Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pierce My Heart With "Mama Mia!" (A Weekend of ABBA)

Actually, regarding the title of this post, it would be more accurate to say, "Pierce my ears," and I don't mean with earrings.

But I'm going to be nice and not say that. But I will say, "Oh, Pierce. Some people loved you as 007. But Remington Steele was ... sigh." I think Stephanie Zimbalist's character has had the last laugh on Mr. Steele.

Observations about "Mama Mia!":

*Appropos the title, why wasn't it set in Italy?

* Why don't I like musicals when every female in the world including Rosie O'Donnell loves them? Chromosomal abnormality? Why couldn't it have been hot flashes that I do not share with my sex?

* You know how they just used one word, "Grease" for the title of that show? If they were going to go with one word for "Mama Mia!" it would be "Drinks!" Or maybe, "Greece."

* I kept thinking, "Who is the target audience of this movie? Who are they trying to reach? Who? Who?" But then I looked around the theater, and besides the two rows of women I went with whose average age is probably 49, I'd say everyone else in the audience was exactly a 50 year-old female. Not quite Grandmama Mia, but almost. I am she. I am the target audience. I am the oldness.

* So glad to see the salute to any lifestyle of choice besides a traditional one, because if there's one storyline that's not being done to death in films and TV today, it's that there's more than one way to be married and form a family that's way better than 99% of the audience's way. Seriously, is there any bigger cliche now?

* Remember when you studied Greek mythology? There was always a Greek chorus narrating and moving the plot along. Well, there is actually a Greek chorus singing back up in most of these songs. Thought process: "Oh, so that's what it must have been like in ancient Greece. You said, 'I'm going to fetch the sheep,' and then 10 people turned and sang enthusiastically, 'You're going to fetch the sheep now!'" Marriage therapists have been trying to get couples to communicate in this mirror-messaging fashion for years, but the Greeks totally originated it.

* I don't understand the casting of this movie. Christine Baransky plays a sort of a middle-aged Rizzo sidekick-type to Donna (Streep), only not a mean Rizzo, or that other "b" word people toss about lightly now but a supportive Rizzo. Julie Walters was a sort of nice Rizzo, too, only less drunk and only a little less man-hungry. They formed a friendship stemming from being a singing act in the 1970s. On Mars, apparently.

The three male leads (Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierce Brosnan) were also, a-hem, woefully mature. But the casting part I can't understand most of all is the singing ability of the cast. Meryl Streep did fine, I guess, and the young female lead, Amanda Seyfried, was sweet as dew on honeysuckle. I had just seen Seyfried in "Mean Girls" the other evening on TV and didn't even recognize her in the movie.

But the males? Their singing? Oh, I almost crawled under my seat looking for ABC gum to re-wet and stick into my ears and eyes and nostrils and scalp pores.

* Meryl Streep wearing overalls. Playing air guitar. Executing an Olympian gold-standard toe-touch while jumping on a bed. Jumping off a pier. Just generally jumping around a lot. Has Meryl never delivered a child vaginally? Because how does she jump like that and not diddle in her overalls?

* ABBA. What the heck does it mean in Swedish? Oh, those songs were great. I didn't even know how much I liked them. There was one song I thought they weren't going to destroy sing, but they worked it in near the end. I won't give it away, although I can't really say as there could be a "spoiler" to this movie.

* Highlight of the movie: I think this was the most beautifully filmed movie I've ever seen. Every scene was a delight; my eyes darted all over taking it all in. It's difficult to describe. Even the walls in the villa were gorgeous. Splashes of Mediterranean hues everywhere, pastels and brights, ethereal clothing, gorgeous water and sky ... I guess the one word that describes that whole movie is "vibrant." Where it lacks talent, sense and ... sense, it exudes vibrancy and dare I say it? Fantasy.

And just in case you think I've been too hard on Pierce, behold the short video below, but be ready.

Then check out ABBA rocking the blue eye shadow in 1978. Feel free to dance around your family room singing into a hairbrush, having the time of your life, Dancing Queen. And don't miss my other ABBA fav in the 2nd (it's actually the 3rd on this page, though): "Take a Chance on Me." Note that the girls have on the same clothes in both videos. ? At about 2:55 into the 2nd ABBA one, the brunette busts some awesome moves.

PS: I had this great idea. You saw it here first, so consider it copyrighted. I think I'll write a whole musical using songs from Electric Light Orchestra!


Angela said...

Hi Lidna. Glad you liked Dr. Youssef, I listen to him every day while I get ready for work. I watched the ABBA videos and I am hoping at least one of the four horrible Swedes is still alive so that they can tell me how to assemble my new chair from Ikea. Because their dancing did nothing for me. NOTHING. And they got really excited by the beat of the tambourine..ohhhhh yeahhh

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

Lidna...tell me you really think it's odd that you DON'T have something in common with Rosie? Ooo! And I want to help with the we have to use ELO? What about the Eagles...nah, that's almost sacreligious...

skoots1mom said...

A+ scenery
the rest I took with a very big grain of salt and just let myself laugh at their willingness to "take a chance"!
I found myself amazed w/ Meryl's singing, wish I could do it half as well.
I'd love to travel to this part of the beautiful. We're gonna go see the mummy movie next.

My ADHD Me said...

