|The Landline Detective|
STATUS: In distribution. The Landline Detective is available on Amazon (in the U.S. and the U.K.), on YBS’ own online movie platform, Serenergy, the Roku TV channel, All Hawaii TV, and has been uploaded to the online movie distribution company, Filmhub, where it has been picked up by the online movie platforms, Tubi, Xumo, Popsy on Plex, Filmocracy, Hoopla, The Timeless Network, Mometu, TCL, Stash TV on YouTube, Stash TV, Box Brazil Play, Future Today, Nuclear Home Video, Rewarded TV, Reveel, Cineverse, Play Now Media, YouTube Movies & TV (Free with Ads), and The Roku Channel.
The Landline Detective was also accepted into the online Lift-Off Global Network 2020 Paris Film Festival, 2020 Sydney Film Festival, and 2020 Melbourne Film Festival.*
*Note: Lift-Off’s Film Festivals, like all other film festivals, are usually screened in theaters in the host city with attendees who watch all the films as well as attend pre and post festival activities. Due to the pandemic of 2020 these festivals were screened solely online.
The Landline Detective was also subsequently accepted to and screened in the 2022 London Lift-Off Global Network’s Online Film Festival, the 2023 Berlin Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Manchester Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Austin Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Tokyo Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Toronto Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 New York Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, the 2023 Los Angeles Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival, and the 2023 Amsterdam Lift-Off Global Network Online Film Festival.
LOGLINE: A man organizing the family photos discovers a Polaroid shot of his old car on a certain day which confirms that his brother-in-law was not where he said he was on the night his wife was murdered, which prompts him to investigate whether the killer of his sister-in-law was her husband, by calling people on his landline telephone.
IMDb: The Landline Detective
The Trailer For “The Landline Detective” – Created By Mark Bush
This movie actually began in the wake of the World Buffet post filming energy, even before Before The After was written. It reflected the constant thought process on the part of Eric Nemoto to come up with compelling drama which could be filmed on the most minimalist of concepts. It occurred, as most script ideas do, simply out of the blue while driving to a meeting. “What if” for some reason, a man came upon an object he sees every day and has done so for years on end, and he suddenly realizes that it has some alternative meaning which then provides an answer to some long forgotten secret… a lost treasure, a missing person, a murder?
Veteran actor, Dann Seki, portrays the telephone sleuth, Jimmy Furuta.
Soon after the spark hit him, Eric contacted his good friend, fellow filmmaker and filming associate, and all around great actor, Dann Seki (see above photo), to pose a question, “What if we filmed a movie whereby we focus only on the one central character as he goes through this process of discovery, that the other characters are but voices we hear as he makes telephone calls which ultimately leads him to solve some great mystery?” Dann responded that he thought the concept interesting and so, “Write it,” he said.
Seki’s response came on December 5th, 2016 and around writing “Before The After,” Eric completed “Landline” on January 7th, 2017, writing specifically with Dann playing the lead. Upon reading the script, Dann committed to doing the movie around other creative commitments that he had made (stage plays with Kumu Kahua Theatre and TAG – The Actors’ Group). As it would happen, most of the year would pass before finally Eric, Dann, and Larry Cortez (see inset photo) committed to produce the movie. The trio agreed to make this movie a shared project with Eric serving as producer, director, and screenwriter, Dann as producer and actor (playing the lone on-screen character, James “Jimmy” Furuta), and Larry as producer, director of photography, sound mixer, and editor. Dann and Eric worked to get the other voice actors. Dann recruited Valerie Falle (Myra), Nyla Fujii-Babb (Blanche), Jim Aina (Stan), Eric Mita (John), Lisa Katagiri Bright (Belle), and Denise Aiko Chinen (Janice). Eric recruited Michael Carter (Billy), Mike Mazzola (Tom), Carol Chong (Donna), Howard Noh (Harry), Lance Motogawa (Randy), Kristen Nemoto Jay (Lisa), Aaron “Iwi” Jay (Newton), Kaila Arakaki (Shayna), and Eric would voice over the role of the Male Voice recording which peddled term life insurance. In addition, Eric utilized the youthful photo of his late aunt, Yoshie Arakaki Matsuda, as the image of Sarah Izumi, the woman murdered in the story. As Dann was a member of SAG-AFTRA, the project was filed as a SAG-AFTRA New Media production, designed to go directly to online screening. Dann secured the location for the shoot, a residence apartment for visiting staff personnel at the Buddhist Study Center located near the University of Hawaii at Manoa (see photo below), Larry obtained the services of Pong Kham for make-up, Eric and Dann contributed in bringing and producing props and set decoration, and the shoot was on, which took place during the week of Monday, August 28th, 2017 through Saturday, September 2nd, 2017. Though a veteran actor of many movies and stage plays, it was an entirely unique acting experience for Seki, since he basically had to act alone, only having the voice of Eric to work off of (who read all of the other characters’ lines as Dann’s scenes were shot). The other actors were brought in during pre-planned slots half hour or more whereby they read their character lines in repetition under the guidance of Eric and Larry. The minimalist plot and production paid off. The shoot was shot in a very efficient five days (Monday through Thursday, and wrapping on Saturday).
James “Jimmy” Furuta, a retiree living in Hawaii, has returned from a “boys only” vacation to Las Vegas with his friends. Like most who vacation in Vegas, Jimmy “won some and lost some” which means he lost. But also during his time away he was inspired to do complete something he hadn’t been able to finish in his life when one of his friends shared that he had finally finished the garden he had been promising his wife he’d create for over 20 years. While he didn’t have anything he had promised his wife he’d do for the past 20 years, he did realize that the family photos, taken over all of their years together, had never been organized. So now that he has just come back from dropping his wife, Myra, off at the airport for her “girls only” vacation to a jewelry convention in Seattle, he begins our story by taking out a box of the family photos from a closet in one of the bedrooms, and emptying out atop living room coffee table.
But a few things happen before he gets to his big project. He gets a call from his granddaughter, seven-year-old Shayna, who welcomes him home and passes the call to her mother, Jimmy’s daughter, Lisa, who invites him over for dinner with her and her husband, Phil, while Myra is away and also asks, “What is it again you’re doing?” Jimmy tells her his intentions and they jokingly talk about his prospects for success. “You watch,” Jimmy tells his daughter, “When mom comes back in a week, everything will be neatly organized!” Lisa laughs and they end their call on a “We’ll see” basis. But given the call has brought him to the phone Jimmy notices that the voice mail light is blinking and he has five messages. He presses the play button and hears the messages play. The first message is from Blanche, the receptionist for his dentist, she reminds him that it’s time to schedule his next appointment. The second message comes from Randy, a solar energy salesman who says he’s following up on a referral notice he was given. The third message comes from Billy of Toyota’s warranty division, who wants to talk to Jimmy getting an extended warranty on his Lexus. The fourth message is from Donna, Jimmy’s niece who is soon to be married, who reminds him of the upcoming rehearsal dinner and also that Jimmy had agreed to be the MC of their wedding reception. And the fifth message comes from Myra, who was about to board her plane, telling Jimmy to make sure he eats regularly and to not be too obsessive about trying to get all the photos organized.
