A longstanding tradition in the Greenbean household is to take in a movie on Thanksgiving. Occasionally we actually make it to the theater on Thanksgiving day. This year we didn’t, we didn’t make it until Friday night, after we had decorated the house for Christmas. It was no contest as to which movie we would see–the Muppets, of course. Apparently we weren’t the only ones. I was unaware that there was trouble in Muppetville over the film until a friend told me that Frank Oz wasn’t happy with the movie script. Sure enough, a little internet research and ruffled feathers confirmed.
But, I don’t care what Oz says, I absolutely loved the film. It made me smile and it was a very good film. The reason it made me smile was the homage it paid to the old Muppet TV show. I used to love watching those. One of my short stories in The Haunting of Pastor Butch Gregory is partially inspired on an old sketch from that show, “Pigs in Space.” My short story was originally titled, “Baptists in Space” until I retitled it “Legacy.”
Jason Segel is okay, and Amy Adams is always outstanding, but there were three things I really enjoyed about the film. First, it was clean. By clean I do not just mean no foul language or scantily clad women or even men and women in intimate situations; I mean that it was clean in that it did not contain even innuendo or ‘this is for the adults’ humor. Pixar and Dreamworks are both wonderful programmers, but there is built in ‘over the kids heads for the adults sexual jokes’ in most every Pixar film and fully loaded into Dreamworks. There was none of that in the Muppets Movie and I appreciate it.
The second thing which I liked was the plot premise of the Muppets having drifted apart and lost contact with each other. As a man who is nearing his 40th birthday; that theme has power for me. The people who were my friends and pals 20 years ago are almost non-existent in my life now. It is not so much that anything happened, we just drifted away from each other. Sometimes this drifting away was geographical or emotional and sometimes it was spiritual. Even muppety art imitates life.
Finally, the third thing which impressed me was how funny the movie was. I really laughed hard at several places–Kermit and the ’80’s robot, “This is going to be a short movie,” and Gonzo becoming a used toilet salesman.
If you haven’t seen it yet; and especially if you have youngish children, and you’re a Gen’xer, go see it. It will make you smile.