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This week:
Mamma Mia

Filthy says:
"How about a little fucking singing?"

Like 90% of everyone in the world, I couldn't wait for this weekend. The movie event of the summer. The most anticipated flick of the whole freakin' year. No surprise that the line went around the corner at the Olde Town cinema by Friday morning. After a largely sleepless night, I got there at six a.m. and was already behind a few hundred other with rabid fans, some of whom I'm guessing--due to smell and mounds of feces--had been there for days.

The excitement among us was electric. No words were exchanged; we all knew what we were waiting for, why we'd been shaking nervously for days, and why we'd been buying up the action figures as quickly as the Toys R Us could put them on the shelves.

The ABBA-themed Mamma Mia.

The fans weren't what I expected. Sure, I expected a lot of gay men. But I thought there would be a few women, too. And the gay guys would be out and proud, not closeted, loner, overweight, bearded or goateed men who hid their sexual preferences behind supersized Mountain Dews and hideous comic book T-shirts. I guess that's the magical power of ABBA. The beauty and majesty of songs like "Waterloo" and "Dancing Queen" are just too wonderful to resist.

Soon, the line was moving and we were on our way into the theater. My heart pounded so hard I felt it in my ears. I bought my ticket, without even having to ask for the movie by name. I just told the cashier, "Same as everyone else." And she knew exactly what I meant. But I added, "I'm not gay like them, though," because she was cute. With ticket in hand, I followed the others into the theater. We settled in and waited to be transported to a bright, cheery land where our troubles would be forgotte in a swirling sea of high notes and toe-tapping beats.

I gotta say, Mamma Mia su-ucked. I'm no authority on the Broadway musical; I only saw the local production forty-three times at the Arvada Performing Arts Center, but I distinctly remember it being a way different and more uplifting experience.

Look, I think it's great when something originally meant for the stage is given new life on screen. I especially like it when the moviemakers take creative license in the adaptation, and broaden the canvas to take advantage of "movie magic". But they went way too far this time. Mamma Mia, the musical, is way more musical, way less dark, and has far fewer brutal killings than this. About the only theme that carries over is the gayness.

The musical version was about a woman whose daughter is about to be married and invites three different menwhose names she discovered in her mother's diary, and who may be her father. This causes all sorts of dilemma and heartbreak for the mother, who may still have some feelings for these guys. Along the way to its happy ending, there's a lot of dancing, singing, hand-holding and moments so artificially sweet they'd kill lab rats long before they'd be approved as an ingredient in diet soda.

The movie Mamma Mia promised a blockbuster cast, led by Meryl Streep. Man, she looks horrible. She wears so much makeup she looks like a fucking clown. Plus, I think a few earthworms have been tunneling under her skin. Instead of singing the imminently enjoyable ABBA hits, she's just maniacal and hams her way through the movie with a cackle of a laugh and some subplot about trying to kill Christian Bale. They keep calling her a joker, but she I didn't see her do a single thing I'd consider funny. I presume Bale is one of the former lovers who may be Streep's daughter's father. I don't know why, but Bale spends half the movie dressed in a black Mardi Gras mask and talking in a gravelly voice that sounds like he's auditioning for a death metal band, or he smokes eight packs of cigarettes a day, then eats three more. He's really damn wealthy, which is great. But he doesn't sing a single song. Not even a minor hit, like "Another Town, Another Train." He could have easily squeezed that in, maybe as a singalong in the stupid-looking dune buggy he drives around.

Mamma Mia's original exotic and lush Greek island setting has been replaced with a dark and dingy metropolis. Why? Who wants to hear "Fernando" when it's always raining and the stars spend all their time thinking about jamming pencils through each other? Now that I think about it, I do!!! Damn, that would cheer this shit up. Maybe even convince the director to stop shooting everything through a dim blue lens, or have the people come up from underground and try a smile.

The bland Aaron Eckhart plays another of the potential fathers. He's a lawyer, or something, so he's probably got a lot of money, too. Eckhart ain't too interesting as an actor. He usually gets upstaged by his cleft chin. In Mama Mia, he gets half his face burned off. What the fuck is that? Are they trying to encroach on the Phantom of the Opera schtick? Still, I wouldn't mind it so much if he'd belt out "Lovelight" while his bones and muscle are exposed.

I realized about halfway through Mamma Mia's 150 minute running time that I hadn't wanted to get up and dance once. Why the fuck did I wear my old ballet slippers? I should have left them in their 15-year hibernation and not stir up those old feelings of what may have been for me. Worse than me not dancing was that none of these fat guys were dancing either. I would think the aisles would be clogged with writhing bodies, but it's pretty damn hard to do when you're watching a guy blow up or fall off a building. Don't get me wrong, it can be done. It's just hard. All these other guys appeared to be way more into this movie version than I was. Typical idiots who will suck up an slop put before them. Hey, you dumbasses! Didn't you even notice they never had any dance numbers?

There are many subplots that aren't in the stage version of Mamma Mia and they really fuck shit up here. First, Streep is just flat-out nuts with her purple suit and all the jumping around. At one point, during what I think is a costume party, she robs a bank and kills some people. At another party, she starts running her potato peeling knife through her hair. Ewww! Gross! That's not keeping in ABBA's spirit. That's more like Rickie Le Jones or Ohio Players shit. Eckhart's lawyer has some sort of grand ambition to be king, or ruler of all Greece and he's all budydy-buddy with cops. Maybe that's so he can sing the shit out of "SOS". Whatever, he never gets to be king, so the song never gets played.

I know that Streep is all torn up about these ex-lovers like Bale and Eckhart coming back into her life, but why kill them? Wouldn't it be more fun for everyone if she stopped licking her lips for a God damn second and danced around? Yes, it would. And why does it take so damn long to get through this thing? Without a single song?

Anyway, this Mamma Mia is a long-ass mess. Change the story, fine. Change the tone, well, okay, if you have to. But not sing the songs? And keep blowing people's heads off? Man, those Hollywood dumbfucks really screwed up this one. I wish they took their responsibility as seriously as I do. And I sure as fuck hope they don't make a sequel. I couldn't handle the carnage. Two Fingers.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Pete Hammond of Hollywood.com

Mamma Mia is "An absolutely hilarious, rousing and joyous celebration that will have you dancing in the aisles and smiling for days. What a movie! A guaranteed cure for the summertime blues. You'll want to line up and see it again the minute it ends."

Man, I'd love to know what movie Hammond thinks he saw.

Filthy's Reading
Junot Diaz - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Listening to
Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea


Pee-Wee's Playhouse