Saturday, February 12, 2011

The one movie I will NEVER see

Fans of this blog know how much I love the movie ARTHUR.   Written and directed by the brilliant Steve Gordon, it's a romantic comedy that's actually both.   If you haven't seen it, let that be your Valentine's Day movie.

Hollywood, in its relentless quest to avoid originality for sequels and franchises and remakes is releasing a new version of ARTHUR starring Russell Brand.   Why??   Judging by this trailer, they have sucked out any of the charm and sophistication of the original and replaced it with crass, juvenile, over-the-top slapstick, and incredibly lame jokes.   Not to mention, Russell Brand.

Here's the trailer, and remember, all the very best jokes are in the preview.   Hollywood will tell you they're just updating a classic.  I say they're spitting on the flag.

Rent the original instead of seeing this:

57 comments:

Mark said...

Oh, man, that looks just horrifyingly bad.

I actually found this blog a few months ago Googling around trying to find out "Whatever happened to the guy who wrote 'Arthur'?", as I think that may have been the best written (and cast) romantic comedy of all time.

Mac said...

Amen, Brother Levine.
The original is a beautifully witty and charming movie with a stellar performance from everyone involved. It's still a joy to watch and it doesn't need a remake. It certainly doesn't need Russell Fucking Brand.
He's been peddling that ex-junkie, faux-Dickensian shtick here in the UK for aeons, and everyone's bored to tears of him. Why did you let him through border control, America? What was on his passport? Comic Actor? Isn't that fraudulent?
And who thought he was comparable to the sublime Dudley Moore?
Earl Pomerantz posted a very insightful theory as to why this movie will suck like a black hole in space - for sociological reasons - and that's before you even factor in the unwashed comedic anti-matter that is Russell Brand.

Mental Lint said...

The original is available to watch instantly on Netflix now.

Michael said...

In other news, a production company plans to film the story of two surgeons taking on the Army bureaucracy during the Korean War, updated for today by featuring, as Trapper Joan, Pamela Anderson, and as Hawkeye, if they can get her out, Lindsay Lohan.

Michael H. said...

@Michael
Ooh, I threw up a little in my mouth....

Ian said...

That, as they say, looks like shite.

scottmc said...

Every posting and rememberance of 'Arthur' reminds me how pitch perfect the original was. When it opened, a friend of mine loved to quote Guilgud's 'To meet a woman of your stature...' line. And then there was Arthur's reply to Susan saying that a real woman could get him to stop drinking. And Athur's response to Susan's father's comment that he doesn't drink.
The remake makes about as much sense as the sequel did.
The older post mentions that Gordon gave you a copy of the script. When the remake is about to open it might be worthwhile to do another post revisiting the script and how ,as director, Gordon filmed it so every joke landed.

Rebecca said...

I found it amusing. It might help not to think of it as the same movie.

One of my pet peeves is ordering something in a restaurant only to find that the chef has "reinvented" it. I'll never forget that jambalaya in Fire Island that was made with pasta. To make matters worse, the chef was from New Orleans.

Now, this pasta seafood dish was actually delicious...but it wasn't jambalaya. The whole point of jambalaya is that rice is actually cooked in the red sauce with the seafood. You *cannot* have jambalaya without rice. Period.

I love seafood pasta, and I would have enjoyed that dish a lot more if I hadn't been expecting jambalaya. So, while this film almost certainly won't be as good as the original Arthur, it may still be somewhat amusing in its own right if you are not expecting it to be something else.

Of course, so many movies have halfway decent trailers and the rest of the movie is rubbish, that this could very well be the case with this one. But, based on the trailer, I'll probably go see this one.

This probably won't make a whole of difference, though, to those who worship the original. I enjoyed it when it came out, but it was never a favorite of mine.

sailor said...

The big question has to be why someone like Helen Mirren is involved in this?

Oh wait, it's about the money isn't it?

Great Big Radio Guy said...

Stopped watching 50 seconds in. Yikes.

wabbit said...

You are right on...the original should not be messed with!

