From the moment Sophie sneaks off to mail those three mysterious letters, to the most magical performance of “Waterloo” in existence during the end credits, 2008 musical comedy Mamma Mia! is straight-up wild — in the best possible way.
The plot itself is downright bananas: A young woman uses her upcoming wedding as a secret ploy to find the father she never met. It could easily be a premium cable drama. However, set on an idyllic (fictional) Greek island accompanied by more ABBA bops than we can count, we’ve got ourselves a campy musical masterpiece…starring a massive group of celebrities clearly living their best lives.
When it was released a decade ago Mamma Mia! was met with pretty mixed reviews, with Pierce Brosnan’s singing being somewhat unfairly singled out for not being *spectacular* — remember, this was prior to Russell Crowe’s turn as Javert in 2012 movie Les Miserables. However, 10 years later, it’s time to fully appreciate what a bonkers ride Mamma Mia! is from beginning to end, and more importantly, how much fun the cast seems to have had while filming it.
Obviously spoilers are ahead so if you haven’t given Mamma Mia! a rewatch ahead of the sequel’s release, I have a dream that you’ll go on Netflix immediately and watch it.
1Everything about Sophie’s plan
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) wants her father to walk her down the aisle at her wedding so she invites three possible dads, trusting that she’ll “just know” when she sees him. And in no way is her mother to find out what she’s up to. This is undoubtedly a *risky* move just ahead of one’s wedding. On no fewer than three occasions, as Sophie’s plan is unmasked — or partially revealed — it’s rightfully met with extreme apprehension. Luckily, Sophie remains wholly enthusiastic about the whole ordeal.
2The A-plus campy performance of the titular track that (probably) earned Meryl Streep her Golden Globe nomination
Streep brought the same commitment to the frazzled, excitable Donna Sheridan as she did playing Margaret Thatcher. Girl is always brings her A-game — even if it includes bonkers choreography like rolling around a trap door and crawling around a roof. Amateur spying has never been so graceful. Jimmy Stewart could never.
3The “serendipitous” friendship of Sam, Bill, and Harry
In one of the movie’s more underrated subplots, it takes all of 15 minutes for Sophie’s three potential dads to meet and instantly become BFFs. They later team up with their daughter for a group song — which is so weirdly fitting given their newfound friendship, not to mention foreshadowing for their decision to share the role of Sophie’s dad. Honestly, I’d pay to see a spinoff where Bill takes Harry on a spontaneous adventure — featuring the music of former teen Swedish pop ABBA tribute group, A*Teens.
4Anytime Meryl dances
Every single step Donna Sheridan takes possesses a campy bounce that’s just asking to segue into a dance number.
5Sky’s bachelor party kidnapping wildness
This movie is full of wild dance sequences, however Sky’s (Dominic Cooper) friends invading his sultry beachside duet with Sophie to whisk him away for his bachelor party is straight up bizarre. From rising out the water like they’re Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now to those, ahem, dock moves, I have so many question about Sky’s friends.
6Really anything having to do with the thirstiest man on Kalokairi.
There is a *lot* going on in about every scene in Mamma Mia! but Sky’s best man’s pursuit of Tanya is by far one of the most amazing subplots. Throughout the movie he just pops up out of nowhere to deliver flirty one-liners, which is both utterly startling and impressive. Of course his name is Pepper!
7The dads having the only acceptable response to seeing Donna and the Dynamos perform live for one night and one night only
This is how three very famous actors decided to get down to “Super Trouper” and honestly it’s the ultimate ode to the legacy of Donna and the Dynamos.
8When shit hits the fan at Sophie’s bachelorette party
Guys, Sophie’s foolproof plan somehow fails and suddenly *during* her bachelorette party — which her three prospective dads and Sky’s bachelor party all crash — Sam (Brosnan), Harry (Colin Firth), and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård) all believe themselves to be her dad AND want to walk her down the aisle! Not ideal!
9The movie *actually* features a shot of Stellan Skarsgård’s bare ass
The full works indeed!
10The dance number that made Tanya Chesham-Leigh the MVP of the whole movie.
After being chased by Pepper for the entire movie, Tanya (the forever unsinkable Christine Baranski) pulls the ultimate power move. Queen Baranski didn’t have to go all out for this number BUT SHE DID.
11The worst manicure technique in all of cinema!
This is a beautiful mother-daughter bonding moment, but Donna giving Sophie a pedicure while Sophie sits on her lap cannot be the easiest way to give someone a pedicure. It’s a really small throwaway detail that somehow turns me into blinking white guy every single time I watch the movie.
12Donna and Sam’s surprise wedding, just minutes after Donna read Sam the riot act about their breakup through song
On the other hand, “why waste a good wedding?” is an extremely fair point. If I ever attend a wedding that gets called off at the church, I firmly expect two attendees to get married as to not waste the wedding.
13Rosie shooting her shot with Bill
I cannot think of a better use of “Take a Chance On Me” than Rosie’s (Dame Julie Walters) wild seducing of Bill. Harry Potter fans are SHOOK.
The “Take A Chance On Me” transition to “Mamma Mia!” as Aphrodite’s Fountain bursts is already a sequence I want to occur at my wedding. However, this scene is made a thousand times more iconic by Meryl Streep’s enthusiastic slow-motion exclamation of “It’s Aphrodite!”
15The entire “Waterloo” dance number at the end.
In a devastating move, Mamma Mia! didn’t feature a rousing dance number to “Waterloo” in the film itself. However, making up for the loss, the end credits sees the entire cast perform the number while rocking their ABBA Best. Nothing brings tears to my eyes like watching Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, and Stellan Skarsgard do *choreography* in full disco costumes.
Thank you for visiting my wedding Pinterest board. Go see Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again in theaters on July 20th.