Sunday, October 4, 2015

I watched "ABBA: The Movie" (1977) so you don't have to

ABBA: The Movie.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I until this book recently arrived here at blog headquarters:

1994, HarperPerennial

Yes, it's compiled by that Marshall Crenshaw.  An interesting read that appeals to me as a music and cinematic snob. The book briefly gives info about different movies and rates each on a five star scale for music, attitude, and fun.  The first movie listed is this ABBA movie.  Here's Crenshaw's take:

Sounds horrible and cheesy so of course I immediately checked its availability on Netflix.  It wasn't available streaming, but was available on DVD, which I immediately put at the top of my queue. Here's how Netflix describes this cinematic endeavor:

You should probably know that in an interview with The New York Times in 2002, the director admitted that the script was "conceived on the plane on the way to Australia." And, other than the music, it's as bad as you would imagine. What follows is my brief synopsis with screen captures.  But first, here's links to more info about the movie at IMDb and Wikipedia. As of this writing, the movie is currently on YouTube.

Movie opens as a late-night country DJ is finishing his shift.  He is called into the boss's office and assigned the task of getting an interview with ABBA for a two hour radio special.  And it's got to be ready to air in one week.  No interview appointment, no backstage passes, not even a press pass.  You can see where this is going.

He first attempts to meet ABBA at the airport as they arrive in Australia.

No luck. Then it's time rent a car and try to make the band's press conference at a local hotel. Unfortunately, DJ Ashley doesn't know which hotel.

As luck would have it, DJ Ashley arrives just as the press conference is ending. Off to a rainy Sydney concert.

Songs performed: "The Tiger," "S.O.S." and "Money Money Money,"  DJ Ashley can't get into the show because he doesn't have a press pass and the scalpers want $50 for a ticket, which he doesn't have. The next day, we're off to the famous opera house for a promo photo shoot.

At the opera house, DJ Ashley is denied an interview by the group's manager.  Then we get more concert footage, featuring the song "He Is Your Brother" and a portion of "Waterloo." Then we're off to Perth! The concert there includes "Mamma Mia," "Rock Me" and "I've Been Waiting for You." Ashley cons his way into the concert and backstage, but is again thwarted by the manager. Later, Ashley finds the band's hotel rooms, but is denied access by a pushy security guard.  Falling asleep at his hotel, Ashley dreams of hanging out with the group. Yes, a dream sequence set to "The Name of the Game."

Then we're off to the next tour stop in Adelaide.  Ashley interviews some young fans who sing and dance to "Ring Ring."

The Adelaide concert features "Why Did It Have to Be Me," "When I Kissed the Teacher" and "Get on the Carousel."   And on to Melbourne.  Ashley finally makes an appointment to meet with the band at 10 AM the morning following the concert.  The Melbourne concert: "I'm a Marionette," "Fernando," "Dancing Queen" and "So Long,"

Of course, the hapless Ashley oversleeps and misses his appointment, but fate intervenes and he happens upon the group members (with no entourage) in the hotel elevator.

We see a promotional video of "Eagle" while the interview takes place.  Armed with his new interview, Ashley makes it to the studio just in time to edit and air the program.  And they lived happily ever after. We see the group performing "Thank You for the Music" before going to credits.

The Hollywood Rock book rated this as:

Music  ★★★★★
Attitude ★★★★
Fun ★★★★

I'd give it:
Music  ★★★★★
Attitude ★★
Fun ★★

Others seem to like it more than I do.  You'll have to judge for yourself, but consider yourself warned.

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