Jimmy returns one of the messages immediately. He calls Blanche and they talk about his vacation and how it was kind of a reunion of his friends since they decided to get together more often as one of their gang recently passed away. This leads to Blanche talking about her upcoming reunion for Castle High School and how she’s one of the ones coordinating it because she was back then, and still is, the source for school information. They end the call by telling each other how it was great to talk to one another. But as soon as Jimmy hangs up he laughs because he had failed to schedule his dental appointment. A quick call back accomplishes this and it also has he and Blanche laughing at what had happened. In scheduling the appointment Blanche asks Jimmy if he would want a reminder and Jimmy says, “Yes.” Blanche subsequently confirms that the only way to contact Jimmy is through his landline, since as Jimmy puts it, he’s a dinosaur who doesn’t have a cell and has no email address. They laugh and end their call. Jimmy starts on the photos. He lays them out and tries to separate them on the table by some type of organization. As he does he notices an envelope that has the initials “CE” written on it. It spurs his curiosity. So he picks it up and opens it. Inside he finds a few polaroid photos which seems to just random slice-of-life shots taken over 30 years ago. There is a shot of scenery, a shot of some fish that have been caught, and a shot of a mom and pop store. All of these photos are dated, and as Jimmy looks at the pictures we sense that these seemingly random shots have drawn his attention. As he tries to figure out what intrigues him about the photos, his phone rings. So he steps to his desk picks up the receiver and hits the speaker button as he sits and still looks at the photos.
Eric Nemoto talks with Lance Motogawa on his Motogawa Music Entertainment Show (AM 650) on June 25, 2018, about, among many things, filming The Landline Detective and about Lance portraying Randy, one of the voice characters. (Note: Video image inverted)
It is Billy from Toyota. Jimmy apologizes for not returning his call because he had been away and still doesn’t know how to leave a message on his phone. Billy tells him “No worries,” and proceeds to tell him about the benefits of buying an extended warranty. During Billy’s sales pitch we find out that Jimmy really takes good care of his car and that he’s only had five in his lifetime and it’ll probably be his last. Billy’s engaging personality has him saying, “Well there you go Mr. Furuta! If this car is the final one and needs to last, what better way to assure its longevity than to get an extended warranty.” Jimmy laughs and tells Billy to give him a week. Billy laughingly says he will and they hang up. As Jimmy sits there he continues to look at the photos, for something about them continues to pique his curiosity. Not knowing exactly why, he stares at them, particularly the one showing the mom and pop store. It is a store he recognizes. It is a long time and well known little store in Heeia on the windward side of the island, the same side that Jimmy lives on, which is Kailua. And then it dawns on him why he can’t take his eyes off of this shot. It is about the date of the photo. We get an extreme close up of that portion of the shot and it shows, “03-27-82.” Jimmy’s eyes widen with what we know is a kind of revelation. While he is deep in thought, the phone rings again, both startling and irritating him. He presses the speaker button and it is a taped voice recording of a man’s voice energetically telling him the value of obtaining term life insurance. But because of Jimmy’s attention to the mom and pop photo, he continues to stare at the photo as the message plays and eventually ends. We then see a series of shots of Jimmy in various locations of his house, wherein he is lost in his thoughts about the photo.
The Polaroid Photo That Changes Jimmy Furuta’s World
Jimmy finally returns to his desk and looks into his Rolodex to find Lisa’s work number and makes a call. After a ring he hangs up. As he continues to look at the photo his phone rings. He answers it. It is Lisa asking him why he called. Jimmy asks her how did she know it was him? Lisa sighs, “Oh Dad,” and Jimmy realizes that it is because there is such a thing as caller ID. He then proceeds to tell Lisa about the difficulties of organizing the photos, beating around the bush of what he truly wants to say. Lisa senses he wants to say more but Jimmy says he can’t recall what it was he wanted to talk about. They eventually hang up. But no sooner than that Jimmy calls her again and Lisa responds, “So what was it?” Jimmy asks her about a Polaroid camera he and Myra bought for her. Lisa recalls it, says it was back when she was eight-years-old. Jimmy goes on to describe the random shots that he found in the CE envelope and Lisa eventually recalls that it was taken during her school spring vacation trip. Jimmy looks at the photos with a new perspective and they conclude that the shots were taken by Lisa, and in particular the mom and pop store photo was taken from the view of their bus seat as they were traveling home. The talk makes Lisa ask why all the interest in these photos and Jimmy finally divulges the reason for why this perplexes him. In the mom and pop photo there is a car which cannot be there on the date of that shot. For March 27th, 1982, was the day before Jimmy’s sister-in-law, Sarah (Myra’s sister and Lisa’s auntie), was found strangled in her house a mile away. It cannot be there because that car used to be Jimmy’s before he sold it to his brother-in-law, John (Sarah’s husband), whose alibi during the weekend of his wife’s murder was that he was out fishing at Makapuu (on another part of the island). “Why if Uncle John was away fishing for the weekend is his car there on the night before your Aunty Sarah’s murder?” Lisa questions whether Jimmy is certain that the car in the photo was his. Jimmy is. As we’ve learned from his talk with Billy, he takes care of his car and he’s only had five in his life. It’s definitely the car he sold to John. The question is unsettling and after a back and forth between the two Lisa tells her father to just let it rest for now, to bring the photo to her house later in the evening when Jimmy has been invited to join Lisa and her husband, for dinner. Jimmy agrees and they hang up.
