Saturday, January 13, 2007

British thespians, Borat and other random mumblings

A friend of mine, P, was in town on break from her studies at Columbia. It was good fun to meet up with her after months really. The evening was spent talking about my trip, books, authors (Pamuk teaches at Columbia. She said he’s a bit of a diva, but a really good teacher anyway), and watching a ridiculous amount of E!
Including a show they had on called ‘The 100 Hottest Bodies in Showbiz’. Ralph Fiennes was #95. It was terribly amusing to see his deadpan reaction. “Uh? When was this? Ten years ago?” I didn’t see anymore of the show after that. Seeing Fiennes on E! was more than I could have hoped for. He also probably brought more class to the channel than they could handle so it was probably be safe to assume that it would only go down hill from there.

Right. Anyway. Ralph Fiennes is currently acting in Samuel Becketts ‘First Love’, down under, in Sydney. How much does it suck that he wasn’t on stage when I was in London. I mean, really. It sucks.
The theatre scene in London in general, however, makes me go green with envy when I think of people who get to actually live there. It’s so unfair. Given my love for British thespians, I just think it’s so unfair that Londoners get to see them all over. Before I left, the RSC was heavily advertising its production of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, with Patrick Stewart as Antony. It made me wish I could postpone my return by a few days just so that I could catch the opening night.

Then there was all that heavy promotion for the movie ‘Venus’ (it releases later this month in the UK). I have only heard superlative praise for Peter O’Toole’s performance in the movie and I really, really want to see it. O’Toole has been nominated for the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for the movie already, and I really do hope he gets an Oscar nod. Plus, the script is by Hanif Kureishi, which in itself raises my expectations, as he happens to be one of the most bitterly funny authors I have ever read.

I was loitering around HMV the day before I met P. And I happened to find the DVD of ‘Brideshead Revisited’, (Jeremy Irons plays Charles Ryder). Had it not been terribly expensive, I would have bought the set in a flash. When I told P she asked me, “But you have seen it, haven’t you??” When I replied in the negative, she whacked me with the nearest cushion she could find, “How can you not have??!!” I have of course known about the mini series for a while, but I just never went out of my way to look for it. P told me that it is the best adaptation of a book she has ever seen and anyone who has ever read and loved the book (how can anyone not like Brideshead Revisited?!) must see it. Anyway, I found out my library has a copy, but only for “restricted use”, which explains why I have never seen it there. So am headed there soon to find out what the hell this restricted use thing is. Seriously, wtf?

In any case, P told me that though she thinks Jeremy Irons is the most beautiful man ever, and as excellent an actor he is, the actor playing Sebastian (Anthony Andrews) is excellent and is probably the most brilliant piece of casting ever. This of course has piqued my curiosity and now I really just have to see the series. For the record, Jeremy Irons is another one of those British actors I adore. If a movie version of 'Death in Venice' is ever made Irons should be cast as Gustav von Aschenbach. Well, I think so anyway. Plus, if anyone ever deserved an Oscar for voicing a character it is him. What would the Lion King be if he hadn’t voiced Scar? Not even half as good, that’s what.

While talking to P, I was trying to think of British actors I don’t like and admittedly came up short. I think one reason I like the Harry Potter movies is because they stuck to having British actors in the movies. Alan Rickman (excellent as Snape) Gary Oldman, Maggie Smith, Ralph Fiennes et al – that’s class. And I would have thought it impossible to be able to pull of a TV version of ‘Jeeves and Wooster’, but Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie actually do manage to do the impossible. P, however, had a point when she said that, well, there are some actors who you really can’t not like.
“Who doesn’t like Daniel Day- Lewis?”
“Some people don’t even know who he is!”
“Idiots, needless to say.”

While still on the topic of movies. I finally saw ‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ yesterday. (Am sorry, but I really couldn’t resist typing out the whole title). Right, so I thought it was ok, but not as funny as it’s been made out to be. I think the Borat clips on youtube are funnier that the movie. Parts of it were hilarious and it could have been so much better. But it kept degenerating into the same old crass toilet humour and that was disappointing. Yes, you do laugh at the stupidity of the Americans – the Rodeo scene was hilarious and the scene with the college guys was, I am sorry to say, reminiscent and a somewhat apt representation of a lot of American undergrad frat boys I know. But in other cases, you just feel pity for the people who are caught up in the whole thing because they are obviously decent people and then whom is the joke on?
Oh well, still probably worth a watch. Just not that funny.


bricks said...

