My, my, how can I resist ya’?
MY daughter and I watched Momma Mia on tv this morning, while the men of the house where out at an early morning activity. It was a good thing that they were gone. I have found that men (at least straight ones, and even some women and gay men) just don’t get Momma Mia. I guess I can see why. After all, it is not a great movie. In fact, I’m not even sure it is a good movie. But I learned long ago that something does not have to be great, or even good, for me to love it.
10 Reasons I love Momma Mia (in no particular order*):
- Meryl Streep, Meryl Streep, Meryl Streep. I love Meryl Streep. I love her in anything. I love her serious, I love her funny, I love her silent. I love her. I wish she was my sister. I don’t have a sister, Meryl. Just in case you are looking for a sisterless waif (well…) to adopt as your own, I am available.
- Greece. I have never been. In my mind, it looks just like Momma Mia with some Shirley Valentine thrown in for good measure. Singing and dancing in Greece. Love.
- Pierce Brosnan. And not for the obvious reasons. Oh, sure, he is great looking, and suave, and a Bond, for God’s sake. But that is not why I love him in this movie. I love him because the man cannot sing to save his life, and he knows it. And he sings. And sings again. And sings a third time. Can you imagine what kind of guts that takes in the recurring-nightmare-that-I-am-standing-in-front-of -a-crowd-in-my-underwear sort of way? You can tell that he knows that we know. And he wants us to know that he knows it. He completely humiliates himself, and he does it for our entertainment. And with me, it works. When I saw this movie in the theater, and he opened his mouth and started singing SOS, I died. I just could not stop laughing through my Red Vines. And I laughed every other time he opened his mouth to sing. And I still do. But I am laughing with him, not at him. Brave, brave man. You gotta’ love that.
- Colin Firth. I, like most literate women of my generation, just love Colin Firth. Two words: Mr. Darcy. But oh, so much more. This film is certainly not his most compelling screen appearance. I prefer him as a straight man, but I am happy to have him in any form, even if it is as a middle-aged, doughy, ex-punk, gay banker. Also not the greatest singer, so he also gets some bravery points. And he rose above this role and received several Oscar nominations and a Best Actor trophy a just a few years later. No small accomplishment. But bottom line: Mr. Darcy.
- ABBA. The only ABBA I have on my Ipod is in the form of the Erasure ABBA cover album. But that is the genius of this movie. Nobody admits to liking ABBA. But we all secretly do. How can anyone resist a catchy tune with lyrics like: “You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on, Leave ’em burning and then you’re gone.” Or “Super Trooper beams are gonna’ blind me, but I won’t feel blue, Like I always do, ‘Cause somewhere in the crowd there’s you.” Lyrics that seem as if they were written for an artist of the musical caliber of Pierce Brosnan.
- Julie Walters and Christine Baranski. They both are queens of rising above their material, and when they are in something good, they are stellar. Here they rise above the material. Makes me want to watch Educating Rita.
- It’s a Musical. I love musicals. I am so glad they are back. I sing and dance when I am home alone. I am of the Pierce Brosnan type of musical performer, but it doesn’t make me enjoy my private performances any less. This may be why I enjoyed his Chutzpah in appearing in this role. Anyway, I like to think that all of those people on the screen singing and dancing are having as much fun as I do when I sing and dance at home alone.
- Girl’s Night Out. It is a GNO kind of movie. I saw it with a group of dear friends that I don’t get to spend enough time with. I will never forget when we saw it. Nor will any of those seated next to me ever forget my reaction to Pierce Brosnan’s singing.
- My Daughter Loves It, Too. There is really nothing better than finding something that you and your child both actually love. It does not happen often, but when it does, it makes me very happy.
- It Makes Me Cry. This is not a huge cinematic achievement. My kids will tell you that I will find something to cry about in virtually every movie, tv show and Super Bowl commercial. I can’t help it. But, in Mama Mia, every time my hero and future big sis Meryl sings ‘Slipping Through My Fingers” to her daughter, telling her how fast she has grown and how quickly it has all gone, I completely lose it. Every time. And my daughter looks at me like I am Pierce Brosnan singing SOS.
Now, a short poll to see if anyone is paying attention.
* My husband thought I should add this. I think he was worried you would think that I would rank Meryl Streep above my daughter. Not even close. Unless maybe she was my sister.