Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The ‘Mamma Mia! Here we go Again' Post


Three of my Gathering Girls pals and I went out to lunch and then to go see Mamma Mia! Here we go Again. I’ve never been to a more confusing movie in my life and I wasn’t alone in that opinion. The two of us who hadn’t seen the original Mamma Mia got totally lost trying to follow the flashbacks. If you see it, here’s what you need to know: the 2018 Mamma Mia is both a prequel and a sequel to the original film and the four main characters were played by eight actors---and the audience needs to believe that the younger versions (in their early-twenties) some 25-ish years later could have morphed into people who were played by actors ages 58 to 69. Do the math. It doesn’t work. Other quirky casting head-scratchers were Cher at 72 playing Sophie’s grandmother while Meryle Streep at 69 played Sophie’s mother. I’m sorry but no amount of camera filters makes that math add up. And did I mention Meryle appears as a ghost to sing duos with her daughter? Even the hotel morphed from run-down to restored and back and forth a few times using weird camera tricks that had me wishing I had a drink in my hand to explain the weirdness they triggered in my brain.

I’m always fascinated with how IMDb capsulizes a film’s storyline down to one sentence and this case they wrote: “Five years after the events of Mamma Mia! (2008), Sophie learns about her mother's past while pregnant herself.” Yup, half the movie was spent showing how the mother (younger Donna/older Meryle) was a slut having had three affairs with strangers during her fertile days resulting in a pregnancy. The three guys, lo and behold, somehow became best friends by film number two and they all considered themselves to be co-fathers to Sophie. (Like getting a DNA test never occurred to any of them? Was that explained in movie number one? I just don't know!) 

I do know that both Mamma Mias are musicals based on a lot of ABBA songs and, of course, there were bell-bottoms and colorful costumes galore and masses of people dancing everywhere including on the boats that brought people to the Greek Island hotel where most of the movie's action took place. At rogerebert.com the review said the older fathers---Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Pierce Brosnan---looked like they were “forced into singing ABBA songs that clearly make them miserable.” I, on the other hand, thought they looked like they were having great fun clowning around in a senior hall musical.

I like to watch movie trailers before seeing a film and to read reviews afterward (before writing my own) and I ran across an on-camera review from The Onion, a web satiric site. It made me laugh and I saw myself in what Peter K. Ronsenthat said because I really had no interest in seeing this movie. I went because the others were lusting to see Cher, Meryle and the ever popular-with-senior-women Andy Garcia. I did not know the actress, Lily James who played the younger Donna but she’s a great singer and she was in Cinderella, Downton Abby and War and Peace. I also didn’t know the other talented young woman who played Sophie, Amanda Seyfried. She was in the original Mamma Mia and also in Les Miserble. But for the entire movie I thought flashback younger Donna and Sophie were played by the same actress. It was only after consulting Professor Google that I could be talked out of that delusion. Like I said, I’ve never been to a more confusing movie. Still, it was fun to hear the old ABBA music and to know that people approaching or in their septuagenarian years can still pull off acting gigs that required them to climb hundreds of step to a mountain top chapel. 

The New York Times scathing review was probably one of those The Onion reviewer had in mind when he said something like, “Did you really expect Schindler’s fucking List? It’s July, not Oscar season.” For myself, I was glad we went on cheap Tuesday because I had enough fun to warrant paying the discounted rate but not enough to feel good if I had forked over another five bucks. It was a silly movie---and I generally like 'silly'---although I could have done without the fast moving colors that occasionally gave me what felt like psychedelic color induced brain blinks. But I did find myself wishing I could have jotted down a few lines of dialogue like when a woman was introduced to Andy Garcia she said, “Have him washed and brought to my tent.” An old joke but it made me laugh and another line I liked was said by younger Donna: “Life is short, the world is wide and I want to make some memories.” Good memories is what my gal pals and I made that afternoon and since half the fun of going to the movies is comparing notes afterward we also stopped for ice cream before going home. ©

Note the photo at the top: Those are the two girls I thought were played by the same actress. I still can't tell them apart. They even sounded the same.

 The very funny review from The Onion

The New York Times Review

The Official Movie Trailer

42 comments:

  1. That Onion review had me squirming in my seat - the words were too close for comfort!! The movie looks like frothy fun, easy on the eye and mind. I'll keep an eye out for it on TV (too cheap to buy a ticket to see it on the big screen). It also reminded me of a typical Bollywood movie - lots of colour and songs, impossible storyline, etc. Strange I can't stand that, but happy to see something like Mission Impossible films, which also has implausible storylines.

    Amanda Siegfried was in Mean Girls, and played a vapid character, and so has become imprinted on my brain; while Lily James I remember from Downtown Abbey - so have no problem distinguishing the two. Otherwise I'd be in your situation.

    I like Andy Garcia - didn't know he was popular with my peers. I like pretty much all the actors - male and female- in the movie. Hats off particularly to Cher, and Meryl.

    The main thing is you enjoyed the outing, the company, and got out of the house. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I probably should have warned everyone about the course language in the Onion Review. But it makes me laugh everything I watch it.