But after a continued beat of attention to the photo, the phone rings again. Jimmy answers it. It is Randy, the solar panel man. Jimmy goes through his routine again about being away and just now getting to his messages and Randy tells him “No worries.” Randy starts explaining that he’s following up on a referral he had about Jimmy being interested in talking to someone about installing solar panels on his house. Jimmy acknowledges this but tells Randy if they could possibly talk say in a week since he just got back from a vacation in Vegas and he needs to catch up on all his mail. Randy tells him that’s not a problem and explains to him that he’ll call in a week but that if he ever wants to talk sooner just to give him a call as his office is located in Kahaluu near the mom and pop store but closer to the old Carlton hiking trail in the mountain. Jimmy nods in response to the irony of Randy’s workplace being near to the store and they thank each other for their time and hang up. But as soon as he does the phone rings again and Jimmy answers it. It is Lisa again and she first asks if Jimmy has told her mother or her Aunty Janice, who is busy helping to play her cousin Donna’s upcoming wedding. Jimmy tells her no. Lisa responds that this is good because she has a theory as to why her Uncle John’s car is there that night. She offers that maybe John was seeing someone else, that he then doesn’t divulge the fact that he was there because that would then reveal his unfaithfulness and also bring attention to whoever he was having an affair with. Jimmy finds this difficult to believe. For one he and Myra didn’t know anyone on the street where the car was parked. But Lisa has an answer for that too. If John was indeed having an affair with someone, he wouldn’t park near the house for that would make it too obvious. He’d park on another street and then walk to that person’s house. The theory gets Jimmy to thinking. They end their call with Lisa again telling Jimmy to bring the photo with him when he comes for dinner.
But intrigued by what Lisa has told him, Jimmy grabs a phone book and looks up a number. He then calls Stan Takei, his brother-in-law’s best friend and the man who was with John on that fateful weekend back in 1982. Stan is surprised to hear from Jimmy and even more surprised when after a bit of busy talk Jimmy asks a bombshell, whether there was any possibility that John could have been seeing someone else when his wife was killed. Stan is naturally taken aback and no matter how Jimmy attempts to explain his reasoning, Stan is hanging up, telling Jimmy not to call again. Jimmy exhales frustration and as he does he sees the number for his niece, Donna, and calls her. Donna answers and she and Jimmy go through the pleasantries of what he did on his Vegas vacation, how’s Myra, making sure that Jimmy will come to her wedding rehearsal dinner, that Newton, her fiancee is on third watch on the night of that dinner (he’s a cop) and to not forget he promised to be their MC. Jimmy smilingly pleads, “Donna, you sure you can’t get one of your friends to MC?” Donna confirms she’s sure. “We have no back up Uncle, it’s you.” Jimmy chuckles and they hang up. As Jimmy moves away from the desk the phone rings yet again. Jimmy steps back and answers it. It is Stan, who apologizes for his reaction and asks why did Jimmy ask his question. Jimmy explains from the beginning and points out that there’s no way that car can be there if what John said happened that weekend happened. Stan advises that Jimmy should just “let sleeping dogs lie.” But Jimmy admits he can’t for John’s car being there on that night changes everything. He then explains that Lisa had this theory about John seeing someone in the neighborhood, for that would explain both why his car was parked near the mom and pop store and why he wouldn’t reveal that he was there on that night. Unexpectedly, Stan then suggests that such a theory might have some basis in reality. Jimmy’s interest is heightened and he asks why. Stan tells him that he knew that John was friendly with a Belle Adachi who went to Castle High School. Stan then tells Jimmy that’s all he knows and as much as he’ll venture to say and asks, again, that this be the last time they talk and if he’s ever asked that this conversation never happened. Jimmy ponders for a few beats after Stan hangs up and then he’s making yet another call, this time back to Blanche. Blanche answers and Jimmy explains what has led him to call her back. Blanche admits “This is heavy stuff,” and asks Jimmy what he wants. Jimmy confides that Blanche being the source of information for Castle High School could he tell her a bit of what she knew of Belle Adachi, who Stan suggested might have been seeing John. Blanche recalls that Belle married some PR guy and they moved to the mainland not soon after she graduated. But not being totally sure, she tells Jimmy to give her time to ask around and she’ll get back to him. Jimmy, wary of Blanche’s self professed skills at being the “go-to” person for information shares his concern. Blanche promises to be discreet. They hang up.
