People are laughing at me. I know it. I've been championing the movie musical Mamma Mia! The Movie since it was released last month and I get scorn and derision.
Why? Because musicals generate that kind of thing - you know, people belting out their emotions to songs, full bands and orchestras blaring in the outdoors. Ridiculous, right? And ABBA? Come on, who can take that seriously?
Wait a second. Has anyone noticed how seriously everybody's taking The Dark Knight?
I saw it last week and I found it appalling - ugly, confusing, way too long. Oh yeah, I know, Heath Ledger is terrific but it's a trick performance that reminds me of Jack Nicholson in The Shining. And apart from the almost prurient interest people have in what could have motivated that performance - and the subsequent tragedy of his death - I can't figure out why everybody is treating it like Shakespeare.
It's a based on a comic book, for god's sake. But it's oh-so-serious-it-is-to-laugh. People mock musicals for being too cheery, but does anybody mock The Dark Knight for being so relentlessly unfunny? Musical haters despise the unnaturalness of people breaking out into song in the middle of a conversation. So why aren't they laughing at characters who can't recognize Bruce Wayne under that black mask?
I've read at least three reviews and had four conversations with Dark Knight lovers who earnestly tout The Dark Knight's commentary on terrorism. Oh, please - the idea that The Joker, like terrorists, enjoys creating chaos is not exactly new. But watch - you'll see The Dark Knight on a lot of top 10 lists at the end of the year. There's even Oscar talk. Puh-lease.
I do take consolation in the fact that Mamma Mia! is likely to challenge The Sound Of Music as the highest-grossing movie musical of all time and that the soundtrack has hit number one on the Billboard charts. But it pisses me off that something silly like Mamma Mia! gets castigated and another thing silly like The Dark Knight gets treated like great art.
How does this happen? Is it a case of girls liking one and boys liking the other?