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The Muppet Post to End All Muppet Posts
November 27, 2011 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Missed "The Muppets" in theaters this weekend?* "How They Felt" is a short film co-starring a Muppet (apparently a Muppet Whatnot with custom wardrobe) that was part of this year's Boston 48 Hour Film Project, where it placed 2nd for Best film, won Best Actress (for the woman behind the Muppet) and also... "Best Sex Scene". Yeah, now you wanna see it. But be warned. Not a happy ending. It will either make you cry or make you want to strangle the filmmakers.
*then it's YOUR fault "Breaking Dawn" was #1 at the box office (does not apply to non-USAians)
posted by oneswellfoop (69 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's not my fault! I brought my whole family and made sure everyone i spoke to saw the movie this weekend.

And yes. It was pretty much perfect. Disagreement is technically legal but not welcome.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:39 PM on November 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh I get it how they "felt", ha ha ha wait so that was just an excuse to drag out a pun for seven minutes and twenty three seconds?
posted by hincandenza at 12:42 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Muppets did perfectly fine at the box office this weekend, with a projected total of over $42million over 5 days, and nearly $30million over the weekend. It's an incredibly strong showing for a film like this up against a whole slew of other family fare, including two christmas movies.

The chances that it will have legs well beyond what Breaking Dawn has are pretty good. Breaking Dawn saw a 76% drop at the box office in its second weekend. It probably won't be first next weekend if that continues. The Muppets, on the other hand, is getting the kind of word-of-mouth which most other movies only dream of, and with no new movies opening next weekend it has a very good chance of taking first.

Anyway, I saw it on Friday, and thought it was about as perfect as it could be. It didn't fall into any of the pitfalls I had forecast it might fall into, and while it was a bit heavy on the nostalgia, it also wasn't pandering and never felt false.

So, enough of that... back to discussing what this post is ACTUALLY about (even if it was couched in some strange ways which make this derail nearly inevitable).
posted by hippybear at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I blame The Whelk for the low box office numbers. He claims he's "too busy" writing a "book" to go see it.
posted by hippybear at 12:50 PM on November 27, 2011


Is that really all you saw there, hincandenza?

Sorry to hear that.
posted by ook at 12:51 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I confess, I pre-derailed the post with the box office reference because my own emotions over "How They Felt" are decidedly mixed (sad? yes. punny? yes. serious? yes. cliched? yes. respectful of all things Muppety? not sure.) and I was curious, yet semi-scared of how the hive mind here would react.

But you gotta admit, the "sex scene" made the best use of the never-changing ping-pong-ball eyes to express ennui I've ever seen.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:00 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wocka wocka!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:07 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It will either make you cry or make you want to strangle the filmmakers.

Or both.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:17 PM on November 27, 2011


I haven't seen it yet, but someone I trust described it as 'dreary' and said people walked out of the theatre where they saw it.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kermit is John Lennon??

Damn, didn't see that coming.
posted by tomswift at 1:29 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neither did Yoko.
posted by hippybear at 1:30 PM on November 27, 2011


why was Kermit's assassin something to do with a Southern chicken fastfood chain? or did I completely mishear that?
posted by Bwithh at 1:34 PM on November 27, 2011


why was Kermit's assassin something to do with a Southern chicken fastfood chain?

You need to go back and watch The Muppet Movie again.
posted by hippybear at 1:37 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen it yet, but someone I trust described it as 'dreary'

Was it Oscar the Grouch?
posted by wensink at 1:41 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please note that this is sponsored by Pulse Media.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:42 PM on November 27, 2011


I just found out that the Muppet film will not be realised in the UK until Feburary.

WHAT IN THE FUCKING HELL ARE THEY DOING TO IT? I WILL PAY FOR SHIPMENT FEES GUYS IM FINE WITH THAT

(the one film I don't want to pirate....)
posted by litleozy at 1:45 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know the guy who played Mike.

The full audio of the fake sitcom is here if anyone is interested.
posted by contrarian at 1:46 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


sevenyearlurk, that only makes sense if the person who told you it was dreary was also one of the ones who walked out early. Like, in the first half-hour, I guess? Because otherwise that assessment makes no sense at all. And frankly, why lend credence to those who can't stomach fifteen minutes of downbeat tone so that the film has somewhere to build from?
posted by Navelgazer at 1:55 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fifteen minutes of downbeat tone?

"Life's A Happy Song" takes place REALLY early in the movie. I haven't seen a production number which involved long wide shots of people dancing in, like, forever. It's usually MTV-style quick-cuts made to disguise the fact that the people doing the number really can't dance at all. Instead, they invented a way to show the dance which let the dancers carry the ball while the non-dancing leads (and puppets) had a part to play which didn't seem out of place in the midst of all of it.

It's a brilliantly staged sequence, and is about as dreary as the "spoonful of sugar" sequence from Mary Poppins.

