Awesome People

Showing posts with label ABBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABBA. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2011

Adventures In Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest can be a confusing and frightening thing for those of us in the United States, one of the only countries in the world where it is not broadcast and it is unknown to most of the population.  For a long time I thought it was something invented for a Monty Python sketch.  I don't know what possessed me to devote eight hours of my weekend to watching Eurovision this year, but a good time was had by all.  Who won?  Who cares! Here's who should have won- Zdob&Zdub from Moldova.  But only for the hats. And the unicycle.

My actual favorite was Nina from Serbia.  No, friends of a certain age,  she is not to be confused with Nena who sang 99 Luftballoons. Seriously, though, this is a record I'd actually buy.

Of course we had Jedward representing Ireland, the land of my forefathers,  with a song called Lipstick. What can I say?  They were very... energetic.

And last but not least, I am always on the lookout for cute boys, and the winner in that category  was Eric Saade, who represented Sweden with  a song called Popular.  No, fellow show queens, not the song from Wicked. We should be so lucky.  Third place, would you believe it?

Eric was cute enough to inspire me to do a Google search on him.  I came across this music video from last year that is one of the most unintentionally funny things I've seen in some time. Love the cheerful ending.

And finally I leave you with the greatest Eurovision song of all time.  No,  not Jack In The Box by Clodagh Rodgers, although that would be awesome.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Exception To My Anti-70s-Nostalgia Rhetoric

Anything involving ABBA gets a free pass.  Except for the movie Mamma Mia.  There's no excuse for that shit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting back to musicals... has been nearly two weeks since I went to see Mamma Mia and it would be safe to say that I had mixed feelings about it. My reaction was somewhere between Matthew Rettenmund's hatred for it at his excellent blog Boy Culture, and this positive, but not blindly so, review at Slate. Given the high level of anticipation I had for this, I guess my general feeling was one of disappointment. Granted, I felt the same way about the film version of Chicago, which was generally greeted as the best thing since Botox and won all those Oscars. So what do I know, right? Well, when it comes to musicals, the answer is that I know a hell of a lot more than most people. Trust me on this: I know musicals. So please don't hate me when I say that the movie Mamma Mia most reminded me of was, ahem, From Justin to Kelly, but with better songs and (mostly) better acting.

The things that were wrong with the movie are mostly the same things that were wrong with the stage version; namely: 1) no plot, 2) shallow characterizations- I refer here to the writing, not the acting, 3) songs that have tenuous connection to the story. The director has no idea where to place a camera or how to film a number so that it isn't either completely static or stupidly frenetic. There is almost no choreography and what there is is rudimentary and badly handled. And I can't say this enough: if you are going to do musicals, please use actors who are trained in musical theater. Is it at all surprising that Meryl Streep, who has done musicals on stage, makes a pretty good showing, while Pierce Brosnon does not?

I did enjoy aspects of the movie. The Streep, though a bit over the top, seems to be having a genuinely good time and is always fun to watch. Ditto Amanda Seyfried who is lovely and the best singer here. Dominic Cooper takes his shirt off, which is nice. Julie Walters and Christine Baranski are people I enjoy watching, but they both have numbers which are slightly-to-extremely embarassing. The ABBA songs are wonderful, of course, except when they are being butchered (yes, Mr. Brosnon, I'm talking to you.) As in the stage show, my favorite moment is Slipping Through My Fingers, an emotional song about a parent ruefully watching her daughter growing up and which is actually used in that very context in the movie.
You know, it's easy to sound churlish here, but I really didn't hate it. I had a moderately good time. And it always makes me happy when a musical does well because that means more musicals in the future. I just wish this musical was better. I wanted to come out of the theatre with the glow I had when I saw Hairspray and Moulin Rouge. I want to be transported. Mamma Mia was just an OK way to blow a few hours.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"I Have Been Waiting For These Visitors"

Call me a stereotype (Go on! I dare you!) but if there are two things I love in this world they are musicals, and ABBA. Well, I could make a whole list of things I love in this world, but musicals and ABBA would be right up there. So it should come as no surprise that I can hardly wait for next week's premiere of the film version of Mamma Mia, and not just because über-sexy Dominic Cooper is in it, though that sure doesn't hurt. I saw the stage version of Mama Mia! last year when a touring company came through my town. I can't say it is a great musical: the story and script are banal in the extreme, in most cases the songs have no connection with what is happening in the story, and the whole thing is padded out with a curtain call that is almost as long as the second act, plus it didn't have what I would call a first-rate cast. But, wow, did the audience I saw it with love that show, and I had a good time too. You always hear about people dancing in the aisles, but how often do you really see it? So the folks who made the movie of Mamma Mia! are going to have to really screw up to make a movie that won't be a great time. I mean, come on! Streep singing ABBA! I've already ordered my ticket.