I've recently learned that you people are remaking one of the dearest, funniest, most poignant and finely-crafted comedies of all time, 1981's entirely perfect and unassailable Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and John Gielgud. So I would like to take the time to urge each and every one of you -- from the producers and director, right on down to the lowliest grip and gaffer -- to kindly go fuck yourselves. Hard.
Arthur simply is not remakeable. Keep your dirty, stupid, unimaginative hands off of Arthur. You've signed Russell Brand to play a rich, foul-mouthed, horny and intoxicated British douchebag you say? Yeah, I saw that movie: It was called Get Him To The Greek, and it sucked my sack. Arthur is not a movie that needs rebooting, you dumbasses; even its own sequel couldn't reclaim the magic and innocence of the original. SO WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?
Right off the bat I have two major issues with this project. One, the casting of Helen Mirren as the Gielgud analog UTTERLY negates the brilliance of the original film's core relationship between Arthur and Hobson for so many reasons I'm frankly shocked you're even considering recasting that role for a woman. Arthur's nemesis in the original was his own father, a stoic, emotionless man hell-bent on marrying his ne'er-do-well son into a lucrative financial partnership. Hobson, embodied in the peerless John Gielgud, seemed just as cold and detached as Arthur's own father, but slowly reveals himself throughout the film as the only true loving father -- and male role-model -- Arthur has ever had. There's a critically male relationship at work there, offsetting Arthur's trouble with women and possibly even explaining his misogynistic tendencies. How awkward are you planning on making the scenes in which Helen Mirren interrupts Arthur's various trysts with hookers, exactly? There may be a Fetish Porn market for that sort of thing, but keep it out of my Beloved 80s Comedies!
Recasting the Hobson role for a woman -- even an actor as powerful and capable as Helen Mirren -- lays waste to a critical aspect of the Arthur Character we know and love. Sure, there may be new dramatic themes to explore in giving Arthur a Mommy Complex instead of a Daddy one, but why call it "Arthur" if that's what you're going to do? Just invent your own drunken Brit with an Oedipus Complex and set off into new territory! Would anyone remake Psycho with Norman Bates's father as his antagonist? Of course not, that would be fucking retarded.
My second big problem is one that seems endemic to all feature-length adult comedies in the Judd Apatow Age, and here let me quote you dumbasses directly:
“Whatever makes the film better,” [writer Peter Baynham] said cheerfully, as he perched in a chair on 42nd Street one morning, scribbling new lines on the backs of script pages. “You’d be crazy, as a writer, to have someone like Russell and not take the opportunity to revise and improve on the spot, given his improvisational skills.”
Seriously, fuck you. You're a writer. That's what you're paid to do. WRITE THE FUCKING SCRIPT. MAKE IT FUNNY! I'm willing to bet that nearly everything that made the original film
so funny was ON THE PAGE, and that Dudley Moore needed only to perfect the drunken delivery and his pitch-perfect sense of child-like joy at his own wit. In other words: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN IMPROVISE DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD! Improvisation has its time and place, and a spark of brilliance here and there -- sprinkled like that last dash of cumin topping off a well-scripted pot of chili -- can be a delight. But comedies relying so heavily on the improvisational skills of their talent simply shouldn't be made if 99% of The Funny isn't on the page.
Take the original BBC version of The Office, for example. Arguably the finest half-hour televised comedy of all time, and almost NOTHING in any given episode is improvised. Incredibly, it's all on the page. Pick up the script of any classic Python film: It's all there, on the page. Good comedy is a clockwork mechanism built with precision, timing and great complexity; improvisation is chaos, the opposite of those things which make a comedic STORY worth telling. SO STOP SHOWING UP ON SET WITH HALF A SCRIPT AND RELYING ON YOUR TALENT TO PHONE IN THE FUNNY, YOU DICKS!
As a film-goer and armchair critic, I know why you've decided to remake Arthur: You're lazy, you're stupid, and you need the Arthur BRAND to fill seats you wouldn't otherwise. That's why nearly everything coming out of the retarded sandbox that is Hollywood today is a remake, a reboot, a re-imagining or a Fucking Ripoff of something older, better and more beloved: Brand recognition sells tickets, and Arthur has a built-in audience. But let me tell you a secret: I'm your 100% Classic Arthur Demographic, and I will boycott the fuck out of your film on principle alone. I will not see your movie. The original is too precious, and your motives too foul.
Boy, I guess I showed you, huh? And don't you hate Perry's wife?