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Dudley Moore is turning over in his grave. They have to stop making this crap! How many times are they going to try and re-paint the Mona Lisa????

VP81955 said...

If it's any solace, it's that 54 years from now, this "Arthur" will be as well remembered as the pointless 1957 Technicolor remake of "My Man Godfrey," with David Niven and June Allyson trying vainly to fill the larger-than-life shoes of William Powell and Carole Lombard -- which is to say, not remembered at all. (To be fair, Niven did have a supporting role to Bill and Carole in the 1938 "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation of the 1936 film.)

Dudley, Sir John and Steve, rest easy. History's on your side.

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

well, that made me sad

Even Helen Mirren looked pretty lame in that boxing scene.

Lairbo said...

Ken, just this one? You're a very generous and forgiving man. I'm not sure I can ever quite forgive Albert Brooks for participating in the remake of The In-Laws. I would almost be relieved to find out he only did it to pay off gambling debts to bone-crunching mob bookies.

Russell Brand? What, did Richard Grant have the class to turn this down (or did the producers have the self-awareness to realize he would and never offered it to him)?

VP81955: Except for the collective "ugh" noise being made over this movie during its initial release and the studio's desperate attempts to hype its DVD sales a few weeks later, this movie will be utterly forgotten until some snarky future film major decides to do a thesis on Sequels & Remakes That Prove the Movie Industry is Run by Insane People.

But the real question is, will it be in 3D?

ps: VW "aecking" is the sound most people will make when they see this film's trailer in a movie theater.

SharoneRosen said...

poor Helen Mirren.

The original ARTHUR was Godiva dark chocolate. This monstrosity is more like carob made with maltitol. It can appear similar, but it tastes like crap and gives you the runs

JGJ said...

Well, I disagree that cannot re-make a movie like "Arthur." You can, but you don't handicap yourself by hiring Russell Brand to star in it--he just doesn't have what it takes.

It's my understanding that the reason the re-make went forward was because some idiot pushed for Brand to star in "Arthur." Some idiot went, "Oh, he's funny (though this remains up for debate) and English, let's get him for "Arthur." A very bad idea.

IfonlyHollywould said...

Agreed. As you observed about "The Blob" - you can't improve on perfection. "Arthur" should have been left alone. It is one-of-a-kind AND a classic. Wall-to-wall funny.

Duke said...

My God-

Helen Mirren- how could you?
Gielgud must be spinning like a lathe.

And to think I fancied you as a hot GILF.
Shame.

Big Clyde said...

Yes, yes, yes...you're absolutely right, of course.

And yet,

1) the original had Liza Minelli, who was barely tolerable at the time and her performance has not aged well in the last few decades.

2) this movie has Jennifer Garner, who is delightful (when she is in the right part)...she'll certainly be more sympathetic and balanced than Jill Eieknberry.

3) This soundtrack, though too often over-played, seems more fun than the original (my apologies, Mr. Bishop).

I'm not a fan of remakes, but the two female leads in the original are the reason that this movie has not endured well.

Paul Duca said...

Clyde...it was Christopher Cross who performed "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do))"

Note to Ken...in April the Hallmark Channel will start airing FRAISER.

media_lush said...

word of trailer alone should make this bomb - if there's anyone who deserves to eat a pile of shit pie it's that self-satisfied phoney Russell Brand.... how the hell anyone finds him funny truly astounds me


.... pity about Mirren though

Matt said...

Nothing is new under the sun. Even ruining a charming sweet little movie like 'Arthur'. Let's us not all forget that The original 'Arthur' was already tarnished by a slopped together sequel very originally named 'Arthur 2'. So if this remake is a tarnish on the original movie, let's remember that that's already been done.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning.

Mike R said...

This had NOTHING in common to the original. Just the inane story of a limey 'tard. Pass.

Ken, ...maybe some of these writers should take lessons on writing from you regarding comedies. Older stuff like M*A*S*H and Frasier were funny. This new crap isn't.

justcorbly said...

The presence of Russell Brand in any movie, TV show, etc., is aufficient reason for me to avoid that production.

