You'll have to forgive me. I saw Mamma Mia! last night, and the hamster in charge of the soundtrack in my head has had ABBA on constant loop ever since. Of course, now more than likely YOU have that line on repeat as well. Don't you love it when I share the wealth?
Since often any mention of a movie is followed by some sort of review of it, I should say that despite what Rotten Tomatoes thinks, I liked Mamma Mia! quite well. No, it is not any sort of serious cinematic achievement rife with subtle character development or artful dialogue, but I am OK with that. It is a musical, people. A musical based on ABBA songs. You are to go with your girlfriends and have fun with it. And that is exactly what I did.
I thought the film adaptation was reasonably true to the original stage version, with the exception, of course, of Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth stepping in for lesser known but more vocally talented actors. I'm sorry. Pierce Brosnan may have that smoldering distinguished older gentleman thing going on, but that did not stop at least a fourth of the theater from creeping into a giggle loop when he belted out his first few solo lines. I think perhaps my favorite part of last night's movie-going experience was glancing at my friend Lisa during Brosnan's first song and seeing tears welling up in her eyes from laughter, crying, "That's James Bond!" But there's something to be said for range, you know? Kudos to 007 for taking on something outside his usual realm just for fun.
So. Two thumbs up for Mamma Mia!, with the appropriate caveats in place. It is hokey and contrived and ridiculous, yes. And neither James Bond nor Mark Darcy will ever get a record deal. But it is also lots of fun. You will smile. You will want to sing along out loud in the theater. Go with it. That is all.
As I'm suddenly in uncharacteristic reviewing mode, we should talk about Twilight, right? Despite the fact that it's still sitting over in that "What I'm reading" spot in my sidebar, I did actually finish that book days ago. Did I like it? Yes. Will it make any sort of personal "best of" list? Probably not. That's not always the point, right? In a way, Twilight is a bit like Mamma Mia!--enjoyable in its own way outright, even if it doesn't stand up to any sort of scholarly criticism in the more serious corners of its field. All things have their purpose. (Well, almost all things. Spats atop modern shoes is something I'll likely never understand.)
So. Twilight. Obviously I am not in Stephenie Meyer's target demographic, seeing as I am a 34-year-old single, childless woman and not a crush-struck 14-year-old girl. But Meyer is a 34-year-old woman, too. A 34-year-old woman with a similarly wacked-up spelling of the same name as mine. I am not a Mormon with three kids and a successful series of teenage vampire love novels under my belt, but there must be at least some similarities in her past, as her description of the mundane day-to-day details of high school life could have come straight out of the over-dramatic journals of my youth. So I reveled in distant memories of all of that nonsense for the same reasons I've enjoyed Dawson's Creek and Felicity in my post-high school and post-college years. Plus, Twilight has the added bonus of the stock standard (if wholly unrealistic) "they fell in love in a DAY" nonsense that even Shakespeare made a career out of. Except in this case, it's love at first sight with a vampire. Drama! Danger! Intrigue! Outpouring of teen angst! Seriously, what more could you want??
In all honesty, I don't even know why I got so sucked in to this book. Artful prose? Not so much. It's a young adult novel, after all. But the story clipped along nicely, with smooth transitions from each page to the next. I'd sit down, thinking, "I'll just read to the next good stopping point and then go to bed," and suddenly it was 45 minutes later and well past my bed time, still no satisfying stopping point on the page in front of me. I've been a slow reader lately, what with the Internet and Netflix and various other things to distract me, and I got through a 500-page book in well under three weeks. That may not be speedy for some, but it's a pretty good pace for me. There must have been something that grabbed me in there.
I never jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon, but I'm pretty sure I'll go ahead and read all the Twilight books. Unfortunately, a lot of other people (likely mostly 14-year-olds) are on this bandwagon as well, which means my name is on a hold list at the library for New Moon. I don't like to be between books, and meanwhile, I have a rather large stack of books sitting here waiting for me, but unfortunately no inclination whatsoever as to which one I should read next. Internets, you are full of good advice and recommendations. What should I read to tide me over until I get my next fix of vampire love? Bear in mind that the hold list could take anywhere from six days to six weeks and my reading is, as I said, less than voracious these days. What say you? Which is my best bet?