Another thought crosses Jimmy’s mind. He calls Randy back and tells him aside from reconfirming their talk the following week he has a question about the old Carlton Trail. Jimmy learns from Randy that while the trail is closed to the public since the 90s, back in the 80s it was open and one could literally walk up to the trail from the road that his (Randy’s) business was on and walk as far as the mountain range possibly could take one. Jimmy and Randy end their call and Jimmy searches for and finds a map of the windward side and studies it. Jimmy gets on the phone again, calling Stan, who by this time is beside himself what with Jimmy becoming obsessive. Jimmy tells Stan that his source tells him that Belle had likely long departed for the mainland before Sarah’s murder but moreover that back in those days one could hike along the Carlton Trail from where the car was parked back to John’s house. Jimmy asks Stan what does he think about this and whether he had ever posed the question to John of what he thinks happened? Stan shouts back to Jimmy never to call him again and slams the phone down. Later, Jimmy is back on the phone with Lisa, who finds his ever burgeoning theory – now it’s her Uncle John parking on the street near to the mom and pop store, walking up into the mountain, hiking along the Carlton Trail a few miles, and then walking back down to his street in the cover of darkness back to his house to murder Aunty Sarah – to be a product of his growing obsession and fantasy. “Dad, what’s gotten into you?” Sarah exclaims. Jimmy explains that he’s doing what most people do if they came across something that they couldn’t handle. “They talk to people,” he retorts.” We watch as Jimmy’s physical actions (pacing and thinking) communicate his inability to focus on anything other than the thoughts he has in his mind. Myra calls him and tells him she talked to Lisa, and unlike Jimmy, she doesn’t feel a need to trudge up the past. Jimmy can hardly believe his ears but it is because, as Myra puts it, “It was such a horrible time. So much pain. Pain that in reality, you never get rid of, never quite get over.” But in addition, Myra confesses she doesn’t believe that John could do such a thing for he and Sarah for so much in love. Jimmy, ever the pragmatist, contends the facts go contrary to John’s story. Myra relents and tells Jimmy to do what he feels he needs to do. After they hang up Jimmy gets another call. He answers it and it is the voice recording again about term life insurance. Jimmy at first feels it’s a repeating nuisance, but then it hits him, ‘insurance.’
