The Muppet Movie (1979) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

actingĀ 9

directing 9

effects 10

editing 10

writing 10

SW SCORE: 48

5 out of 5 šŸ™

++

I didn’t see this movie (at least to the best of my memory) until I was in college. I don’t know why. I probably thought I was too cool to see it. And that doesn’t make sense because I was not then nor have I ever been cool. But anyway, when I got around to it, it charmed the hell out of me. I did grow up watching and loving The Muppet Show and the movie kept the same knowing wink humor that I loved. I’ve since re-watched a lot of The Muppet Show and like every other great entertainment aimed at kids, it has plenty of jokes that fly right over kids’ heads and make their exhausted parents laugh (well, they are probably too tired to laugh but they at least smile). It is a special skill to write a joke that two vastly different age groups love.

The movie is the most Hollywood story ever: small town (swamp) frog wants to be a star in Hollywood and moves cross country to do so. The journey is amazing. The characters Kermit meets along the way are all hilarious and lovingly designed (best puppets ever, no disrespect to Sesame Street: same designer, tho, FWIW). The Hollywood star cameos are hilarious. My favorite is Steve Martin’s stint as an annoyed waiter but here are some others (with their usually fantastic character names – and yes some are more than cameos but all still small) that you absolutely have to look out for:

Charles Durning as Doc Hopper (more than a cameo, sure, but he plays a great villain)

Milton Berle as Mad Man Mooney

Mel Brooks as Professor Max Krassman

James Coburn as El Sleezo Cafe Owner (best character name ever)

Coburn: That’s the toughest, meanest, filthiest hellhole on the face of the earth!

Kermit: why not complain to the owner?

Coburn: I am the owner.

Dom DeLuise as Bernie the Agent

Madeline Kahn as El Sleezo Patron (what? WHAT? of course she made it SING)

AND

Telly Savalas as El Sleezo Tough (I wish someone would open a bar and name it El Sleezo)

Bob Hope as Ice Cream Vendor

Carol Kane as Myth (and Telly again, I couldn’t find a high quality solo snap)

Actress Carol Kane (L), Kermit the Frog (C) and Actor Telly Savalas (R) in a scene from “The Muppet Movie,” 1979. The musical comedy was the first theatrical film featuring the Muppets and included cameos by many famous actors. Photo by John G. Zimmerman.

Cloris Leachman as Lord’s Secretary

Richard Pryor as Balloon Vendor

Orson Welles (Orson F***ING Welles!!!) as Lew Lord

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 šŸ™, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feelingā€¦not that SW score is scientificā€¦but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

One thought on “The Muppet Movie (1979) (mini-review++)

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