One of James Frawley's rare ventures into film directing. He more often directs for television. See more »
When the freshly-painted Studebaker drives off and the Electric Mayhem band is waving goodbye, look closely at the bottom of Zoot. You can see the puppeteer's forearm quite clearly. See more »
I'm Waldorf. We're here to heckle "The Muppet Movie".
Gentlemen, that's straight ahead. Private screening room D.
Yeah, they're afraid to show it in public.
[they laugh as their car proceeds forward]
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Over first few credits, Sweetums bursts out of the screen, followed by many Muppet gags See more »
Misunderstood classic remains one of Henson's finest and most personal films. It may seem funny to call a movie as beloved as this one 'misunderstood,' but people do seem to remember this one mostly for Jerry Juhl's snappy screenplay and Paul Williams's knockout songs. Now while these things are admittedly great, as is the movie's formal playfulness (screenplay-within-the-screenplay, film break, etc.), what distinguishes 'The Muppet Movie' from the other Muppet films is the serious, wistful thread that runs through the picture. It's a road movie, all right, but like most road movies, the pleasure is in the getting there, and the achievement of the characters' goals is tempered by uncertainty, and by the knowledge that they can never really go back again. Throughout the film, we are shown the down side of show business, even before the Muppets have 'made it': Piggy abandons Kermit without a second thought at a phone call from her agent, Gonzo expresses the loneliness and regret of a performer's life on the road in his haunting 'I'm Going to Go Back There Someday,' and, worst of all, Kermit is continually tortured and tested by Doc Hopper, who wants him to commercialize his art for the unholiest of purposes. (One can only wonder what Henson would have made of his family's management of the company after his death.) Kermit himself agonizes over his choices in the desert conversation scene, and the final 'Magic Store' number questions whether it's all been worth it, before concluding that it probably doesn't matter either way. All this is punctuated with the expected Muppet chaos and satire and deliciously awful jokes, and of course the serious stuff wouldn't work if it weren't. But 'The Muppet Movie' isn't just another jokefest, as the rest of the diminishing-return Muppet films would become. No, it's a lovely, gentle metaphor about the relationship between art and entertainment and business, and it's every bit as effective today as it was 25 years ago. 9.5 out of 10.
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