Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My love for ABBA....

I saw Mamma Mia! on Friday night, seriously in need of some cheering up. It worked. The movie is totally cheesy but fun if you are wiling to throw yourself into it. In other words, if you want to like it, you will. If you think you'll hate it, you will.

We went as family with my husband, almost-9-year old, and my Mom (Grannie Annie). I felt a little weird taking an 8-year old into a PG-13 film, but I have to say it was pretty innocuous. If you don't mind explaining the theme of a young woman with three possible fathers, most of the innuendo is either mildly naughty or pitched at a level that will go over a kid's head.

Thoughts about the movie: The plot is just an scaffold for the ABBA songs. Meryl Streep really goes for it. She's not acting with a wink-wink approach even though the overall movie is. Streep goes with the flow with gusto. She has a fine voice (unlike Pierce Brosnan, who nonetheless gets points for trying) but seeing her act out the actual feelings behind an ABBA song is a little like hearing William Shatner sing his dramatic version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. (Oh yes, it's real, I am not making this up.) The words, tone and emotions in an actual ABBA song really never matched up to the extent that Meryl Streep brings out, and it's a little disconcerting.

A. O. Scott's New York Times review of Mamma Mia! was one of the funniest things I read last week. Most of his 13 paragraphs are devoted to convincing oh-so-hip New Yorkers know that it's okay, really to go to an ABBA movie.

What I finally realized by watching Mamma Mia! is that my love for ABBA isn't actually ironic. I just love the music, without thinking or analzying. I don't need a protective layer of kitsch or an excuse to listen to ABBA. I'll just pop ABBA Gold into my CD player and off we go. (Time to confess a fun fact you didn't know about me: Michael and I had Dancing Queen arranged for string quartet played as the recessional music at our wedding. It sounded really nice, actually, and you could hear a ripple of laughter pass over the crowd as it dawned on them what the music really was.)

The other funny thing was that after seeing Mamma Mia!, I was reminded how great the 1995 Australian comedy Muriel's Wedding is. I posted an Amazon.com review saying that Muriel's Wedding is the best ABBA-themed (and wedding-themed!) movie, and then today A. O. Scott posted a video on the very same topic. Muriel's Wedding weaves in the ABBA music thematically rather than just having characters break out into song.

So it's a consensus between Mojo Mom and The New York Times: one way or another, this is the summer to give in to your ABBA-licious impulses.

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Blogger Amy@UWM said...

We're going to see the live show in Vegas in just a couple of weeks. Am holding off on seeing the movie until after that. LOVE ABBA...always have. Can't wait!!!

11:18 PM  
Blogger PunditMom said...

Thanks for this! I want to take PunditGirl, but was worried about PG-13. But then when I heard that the new Batman movie is also rated PG-13, I realized that for both the ratings probably meant nothing other than marketing to get a certain audience.

8:47 PM  
Blogger MojoMom said...

Hey PunditMom--

I have heard that The Dark Knight is so intense that it's almost an R-rated movie. I'd recommend seeing it yourself before thinking of taking a kid.

I haven't seen it yet, but when I do I'll blog about it.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Jeanne said...

I have never understood why Americans feel that they need to explain or justify why they like ABBA.

I reviewed Time Magazine's review of MM on my blog: http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/cathmom/564884/

Glad you enjoyed the movie! However, my daughters (ages 12 and 10) won't be seeing it until they are at least 15 or 16.

9:09 AM  
Blogger boymom said...


11:28 PM  

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