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Nitwit Mountain

“Will the actors stepping into the iconic roles live up to the perfection of Heath Ledger and Tob[e]y Maguire?” [Buzzfeed]

60 comments

  • Grane says:

    “Proulx” rhymes with “scowlx,” if anyone’s wondering.

  • tannengrin says:

    Those guys at buzzfeed are hilarious when they try to generate ‘content’.

    Show’s you how good Jake really was in that role. Everybody thought it was that dude from the apple farms in Maine. Maybe the Met could do a pastiche a la Enchanted Island. Cider Mountain or Brokeback House.

  • RosinaLeckermaul says:

    I tought Tom Randle was British. He’s been a regular at ENO for years.

    • Regina delle fate says:

      ENO employs loads of Americans. He has one of the longest -- and a mostly distinguished -- track records for a non-Brit with the company. It’s never been a great voice, but he is a fantastic and versatile performer. His debut was in the Nick Hytner Magic Flute when it was new, in which he entered with a python wrapped around his naked upper torso. More recently he showered in the altogether in full view of the audience in The Return of Ulysses at the Young Vic, a very intimate space. For a man in his early 50s he still looks great.

  • m. croche says:

    While we anxiously await the premiere, I suggest a round of “My Favorite Wuorinen”.

    I’ll start off. Fifth movement (“Doxology”) of “Genesis”, which begins at around 26:42. Perhaps one of the better of the many greater and lesser doxologies. I was roused.

  • Orlando Furioso says:

    When he started singing at ENO (as Tamino if memory serves), Thomas* Randle was invariably referred to as “the American tenor.” Apparently he eventually became accepted as part of the scenery there.

    (*He was always “Thomas” then — the frequent billing as Tom came considerably later.)

  • -Ed. says:

    Except for the stunning visuals and obvious eye candy, I was underwhelmed by Brokeback Mountain. I thought it dull. But before you ask me to mail my gay identification card back to HQ, allow me to digress and say that I recently watched a British indie film called Weekend, which I thought was great and highly recommend. I’m not a big movie guy, but Weekend made my all-time top 10 list. Which is pretty impressive, because my all-time top 10 movie list has only about six movies on it. Weekend also introduced me to the music of John Grant, a favor indeed.

    • armerjacquino says:

      WEEKEND is lovely. And those of you who like DOWNTON ABBEY (why? WHY?) may be interested to know that the lovely Tom Cullen crops up in the latest series.

      • Feldmarschallin says:

        Just saw Lady Edith get jilted at the alter. Thanks Manou.

      • laddie says:

        Other than Maggie Smith, I don’t get it either. Not nearly as good as some other serials on TV now like “Masters of Sex” and “Ray Donovan” (both on Showtime in the States), not to mention the always fascinating American Horror Story. And recently here on TV in the states, “The Returned” (Les Revenants).

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          Is this the first or second series of The Returned? We had the first series in the UK last year -- I got quite into it to begin with but it just didn’t go anywhere, and the finale made me lose interest altogether -- I’d only watch the second series if there was absolutely nothing else on.

        • operaassport says:

          All of those shows you mention are excellent (except Sopranos rip off Ray Donovan) but so is Downton. You have to understand that time to appreciate it, I’m guessing. Everything about it is superb.

          The Returned is terrific but, as the first season ended, I wondered if the creators had any idea where it was going and if there’d be any explanation.

          • armerjacquino says:

            You have to understand that time to appreciate it, I’m guessing.

            Not so much. Even DOWNTON’s most fervent supporters- and I’ll agree with others here that the first series was ok- will admit that it’s riddled with anachronisms and historical errors: it’s famous for it (remember that review in The Atlantic? ‘Preposterous as history’)

            I’d say the opposite, to be honest: the more you know about 1910s and 20s in England the more annoying it would be. Or the more comic- I remember sitting in a room full of people almost crying with laughter at the episode where Dan Stevens kept popping over to join in the First World War for a couple of weeks at a time.

            • -Ed. says:

              Précisément. One never wishes to spoil the plot for a new viewer, but since Brokeback Mountain has been out for years (oh weeee! I made a joke) I feel fairly safe to say: Not even the sexiest virgin Maseratis go from zero to anal in two seconds flat.

        • antikitschychick says:

          You like Ray Donovan laddie? I haven’t checked it out because the basic premise seems off-putting to me…not that it isn’t interesting in its way (I dont think there has ever been a show like that and Liev Schreiber is certainly a good actor) but I just feel like we get enough of celebrities and their bs these days. American Horror Story is on Netflix but haven’t checked it out…perhaps I will.

          What I am most looking forward to is season 2 of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black…oh and Game of Thrones of course lol.

      • Krunoslav says:

        WEEKEND is well worth seeing. Anyone remember the incredibly evocative sex scene in PRIEST with the needlessly straight Linus Roache?

