8 Movies And TV Shows That Couldn’t Exist Without Cell Phone Technology

Wednesday, March 7 by
This guy was WAY ahead of the curve.  

An everyday man from Philadelphia has made national headlines after he was caught bringing a cell phone jammer onto a bus so that he wouldn’t be bothered by conversations, notifications, and ringtones while commuting to and from work.

It’s hard not to like the guy’s moxie, but if people could unilaterally block cell phone signals, I’m hazarding a guess that cell phones wouldn’t really be able to work anywhere.

Which brings us to an examination of cell phones in movies. While lots of films feature cell phones, surprisingly few use them as devices instrumental to the plot. I thought there would be dozens of films that depended on the devices. And there were, but almost all of them are truly terrible “tech” films that use cell phones as a lame plot point to speak to the tween set, or whatever.

So, that said, here are some films and TV shows (some terrible, some good) that would have been very, very different stories without cell phone technology.

Feel free to mention any omissions or objections in the comments, but please, be nice about it.

The Wire

Sure, it’s richly-textured saga about people limited by their institutions, but at its heart, it’s a story about cops trying to get the jump on drug dealers, and the crux of thir strategy is tapping cell phones. Of course, the drug dealers are hip to this, so they are rotating out disposable “burner” phones every couple weeks, making the efforts of the Baltimore PD all but futile.

If there weren’t any cell phones in this universe, what would poor Lestor Freeman be up to? He would probably have turned into a Bubs-type character a long time ago.


All the whimsy and cat-and-mouse play in the Scream franchise stems from the killers baiting and toying with their victims via cell phone. Sure, they could have pulled the old “the call is coming from INSIDE YOUR HOUSE” thing, but that really only works if you have two lines, and infiltrating a house prior to the attack is just too damn risky, folks.

From the opening scene of Scream, which featured Drew Barrymore casually making popcorn in her kitchen, we realize that this isn’t a film about the confrontation between the killers and victims, but the hunt and terror of being watched by the unknown.

Also, they killed the Fonz, which was pretty great.

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