Hey, Moe! The Stooges are coming back. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.)
I will confess to occasionally breaking out into a chorus or two of "B-A-Bay."
And like everyone else, when I walk into a hospital, I immediately think "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard."
Certainly, I'm not the only person in the world who says, "Let's go places and eat things" (Curly voice, optional) whenever we're heading out the door for dinner. (I know for a fact that I'm not the only person in the world who does this, as sometimes my husband says it before I get the chance. Not to mention that it has been known to come out of the mouth of my sister Trish.)
And, oh, yes, I do have a "Just Say Moe" tee-shirt, black with a nice big Moe Howard face on it. I don't believe I've ever actually worn it, but I do have one. Perhaps I'll pack it for my upcoming Paris vacation. Given that the French worship at the altar of Jerry Lewis, surely, they are Stooge aficionados as well.
All this said, I'm not now, and never have been - except in fifth grade, when it was the rage - a fan of the Three Stooges.
Stooge fandom is, I believe, something of a secondary sex characteristics. I don't know any women who like them, and I can only think of one or two men who don't.
Naturally, just as John Lennon was my favorite Beatle, and Adam (the brainy one) was my favorite Cartwright on Bonanza, I much preferred the more cerebral, zany, and inspired Marx Brothers to the Stooges. (Don't get me started on the Ritz Brothers....)
However, I can acknowledge that the original Stooges are classics of the nyuk, nyuk, eye-poke, head bonk genre. And, you don't mess with the classics.
But - you don't say - the Farrelly Brothers, local boys made good making not so good movies, are doing a big buck remake of "The Three Stooges." I can't imagine that it will have anywhere near the, dare I say, charm or verve of the low budget, black and white originals.
The big WTF on this one, however, is not that there'll be a new Stooge film. It's the cast: Jim Carrey as Curly. Sean Penn as Larry. And - hold on to your socks - Benicio Del Toro as Moe. Talk about just say Moe. I mean just say "No".
Where to begin on this casting?
First off, I'm not a huge Jim Carrey fan, but he does have a manic intelligence, and a definite gleam in his eye - both characteristics that seemed to be completely lacking in Curly Howard. Oh, you might be thinking, 'Curly was just acting the moron.' But I recall seeing his brother Moe on a talk show, in which he explained that Curly's woo-woo-woo, head shaking little exercises were not really scripted, but were expressions of Curly's frustration when he couldn't remember his lines. Moe, I believe, said that "Curly was mentally stupid." And who better to know than his own brother?
Coming off of an Academy Award portrayal of Harvey Milk, I've got to say that I'm a bit shocked that Sean Penn would sign up to play Larry Fine. Maybe he's thinking it will be a big bomb that nobody sees... Surely, he's not thinking that it will garner him another Oscar nomination, let alone a chance to rant a little when he makes his acceptance speech. I will say that Penn does have quite a resemblance to Larry.
Then there's Benicio Del Toro as Moe. Del Toro has not yet agreed to take the role, but just the thought of it. As with Penn-Fine, Del Toro does look somewhat like Moe. But Moe was a mean, moronic menace - a menace that, if he were my brother, I might categorize as a mentally stupid menace: nasty, bullying. Del Toro, on the other hand, is a bona fide, scare the crap out of you, menacing menace. Oh, I'm sure that he can do a comic turn - can't every body? - but this piece of casting seems surreal to me, absurd. Che Guevara, Del Toro's last role, must be rolling over in his grave - wherever that is. (I don't know why I'm thinking "Samuel Beckett" here. Maybe it's the word absurd. Anyway, this is possibly the first time that Beckett and the Stooges have found themselves together in a blog post.)
All I can say is that at least they didn't pick Adam Sandler to play someone in this. That in itself makes the casting seem inspired.
Still, it does seem a bit odd to choose somewhat heavy-weight actors (if you consider Carrey a comic heavy-weight) to play in what has to be a completely light-weight film. It's rather like having Placido Domingo sing, well, B-A-Bay, isn't it? Sometimes you just have too much voice for the song.
In any event, I cannot imagine that I will ever see this movie -not in a theater, not on DVD, not in an airplane, not on Demand TV...
Just the thought of a full length, color Stooge film makes me shudder. But the thought of it does make me a little nostalgic for the Stooges - maybe the one where they play the plumbers. And I may actually have to sing multiple choruses of my favorite Stooge tune in the shower.
B A Bay, B E Bee
B I Bickie Bye B O Bo
Bickie Bye Bo B U Boo
Bickie Bye Bo Boo
I may even make it all the way up to F, or even G...
Here's the Variety article on this story, which was sent to me by my friend Sophia. Thanks, Soph.