Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Muppets and Me and Stuff
So...I have been toying with the idea of maybe starting another blog.
Goodness knows it's not because this one was getting so many hits......wink, wink.....or that I just have SO many posts to fit in, it's just because I can't seem to find a medium between blog-posts that actually have something to do with the theme of this blog (classic movie reviews, in case you forgot) and posts about my personal life. Now that my personal life is a messy place with a lot to write down I figured it might be a good idea to curb the inconsistent flow of unhelpful movie reviews and even more unhelpful personal reviews. So, if I am just posting mindless reviews on here for a while trust it does not mean there is nothing at all to write about going on personally but that a new blog may be in the making.
For now, I have finally come out of hiding to bring you a new movie for once: Not only a new movie, a REALLY new movie that I bet a bunch of you haven't seen yet but have been thinking about seeing, and even better, a movie I saw the day it premiered. Beat that if you can.
Nearly a whole year ago....maybe more....I learned that this movie was being made, and dreamed of the day I could review it. Ya'll remember that time in my life, when you couldn't scroll down my page without finding Muppet in every nook and cranny of this blog. There were two reasons for that: 1. I am an over-obsesser, and when I enjoy something I tend to be unable to think of anything else. Things like the Muppets, John Denver, Porky Pig, Humphrey Bogart and Lost: That for some reason or other make me feel happy or interest me, (or give me an funny excuse to parry accusations about crushing on boys) tend to take a central seat in my life (more than is healthy, I'm sure) and make me want to share them with all the awesome people around me. Ok, yes--your hunch was right. 1. can pretty much be summed up by saying I'm a nerd about stuff. 2. is that the Muppets are easy to get obsessive over. Their fun, their felt, they had very catchy music and, (really horribly old, grant it) Danny Kaye and Don Knotts. But more than that, they had a way of getting under your skin and making you feel all fluffy and mushy and happy inside. Listen to 'Rainbow Connection' if you don't know what I mean. Maybe it's just the fact that I grew up loving them and therefore they became sacred images of my childhood splendor, but judging from the large (and seriously, creepy) internet-based fan-clubs teeming with people who's lives revolve around ping-pong ball eye related stuff, (see Toughpigs.com, TheMuppetMindset, and MuppetCentral) there's a following of people who feel the same way. And as an amateur (but now 16) movie reviewer, I'm here to testify that this new movie made both of us very, very happy.
First of all: The plot is basically three of their other movies combined with something else unoriginal, but it doesn't matter a bit. With the Muppets, it's all been done before: The onstage/offstage plots of of the Muppet show were like Jack Benny except with more explosions and their puppets. This is like a Muppet show movie. Except...well darn, it's a lot more than that. Maybe I should move on to something a little easier.
The humans: For those of you who haven't tracked this movie from it's earliest conception, you may not know two things: a) it was written by, produced, and starred the same man. and b) that man is Jason Segel, whom you will know as the voice of Vector from Despicable Me. You should also know that neither of these things ought to be held against him, for we owe it to him to have created a fun, funny, heartfelt, clean and sincerely nerdy movie that hearkens back to the days when Milton Berle could be found running used car dealerships and Rowlf the Dog was a household name. Also starring in it is Amy Adams of Enchanted fame, who's role in Julie and Julia caused the author of this blog to chop all her beautiful hair off, only to see her sporting the long and wavy doo (again). Life isn't fair. Both have miniscule roles as utterly normal pair Gary and Mary, the latter of which's dreams of tying the knot are always squashed by the fact that Gary feels himself responsible for his tiny felt brother Walter, who is (yep) a Muppet. THIS much you should have gathered from the commercials already, so I digress.
Walter, again for those who don't know, is the new Muppet who was introduced for a slew of reasons, none of which I can think of right now. I will say with all honesty that when I first encountered this my first thought was "Basic Disney marketing ploy, cute new character garnered in order to shove merchandise down fan's throat"...or something to that effect, and gathered every bit of change-resistant hate I had, ready to slew at anyone and anything that tried to take screen time from the original Muppets. Whether or not all that is true, I lost the battle. Despite his annoying nasally voice and the fact that every other scene he's in is an emotional one, Walter is frickin' adorable and I may end up 'Awwing' as much as the obnoxious teenagers that sat behind me if I go to see it again. Ok, I even take back what I said at first. Walter doesn't take near as much screen-time as the trailers lead me to believe, and he is a good investment of time, giving the other Muppets something to spring-board off: their one and only devoted admiring fan in a world of people who have moved on.
This was not only a marketing ploy, it was a great one that worked and got it's point across with gusto. This subplot that no one knows or cares who the Muppets are anymore works well and makes a lot of sense, probably because of the sad but in this case, maybe fortunate ring of truth to it. (It's not like you can blame us. Let's take your favorite characters, make a bunch of cruddy B-pictures and replace your star with a disgustingly not-funny king Prawn (below) and see how nostalgic you feel about it. Oh Henson, we miss you...) In the end, the fact that it all worked out *SPOILER* grant it, after a premature "The End" sign flashed across the screen, gives hope for the future that may be as true as the bleakness of the past (namely the 90's) with people realizing and remembering how great they really were. Yeah baby.
One more thing before I give the over-all; This movie is so nerdy you can't shake a stick at it, and I love that. So many minor characters..including my two favorites, Rowlf and Scooter, get bigger parts than they have in any movie. References are made to every single other Muppety production worth referencing, and very obviously someone involved frequented the forums of one of those sights I just mentioned. But anyway. The musical numbers, namely Tex Richman, Me Party and...yeah, Am I A Man or a Muppet (and I swear I didn't make any of those up) were so tongue-in-cheek you sometimes wonder just how cheesy they were trying to be. But the good news is, it all works. It really, really all works out into a movie that...well...let's not get ahead;
The Bottom Line: See it. See it now. Make all your friends see it. Take your kids. If there's anything good left in this crazy world, let it spawn a comeback of clean quality humor we can appreciate together. The movie is clean by the way, I racked my brain to think of a part where it wasn't and the best I could do was some women dressed in Las Vegas style showgirl outfits during one number, so I'll go ahead and warn you:
There. This is as racy as it gets. In a 2011 movie. God bless you Jason Segel.
In the end, the movie somehow becomes fantastic. I don't know where amongst that crazy mix of 80's rock and roll montages, mushy character parts and....driving, it happens, but it does, and about five minutes after watching you realize you've seen a good movie. And about three days afterwards, you want to see it again. And for an undeterminable period of time that end song will be stuck in your head. I swear.
"I've got...everything, that I neee-eed!!"
Oh my gosh that's bad.