“Mamma Mia!” Is My Waterloo
My wife Isabella recently made us watch “Mama Mia,” a movie that diabolically weaves together ABBA songs in a plot many women can’t resist. Let’s face it, this is a chicksploitation film, and I haven’t seen anything so pandering since the Merchant Ivory whitespoitation films of the 1980s.
Isabella, however, considers it the only movie she’s wanted to see since we had children, sick, she says, of our incessant viewing of sword and sorcery movies. There’s no accounting for taste, I guess.
The story revolves around an unlikely fantasy: three extremely rich, extremely handsome former paramours getting together with the heroine on a sunny Greek island, the men walking around bare-chested and being sensitive. Eventually they debase themselves as far as wearing bell-bottoms.
Fortunately, our having watched the extended version of “The Lord of the Rings” dozens of times together inoculated my sons and me from any permanent brain damage. I say this because both boys referenced that film during “Mama Mia.” Eddie, during “Fernado,” wondered when the orcs were going to attack, and upon the film’s closing credits George said “I need to watch L-O-T-R right now. We’re going to scene select the most gruesome battle.”
No wonder Swedish men seem so depressed. First it was the Bergman films they had to pretend to like, then they had an entire decade of ABBA, and “The Lord of the Rings” wasn’t around back in the 70’s to revive them. These poor guys didn’t even have “The Rockford Files.”
I’d like to ask Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, ABBA’s masterminds, are the billions you’ve made exploiting women and torturing men worth it? Do you toss and turn late at night, lying in your giant Swiss palazzos above your Scrooge McDuck-like bank vaults? Okay, I will admit these gentlemen are musical geniuses. If Chuck Berry had been born in rural Sweden instead of St. Louis and if his first instrument had been an accordion, this is how he might have sounded.
My wife argues that my beloved rock band AC/DC is just as manipulative of me. Ridiculous! Angus Young doesn’t look anything like Meryl Streep!
Anyway, if you think things are bad at my house and in Sweden, consider this. Mama Mia is the #1 movie OF ALL TIME in England. This is what Winston Churchill rallied the Empire to fight so bravely for, to listen to “Dancing Queen”?
So men, if you find yourself facing an evening watching this hugely successful flick, you’re facing your Waterloo. Knowing me, knowing you, I’d send out an SOS.