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ABBA: The Movie

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 10/22/00 18:45:11

"Thank you for the music"
3 stars (Just Average)

If the Beatles can do it, then I suppose that Abba can do it to. Rock Tour Movies are now a "genre" and off the top of my head I can think of the Talking Heads, The Cure, the Beatles, Dead Can Dance and Madonna who have all made documentaries of themselves either live or on tour.

Seeing as how Almost Famous is so popular, the fictionalized rock tale, even the parodic rock tale of This Is Spinal Tap , owes something to the real thing.

The time is 1977, disco rules the mean streets of troubletown, rock and roll has gone underground, emerging periodically in strands of Stairway to Heaven played in guitar shops. Pot isn't even cool anymore.

Roiling along the stadium scene with Gary Glitter and Queen, Abba is the clean cut, happy pop version of drugged out queer rock and the repetitive soulful funk groove of the Disco.

Abba was from Sweden so automatically they are "different" but in this case, being Scandinavian worked for them. Seka the porn queen was the only Scandinavian, America really knew about and Swedish Erotica was our winky winky hardcore rag. Abba managed to somehow not be lumped in with the whole "Swinging Sweden" stereotype.

And the Australians could not get enough. If you stripped N-Sync nude, greased them up like a shaved pig and put them in a junior high Home Ec class, you wouldn't have the insanity of the Australian fans trying to get close to their beloved Abba.

Revelation about Britney Spears. She is really Girl Music for Girls. She shows the girls how to be the kind of girl that the N-Sync boys (if they weren't actually bonking each other after the shows and having invented relationships trotted about the media) would want. It's a formula for $UCCE$$!

12:37 PM

Its been windy and leaves and twigs are blowing like mad ,the air is unusually dry and the static electricity is building up. I'm sitting in Wall Berlin, listening to Szeki Kurva and at a particularly frenetic moment in the music, a transformer exploded. BOOM!, shook the cafe and the power went out. Luckily, I'm running on Battery Power or this little Abba review of mine would be toast. And its pure inspired genius.

So Abba was really popular and they filmed themselves on tour in Australia. Concert footage, costume changes, back stage chatter, "Hand me the mineral water, Bjorn, I'm thirsty." Were they ever compelling.
We even get the Hotel Balcony and Crowds of Adoring Fans scene.

I really like Abba now but in 1977 I was experiencing the post Star Wars sugar high crash waiting for Empire Strikes Back to add meaning to all of my 8 years. Plastic figurines and lunch boxes weren't cutting it. I didn't even know who Abba was.

But I do now. Oh yes. Do I ever. Nary a karaoke session was left un-Abba'd. Muriel's Wedding captured a trail of the Aussie/Abba fascination but if you want to see the actual people from "down under" getting their panties in a twist over this fabulous otherworldy pop sensation, RENT THIS MOVIE!

It is just waiting to hit cult status. I see an Abba revival coming. There is already a tribute band called Bjorn Again and wait, there was a STAGE PLAY about Abba that played in San Francisco and Erasure did a whole album of Abba cover songs and the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus did an entire show of Abba Covers. Even Jesus Christ, as he was dying on the cross, cried out for Abba. (I swear, its in the new testament.) WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS IT WITH THAT BAND?!?

Does Abba make you gay, or does being gay make Abba. Such questions are perhaps better left unpondered.

Interesting Side Note, imagine a bubble popping up, giving you meta-information about what is happening on the screen ... The director of Abba the Movie, Lasse Halstrom, also directed Whats Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) with Leo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp and Cider House Rules (1999) with Charlize Theron.

My conclusion, there is life Before, During and After Abba.

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