All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Lumet fabulous. Arthur not so much

This week’s column is about the ending of one age and me mostly wishing for the end of another.
Sidney Lumet died this weekend at the age of 87.
All across the fruited plain there’s a collective huh?
Lumet is another one of those directors who very few know but everyone’s seen his movies. Serpico, Murder On the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict. We probably overuse the word iconic but it’s not up to me to reform the collective verbacular, so there you go. Lumet was an iconic New York filmmaker. He made more than 40 pictures, most of them filmed in his beloved Big Apple and as far as I’m concerned, Network and The Verdict are two of the greatest films I’ve seen. Peter Finch’s mad prophet of the airwaves and the somewhat shocking depiction of network news seem quite reasonable against today’s reality television backdrop.
The Verdict is on my top 10 list. Paul Newman’s portrayal of a depraved alcoholic ambulance chaser who finds redemption in the courtroom is absolutely Oscar worthy and the film itself a classic David vs Goliath tale.
Serpico was one of Pacino’s early showcases as was Dog Day Afternoon.
None of Lumet’s films won an academy award but they should have. One final testimonial to his craft. Unlike the Rolling Stones, who I think went to school with him, Lumet was still relevant. His last film was 2007’s Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead. It was star-studded, gritty and showed that after 60+ years of filmmaking the boy still had chops.
Sorry to see him go.
In other sad news, Russell Brand is alive and well and his career seems to be flourishing.
He currently holds the #1 and 2 spots on the Top 10 films. Hop is not him as much as it’s incredibly charming to have a film about a bunny that poops jelly beans. Go on, try saying it “It’s funny” just to type it here.
I’m not saying we’ve dumbed it down a little too much but the whole film works thanks to those jelly beans. Still it’s only his voice as the rabbit so that’s not really on him but Arthur is.
Our story so far. 30 years ago Dudley Moore starred with Sir John Gelguid and told a charming little story about a filthy rich millionaire who had a drinking/maturity problem.
That film was brilliant. It has such great lines.
Drunk Arthur responding to his rental date du jours, a woman of flexible morality, who has just explained that her father beat her when she was 8. “So you had 7 good years.”
On his girlfriend who he is being forced to marry or lose his money- “She really is lovely, in a certain light. Pause. Of course you can never count on that light.”
And the line that for me still lives today. His man servant played by the knighted John Gelguid to Arthur after he has declared that he’s going to take a bath.
“Excellent sir, I’ll alert the media.”
The original was witty and charming and had real chemistry.
When I heard they were remaking it and I saw he was cast I thought it could work. I love Helen Mirren. No, I mean oh myyyyy. And she loves me. Well, ok, she isn’t aware of that yet but believe me it’s in there.
Seriously she has such presence, I thought it could work In this year’s model she plays Arthur’s nanny. Doesn’t work. It doesn’t even get out of the gate really.
Then there’s Jennifer Garner in a revved up role as Susan the fiance in waiting. She does some slapstick and it’s a much more present role but it’s not funny.
Brand has that Kiwi charm that I’ve only heard rumors of. Dude doesn’t get it done for me and I don’t mind admitting to the occasional man crush. Hugh Grant, Drew Brees, the guy in the old spice commercial. Of course I wouldn’t have admitted to that before I started going to aquafit but I digress.
Brand is ok for some people The yutes seem to like him.
I watched the preview for the film and didn’t even snicker, except for the Darth Vader scene. Not a good sign.
I think maybe they neutered him. These really are politically correct times and even being characterized as a drunk is intemperate. So he’s a bad boy who isn’t allowed to be bad and I think they went for gadgets over substance. The magnetic bed is cool. The Batmobile, not so much although I do like Luis Guzman as the aging paunchy Robin. It has been suggested that the only reason there’s a Batmobile segment is because WB owns this film and Batman and it’s that whole thing of synergies. I’m not saying that’s true but it makes more sense than the scene was funny because it wasn’t.
I wish this film worked but it doesn’t. It’s not that Moore was such a great actor either He made a series of terrible films. I’m still in therapy from having seen all of Blame It On The Bellboy. It’s just that the original worked for some reason. Rent it and see if you agree.
There’s always an homage to the one that came before and in this case playing Arthur’s theme over the credits was a nice touch. Everyone was singing Christopher Cross back in the day. I’m not that nostalgic. Everyone was also wearing mullets Oh the horror.
At the end of the day if you like Brand you’ll like the film, and if you have taste you won’t. Ok wait, let me end on a positive note.
This version doesn’t suck as much as Arthur2 – On the rocks. Oh yeah, and this doesn’t have Liza Minnelli who I always found her irritating.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: Paul Peterson

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