Tag Archive: Mamma Mia!

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


A few weeks go, I began to talk of my favorite musicals.


Musicals were always my place for hiding when I couldn’t deal with life. And sometimes it was the place I need to go when I need a break from the real world. Maybe you do it with ice cream or potato chips or golf. Sports on TV always seem to make my husband relax after a long day.


hamilton_Lately, I have been listening to the soundtrack of Hamilton. It is interesting how different styles of music are used to define different characters. The King of England uses the style of a pop love song, the three Schuyler sisters sound like pop trios from the 80s. And Mr. Hamilton is a rapper telling a complicated story. You think he is fast until you hear Marquis LaFayette.


But I have to admit at this time I think it is more important to pay my mortgage than take the family to see this award winning show. One of my friends joked that it would be less expensive for him to take a Rhine River cruise, including the cost of airfare to Germany. Until this show comes to the big screen, I need to be patient.


This made me think about some of my favorite musicals. The ones I love are energetic with saucy heroines. When the movie is done, I want to feel as if I could dance and sing for no apparent reason. I get this feeling whenever I watch Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. I like to put is on whenever I feel blue because by the end of the movie I am laughing and singing and dancing. I last watched this on the day of my colonoscopy as I recovered from the anesthesia.


guys-and-dollsI feel it is one of the great ones, not for the wonderful singing. The older guys are all a bit imperfect in an adorable manner. All cast members have such fun singing that I can forgive the imperfections I would normally rant and rave about.


That is what makes Guys and Dolls great as well. There are many great singers in the Frank Sinatra version. But Marlon Brando had never sang before in the movies. I don’t think he ever did another musical but I really liked what he did here. His voice was strong and interesting, filled with musical imperfections that makes for a great song stylist. Imperfections make a song come alive, strengthens the emotional intent.


Frank Sinatra uses his imperfections and strong accent to make his gambler sing of the misfortune of being dragged around by the nose by a doll. That is until his doll tries to make him quit the gambling life. Then his voice turns into smooth cream to keep her happy for just a while longer.


moulin_rouge_movie_posterAnother musical that I love to watch is Moulin Rouge! directed by Baz Lurhmann. Released in 2001, this movie crossed time periods and musical styles while telling a story of a young writer who falls in love with a beautiful courtesan. He (Ewan McGregor) sings Your Song, originally sung by Elton John, to his love despite the fact that she has to please the Count underwriting the show.


Satine (Nicole Kidman) has wonderful productions including a mash-up of Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend and Material Girl while swinging about the auditorium. Like anything by Lurhmann, the set designs are incredible and big, really big. And this re-telling of La Traviata will have you crying at the end.


A word of warning. Moulin Rouge! is not meant for small children. It is fill with sexual innuendo and direct talk. Guys and Dolls would be better but not by much. After all, we have guys talking about, and creating, a massive floating gambling game. Perhaps the younger ones would just like to watch Frozen for the umpteenth time. Who can get tired of listening to Idina Menzel over and over again?


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Going with an Old Favorite

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


There are days when all one wants to do is watch a favorite movie or genre.


Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Image from IMDb.com

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, Image from IMDb.com

The other day, I caught a snippet of You’ve Got Mail starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. One of the kids came through and said “oh, it is that movie.” I was at first amazed that he could identify the movie. But then he commented that I am always renting this movie or the Mamma Mia! flick.


I admit that these are the two genres that I love the most and turn to when I am in need of comfort. We all have our favorites. That would explain why marathons happen all of the time on some TV channels. That might explain why the Godfather movies are constantly playing. Fans know them, love them, quote them.


Go to the Mattresses.


It’s not personal, it just business.


Perhaps one of the reasons why I love You’ve Got Mail is the discussions about The Godfather and how it fits into daily life – at least for some people. I like that Meg Ryan tries to live some of these phrases and then realizes how some of it does not fit for her. As she puts her life back together after her business is driven to failure by a big box book store, she tells the owner of the big box that at the very least business should be personal.