1. OK, I am a nerd. ABBA is one of my favorite "feel good" CD's. Cranked up loud with me singing along (it has to be loud so that I cannot hear myself. Their music is difficult for an alto like me). Obvious it is difficult for Pierce also.
2. As for the video, Every time they showed the shot of the four of them in separate boxes, it made me think of the Brady Bunch theme song.
4. I don't remember Greek Mythology.
5. Blue eye shadow--UGH!! said...

I'm in shock after hearing Pierce Brosnan sing.


Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I truly believe that if you saw the live show, you WOULD enjoy a musical. It is so funny! Come on, you can do it!

Mocha with Linda said...

1. I really liked ABBA. And I was 17 in 1978! Karma!
2. I, too, thought the Brady Bunch producer must have produced the Take a Chance video.
3. Regarding Meryl & Pierce - way weird. Plus I can't stand to listen to other people sing songs popularized by groups. It just doesn't work.
4. It blows me away how many clothes those girls are wearing. Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end. (Oops, wrong song and group!)
5. Every time I see you have a post about this the old (was it Alka Seltzer?) commercial comes to mind - "Mamma Mia, that's a spicy meatball!"
6. Your comment about Meryl's childbirth history mad me laugh out loud.

But my 2 faves from the mid-late 70's were the Carpenters and the BeeGees!

Teri said...

Ok, after watching interviews with the cast...all of them...the men were NOT shy at all about how they LOATHED the singing parts.

When we first saw it my husband (YES, HE LIKED IT.) said it was terribly uncomfortable to watch Pierce sing. I agreed with him. Although I did download the soundtrack from itunes and after listening to is a bazillion times, I got used to it and I don't mind it. It isn't that the quality of his voice is terrible...just actually watching him sing was.

I agree with you about the scenery. All of the textiles in the movie and the contrast of the ocean and bildings...loved it all!

And Meryl jumping around? All I could think of was, MAN I WISH I WAS IN THAT GOOD OF SHAPE!

(She actually did do all of her own dancing and the toe touch? All her.) And she has ten years on you...over twenty on me. WOW!

Ok, I am done. I know I will never convince you that this was just a feel good movie. Silly, unrealistic and musical filled feel good movie. Obviously YOU are not a Musical person, you know that about yourself and well, at least you tried!

Marsha said...

I was fortunate enough to have seen Mama Mia on Broadway in 2002. I loved it! Haven't seen the movie yet and was floored when I heard they cast Meryl Streep. I guess I need to see the movie as I just cannot imagine her in that role but the clip you've shown looks painful to me so I may opt to keep my perfect memories of the Broadway production.

ELO??? hmmmmm but then I never could have dreamed up a musical based on Abba either. I must be lacking imagination... just add it to the long list of lacks in my life!

thouartloosed said...

I share your distaste for musicals and have been paid back in spades as my two girls love them. Their favorite movies are musicals. They buy the cds of songs from musicals and play them nonstop singing songs from them day and night.
I often break out in song at boring moments in our home in an effort to establish how silly the concept of a musical is. Be thankful I can't give you an audio example.
Enjoyed this post!

Susanne said...

Oh my. Surely there was someone in Hollywood who could actually sing to take that part, wasn't there?

LOL watching those ABBA videos. I'd forgotton what they were like. I loved ABBA back then. I'll have to show these to my daughter just 'cause I want to see her eyes roll back in her head. Maybe they'll help her with the dance she's choreographing right now. LOL.

PJ said...

You are toooo funny, girl!! I have to go see Mama Mia. I'll probably love all the cheeziness!! But, if I inadvertently take my hubby, will he throw up before the grand finale???

P.S. You know, we ATE those little critters I skinned! And in my defense, I hated the job!! And would sometimes wash dishes BY MYSELF if my sister would do it for me!

annie's eyes said...

Ouch, I AM the target audience here. And except for Pierce, it was a great escape. As for musicals, I was the one with the three year old belting out Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Take that Look Off Your Face," a terribly inappropriate song about an affair. Why? Because those are the songs we listened to. Mama Mia had really beautiful cinematography. Plenty ammunition from this movie to shoot it down, but hard not to like (or sing to!)

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Okay, my friend and I watched it Thursday night...

I totally agree: GORgeous scenes and the villa has me dreaming of retiring in the Med.

I told my friend when it was over that it reminded me of a cross between a modern Grease and a middle-aged Hannah Montana.

Agreed? :-)

Roxanne said...

Haven't seen the movie. . .love Abba music though I don't own any. . .LOVE Pierce Brosnan even though he (evidently) can't sing. I would not NEED him to sing. :)

Mary said...

Haven't seen the movie because I don't like musicals either. I just get kinda sick of the singing stuff and want to move along. So, I'm holding out for DVD release and I can FF through those songs.

Remington Steele -- great show!! Loved it! I've been a Pierce fan for years.

and, I admit it, an ABBA fan! There it's out.... and I'll move on.

Debbie said...

Oh. My. Word. This is the funniest post ever. Loved it. And I really have no desire to ever see this movie. Hello. Who is my daddy? And Pierce singing. Really. Isn't there some middle age Broadway guy dying for a part like this? Thanks for the chuckle. Especially the part about Streep jumping around.

Jada said...

I loved the movie and the musical! Great post. Oh, ABBA stands for each of the 4 group members first initial....just FYI. LOL