Monday, August 04, 2008

song of the week: S.O.S - ABBA

After thoroughly loving the utter pile of crap that is Mamma Mia! at the cinema with my mum and sister on Sunday, I had to pick my favourite Abba song as SOTW. In short, Mamma Mia! succeeds where Baz Luhrmann previously failed, by trading all nods at irony, knowing, gloss and cool credibility for overblown slapstick, histrionics and mawkish sentimentality.

The film itself is a shambles - there's dubbing dodgier than a 60s Tamil film, absurd plot holes and continuity errors and no emotional depth (yet still I wept like a baby at the creepy, emotionally manipulative image of Amanda Seyfried curled up in Meryl Streep's lap, having her toenails painted as Meryl crooned Slipping Through My Fingers. *shudder*).

But...for your ticket price you get Colin Firth singing (oh, he shouldn't have), Stellan Skarsgaard's buttocks (yes, we've all seem them before, but why not?) , Meryl Streep doing "kooky" in dungarees, Piers Brosnan being (shock horror) er, charming, and, well...a bit dishy, (my taste was chucked out with the popcorn box), plus the charming, gorgeous Amanda Seyfried letting her big blue eyes and seaswept blonde hair act for her as she plays weird Freudian Daddy's-girl-games with the three leading men.

And Julie Walters falls into the sink! (Trust me, you have to be there.) And sings Dancing Queen into a tube of cotton pads! I mean, what do you people want, blood?

I hate hate hate hate this sort of thing normally, but, it was effing brilliant. "So bad it's good" is a cliche that should really only be reserved for a masterpiece like this. Mamma Mia! is the nightmare car crash of a film you'd get if Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge got Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You grotesquely plastered and did the dirty on the Greek island of Kitschos. Or, Much Ado About Nothing in a three-way with Eldorado and TOTP2.

Just (sigh of filthy pleasure) a-MAY-zin'.

As for S.O.S...

This is crushing heartbreak pop at it's most affecting. Although Piers Brosnan and Meryl Streep play this for laughs with backing vocals provided by stock comedy-Greek peasants (they even sing on opposite sides of a wall, a'la Kylie and Jason in the Especially for You video) such ludicrous staging can't undermine the elegant desperation of the "When You're Gone...." climax to the chorus.


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