        And I agree-- DOWNTON ABBEY is junk sopar opera, the worst kind of rightist British nostalgia for the Old Order, something that plays well among American middle- and upper-middlebrows, the worship of British accents among whom is is why our public television unquestioningly airs crap like ARE YOU BEING SERVED? and why boards of directors of museums and , um, opera companies here are so susceptible to hiring British administrators, which is why-- see what you’ve ushered in, armer?-- late-career Robin Leggate and Ashley Holland ( at any career stage!) are jobbed in over here. Oh, and add Jeremy Sams to that list.

        Morning, all!

    • kashania says:

      I had the opposite reaction. I sobbed both times I saw it in the cinemas, such was the power of the film and the performances. It affected me for days afterwards.

      • aulus agerius says:

        The original story is devastating. I kept that issue of The New Yorker for years.

        • WindyCityOperaman says:

          I’m with kashania. Saw it with my ex and as we had driven separately; we embraced in the parking lot afterwards. Kept posting about it on imdb with other obsessed viewers and on a dedicated website (that has since gone into oblivion); all the parodies followed including this one:

    • operaassport says:

      I turned Weekend off after 15 minutes. Watching skinny men do drugs wasnt my cup of tea. Brokeback was stunning on every level. Dull or boring? You must like video games.

      • armerjacquino says:

        There’s maybe 20 seconds of drug taking in the 97 minutes of WEEKEND.

        • operaassport says:

          I turned it off in the first 15 minutes and all I remember is the drug taking and unappealing characters. 20 seconds? I don’t think you’ve seen the film as it is mostly known for its frank drug use.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            So I take it you also never finished watching Pulp Fiction?

            • operaassport says:

              I watched Pulp Ficti

            • operaassport says:

              I watched Pulp Fiction many times because the characters are well written and interesting.

              Weekend is a crashing bore, poorly written, and has unappealing characters. So the drug use is incidental. But it doesn’t help.

              I think people remember things differently. I just skimmed the film on my computer and it confirmed my original post.

              Enough said (another really good film, btw).

          • armerjacquino says:

            as it is mostly known for its frank drug use.

            Bullshit. There’s one scene- much later in the film than 15 minutes- when they share some coke and some weed. That’s all.

            And how brilliantly dumb to say ‘I don’t think you’ve seen the film’ to someone else when, by your own admission, YOU HAVEN’T.

          • -Ed. says:

            The drug use seemed incidental to me and barely attracted my attention, being far more focused on the dialogue. I thought it was beautifully written and handily performed; unpretentious and insightful, and so sweet.

    • Cocky Kurwenal says:

      I found the Brokeback film dull too, but was more captivated by the novella.

    • -Ed. says:

      I don’t own a TV anymore, but I’ve been watching Downton Abbey for free on Amazon prime. After a nearly flawless opening season, they’ve managed to make a sow’s ear from a silk purse.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Sort of how I feel about it too -- I enjoyed the first series. Ever since it has seemed really clunky and kind of under-written, especially the Lord Grantham character. It remains quite OK for passing the time if you’re nursing a hangover.

        • manou says:

          It seems to be the fate of all successful series -- the law of diminishing returns. You have to use the same few characters and find more and more preposterous and outlandish plots for them (and cope with some actors bailing out at inconvenient times). It is still fun -- even au second degré. But I can quite see serious minded people (Mr Manou…) dismissing the whole thing as tripe!

          • kashania says:

            I agree. I find Downton still immensely enjoyable while recognising that it’s not what it once was. The first season really was superb but the quality began to decline in the second season. I remember even in the first episode of the second season, a couple of the Dowager Countess’s jokes felt forced. Some of the storylines now feel very contrived.

            It’s very rare for a show to maintain the same level of quality beyond the first season or two. Some exceptions… Frasier was brilliant for at least the first four seasons and continued to be good for a few seasons more. It’s decline only became noticeable in the last few seasons (there were 11 in all).

            Mad Men kept its quality high for the first four seasons. In fact, I felt it got better and better. But the party was over by the Fifth Season (though a couple of individual episodes rose to the previous level of greatness).

            Breaking Bad is the only show I can think of that remained superb from its first season all the way through to the last.

            • Feldmarschallin says:

              Exactly the first season was very, very good. I was a little let down by the every day life during the war. I wanted to see the corseted gowns and all the opulence that we saw pre war. But I am still enjoying it and will now watch the second DVD of season 3. Poor Edith, always the bridesmaid and never the bride. Wasn’t there always one ugly daughter which never married so it could look after the mother as she got older. It was the same with Queen Victoria.

            • Porgy Amor says:

              Breaking Bad is the only show I can think of that remained superb from its first season all the way through to the last.

              Not The Wire? I have my favorite seasons, but even the least of the five exists on a level series television rarely reaches.