It is personal because it is your life’s work; your heart and soul goes into creating a business. For me that is the turning point of the movie when Ryan explains why business is personal.


Poster Image from IMBd.com

Poster Image from IMBd.com

I was thinking about that on Saturday as we watched The Avengers again. It has become a family favorite for the quick lines, the surprising depth of characters, and the great action scenes.  We love it for the scenes we have seen several times, for the moments that Hulk purposely hits Thor or Tony Stark baits Loki. We love the schawarma scene at the very end.


Favorite movies give us comfort because we know what is going to happen with each scene. We know the scary parts, the parts that make us happy. With favorite movies we know every line, every expression, and every song. With each viewing we are reminded why we love the movie and find something new that we have never noticed before.


That is why I watch certain holiday movies and why some of my friends watch horror/scary movies. The comfort we receive from the familiar also has something to do with the need for successful problem solving. Every movie sets up a problem of some sort –  trying a new romance, saving the world from evil domination, solving a mystery regarding a crime or supernatural forces – that must be solved.

At the end of the movie the world has been saved and we feel good. It all works out in the end, just as we wish for real life.




Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

La, La, La, La, Laaaaa

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past weekend, some of the women at my church got together for a different kind of women’s fellowship.

We had a cookie party.

Each woman brought either cookie dough or frosting. We had sugar cookies, gingerbread, ranger cookies and red velvet cake cookies. In four hours we made dozens of cookies with nine varieties in total. After cookies had been frosted and decorated, each woman took a variety of cookies home. We had the ovens going until all of the dough was gone.

Somehow the cookies lasted through Monday evening at our house. I am not sure they will last another day. But what was important was not coming home with a ton of cookies, it was the fellowship with other women.

We talked about family traditions, Christmas legends and Susan Boyle. Then there were discussions about jobs, blood drives and church events. By the end of the evening we got around to talking about Les Miserable which opens at the end of the month. Soon we were making plans to get together to watch this spectacle.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Have you seen the commercials? Just Anne Hathaway singing sends chills up and down my spine.

The story is about a man who escapes parole and makes a new life for himself. But then a factory worker who has become a prostitute to support her child makes him promise to care for her child. He agrees and that decision leads to trying events in the future. The Oscar buzz for this movie is already crazy and all we have seen are the trailers and various clips.

While this movie is more of an opera because most of the dialogue is sung, it is still considered a musical. Most musicals have songs as interludes, pushing forward the emotions of characters.

The best musical of all time does just this with songs that were not written specifically for the movie. Singin’ In The Rain was a collection of songs that directors Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen liked and wanted to use for a revue-like movie. Each song leads us to know how a character feels at that moment.

One of my favourite musicals is Mamma Mia! Perfect for when I am cleaning house, I love watching this adaptation of the Broadway show starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan because most of the music is toe tapping fun. Perhaps it is too hedonistic for some, it also delves into the emotions of those who are wondering if life has passed them by while they were simply living and raising a family.

Another musical I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Set in 1899, McGregor is a young man who comes to the big city and immediately falls in love with the star of a show. But, being that this is based on La Boheme, she is a courtesan. She should not give in to love as she supports the theatre and allows Kidman to star in the shows.

And like most operas, she has a secret. One that is not that secret and will kill her. We know this going in but who care? The songs, modern and anachronistic, are major spectacles. Even the simple songs fills the heart while the dancing is incredible.

That is what a musical should do, lift your heart, take you to a higher level of emotion, make your spine shiver because the singing is incredible.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


This past weekend, our church women’s group came together for a cookie baking session.


Image by Cohdra

Image by Cohdra

Each woman was to bring two batches or more of pre-made cookie dough along with any pans and decorations they had on hand. I made three different cookies doughs: Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and M&M cookie dough. At the end of the night, each woman took home a variety of cookies. Four hours of baking ended with nine different kinds of cookies that included ranger cookies and red velvet cookies.


