62. Arthur

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Movie: Arthur

Release Date: July 17, 1981

Director: Steve Gordon

Starring: Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, John Gielgud.

Tag Lines: “Not everyone who drinks is a poet, some of us drink because we’re not.”

“The most fun money can buy.”

“Don’t You Wish You Were Arthur?”

“I race cars, I play tennis, I fondle women, but I have weekends off and I am my own boss!”

Relevance: In the summer of 1981, it was difficult to turn on your radio, either AM or FM, and not hear “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross. It was a very popular song and eventually made it to the top of the Billboard charts in the United States. It was also a popular song within my household. My entire family was always humming, whistling or singing along to the tune. We also had an ongoing argument about its lyrics.

“When you get caught between the moon and New York City” was the catalyst for that fight. Half of my family heard “caught,” while the other half heard “drunk.” The “drunk” of course was influenced by the movie ‘Arthur’ for which the song was taken. ‘Arthur’ was released that summer and was both a critical and box office success, eventually becoming the fourth highest grossing film of 1981. Although my family did not see the film in theaters, we all saw the trailer and commercials for it. It was obvious that Dudley Moore was playing an alcoholic, so my sister and dad would sing “drunk” while my mom and me sang “caught.” My mom and I were proven correct eventually, but my dad and sister were not alone. That is one of the most common misheard lyrics ever in pop music.

My family did not see the film until it premiered on HBO sometime that following year. By that time, the film was even more popular. It won many accolades over the following award season, including two Academy Awards from four nominations. One of those awards was for the Christopher Cross mega hit. Needless to say, my family was very eager to finally sit down and watch the comedy that America just couldn’t get enough of.

To say that we all loved the movie would be an understatement. We all adored the laugh out loud romantic comedy, especially the performances of Dudley Moore and John Gielgud. The script had many funny one-liners that had my entire family continuously laughing and those two actors delivered them flawlessly. My mom was also a huge Liza Minelli fan and was completely entertained by her character. As a kid, I just loved the silliness of the character of Arthur. It was a movie that I watched over and over again on HBO. It became a movie that my family “recorded on VHS tape” so that we could watch it all the time and not rely on the schedule of cable television.

‘Arthur’ was a movie that kept me laughing all through the 1980’s. Its sequel, ‘Arthur 2: On the Rocks,’ was another movie that we watched all of the time on HBO. Although not as well received as the original, we loved reuniting again with this lovable and troublesome character. Despite us liking the sequel, we always went back to the original, as sometimes there isn’t anything better. (That remains even more true when speaking about the god-awful 2011 remake starring Russell Brand.) In 1995, while vacationing in Florida, I got to see Christopher Cross in concert and hear him perform the song that my family listened to so much in the early 1980’s. That song will always remind me of ‘Arthur’ which has remained one of my favorite comedies as well as one of my favorite comedic performances by an actor of all time.

Today’s Thoughts: “All I can tell you is, I wish I had a dime for every dime I had.”

As soon as my husband found out that ‘Arthur’ was the movie of the day, he started spewing out his favorite quotes left and right. “You’re a hooker? Jesus, I forgot! I just thought I was doing GREAT with you!” “Thank you for a memorable afternoon, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature.” It went on and on. Unfortunately he had to go to work, so I watched ‘Arthur’ alone and laughed out loud for ninety-seven minutes straight.

‘Arthur’ remains one of the funniest characters and movies to make it out of the 1980’s. It is a fantastic, humorous script and the cast is absolutely stellar. Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, John Gielgud and the rest of the ensemble are all wonderful in the picture. Mr. Gielgud was the one that made me laugh the most today though. It is a great character and portrayed brilliantly by the actor. He totally deserved every award that he received for it

‘Arthur’ is a funny, energetic film with the perfect amount of wit, heart and reflection. The film comes highly recommended as does that Christopher Cross theme song. After hearing it at the beginning and end of the film, it will be stuck in my head all day for sure. But that’s not a bad thing at all.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, John Gielgud (winner), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, Peter Allen (winner), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Dudley Moore (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Steve Gordon (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (winner), Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Dudley Moore (winner), Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture, John Gielgud (winner), Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do),” Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross, Peter Allen (winner), Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Liza Minelli (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, John Gielgud (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, Burt Bacharach (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, John Gielgud (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, John Gielgud (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay, Steve Gordon (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen, Steve Gordon (winner).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.

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