He's traveled far beyond the Land of Not Funny and into the Land of Really Irritating and Spoiling My Lunch.

ACC said...

Definitely one of my favorites although I was never overly fond of Liza Minelli in the role, as a previous poster mentioned. But then I would try to figure out who I would cast instead and never quite settled on anyone that seemed right. Possibly Goldie Hawn? (remembering the time period)

Love this blog. It's one of the few sites on earth that I can read the comments and be glad that I did.

Bill said...

I thought it looked quite good. I never really enjoyed the fake drunkeness of the first, and that poor Dudley wasnt really faking it but was beginning to show signs of the disease which killed him made it just sad in retropsect. Not a fan of Liza and the theme song was just painful.

I like the idea of Russell Brand having to get a normal job, even in a movie, fish out of water comedies are fun !

I'll go and see this one.

YEKIMI said...

OK, everyone seems to hate Russell Brand as "Arthur". Now since it's been remade, who should have or would have been a better casting choice for Arthur? I'm not a fan of Russell, but I'll reserve judgement and see what this looks like before dissing it...and I'm saying that as a HUGE fan of the original movie, probably in my Top 10 lists of favorite movies.

Ray said...

Gawd. That looks horrible. Dudley Moore was charming. That guy is a total dolt.

Buttermilk Sky said...

As it happens, I'm looking at Russell Brand (muted) on SNL right now. He looks like a cross between Oscar Wilde and Tiny Tim (the one with the ukulele, not the one with the crutch). How long before he joins Yahoo Serious in the "Where are they now?" file?

xjill said...

..but, but...HELEN MIRREN.

Brian said...

At least somebody in this room is atracted to this movie.

MBunge said...

I haven't seen ARTHUR in a long time and would probably still enjoy it, though the "alcholism is fun!" attitude of that bygone era would be a bit much to take today. I saw the trailer before JUST GO WITH IT this weekend and though it looked okay, though the lack of excessive boozing appears to infantilize Arthur to a great degree.

As for JUST GO WITH IT? Yes, it's pretty crappy but it's also pretty funny. If you can't accept that a movie can be both, don't bother with it.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Russell Brand = the anti-Christ? possibly

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Russell Brand = the anti-Christ? possibly

No, Miley Cyrus is the anti-Christ. The world has gone over this already.

Leigh said...

Gonna agree with Rebecca on this one. I think it looks pretty amusing, and I was prepared to hate it. It's admittedly been years since I saw the original, but like Rebecca said, if you judge it on its own merits, it could be funny.

Kristin said...

It doesn't depress me as much as Steve Martin's turn as Inspector Clouseau did.

After memorizing every Steve Martin routine from his comedy albums there was no bigger fan.

But if I understand it, he shat all over the perfect incarnation of Pink Panther in order to finance his new banjo career.

Both are tough to take.

Anonymous said...

I still love the moment when Moore announces he's going to take a bath and Gielgud, not even looking up from his newspaper remarks "I'll alert the media."

Not fond of the theme song, but Burt Bacharach's score for the movie is otherwise quite nice.

Liza Minnelli was just too jittery and intense in this movie for my taste. I saw the sequel (it was the only way to get into a free preview of A FISH CALLED WANDA), and as badly as it reeked, she was relaxed and appealing.

The original looks pretty dim, but Helen Mirren looks pretty funny, as does Anne Hathaway as the dragon-lady fiancee. Brand is appearing in yet another ill-advised remake; he appeared in a dreadful re-tool of the wonderful ST. TRINIAN'S movies from the 1950's, playing petty crook Flash Harry. If George Cole is still alive, I hope he slapped him about a few times.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the REMAKE looks pretty dim.

Duke said...

"I'll alert the media."

Classic.
Almost every single line Gielgud says in the movie is amazing. I think I must quote them all the time. Every night before I give my 4 year old her bath, I ask her in perfect Gielgud "Would you care to urinate?"

(Not in the movie- but close)

Rory L. Aronsky said...

