Arthur (1981)

“Not all of us who drink are poets. Some of us drink because we’re not poets.”

Nancy’s rating: I think the hardest part of mutant reviewing is coming up with something witty for this section.

Nancy’s review: I don’t really know how to pinpoint cult movies. I’m not really with it when it comes to what people obsess over (and when it comes to everything). I figure out what I review in this way. If it is a random, unexpected movie that one of my friends LOVES for some unbeknownst reason, then that’s what I like to review. When I love Army Of Darkness, it’s less of a cult movie and more of… of course I love Army Of Darkness. That makes so much sense. I don’t even bother reviewing it. Couldn’t you, like, guess that I love Army Of Darkness? It’s not a tricky inference to make.

But when my dorky indie friend loves Arthur, a major motion picture about a crazy young drunk, starring Dudley Moore, from 1981, it makes you say “…hmm.” This kid has been talking about this film for as long as I’ve known him. “DUDE! Dudley Moore is just drunk and rich! It’s great!” That’s the extent of the plot I got, and that is just enough to make me say “…hmm. Odd choice for a favorite film, my good friend.”

So I eventually said hey, my buddy likes it, I could go for a kooky romp with a loveable drunk today. Now, I’m sure you’re used to be teenage girl sentiment by now, so I’m just gonna go ahead and go absolutely estrogen-wild over the lovely, lovely, LOVELY little love story that’s wrapped up in alcohol and sealed with a kiss.

The plot is more than my friend ever lead on. I’ll assume he played a drinking game while watching it and drank whenever Arthur drank. And he missed out on the whooole romantic side of the film. That’s really the only thing that would explain him not telling ME, NANCY (!), that Arthur falls in love with A FUNNY POOR GIRL who lives with her dad and WORKS AT A DINER and is played by LIZA MINELLI who believes that LIFE IS A CABARET OLD CHUM!

Certain key words tell me that a movie will be good. You can probably guess what they are.

But, despite how much I love Liza (bumper sticker? Anyone?) the real shine in this movie is Arthur. Dudley Moore displays some real casual humor here, and that’s my favorite. The kind where he’s just talking and he’s not even aware he’s being absolutely hilarious. If I may quote, “She stole a tie! Girls don’t wear ties! It’s the perfect crime! Well, some girls wear ties, it’s not the perfect crime, but it’s a great crime!” Just the way he talks, to himself, to others, or when he’s being drunk, loud and hilarious, it’s fantastic. He’s got a real unique wit that’s hard to pinpoint. He falls for Liza Minelli’s tough girl from the streets with quick wit and heart-o-gold humor, but I can’t seem to find an appropriate label for Arthur’s wit. He’s happy, he’s sincere, he’s funny, he’s in love, and often drunk. Combine the four and that explains the laughs that are coming out of your mouth. That’s the best I can say.

I really haven’t fully described the plot either. You get so caught up in the ‘haha, he’s drunk’ storyline that you forget the plot where that drunkenness falls. Now I understand why my friend never told me about Liza. I haven’t even told you guys about Susan or Hobsen yet. Here goes. Arthur = drunk & veeeery rich (I almost said ‘wicked’ instead of ‘very’ but I’m consciously trying to cut down before I move to Maine, where as soon as I say ‘wicked’, everyone will give me a dirty look and say ‘You are SO from Western Mass‘ Anyway. Tangent over). Arthur has to marry Stupid Girl (AKA Susan) in order to keep his inheritance coming. He totally does not love Stupid Girl, Stupid Girl is pretty lame. One day he’s out shopping and he runs into Linda, who totally kicks ass and he loves a whole whole lot. They start dating. He’s still gotta get engaged. What’s a rich drunk to do?!?! Rent Arthur today and find out!

I noticed that in a lot of my reviews, when I can’t think of anything to say, I just default into that voice on commercials and I say “RENT IT TODAY!”

Moving on to Hobsen. Hobsen is another highlight. Hobsen is Arthur’s dry, sarcastic and bitter butler who, under it all, loves Arthur very much. I adore this relationship, the ‘I make fun of him but under it all I care for him extremely’ relationship. I often don’t have much faith in couples, friends or mentors unless they constantly mock their lover, buddy or protégé. I think contempt is usual a sign of real love, real caring, so much that sometimes you have to slap them in the face or call them ugly. If two people are very fond of each other and constantly show it in casual nice actions, not only is it annoying, it just seems not real. I don’t know how it works, but meanness is a part of love. And Hobsen loves Arthur very much, it is very clear. He just won’t stop mocking his spoiled little ways. That’s just not how Hobsen rolls.

This movie ended the melancholia-kick I’ve been on lately since Lost In Translation, and brightened my mood, making me believe in life and love and sarcasm all over again. I actually went out and bought this movie before I finished watching it. I knew I wanted this funny, weird movie to be part of my collection. It just seems like an odd pick. “What are your favorite movies?” “Oh, I like Garden State, I Heart Huckabees, and Arthur.” “Arthur?” “Yeah, he’s drunk, it’s great”. I figure if I say that enough, sooner or later someone will be in the movie rental store and say “Hey, I think drunk people are kinda funny, I’ll give it a whirl” and discover for themselves all the love, wonder and morals that lie inside this tale of vices.

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