKETBALL.

Gibbs went to Carrey's house for "three or four hours" to teach him some fundamentals. The first thing Carrey told Gibbs was, “I’m a Canadian. I don’t know anything about basketball.” An hour alone was spent on right-hand layups. "At one point, he goes into character, and throws a baby hook from 35 feet, and it goes over the hoop, over the backboard, over his fence, and hits the guest house. And he starts running around the backyard like he just won the NCAA championship."

11. MATTHEW BRODERICK HAD AN ISSUE WITH THE MEDIEVAL TIMES SCENE.

Carrey couldn't believe that nobody had thought to set a comedic piece at Medieval Times before. The Buena Park, California venue closed its doors for the first time ever to accommodate filming. But there was one problem: Broderick is allergic to horses. "I had to really concentrate not to sneeze all the time," he said. "I like fight scenes and physical comedy. But we were doing it in a string of 16-hour days and that can be quite draining."

12. ONE SCENE WAS TAKEN OUT BECAUSE CARREY'S EVIL EYES WERE TOO REALISTIC.

Apatow gave The Los Angeles Times a list of excised scenes, including one where Carrey shoots Broderick's character with a staple gun and stitches his butt in the shape of a television, another where Carrey pretends to be a volunteer firefighter and hurls a fireman's ax at Broderick, and one scene shot in 40-degree rain in Griffith Park, where Carrey rides up on a horse resembling the headless horseman and leaps at Broderick, who puts a rock to Carrey's head and threatens him until Carrey implores him to "go to the dark side of the force!" The latter was cut because "the evil in Carrey's eyes look too realistic." Another scene that was cut out because it didn't get big laughs and scared test audiences had Carrey on top of Broderick's car acting like The Terminator.

13. LARRY THE CABLE GUY'S MANAGER WAS UPSET.

"Before we started shooting, I got a call from this friend of mine who managed Larry the Cable Guy," Apatow recalled. "He said, 'Judd, what are you doing? You can’t call this movie The Cable Guy—this guy has been working so hard developing this character. You’re going to destroy his career!' There was nothing I could do to change it. But clearly, Larry the Cable Guy has done way better than the movie The Cable Guy. If you had to compare the career of Larry the Cable Guy and the movie The Cable Guy, Larry wins, hands down."

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Here’s some news you won’t be cheering about: Bring It On is leaving Netflix on July 1st—as are the four of its sequels that are currently part of the company’s streaming library (FYI: there are a total of six Bring It On films altogether—yes, six). The Lethal Weapon franchise will bid farewell, too, as will a handful of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To make way for July’s slate of new titles, here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in July.

JULY 1

Alive

Along Came Polly

An Honest Liar

Beerfest

Before Midnight

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight to the Finish

Bring It On: In It to Win It

Cocktail

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 4

Little Women

Michael Clayton

Midnight in Paris

Mixed Signals

More Than a Game

Pandemic

Piglet’s Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild

Scary Movie

Scream 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Art of War

Tropic Thunder

V for Vendetta

JULY 2

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

JULY 8

Alpha & Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Real Husbands of Hollywood: Seasons 1-5

JULY 9

Ratchet and Clank

Serena

JULY 11

Alice Through the Looking Glass

JULY 14

Wild Hogs

JULY 15

Convergence

Lockup: State Prisons: Collection 1

Small Is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary

JULY 16

Changeling

Wanted

JULY 29

The Den

JULY 30

A Cinderella Story

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Swing State 

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Universal Studios
Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Like so much of the moviegoing world, Netflix is in a Jurassic Park state of mind. Among the dozens of new movies, TV shows, and specials that will be added to the company’s already-massive streaming library next month are Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park III. There’s plenty to love for non-dino enthusiasts, too—including new seasons of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Orange is the New Black. Here’s everything new that’s coming to Netflix in July.

JULY 1

Blue Bloods: Season 8

Bo Burnham: what.

Chocolat

Deceived

Finding Neverland

Get Smart

Happy Gilmore

Hawaii Five-O: Season 8

Interview with the Vampire

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park III

Madam Secretary: Season 4

Menace II Society

NCIS: Season 15

Pandorum

Penelope

Queens of Comedy: Season 2

Rica, Famosa, Latina: Seasons 1-4

Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

Spanglish

Stealth

Swordfish

The Boondock Saints

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Princess Diaries

The Voices

Traitor

Troy

Van Helsing

We Own the Night

We the Marines

What We Started

JULY 2

Dance Academy: The Comeback

Good Witch: Season 4

Romina

The Sinner: Season 1

JULY 3

The Comedy Lineup

JULY 5

Blue Valentine

JULY 6

Anne with an E: Season 2

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: New 2018: Freshly Brewed

First Team: Juventus: Part B

Free Rein: Season 2

Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons: Season 2

Sacred Games

Samantha!

Somebody Feed Phil: The Second Course

The Fosters: Season 5

The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Skin of The Wolf

White Fang

JULY 7

Scream 4

JULY 9

Lockup: Extended Stay: Collection 1

JULY 10

Drug Lords: Season 2

JULY 12

Gone Baby Gone

JULY 13

How It Ends

Jim Jefferies: This Is Me Now

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

Sugar Rush

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants

JULY 15

Bonusfamiljen: Season 2

Going for Gold

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale: Part 2

JULY 20

Amazing Interiors

Dark Tourist

Deep Undercover: Collection 3

Duck Duck Goose

Father of the Year

Fix It and Finish It: Collection 3

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh: Season 4

Jimmy: The True Story of a True Idiot

Last Chance U: EMCC & Life After

Last Chance U: INDY: Part 1

Luna Petunia: Return to Amazia: Season 2

JULY 22

An Education

Disney’s Bolt

JULY 24

The Warning

Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial

JULY 27

Cupcake & Dino - General Services

Extinction

Orange Is the New Black: Season 6

Roman Empire: Reign of Blood: Master of Rome

The Bleeding Edge

The Worst Witch: Season 2

Welcome to the Family

JULY 28

Shameless: Season 8

The Company Men

JULY 29

Her

Sofia the First: Season 4

JULY 30

A Very Secret Service: Season 2

JULY 31

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 3

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