Episode #230: Mamma Mia – Comfort Rewatch

Today, we are rewatching Mamma Mia! And Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.

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Show Notes:

Decor inspiration:

Nothing they would use in their own house

Donna’s Villa (before and after renovations) – Beachy vibe, love a good renovation, lots of blue, and it’s an indoor/outdoor house

Other cozy inspiration:

Greece – beautiful location, love Greek food, and can’t wait to take a vacation there

Love the vibe of a single mom taking care of things around the house

Rate this movie from 0 to 5 Dads:

Elsie – 10

Emma – 5

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Episode 230 Transcript:

Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess Podcast, your cozy comfort listen. Today we are rewatching Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again, starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. I’m so excited. I love these movies. So like when my children were toddlers, this was our ultimate comfort movie that we put on all the time. And it was specifically Here We Go Again. We watched that one way more, but we watched them both. And it is so joyful. Like, there’s just nothing else like it in cinema. I will stand by that. There’s nothing else like it. There’s only one ABBA musical.

Emma: Musicals will always have a special place in my heart. And this one in particular is they’re just like, we’re doing a musical. Like, they’re like, we don’t care. We’re doing the musical. And I’m like, yeah. And there’s honestly a lot of people in these movies that I’d never, I didn’t know they had ever done a musical. I didn’t know they sang and dance.

Elsie: Right. We were watching it the other day and we both said, this looks like the most fun you could ever have as an actor, like it just looks so incredibly fun.The dance numbers they have, the sets, the costumes. There was like, there was one we were watching where they were like, there was like three or four boats full of people and there was like a dock full of people and it was like everyone was dancing in sync.

Emma: You’re kind of on the beach all day dancing. I’m sure it’s hot. I’m sure there’s things that are not fun about it, but It looked pretty. It was amazing. It looks pretty fun. So it’s a comfort rewatch from your girls toddler hoods. . For me, I actually hadn’t seen the movies before but I’d seen the play, the Mamma Mia play. I had a friend who was in like our local community theater, it’s called Landers Theater, Springfield Little Theater. He was in it and so me and a few friends went and saw him in it and so I’d seen the play, so I know the songs. I think you kind of know the songs even if you’ve never seen the movie or the play, like they’re very famous, but I had never seen the movie and so there just kept being people that I was like, oh, he’s in this. Oh, she’s in this. Oh, wow, Meryl Streep’s great in this. I just was like, odd as I was watching it by myself at night.

Elsie: Yeah, it just reminds you that every actor has a theater nerd living inside of them. No matter how cool.

Emma: You’re like, oh, this is like a serious actor, does all these like very serious roles. And then all of a sudden they have like their shirt half unbuttoned and they’re dancing and you’re like, okay, they’re just a theater nerd. I love it.

Elsie: It’s beautiful. Okay. So describe these movies for anyone who hasn’t watched, which if you haven’t watched, we beg of you, you should. These are highly recommended from us. It’s just like two joyful movies in a row.

Emma: You will want to take a vacation though. I was immediately like, oh, I need a summer vacation. It’s not in the cards for me, but I was like, oh, really. I haven’t even ever been to Greece.

Elsie: Me neither. I know.

Emma: So anyway, both movies are set in colorful Greek Island and the plot, it’s kind of a background for just hearing cool ABBA songs. So, in the first movie, a young woman is getting married, and she doesn’t know who her father is. And so she’s read through her mother’s diaries, and she kind of discovers that there are three possibilities of who might be her father.

Elsie: Dot, dot, dot.

Emma: Dot, dot, dot. So she invites them all to her wedding without telling her mother. And that’s kind of the premise. And then throughout the movie, they have moments where she’s like, oh, maybe it’s this guy. Wait, no, maybe it’s this guy. And everyone’s trying to figure out why they’re on the island, why they’ve been invited. And it’s really funny and fun. And it’s hilarious to me that you watch this with your girls as toddlers, but of course, all of that’s very over their heads.

