“Arthur” Remake May Have Solid Cast but What About the Theme Song?

“Arthur” Remake May Have Solid Cast but What About the Theme Song? (photo)

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One of the funniest films of the early 80’s, Dudley Moore’s “Arthur,” is also one of it’s most endearing. It made the sex thimble, Dudley Moore an enormous star soon after the success of “10,” and won the indispensable John Gielgud an Oscar for his performance as Hobson — who will forever be the archetypal kind, but curmudgeonly butler. The film also gave us the mega-hit theme song (embedded below) ”Arthur’s Theme Best That You Can Do,” from Christopher Cross and Burt Bacharach.

Now and then a film comes along with a theme song so perfect, that in some magic of image and sound, they become inseparable. It’s a rare event and one that I doubt can be replicated in this remake that has comedian Russell Brand trying to fill Dudley Moore’s shoes — granted Dudley Moore was a tiny man, but this will be no easy task for Brand — Moore was charming and tremendously hilarious in the role of Arthur. If it’s been a while for you, the film is about a drunken, New york playboy, as worthless as he is filthy rich. He leads a boozy, fairy-tale life of excess, but ultimately redeems himself by choosing love over money.

A crucial change to director Jason Winer’s remake is the casting of Helen Mirren in the role of Hobson, turning the supporting role from a male to a female confidant, butler to nanny. It’s an interesting choice and may be one reason for fans of the original film to see this, but it risks losing the original film’s buddy dynamic. I’m sure a relationship of equal or greater substance can be crafted with a woman in the role but the writers have their work cut out for them. I guess since they aren’t taxing themselves writing an original film they may have inspiration to spare.

The writers too are either a point of concern or reassurance depending on your perspective. The first draft was written by “Borat” writer Peter Baynham, then as the NY Times reported, it went to another writer for polishing, then to seven more writers — all from ABC’s “Modern Family” which Winer helmed for 13 episodes. But wait, then the script went back to Baynham “who arrives on the set every day ready to rewrite.”

I’m told Nick Nolte, who plays the father of the heiress Arthur is arranged to be married to, sweat profusely on the set. Hopefully it wasn’t over the script, which you’d think after nine writers having a go at it would be gold… or totally incoherent.

If there is some consistency it’s rooted in what’s carried over from the original, the basic story is largely unchanged, just updated for 2011. Helen Mirren noted that there is an original producer and sound guy too, “so there’s a lot of respect, hopefully, being made to the original film,” she said [Hollywood Outbreak].

Okay, the sound guy, but what of the music and that theme song? A little Burt Bacharach could go a long way to smooth over the work of nine different writers. And no one is smoother than the God of yacht rock, Christopher Cross.

In that same Times piece I mentioned, there is a comment from Larry Brezner, one of the producers from the original “Arthur” about a late change in the story, which originally ended with Arthur completely giving up his fortune for love. Audience tests showed it fared poorly — they wanted Arthur to get the money in the end too, even if that muddled the premise. So “The idea,” Mr. Brezner said, “was: give Arthur the money, bring up the music loud and get the audience the hell out of the theater happy, before they have time to think about it.”

Yes, bring the music up loud, good plan. But who’s music will the remake make use of? I’m not sure I want to know who the “updated” Christopher Cross is. “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” is now an easy listening staple, an integral part of any yacht rock mix along with “What a Fool Believes,” “Rosanna” and of course, “Sailing.” It won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Original Song. It’s going to be hard to forget it while watching the remake if it’s absent, or worse, if it’s covered.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.