Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008, the most exuberant movie I've seen in years

Okay, so I'm not only showing my age here, I'm also showing my bad taste in movies....
I was 17 during the summer of 1978. That was the summer my sisters and I saw Grease and Saturday Night Fever. We bought the soundtracks, but truthfully, I only watched Grease on TV a few times after that and have never watched SNF again. Or maybe it's just because I don't care for John Travolta?
That was the summer my sisters and cousins and I saw Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I didn't read movie reviews at the time and didn't realize how much the critics despised the film. But we were blown away by it, and I kept seeing it at the theater. I played the LP over and over. It was our first introduction to the Beatles because we were all too young to remember them in their heyday. Everyone my age loved it. For those of you who say it was a flop--we saw it when it was first released in August, so why was it still playing at the theaters late that fall?
I loved the exuberance and bright colors and pop music of Sgt. Pepper's. No musical I'd seen on the screen made me feel that way again when, until this week, 30 years later, I saw Mamma Mia! Even my mother loved the movie.
It blew me away like Sgt. Pepper's did. The audience loved it. There were bright colors and an exuberant cast and cheery pop music and a happy ending. No wonder the critics hated it. Not to mention the fact that I suspect that most critics are men under the age of 30, and that's not the audience for this film. When we saw the movie on Sunday, there were at least 50 women in the theater and I saw only three men.
I also liked that it was a lighthearted musical. Musicals have always been one of my favorite music genre, and I loved watching the ones made in the 50s and 60s. But the recent musicals have all been sooooo depressing--Dreamgirls (which Mom walked out of), Rent (everyone dies at the end), etc. I think that's another reason Mamma Mia! was panned by the critics--it's just too happy for today's younger audiences who seem to enjoy wallowing in misery!
So, just ignore the critics. Go see Mamma Mia!

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