The amazing thing is I still have some of those cookies as of Monday morning. I suspect they will all be gone by the end of the day.


At the end of the evening, we decided we needed to have another fellowship time and a movie seemed like a good idea. It was also unanimous that Les Mis should be that movie. Just the commercial with Anne Hathaway singing gave me chills up and down the spine.


Then again, I have always been a fan of a good musical. The first one that I remember as being life changing was Singin’ In the Rain which starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. This movie about the change over from silent movies to talkies focuses on how one leading man is able to transition well while his abhorrent leading lady is not. To make matters worse, he has fallen in love with a chorus girl who has a great voice.


I believe it is universally accepted this is the best musicals of all time as well as being one of the best movies ever made. For the last ten years, however, it seems as if we are treated to a new musical every Christmas. While Les Mis has continual singing, making it more opera than musical, the songs break your heart with their beauty.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of my favorite musicals in the past few years is Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. This musical featuring the songbook of ABBA is a happy, zippy movie that exists in a very adult world that might be a little hedonistic at times. I love putting this one on when I have to do housework.


Another musical in recent years that I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The story is a familiar one to opera fans. A young idealistic man falls in love with a beautiful woman who is a courtesan. She also has the dread disease of the early 1900s which is consumption, aka tuberculosis.


What I love about this movie is how director Baz Luhrmann uses modern songs in a period piece and somehow it all works out. You have a great love story, fantastic musical pieces and the sage wisdom given by tough people trying to look out for a young man who is writing his first show that must be a block buster. The sets are bright, eclectic and over-the top which matches the movie and it all works.


While these movies are not exactly little-kid friendly, they are something you can watch with your teens if they happen to like musicals. Otherwise, you can always join me. I am happy to have a sing-a-long at my house any time.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

This year has been a year of lasts and firsts.

 Our oldest child is the first child in our family to graduate from high school and to go off to college. We went through the last teacher conference, the last sports season and the last report card.

 Our youngest child is now five. We no longer have a toddler in the house and he is finished with pre-school. This year was his first in tee ball and to be in a real class at VBS. In the fall, he becomes a kindergartner.

 This has lead to moments of happiness and tears. And I find myself crying when I am watching certain movies dealing with a similar topic.

 Take Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. The story is about a young girl who is getting married. She has been raised by her

Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried on the day of the wedding. Picture from IMDb.com

mother and does not know which of three men might be her father. I love the whole movie but the most touching scene comes during the “Slipping Through My Fingers” sequence.

 As Donna and Sophia get ready for the wedding, there are moments of sadness as both women realize their relationship is about to change forever. Knowing that moment is coming for me soon when my oldest will leave home makes me all weepy.

 Another movie that does that for me is Up with Edward Asner doing the voice of Carl Fredricksen, a

Carl making the grand escape from the retirement home flunkies. Picture from IMDb.com

78-year-old man who uses balloons to float his house to South America. It is the last grand adventure of his life and was the beloved dreams of him and his wife, Ellie. Sadly, she dies before they can go.

 As the movie does the montage of Carl’s and Ellie’s life I begin tearing up and try not to snuffle too loud. But it happens. The last time we watched this movie a few weeks ago there was no stopping the tears and my son’s girlfriend looked over. She was relieved that she was not the only one in the room crying. The rest of the occupants – all boys – could not understand why we were crying.

 However, I hear tales that men do cry at some movies. Sports movies seem to bring out emotion and none better than Field of Dreams. Kevin

Ray and Karin Kinsella meet John Kinsella at the baseball field. Picture from IMDb.com

Costner stars as the man who carves a baseball diamond out of his cornfield. That is when baseball players from the ‘other side’ show up to play. When the game is over they go back into the cornfield.

 Perhaps the most memorable scene is when Costner’s father shows up. He does not know who Costner is but eventually they play a game a catch. It is the ultimate father-son moment that they never had in life. That is what made it all the more touching and the best opportunity for the tears to fall.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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