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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Abusive Relationship with Hollywood, Episode 5: A Bright, Shining Disco Hell

Saturday afternoon I was asked to see Mamma Mia with my girlfriend and her sister, and somehow I voluntarily said yes. So the pain that would be inflicted on my person later is not anyone's fault but my own, Ms. Catherine Johnson, and Ms. Phyllida Lloyd. Blame assigned, on with the roast...

We arrived at the mall the movie was showing at early, which afforded us time to buy our tickets and walk around the mall, before going into the movie. I was told I looked like a condemned man on his final walk towards his death, which I was repeatedly warned I wasn't walking towards. I knew that it wasn't my death, it was merely the death of American musical cinema, which had suffered quite a few sharp blows to the head before.

After a stop at Borders and Old Navy, it was showtime. We walked into the theatre, and waited in line to get our tickets taken. Ahead and to our right was the huge line of people filing into the theater for Dark Knight. I envied those people...oh, did I envy them to death. Still, I brought this upon myself, so if anyone would be to blame, it would not be my darling girlfriend or her instigator of a sister. If I was going to burn, it would be on my own volition.

The funny thing is, my girlfriend's sister said, "Oh c'mon. I don't think Mamma Mia is that much of a chick flick." The feminine cosmetics commercial directly tied into the fucking movie had proven her wrong. The previews started, and already I had come to a realization: movie studios love to sell movies "Based on a true story" to women. That, and horrible comedies starring Anna Farris. (Honestly Anna...you were in Just Friends. Why, why did you agree to the House Bunny? At this rate, you're going to have to make good on your thoughts of posing for Playboy to gain forgiveness. For the last time, I didn't buy it when I saw the trailer with that fuckfest Made of Honor, and I'm not buying it now.)

Little did I know the trailers would take a much darker turn. Remember that bit I said about the death of American Musical Cinema...well, lo and behold THIS trailer popped up:



"The Musical Experience of a Generation"? Yeah, that fucking burned! It looks like our friend Mr. Efron doesn't understand the world once again, with is vacant stare and constant obvious questions. Retire kid, stupid only sells you so far when you look like a fucking mannequin. I hate when something this massively shitty gets a "teaser" that makes it look more epic than it should. (They did the same thing with the Sex and the City "teaser", which was ironically attached to the Golden Compass.) I mean there are some lame assed, unintentionally funny moments in this trailer. 0:24 in the trailer, doesn't it look like they're preparing for a klan rally, rather than a basketball game? Plus, the little interlude between 0:40 - 0:57 is truly shitty. It just looks like a really bad music video, which is what this film is, when you whittle it down to its core. But hey, the kids'll LOVE it. So come see, Zac Efron lynch Corben Bleu, and Vanessa Hudgens take her top off. All of this, and lameassed pop songs even by 1999 standards, in High School Musical 3: The Revenge of Ashley Tisdale's Old Nose! But I digress. I'm sorry, before I go on, I have to share some quality music.



Ok, I'm feeling better now.
After the trailers, the film started. Now, me being a movie geek and all, I'm reassured by studio logos when I know they've put quality product out in the past. For instance, Universal Pictures, the studio who released Mamma Mia, had released such fine films as Liar Liar, Jurassic Park, and most recently Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. (Which I've yet to see.) Seeing a studio's logo reassures you that it's going to be the same level of goodness you would expect from those previous films. But no...Universal was going to let me down on the greatest level it ever has since Dragonheart.


The movie starts with a little number about having a dream...the dream in this case: for a girl to find out who her mother's "baby daddy" is. Cut to introduction of the potential father's, and a jetliner that showers sparkly diamonds onto the screen that form the film's title. I looked over at my girlfriend's sister and remarked something along the lines of, "Yep. Not really that much of a chick flick. Completely fine for guys." My victory was of little consequence, for this movie would have me rolling my eyes after the second musical number, where Sophie (the main character) reads her mother's diary with her two shrilling best friends that get obnoxiously loud and giggly when they realize that the presence of "..." in the mother's journal means "we fucked" when detailing her dates with all three men. It hurt. It hurt deep, and it hurt bad.

I mean this is fucking ABBA! I enjoyed these songs on their own, and I still can enjoy them on their own. It's just that the preposterous story told by the film ruins the magic of those songs. The epitome of this is Christine Baranski's version of "Does Your Mother Know?", which had only previously been used as a comedic device in the 2004 film "Johnny English". By the end of this overly long musical number, a perfectly good pop song is turned into something you'd expect from a feminine razor commercial and/or a bad girl group video. (The "sassy" cry of "Boy down" only heightened my upset.)One song though, one fucking song was actually enjoyable at first, which gave way to me caving in on Monday morning and downloading several of the tunes from the film. S.O.S. Now, I know Pierce Brosnan has gotten a lot of shit for being in this film, and I will admit that he's not the best singer in the world. But for some reason, his performance of S.O.S. alongside Meryl Streep really sold me on his performance. It sounded slightly better than a normal person singing, which made it real. I could believe a real person was singing this, and something about the sound of his singing voice sounded good. (Disclaimer: I have NOT gone gay for Pierce Brosnan. It's going to take more than a song and dance for that to ever happen, and even then I'd still have a massive affinity for my darling, tolerant girlfriend.)