      Your compassion to a Bollywood movie really fits perfectly. One reviewer I read even compared it to the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I saw that one, too, and I'd agree with comparison. The bright, moving color actually bothers me which I realize is a personal quirk and I can't explain it. (I've always hated cartoons for that reason, too.)

      But two hours of happy people singing and dancing if you take it at face value and ignore the storyline is a nice break from the seriousness of what's going on in the world. We had fun...

      Delete
  2. I had, some years ago, tried the original mamma Mia but never made it to the end. (It was on DVD at home and I’m not patient with films I don’t like so the eject button went fairly quickly). But I did like the onion review!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After seeing this summers and last summers big musicals When I got home I tried to find the original Mamma Mia on-demand but they didn't have it. I'm like you in that regard. I tried to watch the Greatest Showman, another musical that a friend of mine adores, and it took me three tries before I made it to the end.

      I've decided I don't love musicals like I did when I was a kid when Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Bob Hope were the big stars. I could deal with the shallow plots, but it's the way they are filmed, I think, that I don't like. Everything is faster and flasher to compete with the blow-things-up films I'm guessing.

      Delete
  3. I was here but I’m clueless about movies. Have a good day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw the original but wasn't terribly impressed. Even having seen the original, I think I would get lost in this one also. Thanks for the heads up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was at a family party today and ran into someone else who also thought the two main parts were played by one person and she's 25 years younger than me so I know it's not an 'age thing'.

      Delete
  5. well, never was 'into' ABBA, so I really have no interest in any of the movies. Sorry it was so confusing for you guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ABBA era was fun by not my first choice of listening pleasure. Like I said in the reply above, I know the confusion wasn't an age thing.

      Delete
  6. I really enjoyed Mama Mia and I love upbeat musicals! But I haven't been out for movie in years ... so, like Libby, will watch it at home. Although maybe I could start a once a month movie afternoon with a couple of kindred spirits .... followed by lunch and laughter ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some movies are just meant to be seen in a theater and not a little TV screen. Big production musicals fall in that category. I enjoy the theater experience, especially in the afternoons when the theaters are practically empty.

      Delete
  7. The Onion review was hilarious!!! Now I want to look up and watch every review this guy has done. But, I have no desire to watch Mamma Mia 2.😉😝

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had the same reaction to The Onion reviewer. Don't miss the Mission:'Impossible Fallout' review.

      Delete
  8. I don't like musicals like I did as a kid either. I want to watch The Book Club but for the life of me, cannot find it on Comcast on Demand!! Dagnabbit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen three of the new musicals and I know now they'll be as good as the old ones from our youth.

      Delete
  9. I think this is a sequel that required viewing the original to enjoy. I loved it (and even went twice) but agree without the backstory it would be confusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would highly recommend to anyone going to this sequel to rent the first version to view first. I'm glad you liked it. I didn't hate-hate it but the confusion kept me from loving it.

      Delete
  10. Only one of my friends has gone to see this, and she said she would rather have stayed home with a nice pinot grigio and listened to her ABBA cds. That's usually my response to film like this -- but of course I'm not a fan of musicals generally. I understand this is a defect, but there you are.

    It's a little strange, because I can sing along with Oklahoma!, The Music Man, West Side Story, and South Pacific, but otherwise I'm not a fan. I've tried others, like Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, and Man of La Mancha, but they just don't do it for me.

    No matter. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and besides -- ice cream makes everything better!

    By the way, how is your arm/shoulder/elbow? I've been behind in my reading, and just saw that. I need to go back and re-read to see what procedures were scheduled and when. I really do hope all's going well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. West Side Story and Oklahoma had great music and they didn't try to compete with action-adventure films like the modern musicals do. They have too much going on at once. But you're right...ice cream makes everything better. It's a Cold Stone place if you have them out there. Very smooth texture.

      You didn't miss anything about my arm/elbow because I didn't post anything. We're doing another round of prednisolone since there was an 80% improvement in the level of pain with the first round, then we'll switch to something I can do more long term. After a couple more weeks of babying my arm I'll be doing a two physical therapy sessions just to learn what not to do with my arm that can agitate the forearm that in turn makes the clicking sound and pain at my elbow. I already know not to lift anything above waist level or put my arm up and pull down on resistance like the tailgate on the car. We'll be tracking the migration of the screws and if they get close to the area where nerves are at, he can go in and get them out. There is no way of telling how long ago the original surgery failed---could be years, could be months. It's worth trying this approach first because the alternative is to cut off the bones and completely rebuild the elbow with fake parts and joints which neither of us wants to do unless it gets absolutely necessary. Since the anti-inflammatory drug helped so much his best guess is that I did something jarring to really agitate the already messed up forearm/joint and the hope is when it settles down I'll be able to manage with long-term movement restrictions and pain control treatments like laser energy wave treatments and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

      Delete
  11. I have long been having trouble telling young people apart. Especially the females. They all adopt the same look with respect to hair, makeup and clothing. They make their faces up to look like bland, feature-less, factory-produced dolls. When everyone has long, straight hair and smokey eyes and nude lipstick, I can't tell who is who anymore. I hope these girls get an separate identity and some character as they age. Thanks for the warnings about Mamma Mia 2, Jean. I'll probably still go see it, but expect to be confused.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think just knowing ahead of time that it's both a prequel and a sequel at the same time will help keep you from being confused. Even confused, it still has great music numbers that you'll enjoy.