Elsie: Well, and to be fair, we mostly fast forward to the songs. And we’ve always been an ABBA family, so it’s just like very familiar songs. It’s just a movie version of very familiar songs.

Emma: Yeah, and I will say for like a movie that’s, you know, been around for some time, I think it’s pretty sex positive. It doesn’t really go into shaming her. She has a moment where she’s like, my mom would have thought I was, you know, that kind of thing or whatever.

Elsie: I agree. I think it’s pretty positive. I think the premise is hilarious. It’s awesome. It’s basically like three days, three boyfriends, and I don’t know who the father is.

Emma: It was over two months. There’s one in one month in the diary. And then there were two gentlemen in the next month and I think that makes sense when you’re in your early 20s. That can happen, that makes sense to me.

Elsie: Yeah, okay. I misunderstood it because in the second movie it kind of makes it seem like it’s just like BAM BAM BAM. But anyway, I think it’s wonderful. My eight year old was asking some questions. I think it’s like a curious little premise and a fun way to learn. Let’s leave it at that.

Emma: It’s a very fun way to learn.

Elsie: Yeah.

Emma: Okay, and then the sequel, do you want to tell them what the sequel’s about?

Elsie: Okay, so in the sequel, we get to see Donna’s life when she was younger. So I like the sequel because it has two sets of actors, like the older actors return and they’re all in it again, but then there’s also a younger set of flashback actors. So it just gives them more to work with. And like, they’re all like really amazing performers. Okay. So anyway, Sophie, she still has the three possible dads. She’s reflecting on her mother’s journey in the second movie. Her mother has passed. So there’s a lot of sad moments where they’re sort of like celebrating her life. And then in the end Sophie discovers she is also expecting a baby as well. That’s pretty much it, right? 10 out of 10, 100 out of 10. I love it.

Emma: Yeah, and I would say the second movie, the sequel, has maybe more fun costumes. There’s a lot more costume changes.

Elsie: I feel like they accepted the challenge to outdo the original. And the other thing that’s kind of cool about the second movie is, like, they got to break off the Broadway a little more and just, like, pick random ABBA songs. And just, you know what I mean? It has a lot of fun songs in it. It’s really great.

Emma: And not to spoil, but Cher’s in it.

Elsie: Yeah. Cher is amazing. So I made Emma, like, fast forward and watch every song because she hadn’t seen the sequel. And her little son, Oscar, who’s two, watched every single song with us and he was very engaged with it. It was amazing.

Emma: He was just, like, mesmerized. He never watches musicals. We haven’t really watched any of the Disney movies. Princess ones or any with songs. He just hasn’t been interested. So I think what I needed to do is fast forward to only songs apparently, but I also think he was just like, oh, these people are dancing. And you know, I don’t know. He was into it. I think seeing your girls be so into it too. It was kind of like a moment for him.

Elsie: It’s a sing along to them.

Emma: Yeah, they were definitely singing and dancing along. It was very cute. I’d be like, I want this song next.

Elsie: Yeah, that’s true, a little fit. Well, you know, kids. Okay, so memories from when you first watched this movie. So I first watched it when Nova was a toddler. So it wasn’t that long ago. I mean it’s an eternity in parenting, like memories, but it’s a very short amount of time in real life. It’s like a couple years. So yeah, I remember I just like heard about it. And I’ve always loved musicals. Our mom raised us with, like, The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins was, like, a big part of our childhood. So I’ve always had, like, a soft spot for musicals, and I like how, like, unhinged they are, and, you know, just, like, joyful. My husband doesn’t watch them, so I feel like it’s my, like, anti snob thing that I carry the torch for, you know what I’m saying?

Emma: Plus then once you have toddlers and kids, you have someone to watch with you. Because otherwise you’re just trying to talk someone into it who’s like, I don’t really want to. And you’re like, forget you! I’m gonna find another friend to watch this with me.

