I don't get reviewers

Here is a quote from Kenneth Turan review in the LA Times, "The refreshing thing about the 'Mamma Mia!' show was that it dared to be simple. Just those 18 songs, adroitly presented, with just enough plot, dancing and stage business to get you cleanly from one to the other. That's all anyone cared about and, frankly, that's all anyone should have cared about."

What???  So, basically, the musical "Mamma Mia!" is a sing-a-long for ABBA fans with no real plot.   Ok, that's pretty much what I thought the movie was, and while it was lightly entertaining - if you're not an ABBA fan, it's fairly lame in terms of substance.

*sigh* - The stage show and music "Mamma Mia! are huge successes - even though they are little more than ABBA sing-a-longs.  Yet, write a new fluff musical where the music is fun with hummable tunes and the show is panned - literally crusified for having no substance.  Write something new, that has new music, challanging and difficult (anything from Sondheim) and generally get ignored by the powers that be - although Sondheim did geta lifetime achievement award, no one bothered to tell him prior to the event so he wasn't in attendance. 

IF there is one thing I disagree about musicals like Mamma Mia, is they make money (a lot of money) off of pop memorabilia - and since the theatre industry is all about making money, new writers are hard pressed to compete.  Producers want sure things, shows that will make money, rather than take a chance on creating something new.  The recent trend for major pop stars/composers to venture into other music ventures - leveraging their pop fame into ticket sales in other arenas only makes it that much more difficult for emerging artists to create something new in those arenas - unless they work in the pop world first. 

Yes - I rant about the need for the classical world to accept something from the pop industry in terms of music, to blend the two styles in creating something new - and yet, here I am ranting about pop stars making it good in an industry outside fo pop.  Isn't this hypocritical?    No - in that what I'd like to see is a more open accepting classical world in terms of what makes classical music - and a more discerning pop world that isn't willing to just accept the same old fluff they've already been sold as something new. 

We, as an audience, should demand more quality - in our TV shows, in our music.  By accepting, appreciating... no expecting a performance to nothing more than a re-run of previous material, by wanting something that is nothing more than a way to dig into our pocketbooks by tugging at our heart strings - all we do is promote the money making machine to treat us like sheep, put us out in a pasture we lived in all our lives and ignore us - while they make a fortune. 

- Having said all of the above here is a review by Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronical who pretty much sums up what I think of the musical. He is positive about it, even enjoyed it (yes, I enjoyed the movie) - but there were things wrong with it that keep it from being a really good movie.

Comments

Eddie Louise said…
This is the review I would agree with:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/17/AR2008071702998.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

Even during the film I found myself feeling like I'd be a complete humbug if I complained... kinda like the guy who doesn't like Christmas... only with Christmas you can find a deeper meaning if you get away from the schmaltz. With Mama Mia the schmaltz is all there is.

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