              I missed the sides-choosing, but I was not bored for a moment of the Brokeback Mountain film. I found it devastating, and when I think back on it now, having seen it twice and not in four and a half years, a lot stands out besides what is obvious and memorable at the center. Like Jack’s wife, the Anne Hathaway character, coming on the scene with such life and humor and then getting blonder, paler, quieter and more brittle every time we see her. I have not often seen neglect dramatized with such understated power. One of the reviewers commented that she looks and acts just like a woman who expected to be loved, but wasn’t. This is remembered as a movie about two people, but it achieves its greatness in the whole world it creates around them.

            • kashania says:

              Porgy: Yikes, I forgot The Wire!! Thank you for mentioning Anne Hathaway in Brokeback. Aside from the leading men, Michelle Williams got all the attention (and the Oscar nomination) in that film, and I think Hathaway deserved her share of praise. She used to be (still is?) the subject of easy scorn but every time people criticised her, I would picture her face during that phone call with Ennis.

  • papopera says:

    Mon dieu ! How will they perform the enculade on stage ??

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Ludwig II’s illicit love for Horseman Richard Hornig would make a better opera



  • Krunoslav says:

    “I’m sure you have some questions, such as: How do you bring a story that’s set in the American wilderness onto the stage?”

    Let’s see… ever heard of THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST, play by Belasco, opera by Puccini? Or the innumerable stage adaptations of Fenimore Cooper’s novels that held the stage throughout the 19th century?

    • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    • -Ed. says:

      Thank you for jogging my memory! It’s only tangentially related to your comment, but I’ve been meaning to research opera houses in the 19th century American west. It’s quite remarkable. During my occasional drives through our western states, I’ve noticed many of even the smallest old towns had opera houses. Did they perform classical opera or some derivative? Where was I recently?.. somewhere around Lake Tahoe, and this small old silver mining town had a large and rather grand opera house.

      • Batty Masetto says:

        Ed, the “opera houses” in the American west were more like concert halls that accommodated all kinds of performances, including lectures. (Also lynchings; see link below.) Oscar Wilde appeared at a number of “opera houses” during his American tour.

        Maybe the one you saw was Piper’s in Virginia City?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper%27s_Opera_House

      • -Ed. says:

        Yes that was the one Batty, thank you. I guess what threw me was why such venues were called opera houses and not theaters or music halls or whatever. So, just now I donned my Google Ranger cape and conducted a search to find:

        “Like every other small town of any size, Hartford had a hall known as the opera house. This was a misnomer, for I doubt that anything faintly resembling opera was ever performed on its stage. Mostly these opera houses were used for theatrical experiences of one sort or another. They were not called theatres because so many of the church people were of the opinion that theatres were wicked. Besides, ‘opera house’ sounded rather more grand.”

        http://michiganoperahouses.com/why-the-name-opera-house/

        • m. croche says:

          Itinerant theatrical troupes often performed G&S, Millocker, Herbert, Lehar, etc. in them. We usually call such pieces “operettas” today, but such distinctions were lost on turn-of-the-century middle Americans- they often called them “comic operas”. “Opera house” really isn’t a misnomer, it’s just that the buildings were often used for more scaled-down entertainments as well.

            • derschatzgabber says:

              Thanks for the information on the Bellows Stock Company. I will keep searching online. Somewhere there must be reviews of those Parsifal perfomances. It would be interesting to know what sort of hybrid of opera and spoken theater was peformed by these touring companies.

          • derschatzgabber says:

            Years ago, my parents found a little book on the history of the Leadville Opera House (the one Horace Tabor built before the Tabor Grand in Denver). I think it may have been self-published by the author, who owned the theater at the time. The book included a list of the known events that occurred in the opera house, ranging form High School graduation exercises to touring opera companies. Apparently a touring company presented Parsifal at least twice. I assume the performance must have had significant cuts and a reduced orchestration. Does anyone know anything about a touring Parsifal production that played in regional theaters in the late 1800′s or early 1900s. It’s hard to imagine miners sitting through Parsifal.

        • Krunoslav says:

          A British friend (yes, I do have them) long resident in the States ordered this volume because he thought the title so funny, but he was actually quite charmed by it:

          http://www.amazon.com/Opera-Houses-Iowa-George-Glenn/dp/0813809843

          When traveling in small US cities I always keep an eye open for the local “opera house”, just as I do ( up North at ay rate, one doesn’t always wish to see the prose and imagery in the South) for Civil War memorials.

          Some of the grander local “opera houses’ in upstate New York are now used for HD showings. And one of them, the Mahaiwe in Western Massachusetts, houses tour performances by the Boston Early Music Festival with international class baroque singers ( Phillippe Jaroussky, Amanda Forsythe, Colin Balzer, Carolyn Sampson, Karina Gauvin, etc.)

  • kekszakallu says:

    … and Weekend has the great advantage of being set in Nottingham (I would say that, wouldn’t I?)