Elsie: And when my kids were little, before they knew about Post Malone, before they knew, like, the stuff they know now, they only knew old music, and I was so proud. And it doesn’t last forever, because you can only shelter your kids from the real world for so long. But they, like, loved Elton John, ABBA, Nancy Sinatra, that’s, like, all the music we listened to when they were really little. So they know all the ABBA songs, and it is definitely, like, a thing I’m still proud of to this day. So my memories are pretty niche cause it’s just like a thing I did with my kids. But yeah, I recommend it because when you’re a parent, you have to rewatch movies. That’s part of the journey. And I’ve watched Frozen and the weird second one and the Christmas one more than I can ever count. And I do honestly love them. I have a soft spot for even stuff I don’t like that the kids watch, but there’s, like, something special when you’re able to, like, convince them to watch something that you’re a little bit interested in, you know?

Emma: Yeah, it’s a nice feeling. I agree. Because I love cars. But, I’d rather watch Bluey or, you know, some other things. And now I’m like, oh, I gotta try Abba again with him now because he was into it.

Elsie: Abba is forever. I love it so much. Okay, so decor inspiration. Anything I would use in my own home, not so much, I don’t think, but it’s more just, like, the vibe of Greece. So, the thing I love about it is it is very, like, vacationy, and very beachy, too. Magical, there’s a lot of renovating is one of the themes, because she sort of, like, takes on this rundown. Villa to turn it into kind of a hotel, and then her daughter does it again 25 years in the future. So yeah, I love that. I always love to watch a makeover story in a movie, whether it’s a house or a person or any kind of makeover story is great.

Emma: Yeah, and there’s a lot of, like, blue, there’s also a lot of, like, colorful tile, there’s even this moment where, like, on the ground there’s, like, this kind of mosaic of, like, a dolphin made out of tile. So there’s a lot of, like, beachy, vacationy vibes, like, I feel like living in the Midwest, we just don’t have houses that feel like there’s ever sand in them, you know what I mean?

Elsie: True.

Emma: It’s just not the vibe. And so, it’s fun to see houses or visit places where, like, it’s a very indoor outdoor.

Elsie: That’s true. That’s a thing that people in the U. S. don’t often have, is like an indoor outdoor house situation where you would like leave your doors or windows open all day and I think it’s very magical.

Emma: Yeah, it is really magical. I think it’s really special for kids, but like, my house is very closed up, like, you know, we don’t have bugs in the house much, and when we do, it’s like, oh no, we’ve left the doors open too long. Whereas in some areas of the world, it’s like a very fluid thing.

Elsie: Emma has permanent trauma from those snakes getting into her house. So, she’s never gonna leave her door open.

Emma: Among other things. I think I told a story about the raccoon more recently. That’s a wildlife issue, man. But indoor outdoor is not for me. I mean, it’s happening, but I don’t want it. So there’s a lot of that in this, where things look very weathered because you get the vibe that like the windows are open all the time and people track in sand, but you just sweep it out or you rinse it out and that’s another thing is like floors and surfaces. A lot of times, or it’s not that there’s no wood, but there is a lot of tile, a lot of like, it almost looks like plaster walls, but I think it’s more like that one material it’s like lime washy and everything just looks kind of weathered. But like in a really beautiful way. And there’s a lot of blue, which I don’t do a lot of blue in my house. So I really like seeing it because it’s just different and fun.

Elsie: Yeah. Love it. I can’t wait to visit Greece. It’s definitely on the top of my romantic vacations list where I’d love to go. I’ve heard that it’s hard with kids. Because, like, at least some of the, the popular Greek cities are, like, very vertical. And like, it’s too much, like, stairs and, like, you know, too much climbing. You’d be cantering them a lot. But I don’t know. My kids are getting bigger now, so I think that Maybe even with them. But, I can’t wait to go to Greece. I love Greek food. I think everything about it is intriguing and amazing. But I can’t also pretend, like, I know much about it, because I’ve never been there. It’s just more of a fantasy for me right now than a, than a reality, but I would be curious if you’re, if, if we have any podcast listeners who are from Greece or have been to Greece a lot, or you’re just like, for some reason, an expert, let me know what you think about Mamma Mia movies and like how they, like how accurate it is. I don’t even know if it was filmed in Greece. I know nothing about it. I’m curious.