Jimmy talks to his old insurance man, Harry, and after exchanging pleasantries brings up Sarah’s murder and asks Harry what does he think John would have gotten for a settlement like that back in the 80s. Harry finds the question to be very strange and says it’s something he wouldn’t reveal if he knew and that perhaps Jimmy’s energy could be better served by contacting the people who actually did the investigating of the case. Jimmy acknowledges this and they hang up. Jimmy quickly redials and talks to Donna. He asks her if Newton could give him a call. When asked why, Jimmy responds that his friend’s son is interested in joining the force so he has a few questions for him. Donna says sure and tells him that Newton will call him. They hang up. A few beats pass and the phone rings. Jimmy answers it thinking it’s Newton, but it’s not, it’s Newton’s prospective mother-in-law, Janice, Donna’s mother and Jimmy’s other sister-in-law. Janice asks Jimmy if the couple asked him to do the ceremonial banzai toast. Jimmy responds, “Jesus, I’m doing the emcee, what, should I conduct the ceremonies?” They laugh and Janice confesses her nervousness and Jimmy tells her that the kids have everything under control. Janice then confides about her feelings of sadness in that Sarah never had the opportunity to have children and experience watching them grow and get married. Jimmy tells her that Sarah will be there in spirit. Sarah appreciates the comment. As soon as they hang up the phone rings again and Jimmy answers. It’s Newton. Jimmy awkwardly explains that their call has nothing to do with a friend’s son wanting to become a police officer, but that it has to do with Donna’s late Aunty Sarah. Jimmy explains the situation and tells Newton he needs to talk to the man who led the investigation, Tom Copeland. Newton tells Jimmy he’ll have to locate Tom’s contact number because he’s retired. Jimmy understands. They hang up. Moments pass and the phone rings yet again. Jimmy answers. It is Blanche and she has Belle Anderson’s (her married name) number in San Diego. Jimmy thanks her. Blanche and Jimmy talk about the surreal nature of this day and Blanche asks him “James, you ever thought of just calling up your brother-in-law?” Jimmy tells her it’s obviously crossed his mind but what am I going to tell him, “Hey John, did you kill your wife?” They hang up. No sooner than he does the phone rings again. Jimmy answers. It’s Tom Copeland. Jimmy is half shocked and half happy to be talking to the man that headed up his sister-in-law’s murder investigation. He starts to introduce himself but Tom remembers Jimmy. Jimmy asks Tom what kind of insurance settlement did John get when Sarah died and Tom can’t recall and asks Jimmy why the question? Jimmy goes on to reexplain what he’s discovered and Tom admits it’s a game changer. He asks for Jimmy to scan the photo and email it to him. But Jimmy explains his lack of technical computer prowess and tells Tom he’ll get his daughter to do so when he visits her for dinner at night. Tom gives his email and then says he’ll go to the police department and visit the homicide division and check the Izumi murder files and get back to Jimmy. He confides in Jimmy that he always thought something was amiss about what happened simply because on that weekend the boys, John and Stan, came back from their weekend fishing trip with no fish, since they always caught fish. They hang up.
We watch as the wheels turn in Jimmy’s head as he considers what Tom said. He finally gets up the gumption to do what has been on his mind from the start. He calls John. John answers and is surprised to hear Jimmy’s voice. What possible pleasant ‘how you doing’ conversation that could have ensued is obliterated when Jimmy cuts to the chase and asks John why his car is parked near to the mom and pop store on the night before Sarah was murdered? John responds incredulously, “MY CAR? You’re saying my car…”. Jimmy doesn’t let him finish. He tells John to cut the bull and explain why. But John abruptly hangs up. Jimmy looks at the receiver he holds and filled with adrenaline makes another difficult call, to Belle. She answers and thinks Jimmy is calling about the upcoming Castle High School reunion. But Jimmy explains his scenario again and tells her that Stan suggested that she might have been involved with John. Belle rebukes this. She tells Jimmy that she and John met on only a couple of occasions and that they were just friends. She then tells him that for Stan to accuse her of fooling around was ridiculous. For it was Stan who was known to be a flirt. “We used to say his last name should be tako (Japanese for octopus) for that’s what he was to all the pretty girls, all arms!” Jimmy thanks Belle for her time and apologizes for the inconvenience and they hang up. As Jimmy paces about and contemplates this latest information the phones rings again. Jimmy rushes to it and answers. It is Tom. “James, Sarah Izumi didn’t have any life insurance,” he says. It is a blow to the theory that John killed his wife for the money, but Jimmy presses on. He tells Tom that he called John and confronted him and that he got emotional. “I can feel it,” Jimmy says, “I know he killed her.” But Tom doesn’t buy it. He tells Jimmy that John couldn’t have killed Sarah. Jimmy asks why and Tom explains simply because John didn’t have his car on that night. Jimmy is totally confused. Tom explains that John and Stan went fishing that week but Stan forgot to bring his share of the bait. So this made them cut up the fish that the did have to use for bait which turned out to be unsuccessful and ultimately, they caught no fish. That explained why they came back empty handed. John and Stan always brought home fish but for this weekend, the weekend where John came back to find his wife murdered, they had no fish whatsoever. When they ran out, having caught only a few fish, Stan volunteered to take John’s car to buy more bait.
