the rain woke me up this morning. i don't mind the sound - i can sleep through the loudest hissing of a downpour - but i remembered at least the living room window was opened and i needed to close it. i then went back to sleep. by the time i woke up again, the weather was pleasantly sunny. but a quick check of the doppler radar revealed that another storm was minutes away. this one dumped so much rain that water was overflowing from the manhole cover on the street. all the local stations were in weather emergency mode; not because of the rain, but because of tornado warnings elsewhere around new england.

i confided in bruce last week that i wanted to see mamma mia. he revealed similar feelings. so today we made our way to the kendall cinema to catch the matinee. a movie with abba songs - what could go wrong?

apparently a lot. first, the casting was a mess. i don't mind amanda seyfried as sophie, the soon-to-be-married girl looking to find her biological father from a pool of 3 former boyfriends of her mother's. in all her previous roles she played the ditzy blonde airhead, but she seemed to have pulled off her role convincingly in this movie. the roles of the three men were okay as well, stellan skarsgård, pierce brosnan, and colin firth. but meryl streep as donna, the mother? terrible choice. there's no doubt streep is a fine actress, but as a singer/dancer, it's painful to watch.

meryl streep plays donna as a neurotic inn owner on a greek island. days before her daughter's wedding, donna's old friends arrive as guests - played by christine baranski and julie walters. the scene where they meet on the dock - three aging women screeching together - reminded me of witches.

even sophie's husband-to-be seemed to be miscast, played by dominic cooper. we never really get why he'd make a good husband, and he spends a lot of time in the movie planning for his bachelor party instead of looking forward to the wedding (perhaps this is intentional, as something happens at the wedding).

at least sophie's bridesmaids are seriously hot. why they're both british is never explained (and why would one of them by sporting a duke t-shirt?). they sort of play a big part at the beginning of the movie when sophie explains her elaborate plot to get her three dads to all come to the island, but then the two friends sort of disappear until the end of the movie.

although the movie may be a stinker, the same can't be said of the location. the turquoise water off the greek island is absolutely amazing and unreal.

as much as i love abba, i could've done without the singing. in fact, the plot of mamma mia would actually make a pretty decent romantic comedy. the singing was a distraction and a gimmick, failing miserably on both ends. in the hands of a different director, maybe things could've been better. what if they played up the campy nature of the songs, gave a wink and a nod to the audience whenever they burst out into a song? if they made the movie more outrageous they could possibly get away with it, but played straight as a comedic drama, it just didn't work. and for an actress of streep's ability, the role seemed downright undignified. the best of the movie? the ending, where all the players come out onto a glitzy stage dressed up in retro abba wear and croon out a few songs.

the spool of blank verbatim dual-layered dvd's i ordered last night from amazon.com actually arrived today. i was actually freaked out a little bit because i just selected normal free shipping yet my package arrived less than 24 hours later! talk about fast service. i immediately went about burning one disc. the first one worked without any problems, passed verification. the only disadvantage are these 2.4x speed dvd's, which means i have to burn them at 2x speed so it takes 40 minutes to archive 8gb worth of data. however, i wasn't as successful burning the second disc, it burned okay but failed to verify. at that point i just gave up. maybe it's something wrong with the movie files (episodes of HBO's john adams). i can live with some glitches and gaps in the videos.