Emma: I would love to know.

Elsie: But I bet it’s probably like a thing that a lot of like Western people know about Greece because they’re, you know, Mamma Mia’s popular. Okay, so the before and after renovations, anything else about it that was just cozy and caught your attention?

Emma: I liked how Donna’s character, which is played by Meryl Streep in the first movie, when we meet her, you know, uh, she’s single, like that’s part of the premise is there’s these three potential fathers and she’s been raising her daughter and running this villa that she’s turned into a kind of Bed and breakfast hotel, but there’s a lot of scenes where she’s like holding a drill and she’s like fixing a window or like, you know, spackling some tile or this or that. And she’s always wearing these cute overalls. I really liked the vibe of basically showing a woman with power tools, taking care of things around her hotel and being like. This would be easier if I had a rich husband like she has a whole song about that, but I’m just doing it myself and it’s like, it was just cool. I like that. I was like, oh, this is fun.

Elsie: Oh, is it the money, money, money?

Emma: Yeah, money, money, money. Everyone’s like trying to collect money from her, like all the extras. Yeah, it’s really funny.

Elsie: Love it. I’m curious how many of our listeners are ABBA fans, but I hope some of you are. Maybe we’ll convert some. Really for me it’s like, the number one thing I love about these movies is the dancing. I’m one of those people that likes to sit there and try to learn the choreography. And like all the motions and stuff. I just love that sort of thing. Just sitting on the couch with your arms up. Just like swaying with them. It’s really, really fun.

Emma: It’s fun too because you can kind of tell that there’s extras and like certain cast members aren’t extras. They’re like, you know, in the bridal party or in the, you know, whatever. They don’t necessarily have a name, but they’re, they’re in it over and over. So they have a more prominent role and you can tell that they’re dancers and they’re doing basically advanced ballet moves. And then some of the cast, especially like the three dads, I feel like they gave them some fun dance moves, but anyone could do them. You know what I mean?,

Elsie: Yeah, those are the ones I’m like, I could do this dance. They do a little bit of choreography. It’s beautiful though. It’s awesome, so happy.

Emma: Yeah. It just has a mix of dance moves in it. Cause there are times you watch a musical and you’re like, Oh, this lead actor is like a dancer. And maybe I didn’t realize that or whatever, but like they’re doing some moves that are serious here. And then sometimes you’ll see a dance and you’re like, that looks fun. They’re having fun. I could do this.

Elsie: That’s true. No, I get no ballet training required. Okay. So rate this movie from zero to five dads. I mean, I’m going to give it like a 10 out of five because it’s like one of my favorites, it’s my sparks joy movie of a lifetime. There’s probably nothing else that makes me so joyful in my soul.

Emma: Yeah. I would give it five out of five dads and you know, I can be a little harsh sometimes with story. You’re a less generous critic. But I just feel like they knew the assignment, they nailed the assignment, this movie knows what genre it’s in, and it is doing a great job. And there’s really, like, I feel like anything questionable, I’m doing air quotes about the story, they kind of go with it. And I just think it’s great, and I love all the casting, and I love all the costumes, and it’s just a blast. If you don’t like musicals, especially cheesy musicals, this might not be for you. But I feel like if you just saw the cover of the movie and you didn’t, like, I don’t know, that’s on you a little bit. So,

Elsie: 5 out of 5 deaths. It advertises accurately. What it is. I think so. You got what you bought. That’s what our dad says. You got what you pawned. Okay, so just like a side note If you’re like me, and you just, like, have a love for the 70s, but you weren’t alive then, and you kind of wish you were, every single Cher movie I’ve ever watched is a 10. Just go on Cher’s IMDB if you just wanna do more stuff in the category of, like, happy joyful kind of unhinged. I don’t know.

