THE FINE PRINT OF THE STANDARD "RICH AND FAMOUS" CONTRACT: Let me get the obvious out of the way first: The Muppets, and the Toy Story short which precedes it, is a joyful romp. It gleefully mocks one's efforts to impose the standards of realism upon it while landing joke after joke, and even if its "are we too earnest for this era?" questioning is a bit strawmanish ("strawmanly?") it nevertheless will hit you in a place that is warm and fuzzy. Or Fozzie.
The note I want to add is that part of what the film does is absolutely confirm my Unified Muppet Theory -- that while The Muppet Movie tells the "true" story of how these performers came together and formed a troupe, each of the subsequent films (as well as "The Muppet Show") is a fictional work created within the narrative universe of that film -- namely, The Muppets Take Manhattan and the like are the films being created under the terms of the Standard "Rich and Famous" Contract.
Oh, those terms. Indeed, The Muppets returns to that original narrative. This is the movie about what happened to that troupe after decades in the limelight, after starring in those films and having all those famous people show up on "The Muppet Show." It is premised upon the details of that Contract upon which Kermit failed to perform due diligence, highlighting the importance of hiring top-notch attorneys to protect one's intellectual property. And in the end (and this can't possibly be a spoiler), it sets the terms in the fictional universe (as well as, hopefully, our actual one) by which these characters can now go back to making whatever future silly films they want.
Also, it has Mickey Rooney. And fart shoes!
Maniacal laugh...maniacal laugh.ReplyDelete
Those "fart shoes" were apparently very controversial among the earlier generation of Muppeteers. But I'm looking forward to seeing this, even it might be in Canada.ReplyDelete
Yep. We blogged about this. At least one of their concerns (that the other Muppets were jealous of Kermit's wealth) simply didn't make it to the final script.ReplyDelete
I did not recognize Uncle Deadly; I thought it was Clifford the rasta muppet, having aged rapidly or something.ReplyDelete
Also: 80s Robot.
Adam: Are you a Man or a Muppet?ReplyDelete
The fiancé felt there was a bit too much of the humans, and was a bit too sad. Otherwise, we were both very happy.ReplyDelete
Actually, I think you did spoil it for Russ: http://throwingthings.blogspot.com/2011/01/five-things-russ-feared-might-happen-in.htmlReplyDelete
"It's an idiom you idiot!"ReplyDelete
There was a bit more sad than I expected. In fact, that aspect took me a bit by surprise, but overall I really liked it.ReplyDelete
I'm a very manly muppet.ReplyDelete
As someone who feels that most Muppet productions suffer from too much Miss Piggy, I thought she was used pretty perfectly.ReplyDelete
"You think that's bad -- I once waited a whole year for September!"ReplyDelete
The 2-year-old made it through an hour but her age and her chest cold forced us to exit early. Can't wait to see the end at some point.ReplyDelete
Muppets do sad so well though. It's what gave the original Muppet Movie so much heart.ReplyDelete
And, Adam, does "The Muppet Show" have to be a fiction to fit your Unified Muppet Theory? Couldn't it just be the theater work they did between movie gigs? Otherwise they were doing meta/reality work way ahead of their time.ReplyDelete
My only gripe about this movie -- towards the end, there was a number that was filmed entirely out of focus.ReplyDelete
Yesterday morning we had 6, 8, 9, 36, 40, 65, and 67. 7 Thumbs Up. That's a successful remake/reboot/restore by any standards. Lots of jokes landed very well, but I particularly loved the casting of grown-up Walter. A Muppety-Man indeed.ReplyDelete
I think so -- insofar as the Muppets in "The Muppet Show" portray themselves as struggling -- they only have the theater because Scooter's uncle owns it, the quarters are run down, etc. But because they're stars in "real life," they're able to attract serious star wattage to guest on the show.ReplyDelete
So what's the path/best case scenario that would lead to a revival of a weekly Muppet Show? And where? ABC Wed. night at 8:00 paired with Modern Family would be where I put it, but I wonder if it can be made cheaply enough and still be good to go on ABC Family or Disney Channel.ReplyDelete
And my favorite throw-away line was, of course "No ma'am, I don't know why I'm not hosting."
My favorite throwaway line of the evening? TAE KWON DOE!ReplyDelete
Indeed. Would never have guessed that particular actor but it was spot on perfect.ReplyDelete
And I think that particular cameo was kept quiet and well done.ReplyDelete
Agreed. I actually thought it was going to be DJ Qualls -- my theatre burst into applause at that cameo (and at many others, true to NYC movie audience dynamics.)ReplyDelete
I agree. I cried the last 20 minutes of the movie, starting with a certain duet. It's probably the most I've cried at a movie since Toy Story 3.ReplyDelete
Interesting that it was all B+/B-level stars (and where was Feist, exactly?) -- not on the level of Clooney, Cruise, Pitt, etc.ReplyDelete
Feist was towards the beginning. I'm trying to remember exactly where, but my friend Megan and I did a little arm-squeezing when it happened.ReplyDelete
My theater went nuts for the human Walter cameo, by far the largest reaction of the movie. VAGUE SPOILER ALERT: I guess that's why Community is in trouble.ReplyDelete
Agreed with those on the sad. A little bit of Pixar blood was in this movie, in a good way.