Hearing this Jimmy feels guilty and tells Tom he made a big mistake. “What are you thinking?” Tom asks him. “What do you think?” Jimmy retorts. “The car was by the store because Stan went there to buy bait!” But Tom continues his story. He tells Jimmy that according to Stan, he had a flat driving away from Makapuu and by the time he put on the spare and got back on the road to look for bait, all the shops had closed. So Stan said he went back to his house in Aiea to possibly get some frozen fish he might have in his freezer. But when he got home he discovered he didn’t have any fish and so he came back empty handed. “Aiea?” Jimmy asked. “Yeah,” Tom continues, “Stan lived in Aiea, still does today I believe. You see Jimmy, Stan said he never went to look for bait on the Windward side, he went into town.” The wheels then turn in Jimmy’s head and he asks, “What are you thinking, Tom?” “I’m saying it’s not whose car is parked in Heeia,” Tom says, “It’s who was the DRIVER of that car.” Jimmy’s eyes widen as the realization sets in. John’s car was in fact in Heeia on that night because Stan had parked it there and it was because was the one who went back to John’s house. It was Stan who killed Sarah. Tom ends their call by telling Jimmy he’s going to alert homicide about this. Jimmy is stunned by this development. But he doesn’t have much time to ponder as the phone rings immediately again. It is Myra in a frantic mode. She pleads with Jimmy, “What did you do?” Jimmy has no idea what she’s talking about and asks, “What are you talking about?” Myra explains that she got a call from John’s wife, Amelia, in a hysterical state, telling her that John retrieved his old gun he had from the military and said he was going to kill somebody. Jimmy immediately ends their call, telling Myra he’ll explain later. He calls Newton and tells him of the urgency of the matter; that he believes his future Uncle John is in route to kill a man. He gives Newton the address to Stan’s house. Newton says he’ll radio it in and get there himself. Jimmy hangs up and immediately calls Stan. He gets his voice recorder and pleads with Stan to pick up, explaining that John is on his way to kill him. Stan picks up the phone and says, “What the hell you talking about?” Jimmy tells him of what he knows happened, that Stan was the one who went back to Heeia that fateful night to go back to John’s house to see Sarah. That he killed him. Stan retorts, “You’re out of your mind!” But then we hear a gun shot! And Stan pleads for his life as John has arrived with his gun. John tells him, “You killed her!” And we hear Stan confess to something that has remained a mystery for 35 years, that he in fact killed Sarah. Jimmy tells Stan to put John on the phone and eventually this happens. Jimmy tries to talk John down but it can’t happen. We hear the years of anguish in John’s voice and when the gun goes off again Jimmy drops his head in despair, for John has seemingly killed Stan. But after a few beats we hear the voice of Tom and a bevy of officers, including Newton. We discover that John shot away from Stan and in fact didn’t kill him. Tom tells the officers to take Stan into custody and to make sure to put down in their reports the fact that Stan confessed to the whole crime. Tom talks to Jimmy, and tells him finding Sarah Izumi’s killer finally does away with the great void in his life. He then puts John on the phone. Jimmy apologizes to John and tells him to go home to Amelia. Jimmy finally hangs up and looks up in silent appreciation.