Emma: She has a lot of serious films too. Yeah, like Oscar winner Serious films. Oh, I haven’t seen anything like that. I think she’s in Silkwood with Meryl Streep. She’s in that one with Nicolas Cage, Moonwalk, moon something. It’s pretty serious.

Elsie: The ones I’ve seen are mainly, like, The Witches and the mermaids ones.

Emma: She’s got range. Because in this one, then, she sings. I mean, we all know Cher sings. But, you know, it’s a musical and she’s got kind of wacky outfits and it’s really fun. She does the whole spectrum, man.

Elsie: I love her.

Emma: Icon.

Elsie: Okay, it’s trivia time! You know, we love our trivia. Okay, so, Pierce Brosnan had no idea what the project was about when he signed on, the producers told him that it was being filmed in Greece, and Meryl Streep was starring. Okay, honestly, like That would be enough for me, too. Brosnan said he would have signed on for anything involving Streep, describing her as that gorgeous blonde I fancied terribly in drama school. That’s cute. That is cute. That is adorable, but I think he probably would have still done it, and I’m glad, I’m glad he’s in it.

Emma: Yeah, he does great.

Elsie: He’s perfect.

Emma: But he’s definitely one where you’re like, hmm, I wouldn’t have guessed he would want to do this, necessarily. Cause he’s James Bond.

Elsie: Well, I guess they really did film in Greece.

Emma: Yeah, I guess they did. Or they tricked him. No, I bet they really did. Stellan Skarsgård said, It was absurd to ask me to be in a musical. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. And then I saw it also had Pierce Bronson and Colin Firth, and they can’t sing or dance either, so I felt a little safer there.

Elsie: That’s good. I think he’s perfect, too. I love all the three dads. The three dads are, like, Oh, yeah, they’re great. They’re iconic, and it makes me love them more when I see them in other movies. Obviously, like, there’s nothing probably in their portfolio that’s quite like this, but I don’t know, I feel like it, like, Gives them this little, like, badge of, like, I’m not a snob, I’m, like, I’m better than that I will, I appreciate.

Emma: I’m just here to make stuff. I’m not afraid to look a little silly or, like, do something outside of. Hey. I feel like it’d be nice, too, because I feel like this, uh, actor, Stellan, he plays a lot of bad guys. Mm hmm. Gets cast a lot as a villain. Mm hmm. Or just very serious, maybe he’s not the villain, but a lot of times he is, but he’s very serious. And so I would think it would be kind of a fun little reprieve to get a role where you’re like, I’m gonna play this guy named Bill, and I like fishing, and I like adventure, and I’m singing and dancing, you know?

Elsie: Totally. I love them. While this movie heavily implies but never explicitly reveals who Sophie’s real father is, there is a semi official answer according to screenwriter Katherine Johnson and director Valida Lloyd. Sophie’s real father is Bill Anderson. I did not catch that. Did you catch that? No. I, like, I’m like, why? Because they have blonde hair? Like, why else?

Emma: That was my guess. And then they kind of have this thing where they mentioned that his mother or grandmother has left the villa to Donna or helped her buy it. And she would only give that away in her will to family. But I’m also like, how would she know? Like, if he doesn’t know, then he’s obviously never taken a paternity test. So how did she know that this was her granddaughter or her, you know, So, I’m not sure, like, it doesn’t totally add up exactly, but there is that kind of clue where you’re like, Oh, okay, his mother grandmother left some money to this family, so she must have thought this was his heir or relative or however you want to call it.

Elsie: Yeah, I mean, I guess if, if you made me pick, I don’t know if I would have gotten that right. So that’s interesting.

Emma: Okay. The young cast did extensive research on their legacy counterparts by studying the first movie and watching countless interviews and other movie footage from their early days. Lily James was a fan of the musical from an early age and stated that she had seen it over 10 times on stage and already knew every moment of the movie adaptation by heart before auditioning. That’s cute. That’s very cute. It’d be so fun to like, be in something that you’re like, I grew up watching this, I’m a huge fangirl, that would be like, such a dream come true.