Was Feist in the first song, just before Mickey Rooney?ReplyDelete
Feist popped up in the closing of the opening song when they were leaving town. And I got puched in the arm too.ReplyDelete
Pretty happy with the MUPPET movie, and what a delightful surprise that Toy Story short was.ReplyDelete
So some thoughts about the cameos (without spoiling Muppety Man, as I was fully expecting someone else)
Bit of a hodgepodge of cameos from favourites like Alan Arkin, Feist, Donald Glover, and NPH. I got gleeful at Kristen Schaal and "Hobo Joe". But Judd Hirsch and James Carville were completely out of left field (as much as I enjoy them both). With all the nods to the first movie, I would have liked to see a Tom Hanks or even Tina Fey pop up as well. I assumed we'd see a montage of kidnapping attempts on various celebrity hosts.
You know what I really wanted to see? I would have loved for a random Steve Martin cameo, just as another connection to the history. His Muppet Show episode was mentioned a couple times, and there just aren't as many of the original stars who cameoed in the first movie who are still with us.
Now, 2 last things.
1) Is it even legal to annoint a Hobo King without having John Hodgeman in the movie?
2) America loves to watch Jack Black be abused.
All in all, well done Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, Bret Mackenzie and all the folks who brought our beloved Muppets. The Muppets were the first "thing" I ever loved as a kid. I had the poster up in my room as far back as I can recall, saw the movie in the theatre. This right here, this was pretty nice.
PS I don't know who the set designer was, but they NAILED the Muppet theatre.
Given the Adam's Unified Muppet Theory and his absence from this movie, does Kermit actually have a nephew Robin, or is he just a "character" on the show? Sub-question: is Robin the "Scrappy-Doo" of the Muppets?ReplyDelete
I've raised that suggestion before -- Robin is the Cousin Oliver of the series and no real-life relation of Kermit's.ReplyDelete
But that means that the intro to "The Muppet Movie" is just a sketch, whereas I think it is more "believeable" if it really is the gang getting together to watch their first movie.ReplyDelete
Yeah, that's a problem -- Robin asks, "Uncle Kermit, is this how the Muppets really got started?" and he says "It's sort of approximately how it happened." Which suggests two things: (1) Robin has to actually be Kermit's nephew, and (2) The Muppet Movie itself is the first film created under the contract, not Caper.ReplyDelete
I was completely expecting a Steve Martin cameo, since they panned to his picture a few times....ReplyDelete
LOVED the movie!! Took the nephews- 2.5, 4.5 and 6.5- and my dad - and they all loved it. The two older ones had a hard time with the sad parts but everyone really just enjoyed it. My dad, almost 70, loved some of the throwaway lines...and got some of the things that I even missed.ReplyDelete
I'm not that much of a sentimental person but I did feel warm and fuzzy when watching it. I loved that the love of the Muppets from the characters came from the Muppet Show.
Well done, Jason Segal.
We (6 and 4 year-old boys, wife and I) hit the 9:45 AM show and everybody loved it. By the way, if you have young kids, I highly recommend picking up a large box of Munchkins and taking in the morning showing of this or any family film.ReplyDelete
Then, when we got home, the kids found the DVDs of the frst season of the Muppet Show that I had completey fogotten we owned, and demanded to watch them.
Today could be my best day as a parent.
...and I suddenly compare Kermit's narration of the first movie to Older Ted in How I Met Your Mother. I could accept Robin is his nephew. Although it'd be great if he was the Kermit doppelganger in the Moopets.ReplyDelete
I wonder if anyone here or the guys at Law and the Multiverse can give us any insight into the issues surrounding the Standard Rich and Famous Contract.ReplyDelete
I'm pretty sure there was a Robin cameo -- Megan seemed to think there was. Time to frame-by-frame this sucker!
Me too - we saw his picture and the wall o' banjos.ReplyDelete
That's great to hear! I hope the attention from the movie leads to season 4 and 5 of The Muppet Show being released on DVD finally.ReplyDelete
Feist was at the bus as they were leaving town - brunette in ponytail and (I think) a red skirt.ReplyDelete
Just saw it and loved it. I welled up more than once but laughed even more. I thought it did a beautiful job of blending old and new and am delighted that it left an obvious place to go for a next one.ReplyDelete
Animal has always been my favorite muppet and I loved him here with his drumming dilemma (particularly the little bit with the triangle) and of course, "Animal! What are you doing here?" "Ac-.
ting Na-tur-al?" And add my voice to the chorus of those delighted with the Walter-as-man actor.
Re: the cameos, I know for a fact Kathy Griffin did one that didn't make it to the finished film, and am guessing there were others. Perhaps we'll see those in the DVD extras?
If Tex Richman had not reversed himself on the theatre and Muppets name, there might have been a good tortious interference with contract claim to be fought.ReplyDelete
Saw it on Thanksgiving. I loved it. My brother loved it. My dad thought it was "shmaltzy" but then admitted that he hadn't watched a lot of the Muppet Show nor had he seen any of the movies, so I told him his comments were therefore moot.ReplyDelete
I had a similar experience -- after years of resisting the original Muppet Movie, my daughter was REALLY into the idea of watching it, and we watched it just hours after returning from The Muppets.ReplyDelete
I pretty much had to drag my boyfriend and some of our friends (ages 19-21) to see it last night, but everyone loved it. I was very excited to see James Carville.ReplyDelete
Ricky Gervais and Billy Crystal were also in the Kathy Griffin cameo scene. I'm sure it'll be on the extras!ReplyDelete
Loved it. When Kermit said, "I guess everyone forgot about us," my 10 year old cried out, "I DIDN'T!"ReplyDelete
The adults had a good time figuring out the Six Degrees of Jason Segel that drove the casting.
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