Muppets, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo,

Top 5: Muppet Movies

Top 5

One of the five most influential people on how I think, write, perceive the world and the lens through which I see it is Jim Henson.  I grew up on a steady diet of felt puppet madness from The Muppet Show and Sesame Street through all the original movies, the TV specials, even the more mature experiments like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and The Storyteller.  Henson was a visionary, a genius, an educator and a rare adult: the sort that never loses his childlike heart.  His untimely death in 1989 is something that still devastates me and I don’t think I can think of a single “celebrity” of whom I can say that of.  I’m literally tearing up writing this.

That’s not Henson’s style though, so I won’t stay there for long; neither would he.  He’d rather focus on his creations: Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and the literally hundreds of companions for them that have sprung up over the years both before and after his death.  For a long time it looked like The Muppets were going to be forgotten.  In fact, that’s something about the self-titled 2011 film that made me just honestly weep was how sadly true it was to see Kermit sitting all alone in an empty house.  Bless Jason Segal for getting back and for writing “Man or Muppet” which has a shockingly high place on my ipod’s top 100 list.

The reviews are looking good for Muppets Most Wanted (77% on RT at the time of publication) this weekend and I’ll certainly be there with my wife.  I mention this last part specifically because last time she dressed as the Swedish Chef and I want her to know that I don’t plan on sneaking out of the house without whatever she has planned this time.

It’s time to play the music.
It’s time to light the lights.
It’s time to reveal my top 5 Muppet movies.
On Killing Time tonight!  (I’m disproportionately proud of this)

1. The Muppet Movie (1979)

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
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3. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
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4. A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
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5 (tie). Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
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5 (tie). The Muppets (2011)
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13 thoughts on “Top 5: Muppet Movies”

  1. Jim Henson had the most purely benevolent imagination in the history of television and film. He also, I would argue, had the most amazing imagination, period. Anyone who has doubts about Disney’s stewardship of Star Wars need look no further than The Muppets, a film that captured the sensibility of a man who’s been gone for over two decades. Disney certainly didn’t have to keep it pure. My opinion might change after I see Muppets Most Wanted tomorrow—what on Earth is Ricky Gervais doing in a Muppet movie?—but I don’t think so.


    1. I don’t either. The reviews are pretty great and not all the Henson movies were home runs, but everything I’ve seen is high hilarity in the Muppet tradition. I love the quote, “Of course, it will be both of our names in history. There will be my name, then spacebar, spacebar, spacebar, your name.” lol lol


  2. I adore Jim Henson, I agree with all you say about him. I have just finished his biography and it is inspiring and made me cry a little bit..

    Man or Muppet is such a great tune and Brett McKenzie’s music has a great deal to do with making The Muppets (2011) so special. I also thought the scenes with Kermit alone in the house and looking at the photos with Jim Henson in were brilliant. Pitched perfectly and very poignant.
    Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media


    1. It was. It was almost too sad and that’s the only complaint I had about the film aside from the fact that the Amy Adams love story was a completely unnecessary subplot. I’m so happy Segal’s Muppet is staying on. I need to start that bio. The only reason I haven’t is how badly it tears me up.


      1. The film did contain a lot of sadness, like the scenes of Kermit wandering the empty mansion he once shared with Piggy, unable to let go. But the sadness was part and parcel with the film, which was really about the way the Muppets were mismanaged in the years after Henson’s death, then almost forgotten. In bringing the Muppets back into the public consciousness, the filmmakers first had to show us that these characters were lost and adrift. The whole subplot with the evil businessman (was his name Tex Richman?) trying to replace the Muppets with crass impostors was very telling. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he was given the film’s one rap number.


  3. Just saw the new one tonight. It’s not at the top of the pantheon, and some of the humor falls flat, as well as entire musical numbers, but there is enough inspiration to make it work, and work well. Segal’s absence, at least in front of the camera, does not bother me. This time around, there is no mistaking that the Muppets are the stars. There is none of the depth of the first reboot, none of the melancholy I suspect you liked even though you say it depressed you. But I honestly liked this better than Great Muppet Caper. And the audience ate it up.


    1. I’ll probably go tomorrow night. I thought aside from Man or Muppet, the songs were the weakest part of the last film, but I still can’t wait to see it.


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