Mamma Mia!

Last night we went to see 'Mamma Mia!' at the cinema. Now, I like Abba as much as the next 'secure-in-my-masculinity child-of-the-seventies-and-early-eighties' - but I had seen the trailer... and Meryl Streep wearing Dungarees and prancing about didn't fill me with confidence. 'Chick Flick', thought I.

It was, however, good. To my surprise.

Yes, it was contrived, yes it was corny. In a few places it was toe-curling - but nonetheless it was fun. Some of the sequences were genuinely great - Julie Walters in particular stole the show in a few places, notably the 'Take a Chance on Me' number at the end, a very understated start to it... 'Chiquitita' was also well done.

We burst out laughing in a few places. One memorable occasion was when Pierce Brosnan sang for the first time (S.O.S.), unfortunately it wasn't appropriate here - but we just found a singing James Bond to be a little odd. The good thing was that it didn't matter, you get the sense that people just went with it and enjoyed the experience - Pierce Brosnan in particular must have known when he signed on that it'd play on his existing profile.

If you see the film, do stay for the end titles (at least the first part of them). Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters do some Abba numbers in full 70s Abba jumpsuits - joined for 'Waterloo' by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård. This got a big reaction from the audience. However, Meryl Streep looking out of the cinema screen saying 'Do you want some more?' was clearly not designed for a British audience - we were not dancing in the aisles - we were sitting there waiting for the recorded image to stop trying to be interactive.

It was silly, it was a chick-flick.... but it was also an enjoyable 108minutes.

Do watch out for Cameos by Bjorn and Benny.

Other Websites on this film

My verdict? Leave your dramatic sense at the door, don't expect 'art' - though it's enjoyable in a kitsch way. Stay for the end credits (at least until the credits scroll upward).

Catchy, but depressing

The other day, 'Build me up, Buttercup', came on the radio. I haven't heard this for a while, and so started humming along. Catchy.

Then I listened to the lyrics, which hadn't really registered before:

Why do you build me up (build me up) Buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (say you will) but I love you still...

Of course, I *knew* that, but I hadn't really parsed it before.

This got me thinking about other songs that are downbeat - I particularly wanted to think about catchy songs.

Now, I'm very bad at remembering detail about a song, but I often know a song, sometimes quite well, once given a prod. So unsurprisingly I wasn't too successful. I thought of 'The Ballad of James A. Moon' - but hardly anyone knows that, and I've lost my only copy.

I was not looking for songs that are purely bitter and twisted, such as 'The Ballad of Tom Jones' or 'Winner takes it All' by Abba (both of which are great), but I'm trying to think of songs where there is contrast between the words and the tone of the music.

Nor was I looking for songs which have a non-cheery tone which get even less cheery when you listen to the words.

Thinking about this, my brain gave lots of examples in other categories, such as The Police and 'Every breath you take' - which falls in the category of 'love songs which when you actually think about it are incredibly disturbing'.

I'm posting this in the hope of getting some suggestions for 'catchy, but depressing'