Tag Archives: Nick Hornby

Pop Culture Happy Hour #235: Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl and Movies Adapted From Books

Patti Smith, Nick Horby, & Elvis Costello.

Patti Smith, Nick Horby, & Elvis Costello.

I was glad as always to join Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, and – for the first time, for me – Barrie Hardymon on this week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Here are my notes and ephemera from this exciting episode. Some of it is stuff I jotted down to say but forgot or didn’t get the chance, and some of it is stuff I wish in hindsight that I’d been smart or quick enough to say on the fly. I keep pounding so-called smart drinks hoping that I shall one day develop the ability to think at the speed of conversation, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway! I wanted to read this brief passage from Nick Hornby’s new novel Funny Girl, our primary topic of discussion, because I think it encapsulates the spirit of the book succinctly. It’s the first meeting between the book’s heroine, Barbara (who adopts the stage name Sophie Straw), and her agent, Brian:

“I want to be a comedienne,” said Barbara. “I want to be Lucille Ball.”

The desire to act was the bane of Brian’s life. All these beautiful, shapely girls, and half of them didn’t want to appear in calendars, or turn up for openings. They wanted three lines in a BBC play about unwed mothers down coal mines. He didn’t understand the impulse, but he cultivated contacts with producers and casting agents, and sent the girls out for auditions anyway. They were much more malleable once they’d been repeatedly turned down.

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Personal is Heretical: Theater J’s Andy and the Shadows, reviewed.

high-fidelity-movie-poster-4fc9aac36bb54To paraphrase the leader of the free world, let me be clear: I liked Theater J’s premiere of Artistic Director Ari Roth’s long-gestating, heavily autobiographical play, Andy and the Shadows. I liked it a lot.  It’s too long, its references too scattered and too many, and at the end you feel like you’ve spent your time in the company of a hyperactive (if uncommonly sensitive and articulate) 19-year-old who just will not stop talking, ever. But these are good problems to have. Overreach is better than undereach. And the cast is just tremendous.

The play, as I note, has been around in some form since nearly a decade prior to the publication of Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity in 1995, which means it almost certainly also predates Stephen Frears’ Y2K film version of the book.

Nevertheless, the play’s likeness to the movie is sort of uncanny.

My review of the play in today’s Washington City Paper lays out the evidence. Any resemblance to fictional persons, living or dead, is accidental. Continue reading

Sometimes the Movie Is as Good as the Book: Nick Hornby Interviewed, Part the Second

Nick Hornby photographed by Sigrid Estrada

I spoke with the the great novelist and essayist Nick Hornby about a month ago, just prior to his swing through Our Nation’s Capitol to promote his swell new novel Juliet, Naked, which we discussed at some length. His other current release, the film An Education, for which he wrote the screenplay, opens here in DC at the Landmark E Street Cinema tomorrow. I haven’t seen it yet, but the great and good Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and At the Movies tells me it’s “awfully charming.”

Herewith, the second part of our conversation, wherein we discuss his thoughts on the movies derived from his books, favorite music of the moment, and wither The Believer. Continue reading

Talking Male Fragility Blues with Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby photographed by Sigrid Estrada

Few writers have managed to pin the millennial male ego under glass the way Nick Hornby has. In his comic novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and the new Juliet, Naked, among others, Hornby picks apart our vanity and insecurity in ways that are as scary as they are entertaining. He’s also written loads of great nonfiction about his love of soccer, literature, and pop music.
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