American Psycho's getting the remake treatment, just eleven years after the original film.
According to Variety, it's a "low-budget" project that "reimagines" the novel as a modern-day bloodbath. It hasn't been greenlit as yet, but it's such a bad idea that I have no doubt that it will be made, and probably in 3-D. "It's so relevant! It's about an evil investment banker!" will declare a series of movie executives and advertisers until it lands on our screens, an empty and flat turd.
While I'm kind of intrigued by the conceptual updates that would have to be made (will Patrick Bateman hold a dick-measuring contest over his LinkedIn page instead of his business cards? Will he murder to the sweet dulcet sounds of Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga?), I cannot be convinced that this is necessary, mainly because the original film is so damn good.
It took a book that, frankly, wasn't very good, and flipped it into a satire rather than a celebration of soulless nihilism.
But on the plus side, I get to quote David Foster Wallace! He criticized Ellis and Psycho in this interview:
"I think it’s a kind of black cynicism about today’s world that Ellis and certain others depend on for their readership. Look, if the contemporary condition is hopelessly shitty, insipid, materialistic, emotionally retarded, sadomasochistic, and stupid, then I (or any writer) can get away with slapping together stories with characters who are stupid, vapid, emotionally retarded, which is easy, because these sorts of characters require no development. With descriptions that are simply lists of brand-name consumer products. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what’s always distinguished bad writing—flat characters, a narrative world that’s cliched and not recognizably human, etc.—is also a description of today’s world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we’d probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it’d find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. You can defend “Psycho” as being a sort of performative digest of late-eighties social problems, but it’s no more than that."
I agree entirely about the book, but the movie is so much more than that.
Thanks to Stale Popcorn for the hat tip.
What do you guys think?