You know how sometimes you’ll be sitting in the park and a kid will be giggling up a storm playing with jacks or Pokemon cards or whatever the hell kids play with nowadays and suddenly everything will make sense because there’s some little kid out there who’s not thinking about his mortgage or health insurance claims because the world is too beautiful to think about mortgages or health insurance claims and only that kid, that one little kid gets it in his childish naivety? Well, that’s how I feel when I’m watching Clue. The world makes sense. It’s like Tim Curry and Michael McKean and Madeline Kahn and whoever plays Yvette got together and said screw everything else, let’s just make a movie which makes us laugh. And it doesn’t matter how obnoxious the pratfall is or how overly witty the retort sounds. It’s staying in because gosh darn it we want it there. And despite all these breaches of etiquette, maybe even because of all these breaches of etiquette, the film ends up being so charming and original I wish I’d never seen it before so I could watch it for the first time again.
Like the Mounties, Clue always gets its man, usually with a bullet in the darkness or a lead pipe in the library. After all, why would you use the front door when the other option is a secret passageway? Clue is a wild risk of fancy which can only be cherished by those able to do quick addition in their heads and properly appreciate how a recurring gag in which multiple characters attempt to covertly ascertain who stepped in dog poop is not just stupid but so stupid it winds around the spectrum to become clever. It engages the audience and forces them to give back because Communism will always just be a red herring and the double negatives will always lead to proof positive.
There’s a monologue in Clue in which Madeline Khan attempts to explain her hatred for Yvette. She gesticulates wildly with her hands, saying “heaving” and “flames” over and over again before being interrupted by Tim Curry. That she has a caustic wit in every scene not involving Yvette is why Clue is so singularly brilliant. It’s also why it’s my favorite movie of all-time, and it’s why what happened next to that kid in the park is a travesty.
You know how sometimes you’ll be sitting in the park and a kid will be giggling up a storm playing with jacks or Pokemon cards or whatever the hell kids play with nowadays and everything will be ruined in one second because some fat, trailer trash reject with a bad skin yells at the kid and makes him leave because she’s evil, cynical and conniving and wants nothing more than to ruin your little moment with her obnoxious intrusion? Well, that’s how I felt a half hour ago when I found out Clue was being remade. It’s like studio executives got together and said screw everything else, let’s firebomb all that is innocent and pure about cinema. And it doesn’t matter how foolish redoing a movie already beloved by millions is or how idiotically it will sound when after the film’s release we act surprised the hardcore fans didn’t approve. We’re going to do it because gosh darn it we can. And despite the fact we can’t possibly succeed since anyone who appreciated the original film would never consider remaking it, maybe because we couldn’t have possibly appreciated the original film and still considered remaking it, we’re going to move forward with astoundingly bizarre directorial choices, clearing any last obstructions from ensnaring a great film into a mass-market web of mediocrity.
Like the kingdom of heaven, villainous studio executives are always at hand, usually with a lame remake and a complete misunderstanding of what made the original movie special. Call me a pompous tea-drinker but I like Clue because it’s too smart for the average person. I like it because it presents a sketchy set of morals. And I like it because the cook’s name is Mrs. Ho. The remake won‘t have any of those things. You know why? Because a movie with those things has already been made.
We live in a culture obsessed with including everyone. Your daughter got a B+ in spelling? The teacher must not have given enough extra credit. Your son didn’t make the basketball team? The coach must not have seen his hook shot. You didn’t understand what the fuss was all about with Clue? The studio should make a new movie which you like better. Well, you know what? Damn your dyslexic daughter, damn your limp-wristed son, and screw you. You’re not meant to get Clue. Ninety percent of Americans should hate Clue because it is too clever and intricate for the mouth breathers. Clue catered to a mass audience is a bad Nancy Drew Mystery, and I don’t want to nurse Nancy and Professor Plum’s retarded love child. Have you ever heard a vapid, shallow woman make catty comments about moms shopping at Hollister? This our thing. It’s like totally not for them. They’re too old. It’s sad really. Well, Clue is my thing. It’s like totally not for you. You’re too dense. It’s sad really. But it’s your thing now. It’s everyone’s thing
It’s going to be your thing because Gore Verbinski is directing it, and he made Pirates of the Caribbean your thing. And he’ll do it with a bulbous budget and at least semi-big name actors because he can. And because Clue to Pearl Harbor fans pays more than Clue to Clue fans. This is the part in the story where you’re sitting in the park horrified at the mother’s moral turpitude and some joker you’ve hated for awhile totally pantses you. It just had to be Gore Verbinski. Give me Uwe Boll. Give me Rob Zombie. At least they try. Sure, Mrs. Peacock might have been sodomized by the devil and the passing motorist might have been a passing mountain king, but at least those obstreperous ideas would have been original ones. Gore Verbinski’s Clue will be a pretty good adaptation. It’ll make roughly seventy-five million dollars at the Domestic Box Office and receive a sixty-five percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And from that point forward, I will spend the rest of my life having this conversation:
Random Acquaintance: I loved the movie Clue!!!
Me: Yeah, it was awesome.
Random Acquaintance: Remember the scene when Colonel Mustard got a boner after walking in on Miss Scarlett changing, and she said, “Nice lead pipe!” That was hilarious.
Me: I…you should…umm…yeah, the original was better.
Random Acquaintance: There was an original?
You know how sometimes you’ll be sitting in the park and a kid will be giggling up a storm playing with jacks or Pokemon cards or whatever the hell kids play with nowadays and you’ll just be sick to your stomach because that kid has to go home with a bitch hillbilly who doesn’t understand why her son is so special but then you race to her car and rip off the Jesus Fish and spit all over her windshield because it makes you feel better? Well, that’s how I’m going to feel when I illegally download Clue, shake my head a few times and go back to remembering the only version which will ever matter.