By time the wedding rolled around, I was ready to book. Then, IT happened. The plot twist. The completely incredulous ending that no one saw coming, but wish they did...they don't get married. And you never find out who the real father is either, they make this bullshit "1/3 of Sophie's good enough for me" speech and all stand behind her at the altar, RIGHT BEFORE SHE FUCKING BREAKS IT OFF! GODDAMMIT! I just sat through your shitty musical so you could cheap me out of an ending to the "mystery"? You build a film on the conceit of this girl finding who her father is, and she says "Oh, I don't need to. My mom raised me, so you all can go fuck off if you want to know who my daddy is." PLUS, you get cancel the wedding in a movie that revolves around...GETTING READY FOR A FUCKING WEDDING! You seriously expect me to swallow this horseshit! Fuck you. Just...fuck you.

"Take A Chance On Me" was a fucking joke, and DON'T get me started on the ending sequence where EVERYONE has some sort of disco jumpsuit on. I will never forgive you bastards for humiliating Mollie Weasley, 007, Bootstrap Bill Turner, and...Colin Firth by putting them in those ridiculous outfits a gay Elvis impersonator wouldn't even touch. Sons of bitches. Needless to say, when my girlfriend's sister looked over at me and asked what I thought of the movie, I unloaded. I was half worried about being embarrassed by criticizing the sheep the three of us sat with. They all laughed at The House Bunny trailer, they laughed on cue at the disaster that was Mamma Mia, and I'm sure they'd laugh at a book burning if it was colorful enough!

I mean THIS gets to be a hit, and The Producers fucking languished in Hell it's box office run?! Whatever. At least Dark Knight was a resounding success. OK, so Mamma Mia isn't a complete disaster...it has good music and a cast of people I like going for it. Unfortunately it misuses everything and turns it into a bad example of counterprogramming. This should have been a November/December release, musicals usually fare better then. (Especially when they're not going against The Dark Knight.)

To sum everything up, I present to you a song parody, set to the chorus of "Dancing Queen".

It is a disco hell, ain't it swell, theatre's death knell.
Disco hell, might as well leave before it swells (oh yeah)
I can't see, I can't breath-e, leave it to poor little me (ooh ooh)
See me burn, watch me yell, consigned to disco hell.
I close with a balm for the souls of all the men that had to see this movie...the gorgeous Amanda Seyfried. Even though the movie wasn't that great, she was still absolutely wonderful. I think it's her smile...you could sell anything with an honest enough smile.



Oh, and Universal, if Mummy 3 sucks you'll be using a scorched Earth for your logo afterwards...because no one's gonna trust you after that.

5 comments:

Seresecros said...

In fairness, I have yet to go to a book-burning which hasn't been hilarious fun for all the family. Take that, Woolf!

Mr. Controversy said...

Only if they burn certain books...I heard the Michael Moore burning party was hi-larious. It actually smelt like Wendy's cheeseburgers.

Dave B. said...

Good god man, you rant like the wind.

Firstly, my condolences for having to endure a festering pile of yak dung like that movie. I will not deign to sully myself by even naming it; you know its name.

Secondly, did I miss a meeting? When did anything involving ABBA end up being positive. Come on. It's fucking ABBA. They're a waste of CDs. Ozzy should go bite their heads off.

Third, and probably finally, Mummy 3 will suck except for the few scenes Jet Li actually has competent stunt doubles getting their asses kicked.

Aside from the FACT that fire-breathing dragons are a construct of western thinking, whereas Chinese dragons are notoriously water spouting entities typically depicted as sacred, solemn, and peaceful, not monstrously vicious, hungry, and pissed.

That Amanda chick has great legs. Can I have her number?

Mr. Controversy said...

Somehow, I have a softspot for their songs. I'm not a rabid uberfan, like those who would have shelled out the money to see this play when it opened, but some of their music is catchy. Everyone has at least one musical act they love, even against their own common sense.

As for Mummy 3, yeah I'm expecting a world of hurt.

And Ms. Seyfried is quite hot. I believe her number is $31.8 million, as of today. Oh wait, that's the domestic fucking gross for Mamma Mia. This shitstorm's made it's money back worldwide?! Shit. Expect Spring Awakening the Movie, or Movin' Out the Movie.

The day they make a Legally Blonde musical movie, is the day I go to Hollywood and barge into the office of the studio head who greenlights it, and begin to rant to the point where he/she/it doesn't feel like making movies anymore. I'll take over said studio, and fill the slate with "whatever I goddamn well please" productions.

Until then, yeah, I do kinda go on for a bit sometimes. I hope it's at least enjoyable and (somewhat) coheirant.

Dave B. said...

I'm somewhat suspecting that pointing and ranting would only get you arrested.

I suggest a Baretta 92FS .9mm handgun.

You can call it a hostile takeover.

*grin*

The rant was quite coherent. As a fellow man, I felt your pain vicariously. I may be painfully single, but pieces of shit like that movie make me kinda thankful.

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