As we conclude our movie, Lisa and Jimmy talk about the surreal nature of the day. “Hey, remember you mentioned that you wanted to work on something that hadn’t been done for over 20 years?” Lisa asks, “Well, you actually did.” Lisa puts Shayna on the phone and she asks, “What did you do today, Grandpa?” Jimmy tells her that he stayed indoors and all he did was talk to people. “You have to get out more often, Grandpa,” Shayna tells him. Jimmy laughs and tells her he’ll be coming over for dinner. They hang up. Jimmy picks up the polaroids as he goes to the front door and leaves. As the story comes to an end the camera pans to pick up the photo of a young Sarah Izumi.
Post-Production & Premiere
Larry Cortez would work to create the original rough cut of the movie by the fall of 2018. He then turned over the editing duties to Mark J. Bush (see inset photo) who then went on to completely finish the movie. Mark devoted countless hours towards providing further editing, did the colorization and special effects for the movie, and served as the movie’s music coordinator. The final version of the movie was completed on March 5th, 2020, and a premiere for cast and crew was held on March 13th, 2020, at the site of the original shoot, the Buddhist Study Center. Braving the growing fears of the Coronavirus pandemic, which reduced those who were to attend by 50%, 15 members of the cast, crew and guests enjoyed a pleasurable reunion (see photo below) prior to the CDC recommendation of avoiding gatherings of 10 or more.
The Amazing Amazon Experience
Exactly two months after its private premiere, on May 13th, 2020, Landline debuted on Amazon, and remained there until August 31st, 2022, when YBS/LegacyVision Films elected to voluntarily take it down and attempt to redistribute it through the online movie distribution company Filmhub.¹ In the slightly over two years that it was available for purchase, rent, and free to Amazon Prime subscribers, the results were very impressive.
PURCHASED RENTED PRIME MINUTES REVIEWS 146 491 403,938 15,552,734 125
Landline was accessible throughout the USA, as well as the UK, and received a decent number of purchases (146) and rentals (491). But its most impressive fact was that through primarily its Prime members, it attracted 403,938 unique individual viewers for which, when combined with those who purchased and rented the movie, achieved an amazing 15,552,734 overall streaming minutes. This total was the equivalent of the movie (approximately 118 minutes long) being viewed 131,803 times. For a complete report that chronicles the cumulative performance statistics of Landline on Amazon, check here. The movie also garnered 125 reviews (with an average four star rating) during this time. It should be noted that Amazon allows reviewers to rescind their reviews. Thus, if the current total reflects a number less than 125, this is the reason why. Of the many good reviews that were posted, the following captures the overall sentiment of the majority of reviewers the best (Thank you, Karrin L.):
Unique and surprisingly entertaining
I’ve never seen a movie like this – with virtually no actions or scenes – but is actually more captivating than many of the movies I’ve seen in the past 50+ years. I’ve seen so many movies/tv shows that I get bored easily, so it says a lot that I didn’t change this “channel”. The main actor is superb. I’m not sure how many others could have pulled off this movie like he did. His facial expressions and his intonation spoke volumes. And kudos to all the voices behind the phone calls. We never see their faces but I could picture them in my head.
The Amazon Landing Page For The Landline Detective When It Was Live Through The YBS Amazon PVD Account
¹This decision by YBS/LegacyVision Films was prompted by Amazon’s corporate policy change to begin reducing (and eventually eliminating) movies produced by independent filmmakers being available on Prime (availability for purchase and rent would continue). Landline, in fact, was taken down from Prime on June 10th, 2021. So for over a year the movie remained on Amazon through YBS’ Amazon Prime Video Direct account. But as Filmhub has a transfer program where if the take over the Amazon distribution they will also share it to over a hundred foreign countries, the transfer was done on September 1st, 2022.
In another development, in February 2021, a movie review was provided by professional writer and author Don Doman of the Suburban Times, an online newspaper in southwest Pierce County in Washington state, USA. It serves the Washington state communities of Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, Steilacoom, DuPont, and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. For the complete review click here.