For this month’s Nine on the Ninth I had originally planned to run a list of Horror Movie sequels, really cheesy but fun movies that I could recommend to everyone, but then I saw this:
Lionsgate Plots Microbudget Remake Of ‘American Psycho’
Now, right off the bat, I can see two glaring errors in that statement, and anyone who followed my twitter feed from yesterday would have gotten an earful…
American Psycho, is nigh on one of my favorite movies of all time, ranking up there with Arsenic and Old Lace, Buckaroo Banzai and La Cité des Enfants Perdus. It’s my favorite Christian Bale movie, and I’m a dyed in the wool Batman fan…
I’ve seen it more than 30 times and have never seen the ‘R’ rated version. I can tell you where you are in the movie from a snippet of dialogue, I know the differences between the business cards…
I really do love this movie. It doesn’t need to be remade!
And here’s why…
Presented in no particular order…
1. American Psycho is about excess
The article referenced above states that Lionsgate is planning this to a “Microbudget.” How do you that with American Psycho? The book, and by extension the movie is about excess.
Patrick Bateman is a Narcissistic Sociopath who’s only real interests are abject consumerism and killing. He buys expensive suits and sheets, pays for expensive dinners at overpriced restaurants and spends too much on drinks at exclusive clubs.
He even has a chauffeur drive him to pick up prostitutes.
How do you demonstrate that without a decent budget? Hell, the original was estimated as costing $8 million, and that was in 1999. A microbudget couldn’t legitimately cost more than $1 million, and that’s for the whole production, cast and crew. Even if Lionsgate cops the distribution and advertising fees (which they probably will fold into something else using Hollywood accounting) that pretty much means that the Director will be cheap and the actors will be no-names and probably crap.
That’s not a given, many good actors got their breaks in low-budget films, but low-budget films don’t get a lot of talent, which the original has…
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2. Why would you Update the story for modern times?
American Psycho is the quintessential 80’s movie for my generation, the kids born between 1978 and 1990. We didn’t see the 80’s growing up, we saw what Cartoons and toy Adverts would show us. And Wallstreet, please, that pales in comparison to American Psycho…
Greed, for lack of a better term, is Good. – G Gecco
That is an interesting line, but the 80’s were about more than greed, they were about Avarice.
Before, we get into a semantic argument about the similarities of “Greed” and “Avarice,” let me clarify: Greed is a want, a want for something that can, through moral and immoral means be attained. Avarice is a need, a need that cannot be fulfilled morally or immorally, a need that consumes and devours.
Everything about the 80’s was about need. We needed to the be the best, to get the girl, to make more money, to buy more stuff so that we could fit in…
I… want… to… fit… in. – P Bateman
As bad as we think the last few years have been for Avarice, it was nowhere near as bad as the 80’s…
Part of the what made the original work was the ambiguity of the reality, the viewer didn’t really know if Bateman was murderous or just crazy. How can you maintain that ambiguity in a 24-hour news cycle, and in an age where everybody has cell phones and twitter and Facebook accounts, it’s doubtful that Bateman’s rampage would go unnoticed.
Hell, now News has become so sensationalized that the slightest, inconsequential, blip gets blown completely out of proportion. How do you make a rich, well know (if not well liked) character from a prominent family disappear in a world where a poor kid from Florida being killed (presumable) by her mother becomes national news?
You can’t, the modern climate would almost require a tacked on “Trial” scene at the end and fuck that noise…
4. HIp to Be Square
And speaking of Modernizing, if they do update the story than many of the musical references go out the window, including my favorite scene:
Hip to be Square is a very 80’s song, and it’s likely that it wouldn’t fit into the 00’s or 10’s version…
Knowing, what little I do about modern pop culture, it’s likely to be replaced by some crap by Ke$ha or Katy Perry, and fuck that noise too…
5. Business Cards
And speaking about archaisms, nobody uses business cards anymore. This may seem like a small, throw-away thing, but the business cards were an easy representation of the underlining unease Bateman feels dealing with his “friends.”
Identity and mistaken identity are major themes throughout the movie, as stated Bateman is all style and no substance, and though little used today business cards used to be the primary way people remembered new colleagues and acquaintances. With his identity totally entwined with his style, how he is seen by other is of primary importance to Bateman.
Since Bateman does not have the ability to feel the way normal people do, he can only fall back onto the base emotion of Fear, and that fear of losing standing with his peers leads to a fight or flight reaction. In Bateman’s limited capacity to feel he could only escape or attack the object of his fear.
While looking for the above clip on youtube I found this comment in response to another user’s comment about Bateman’s apparent overreaction…
JUST A PIECE OF PAPER? made from Armenian spruce, the grains 32 degrees from horizontal, size 9 helvetica sans typeface, with a crimson red/brown font color on an dentine white back. clearly the business card could not be beat, which is why he had to die.
It[‘s] exactly that! it so deep their pat[t]ology that their identity/self/ego whatever you want to call it is in gamble here, and it comes to this, they are competing even in that (the business cards). Their need of achievement is so over the limits that whoever has the best card, wins.
And, they are correct. That is a near perfect business card, pure style. For Bateman, since he could not compete with the style of someone who he detests, there was only one recourse.
What is the modern equivalent? Cells phones? Perhaps, but the bet you can do with a cell phone is the brand and the packaging… and even then you can’t be sure of being truly unique.
Thousands of people could easily have made the same choice of phone and case or interface that you have and within the same social circle that chance is astronomical…
6. Christian Bale
For the life of me I can’t think of a single actor that could pull this role off half as well as Christian Bale.
Being a method actor, he is well-known for going to extremes to get into a part, and with the budget that this is going to get I seriously doubt they will find anyone worth Bale’s salt.
Bret Easton Ellis has come out and stated:
I have warned Lionsgate that I will not approve a new version of American Psycho unless it stars Scott Disick or Miles Fisher.
Which, I think, is his way of saying, “Fuck Off!”
7 and 8. The Director and Writer
The Original was directed and cowritten by Mary Harron, a critically acclaimed director known for making stylistic dramas.
The Remake will be directed and written by Noble Jones, who’s only credit on imdb is second unit director on The Social Network, need I say more…?
9. Who was asking for this?
I know I ask this a lot of many things, but other than Lionsgate, who the hell was looking for this to be made?
American Psycho is a near perfect version of the book, and while not an exact adaptation of the novel, it is probably as close to what could be filmed.
Who was asking for a modernization? Who is wanting to see this? Please, let me know, I really want to know!?!?
Well there you have it, my rage is nowhere near appeased…
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