      Delete
  12. You know Jean, I just want to see the darn movie because I enjoyed the first one( yes I enjoyed the first one) yes you can laugh because all I want is to enjoy musicals. I got a kick out of the Onion Review. I do enjoy the music of ABBA. I guess I'm just a screwball Jean but what the hell. See ya my wonderful friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you saw the first one you won't get lost like I was. Hope you write your own review after you see it.

      Delete
  13. Oh, my gosh, I can't stand confusing movies or movies that are shot in the dark. I recently started watching a scary movie on Netflix that I stopped watching about 15 minutes into it. It was ridiculously dark AND confusing. It looked like it was shot with one of those old video cameras that used VHS tapes that everyone used to hold on their shoulders. I know directors sometimes think "dark" is artsy, but frankly, it's boring and confusing. I sound like an old woman. Well, I am! I'm glad you had fun with your "girlfriends." Good friends and fun talk can salvage just about any day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw an old classic recently---Play Misty for Me---and it was shot like that, all dark like everything was filmed at night. I hate it technique and even checked a few other channels thinking the TV was going out. Glad I'm not alone in not liking dark movies.

      Delete
  14. Mama Mia came on TV here recently. I vaguely recalled there had been much favorable talk about it years ago so decided to watch. I like musicals, but this one did nothing for me, so I didn’t even bother watching the rest of it. Think it’s unlikely I’ll bother with the new one given what you describe. It’s been a few years since Hollywood has produced some really quality musicials, but then I haven’t been too impressed with some of what was on Broadway. Movie studio sticks some talented box office draw stars in them, but a good musical that doesn’t necessarily make. I figure they’ve got a bunch of bean counter studio execs calling the shots on these who wouldn’t know a good musical from one missing the mark. Sorry to be such a crotchety commenter on this as I’m partial to good musicals.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wrote a crotchety review, no need to apology for writing a crotchety comment. LOL

      I think Mamma Mia 2 is going to please the bean counters. Every senior group I know has already seen it plus we're not even their target audience.

      Comparing the three more recent musicals I've seen to the old ones I loved in my youth I'd say the difference is the new ones are faster paced action, always something going on the screen where the old ones took time to develop a simple storyline you could follow and do some close ups where you could look at details. (Bing Crosby gets all the troops to come to a lodge for Christmas to honor a general.) Now, it's more about holding the attention of people with a short attention span.

      Delete
  15. Not a fan of ABBA or musicals, so I already knew to take a Hard Pass on the first and succeeding ones. But honestly, who greenlights this stuff? Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The obviously poured a lot of money into this one with all the big name stars. I read some where that the reason we get so many sequels is twofold: 1)a ready made audience with less advertising, and 2) there is a writing vacuum in Hollywood right now because the schools didn't/don't teach writing and literature like they used to.

      Delete
    2. Wow. I am in High Dudgeon over #2, seeing as how I taught both for 30+ years! ;-) (And I know I was--by far--not the only one!)

      Delete
  16. God love you for going when you didn't want to go.
    I do not like Abba music at all, like a strong dislike, so sitting there having to listen to that would be Chinese water torture to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was into bluegrass when ABBA was popular so I sort of missed that whole musical era and it really didn't register as 'like' or 'dislike' to me before seeing the movie. It still doesn't. LOL

      Delete
  17. My young niece was off to see Mama Mia: Here We Go Again. We couldn't decide how old Cher was so she Googled her - but couldn't find any reference to her. We were shocked - Cher is, after all, one of the most famous women on the planet. Then we realised that my niece was spelling it SHARE! Cher is 72, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google is great but it is a stickler about spelling. I found Cher's age when I wrote this blog but the first time I tried, I was spelling her name Sher. Hope your niece liked the movie.

      Delete
  18. I like ABBA but I know what you mean about matinee and evening prices! It's one of those things I'd like to see but if it goes, I'll not feel I miss too much. I did like Meryl in the first, though. Pity she's dead here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meryle is great no matter what she does. Even ghost Meryle, was great but it was more like a guest appearance than a starring role.

      Delete
  19. Oh Jean. Not your cup of tea? LOL I thought the original was a fun movie. I may watch this one when it comes out on DVD just for the spectacle of it. I have low expectations but I do like bright swirling colors, upbeat dance-y songs (even though I'm not an ABBA fan outside this movie franchise), and mindless entertainment on occasion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just at a Red Hat tea and five of the ladies had seen the movie the day before and every one of them loved it. A couple even want to see it again....so don't go by me. LOL

      Delete
  20. LOL, I'm a big Meryl Streep fan, but I found the original Mama Mia too corny; I'm not tempted at all by the sequel. Bah, humbug.

    ReplyDelete