A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 90 – The Muppet Movie

The Muppet Movie – May 29th, 2010

Can you believe we have no Dennis Hopper movies? None. We checked. So we’ve made a note of that and will be rectifying it soon. Unfortunately that means we can’t honor him tonight by watching one of his movies. So we’re watching The Muppet Movie instead. A road trip movie about a frog with big dreams being chased by a fast food frog leg purveyor named Doc Hopper. Okay, I admit it, that’s a horrible non-connection to Dennis Hopper. I apologize. But that’s no reason not to watch this movie and enjoy it.

Much like The Great Muppet Caper, which was made after this one, the fourth wall is in a weird place with this movie. The conceit of it is that the movie you watch is also being watched by the Muppets and is the origin story for Kermit and Fozzie and Miss Piggy and Gonzo and Rolf and the Electric Mayhem and everyone else. The movie begins with the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf included, gathering together for a screening of the movie they’ve made. And so you and they settle in to watch it.

Kermit meets an agent in the swamp and with a little encouragement heads off to Hollywood to become rich and famous. Along the way he meets Fozzie, then the Electric Mayhem, then Gonzo and Camilla (who say that Hollywood is the easy way – Bombay, India is the way they’d do it – which makes me wonder why there isn’t a Bollywood Muppet movie yet), then Miss Piggy, then Rolf, and bit by bit the group forms as they cross the country. The villain, Doc Hopper, wants Kermit to be the spokesfrog for his frog leg restaurants but Kermit, of course, wants nothing to do with it. Doc Hopper, being a villain, decides he’s going to get Kermit one way or another and chases him through the movie, employing a mad scientist who is an expert in frog mind control and a frog bounty hunter amongst others. It’s ridiculous, of course, and while I’ve read in a few places that Kermit’s journey was supposed to be a loose reference to Jim Henson’s own life and the beginning of his career, I doubt he had a maniacal fast food king hunting him down for his legs.

Anyhow, Kermit and his rag tag bunch of dogs, pigs, chickens, bears and whatevers defeat Doc Hopper and make it to Hollywood where they’re signed to the “standard Rich and Famous contract” and make the movie about their journey. Whereupon they sing the closing number and Sweetums shows up and interrupts the screening, breaking the tenuous fourth wall (already made thin by numerous lines directed at the audience and a copy of the script handed to Dr. Teeth so he can catch up) and entering the theater. Now, I never saw this in the theater, but the movie geek in me finds that particular moment really awesome. There’s larger-than-life Sweetums crashing the movie and the theater and there you are, in the theater too! Awesome! You’re part of the whole thing, screening the movie with the Muppets!

The movie itself is full of the odd and pun-tastic Muppets humor that makes me love them so much. There are definitely lines from this that have entered our reference vocabulary (Beaker’s meeped “Sadly temporary” has become a sort of universal expression of regret and dismay for us) and jokes that will always make me laugh, no matter how inane. The music is fantastic, especially the Electric Mayhem numbers and Rainbow Connection and the guest stars are awesome, even if many of them wouldn’t be so easily recognizable to a younger audience today. Many of them had been on the original Muppet Show and I love that they came back for the movie, so who cares? The newer Muppet movies have newer celebrities. That’s just how it works. What I really love about the Muppets is that as a group, they’re relatively timeless. I mean, look at the Electric Mayhem. You’d think they’d seem dated, but they don’t. They exist in their own little bubble. And hey, in 1979 they were talking about converting a church into a coffee house with good music and organic food. Mellow and profitable. Gee, an organic coffee house with music? How very prescient. But the majority of the jokes don’t depend on the year or the decade. And the spirit of the movie isn’t dependent on it either. It’s just plain great to watch.

May 29, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: