A Great Piece of Writing

While sitting through the insufferable coming attractions in a movie theater last week – when will the owners of movie theaters show even a little integrity and be honest about when the movie you forked over way too much money to see will actually begin? – The Curmudgeon (and Mrs. Curmudgeon) viewed a preview, not for the first time, for Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again, coming soon to a theater near you.

While contemplating how large a team of horses would be needed to drag him to such a movie, The Curmudgeon suddenly recalled a specific passage from a 2008 New Yorker review of the original (Mamma Mia!) that described a major challenge for the performers – and for one performer in particular:

I thought that Pierce Brosnan had been dragged to the edge of endurance by North Korean sadists in his final Bond film, “Die Another Day,” but that was a quick tickle with a feather duster compared with the agony of singing Abba’s “S.O.S.” to Meryl Streep through a kitchen window. Somebody, either a cheeky Swede or another North Korean, has deliberately scored the number a tone and a half too high, with visible results: swelling muscles along the jawline, tightened throat, a panicky bulge in the eyes. There is no delicate way of putting this, but anyone watching Brosnan in mid-delivery will conclude that he has recently suffered from a series of complex digestive problems, and that the camera has, with unfortunate timing, caught him at the exact moment when he is finally working them out.

Is that a great description or what?  Bravo! to The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane.


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