Elsie: No, it’s ultimate. And you can tell, you can tell that they tried really hard to, like, match the performances. It was great. Dame Julie Walters was given a day off from Shepperton Studios filming in November of 2017 during the taping of the Angel Eyes number, so she could attend an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace where she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire of Queen Elizabeth II. The cast and crew gathered to surprise and welcome Walter’s back while singing There’s Nothing Like a Dame from the musical South Pacific. That’s very sweet.

Emma: Yeah. I love her. We’re very American, so I’m like, okay, I know kind of what this is. I know that, you know, a dame is like being knighted and the queen gives you this, but I don’t really even have a sense of like how pristine, like what the, you know what I mean? We don’t have anything quite like this. It sounds

Elsie: It sounds amazing.

Emma: It does sound amazing. And I understand it’s an honor, but I really don’t understand much else about it to be honest.

Elsie: I know that she was. The Weasley mom from Harry Potter, so I knew that she was British from that. I think that’s the only fact I know about her.

Emma: The other day, Elsie and I were talking about this movie, and I was convinced that I had just watched the first movie that this wasn’t Julie Walters, this was Tracy Allman, who is like a British American actor, comedy actor. She’s in Curb Your Enthusiasm. She plays Larry David’s girlfriend who he doesn’t really like, and he’s trying to get rid of in the last season. I thought for sure it was her, but it’s not. It’s Julie Walters. Dame Julie Walters.

Elsie: I knew about it because Nova told me. Nova learned about it on Yoto Dailies.

Emma: She’s got better information than me. She learns all her facts from that. So yeah, it’s the Weasley mother, which is how I know her because I’m a big Harry Potter fan.

Elsie: Yeah. Don’t start us on Harry Potter. But yeah, it’s cool. British actors are kind of just like in everything. The other day we were watching a British show with a lot of British actors and Jeremy was like, that person’s from Game of Thrones, that person’s from Game of Thrones, that person. And I was like, finally like, Jeremy, listen, like all British actors were in Game of Thrones.

Emma: There’s so many characters in Game of Thrones. They went through everyone. They probably made some new actors just to get enough characters. It’s true.

Elsie: Okay. Cher handpicked Andy Garcia to play the character Fernando out of a bunch of selected actors. Okay, I love That’s funny. I love the song Fernando, but my kids always make me skip it. It’s their one skip. They’re like, no. They don’t get it, but yeah, I love that song.

Emma: Andy Garcia is a cool actor too. They’re cute. He’s one of those that has quite the different range. His career has a lot of different roles in it. That’s funny that she, I wonder if she knows him, like if they’ve, they’re friends or I don’t know. I have no idea.

Elsie: No, but I love her. I know that she’s cool. I know that she’s nice. I, I just know. It’s like, you know, the people that try to always tell me that Martha Stewart’s not nice. I’m like, I know she is so sorry. Sorry, but I just, I just know in my heart that I would love her. I don’t care.

Emma: I just don’t really, I feel like if you met my grandma on a bad day, I just think maybe be a little more generous. You never know. Anyone’s grandma on a bad day. She’s having a bad day. I don’t know. It could happen. I could see that, so I’m like, well, who knows?

Elsie: Yeah, I don’t know.

Emma: Okay, well, that’s all our trivia, so now it’s time for a joke, or a fact, or a meditation with Nova, or possibly Marigold, because she has her own segment now too.

Elsie: Hey Nova, what do you have for us this week?

Nova: A joke. How do you get an astronaut’s baby to stop crying?

Elsie: How?

Nova: You rock it.

Emma: Woo hoo hoo! That’s a good one. I love it.

Nova: Bye.

Elsie: Thank you so much for listening. If you have a comfort rewatch movie you would like for us to talk about, you can submit at [email protected]. We’re already taking submissions for our fall and Christmas, because when we get back from Emma’s maternity leave, it’ll be fall. Yeah, it’ll be September already. You can also call our voicemail anytime at 417 893 0011. We will be back next week with an episode all about rugs.