The original looks pretty dim, but Helen Mirren looks pretty funny, as does Anne Hathaway as the dragon-lady fiancee.

Jennifer Garner.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Every night before I give my 4 year old her bath, I ask her in perfect Gielgud "Would you care to urinate?"

Reminds me of my favorite line from Gielgud after we hear the bathroom door close: "Perhaps you'd like me to come in there and wash your dick for you, you little shit."

WV: ismal - A happier "dismal" because the "d" finally went into therapy.

Caught between the moon and New Brunswick said...

It's more theoretically offensive than literally offensive. The trailer doesn't look terrible or wonderful, and it doesn't recycle/ruin one punchline. If they just called it "Murray" or "Tyrone" instead of "Arthur," no one's dudgeon would be feeling elevated.

Tom Dougherty said...

I know this is cruel to say, but (at least in this trailer) Brand looks horrible. Like a sculpture of Rondo Hatton made of witch turds. How is this man finding work as a quasi-romantic lead? Brr!

But then again, I don't know what dames like. Just ask my girlfriend.

iain said...

I fear that in some exec office, a remake of "His Girl Friday" has already been greenlit for Russell Brand & Katy Perry...

kim said...

I'm clearly in the minority, but I like Russell Brand and I think this movie looks entertaining.

I liked the original very much, one of my favorites, really - I don't see why I can't like both.

Maybe I won't like it - but I'll wait until I see it to decide if it's crap or not.

Great Big Radio Guy said...

I'm no fan of Brand and I despise his presence in this movie. However, I will say he was perfect for "Get Him To The Greek" - proving once again that with good material, the right director yanking hard on the leash and not letting the actor run amok, anything can look good on screen.

The trailer for this nightmarish and infantile new Arthur demonstrates this.

Paul said...

Make it go away...please, make it go away...

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I'll give it a chance. Life's too short to hate the idea of something. Just saw Heaven Can Wait and thought, thank god they weren’t frightened into NOT making that sequel.

tls1974 said...

I just finished watching the original version of 'Arthur'.

This is not exactly a feel-good movie, is it?

I cried buckets when Hobson died.

I felt depressed listening to the lyrics of 'Arthur's Theme'.

I just didn't care less about Dudley Moore or Liza Minelli's portrayal of their characters. I wasn't engaged by them.

Maybe it's the generation gap, but roll on the Russell Brand version. At least he makes a good job of playing self-obsessed arseholes. Though I wouldn't wish to speculate why! :-)

Infauxtainer said...

Someone out to take the knife out of the cheese and plunge it into the executive who green lit this. What's next? A remake of Casablanca?

Matt Patton said...

They guy playing Bitterman looks pretty funny. Also, I wouldn't want to get into a fistfight with Dame Helen. But then, there's a Russian general somewhere on her family tree. NOT the sort of person you would want to mess with . . .

TC said...

I hate to admit this, but I'm intrigued after watching the trailer. It's not going to be like the Moore/Minelli version by a long shot, but it doesn't look horrible. I'm putting it on the list of things to see at a matinee in a 2nd run theater or on a cable on-demand channel.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Someone out to take the knife out of the cheese and plunge it into the executive who green lit this. What's next? A remake of Casablanca?

Somewhere in Hollywood, a dying lightbulb just barely flickered on.

scottmc said...

I just noticed that Turner Classic Movies will be showing ARTHUR on Monday night.
The channel's web site includes some tid bits about the movie, including Moore's quote that the while most scripts he read had one joke every ten pages; 'Arthur' had ten jokes on one page.
The site also mentions that Moore wasn't the first choice to play 'Arthur', that James Caan, Richard Dreyfuss, Nicholson and Pacino were considered.
And that it was Moore who suggested Gielgud. Steve Gordon first thought of casting David Niven or Alec Guinness as 'Hobson'.

Mackerel said...

People hold the original too sacred. It's poorly lit, many jokes fall flat, Dudley Moore cackles annoyingly throughout, and Liza Minnelli is ugly. I was surprised at how good the dialogue is in the remake.