Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams, is the musical rom-com you can enjoy with your kids and with your parents. I know, because this is what I did on my summer vacation. This and sweating my tits off in the South Carolina heat while eating a lot of pie.
The movie follows Fire Saga, a musical duo (Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) who have the impossible dream of breaking out of their small fishing town and representing Iceland in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. Rachel McAdam’s brilliant Sigrit is not above asking the Elves for some supernatural help in winning the contest and in winning Ferrell’s Lars’ heart.
Eurovision itself was unknown to me until a few years back, when a tennis writer I follow on Twitter was going hard for Latvia. The delightful, over-the-top weirdness of the singing contest embraced by Europeans is one of the reasons why they are better than us Americans. Also, their men wear much better suits.
Like the contest itself, the movie is fun and ridiculous. Ferrell and his writing partner, Andrew Steele, give us a love letter to the spectacle, and they include something every movie should consider adding: a musical montage! Imagine how much better The Irishman would have been if DeNiro and Pacino broke out into a mash-up of Britney’s Toxic and St. Vincent’s Los Angeles. Maybe what I’m really saying is that I miss the first season of Glee.
From Lion of Love to Volcano Man, the movie’s original songs skirt the line between satire and realism. Did Will Ferrell or Max Martin write this? The answer is yes.
Thousands tried to tame me, but I roam free
Until I saw you and you saw me
It’s a jungle out there, so hold on tight
You’re about to see how I spend my night
The most memorable song is Jaja Ding Dong. In fact, I’m calling it now: it’s the song of the summer. Sorry to this man, Harry Styles. You did your best.
Jaja Ding Dong is the Freebird of Husavik, Iceland. Every time the duo is onstage, they ask the crowd if it wants to hear their Eurovision song, and the drunks yell back, “No! Play Jaja Ding Dong!” A tale as old as time…
Hearing the Husavikians demand Jaja Ding Dong makes me miss going out and screaming Mr. Brightside at the top of my lungs. It makes me miss hearing Sweet Caroline on the PA system at Fenway. It makes me miss the Before Times. Jaja Ding Dong is the anthem for everything we can’t do right now, so I’m going to my backyard — paloma cocktail in hand — and I’m singing Jaja Ding Dong! My next-door neighbors have a newborn, so he can squeal along with me.
Jaja ding dong (ding dong!)
Come, come my baby, we can get love on
Jaja ding dong (ding dong!)
When I see you, I feel like ding-ding dong
But alas, my backyard is a poor substitute. I want to sing Jaja Ding Dong at a bar, and to do that, I need all you dipshits to start wearing a mask. If you don’t, an elf will shiv you.
Amy takes pride in being a grumpy optimist. Want to talk sports ball? Amy is your girl. Her favorite New York Times crossword puzzle day is Tuesday. If your book is set in the former Soviet Union or World War 2, Amy will read it. As a recovered Southern Baptist, she is raising her daughter to be happy.