Monday, August 9, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #17

17. The Muppet Movie (1979)

This movie, every time I watch it, always makes me happy (and its been that way ever since I was a child!). It just brings a smile to my face when I think about it. Face it, Jim Henson was a creative genius and his characters enchanted the entire world (and still do!). In 1979, Henson and his team were on a career high. The Muppet Show was one of the most popular variety shows on TV and Sesame Street was already in its tenth year of delighting and educating young children. It almost was the natural course that the Muppeteers would try and tackle the movie business after conquering television to such great effect. So the Muppets' creative masters put their heads together and came up with this charming movie that is really one of the funniest movies of all-time.

The story concerns Henson's iconic Kermit the Frog as he begins singing in the swamp (the lovely ballad "The Rainbow Connection"). He is convinced by a Hollywood agent to trek to Los Angeles and audition for a film studio (looking for frogs!). As Kermit journeys from his swamp to the California shores, he meets a delightful array of characters (that we all know and love): Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, The Electric Mayhem and the love of Kermit's life (at least according to her!), Miss Piggy. The main conflict arises when a Frog-Leg restaurateur (played by the great character actor Charles Durning) tries to force Kermit to be spokesperson for his fast-food chain. The movie is super-hilarious with some great one-liners (my absolute favorite one, said by Kermit when he meets Fozzie Bear: "I'm off to Hollywood to audition for World Wide Studios, would you like to come? If they're looking for frogs, they must need bears too."). It is a zany adventure filled with great songs and star-studded cameos like Mel Brooks, Madeline Kahn, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Dom DeLuise and Orson Welles (just to name a few!).

Next Post: #16

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