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I Play with the Phrase Each Other (2013)

The first feature film composed entirely of cell phone calls.


Jay Alvarez


Jay Alvarez (story), Jay Alvarez
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Jay Alvarez Jay Alvarez ... Sean
Will Hand ... Jake
Megan Kopp Megan Kopp ... Erin
Alexander Fraser Alexander Fraser ... Zane
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Quinn Allan Quinn Allan ... Second Male Server
Zachary Allan Zachary Allan ... Ride-Share Driver (voice)
Alla Anderson Alla Anderson ... Danielle's Friend
Kate Anderson Kate Anderson ... First Server
Katie Arnold Katie Arnold ... Sixth Server
Bonnie Auguston ... Irene
Brynn Baron ... Jake's Mom (voice)
John Bement John Bement ... Hostel Sofa Occupant
Gerry Birnbach Gerry Birnbach ... Preacher (voice)
Karen Buckley Karen Buckley ... DHS Recorded Menu (voice)
Tenielle Carter Tenielle Carter ... Second Server


The first feature film composed entirely of cell phone calls.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

shot on phone | See All (1) »


Comedy | Crime | Drama



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

18 January 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Studio Mist See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Popular Portland musician Scott Peoples (Toxic Rock Syndrome) has appearance as a restaurant patron (uncredited) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

...But Not Distinguished Enough
22 January 2014 | by SLUGMagazineFilmsSee all my reviews

I Play with the Phrase Each Other is a film solely consisting of phone calls, filmed solely on cell phones and shown in black and white. Director Jay Alvarez, who plays Sean, has constructed a plot where his character urges Jake (Will Hand) to move to "the city"—Portland—to indulge in the glory of the Bohemian life of 20-somethings. Once Jake arrives, though, Sean's possessions have been pilfered by a junkie with whom he's staying, and Jake's "in" to city life is no longer viable. Jake stays in a hostel, looking for work and food stamps, since he's unemployed, and Sean begins a job as a restaurant host, living with an ex-girlfriend (or, at least, a former partner with whom he had a dalliance). Intermittently through the film are phone calls between Erin (Megan Kopp), who works at the same bookstore that Jake did before moving, and her confidante; her subplot follows a budding romance with a new beau. Her previous relationship to Jake slowly reveals itself as he unfolds his neurotic psyche regarding love, sex and his mother to his best friend, Zane. Although the technical conceit of the film is an interesting lure, it falls flat in that the phone conversations would have been more likely have happened in the '90s—especially in light of the sheer amount that these 20-somethings with cell phones, who likely have texting capabilities, have longwinded, verbal chats, which renders their phone calls too much of a novelty to seem realistic. What's more is that, with this premise, Jake's and Zane's conversations are so highfalutin' and devoid of the usual gait of phone conversation that they come across as too perfect and overly rehearsed, like a Shakespearean play on a theatre stage with contemporary jargon—and they're so angst-y and existential! I suppose that romanticizing the idea of the phone conversation in today's hyper-technological age is an attractive avenue, but the sense of an alternate dimension for it to be believable with cell phones was not distinguished enough to make this movie work.

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