THE CLASSICS OF 1979
THE MUPPET MOVIE
The Muppet Movie is classic because the Muppets and their sense of humor still hold up today. I'm gonna be up front about it; I love the Muppets, and it's going to be hard to say anything bad about them. The Muppet Movie came out in 1979 and got rave reviews, today it holds a 90% fresh rating on rotten tomatoes, so it is beloved by many, but does it deserve the recognition?
The Muppet Movie is a movie within a movie, full of Meta-reference and cameos from a lot of old school hollywood; Mel Brooks, Telly Savalas, Bob Hope, and Steve Martin all show up to make you laugh. The film starts at a private screening of The Muppet Movie. As the lights go down Robin the Frog asks Kermit if the movie they are about to watch is how the Muppets got together; Kermit replies, “approximately”. As well as being flick within a flick, it's essentially a road trip movie. Kermit is sitting on a log singing “Rainbow Connection” when Bernie, a Hollywood agent (Dom DeLuise), paddles up in a boat and tells Kermit he should go to Hollywood and get rich and famous. So Kermit goes for it, and on the way meets Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great (my personal favorite), and the rest of the gang. Kermit is also being pursued by Doc Hopper (Charles Durning, playing a younger version of his character from “O' Brother Where Art Thou”) who wants Kermit to endorse his french-fried frog legs restaurants. Kermit finds the idea appalling so he declines, but Doc can't have that, so he hires an assassin to kill Kermit. It's a narrative of very heavy duty proportions.
The movie on a technical level is astonishing. I saw the latest Muppet outing and really enjoyed it, but I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. Jim Henson and crew in 1979 brought the Muppets to life; Kermit riding a bicycle alone is worth the price off admission. Another highlight would be Miss piggy kicking some Henchmen ass, and saving Kermit's in the process.
The Muppets feel like real people, and evoke a real emotional experience, the Muppets are the best of humanity in felt form; they are the people (or farm animals) we wish we could be. So if you are unable to recall childhood on a whim, throw on The Muppet Movie, it's funny and touching and I promise you won't regret it. It is a classic after all.