Jeremy Irons' Eragon bombed, dint it?
I saw Borat and Crash, back to back. Crash is a super movie. I am not even talkin abt Borat.
Which part of the world are you now?

Cheshire Cat said...

"Brideshead Revisited" is rather precious and sentimental compared to Waugh's best work. But his prose is always gorgeous, worth reading for its own sake.

The inspiration for Sebastian in the novel is widely believed to be Stephen Tennant, who appeared thinly disguised or as himself in three different novels, each a classic in its way - "Love in a Cold Climate", "Brideshead Revisited" and "The Enigma of Arrival". Must have been quite the character...

Surly Girl In The Corner said...

I loved Borat!

And oh! A fellow Jeremy Irons fan. I would die for Jeremy and Alan and Ralph. And Colin Firth. Ufff I love British actors.

roswitha said...

Uh, I am incredibly jealous of you now! But it is amazing that you've had a great holiday and are now back full of tales.

Re: Borat. Have you seen the 'Bruno' clips, also by Sacha Baron Cohen?

MockTurtle said...

I'm still waiting for Borat to get to DVD, not sure he's worth the effort to go make a trip to the theatres.
As for Brit actors, can you stand Hugh Grant and his cutesy affectations?

hedonistic hobo said...

it was good meeting you en londres senora!
'tis is a beautiful city, but it has its pitfalls. just you can ignore them more easily than in a new delhi.

Szerelem said...

Bricks: I don't know if Eragon bombed or not but it did get really bad reviews. be expected really. But Irons is always good :D
I liked Crash but it was a bit in your face. Very obvious.

Chshire Cat: I have to admit I haven't read a lof of Waugh. Only 'Brideshead Revisited' and 'Scoop'. I do agree with you about Brideshead, in some parts I felt it needed tighter editing as well. But in toto I really loved it. Sebastian is such a great charecter.

Surly: Even the wrestling scene?? Muahaha.....all through that scene I was like "My eyes!! I don't want to see this but for some reason I can't look away!!"
Ah, Jeremy Irons. His voice has the ability to make you melt! Top of my list with Ralph Fiennes.

Ros: Don't be jealous...I am being bombarded with papers and projects now. 'Tis awful :(
Bruno is hilarious!!! More than Borat even, I feel. I think Cohens next movie will be in charector as Bruno. I hope he doesn't get lynched or something.

MT: Probably not worth the trip to the theatre but you should watch it. Have you seen 'About A Boy'?? I thought Hugh Grant was perfect in that. I don't like him much but that movie completely changed my opinion of him. I think after Ralph Fiennes finished 'Maid in Manhattan' (shudder, I still can't believe he acted in that!) he said he had new found respect for Hugh Grant, cos doing those type of roles isn't easy...

Hobo: 'twas great to meet you as well!! No doubt London has pitfalls (ummm to name just one - its fucking expensive!!) but I had a really super time while I was there. I guess it makes me think of the city with a lot more fondness.

Aishwarya said...

If you're even in Delhi, I own the Brideshead dvd...

Szerelem said...

Aishwarya - I ordered it on Amazon day before! I know, I have amazing will power.
I remember you telling me on one of your comments pages that you had the DVD and that its really long! Did you like it though?

Aishwarya said...

*mocks your will power*

Despite the insane length, I liked it a lot. Its brilliantly cast, of course, and if you're a good little fangirl the homoerotic potential between Charles and Sebastian will delight you.

Szerelem said...

Ah, excellent!! *rubs hands with glee* Now am just waiting for it to arrive.

hedonistic hobo said...

you're right about borat bebe. as they say in the hajmola ad 'yeh baat kuchh hazam nahin hui'

Szerelem said...

hobo honey, you totally crack me up. 'yeh baat kuchh hazam nahin hui. How apt!!!