Lights are Going to Find Me, Shining Like The Sun
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Last night, my parents, my sister and I had an inpromptu family night. I suggested it because, at some point earlier this week, I realized that if I kept on with my own schedule and ignored everyone else, there's a good chance I wouldn't see my family until mid-August. Now I don't know about YOUR family, but we are what I would classify as "close to very close" and since we live near one another, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hang out.

My mom, my sister, and I went to see Mamma Mia! The Movie! (met up with my father for dinner) and despite my sour, sarcastic reaction to the stage production, the movie was actually hilariously good. Seriously - no joke. I would recommend it to anyone who either (a) saw and even partially liked the stage show, and/or (b) anyone who loves ABBA.

Meryl Streep was, at times, a bit too dramatic for me - although her singing was lovely and very powerful. Pierce Brosnan sang like he had something shoved up his times, he sang so hard that his entire neck would turn red. Why do you force it, Pierce? Just get someone to dub the tracks for you. Do us all a favor next time, really. As my mother said, you're "just there to be looked at" anyway. Stellan Skarsgaard was creepy/funny, and Colin Firth (oh, Mr. Darcy, how I love you) was PERFECT as the droll, has-a-crazy-past-but-you'd-never-know-it Suited man.

And a special note about Julie Walters, who plays the best friend of the lead character...I haven't seen her in a movie since she played the dance instructor in Billy Elliott (which is a wonderful, feel-good film). In Mamma Mia! she is FANTASTIC. SO funny - her comedic timing and facial expressions had me laughing constantly. Every now and then, she steals the show. Love love LOVE her in this film.

For me, the breakout performance of the movie was Amanda Seyfried - whom most people know as Karen, the wannabe meteorologist from the movie "Mean Girls." Her singing was spot-on and lovely (apparently she's classically trained) and she nailed the "i've been raised rather fortuitously and innocently on a tiny greek island all the while keeping my intelligence and naivete (and irritatingly beautiful, ruddy skin) in check. Hee hee!" character. I think this might be the performance that really starts her career into a great, big snowball of fantastic roles.

And if you don't care about any of the schmoes who were casted, I might even suggest going JUST for the music. Benny and Bjorn from ABBA signed on as executive producers (along with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, no small potatoes there) and they commandeering a really interesting version of each song - in fact, there are a couple songs in the film that were not present or utilized for the Broadway show. They really did a phenomenal job of making what most consider to be cloying, 70's pop music accessible and fresh. It should come as no surprise to anyone that these songs translate quite nicely into being current and very entertaining.

The movie was cornball, camp, and hilarity all wrapped up into one big laughfest. Say what you will about the critics panning this, but I would HIGHLY suggest that you see it. Pure, honest, easy entertainment. Two Thumbs Up!