And the movie only goes up from there.
posted by hippybear at 2:00 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


So did anyone else actually watch the linked clip?
posted by Think_Long at 2:04 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


sevenyearlurk, that only makes sense if the person who told you it was dreary was also one of the ones who walked out early.

I dunno. I don't think that's the case, and without getting into identifying detail, I will say that this guy has a pretty good background in comedic writing. Obviously it's a bit of an outlier opinion. Hippybear, you've been hyping this movie for months, so your enthusiasm doesn't sway me as much as it otherwise might. I'll have to check it out for myself.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 2:13 PM on November 27, 2011


Um... I haven't addressed you at all, sevenyearlurk. Are you oneswellfoop's sockpuppet?

I watched the linked clip. It was... well, dreary. and people walked out of the theater when I saw it.
posted by hippybear at 2:30 PM on November 27, 2011


Hippybear, I was imagining the "downbeat tone" as being from roughly (MINOR SPOILERS) when they show up at the decrepit Muppet Studios through rescuing Fozzie from Reno.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:33 PM on November 27, 2011


Navelgazer: yeah, that's probably it.
posted by hippybear at 2:34 PM on November 27, 2011


The winner of the film competition is worth a look, too. Strange that most of the films aren't available online when the winners are announced. Seems counterproductive.
posted by mediareport at 2:48 PM on November 27, 2011


At the risk of sounding ridiculous, did anyone else find the new Kermit (Steve Whitmire) guilty of Sean Penn-like scene chomping?
posted by wensink at 2:56 PM on November 27, 2011


sevenyearlurk. Are you oneswellfoop's sockpuppet?
Are you fracking kidding me? If I had a sockpuppet (and I say IF), it would have a much better name, something from a Saturday Morning cartoon.

wensink, I've never thought of the character of Kermit as having subtle emotions...
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:14 PM on November 27, 2011


We did not see the muppets this weekend, but we did see Hugo, and I'm so glad we did. It's gorgeous, a great story, beautifully told, and it's what 3D was invented for.
posted by headnsouth at 3:24 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw the muppet movie this weekend and I loved it and I cried and I waved in my seat and sang along. So did others my age (the kids were all very quiet) and no one walked out.
posted by cairnoflore at 3:40 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why oh why isn't it out until February in the UK. Are these guys muppets or what?!?
posted by BigCalm at 3:51 PM on November 27, 2011


Are these guys muppets or what?!?

I won't spoil the moment in the movie which asks a similar question, but everyone who has seen it has the scene running through their heads right now.
posted by hippybear at 3:53 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I teared up during Rainbow Connection, and got *extremely* excited about the brief cameo of Angels Flight among other DTLA spots. For this, I will forgive the very obvious in movie Ad for Cars 2.

Great movie, and I was happy to do my part and vote for a family movie in box office sales.
posted by brownchickenbrowncow at 4:01 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't think it is possible to have NOT choked up during Rainbow Connection. It is the new Turing Test. But SPOILER having Feist pop up as the first cameo in the opening number is what sealed it for me that they knew what they were doing.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:06 PM on November 27, 2011


Strange that most of the films aren't available online when the winners are announced.

A lot of film festivals still prefer to screen stuff that's not available online. So a film-maker has to choose between reaching a larger number of people online or keeping their film more desirable for these festivals. The 48 Hour Film Project probably doesn't want to impose one decision on the contributors.
posted by RobotHero at 4:09 PM on November 27, 2011


I don't think it is possible to have NOT choked up during Rainbow Connection.

Let me tell you about my mother....


Yeah, I saw it and wasn't too impressed. It wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. The makers clearly had their hearts in the right place and wanted to do justice to the original material. But frankly, I would have preferred more Muppets and less people, especially scenes of the Muppets walking, that was just badly thought up, composed and directed. Muppets aren't people, that's the whole point of them, so trying to show them as people is counterproductive. Let them do their wacky things.

Also, a lot of the material struck me as lame an obvious. Perhaps the originals were too, but there's no reason to copy bad material.


Finally, why was no one wondering why the human had a Muppet as a sibling?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2011


Muppets take misery.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 4:32 PM on November 27, 2011


Muppet Movie was amazing. Jason Segal is a bona fide genius for writing such a funny, warm, silly, and ultimately thoughtful film which is itself a rumination on the nature of artistic endeavor. He is truly a muppet of a man.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:38 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


why was no one wondering why the human had a Muppet as a sibling?

being a Muppet in the world of Muppets is not like being white or black or tall or short. It is an internal thing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


That everyone can see.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:40 PM on November 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes I am saying all muppets are gay.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:40 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


As in happy.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:40 PM on November 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


To the lamenting Brits, I can only guess it might be here in time for February half term.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:45 PM on November 27, 2011


I thought Muppets had some fantastic sequences, but it was hurt by its best material being at the very beginning. Never got better than "Life's A Happy Song", which was such a delight to watch that the audiences melted into puddles of smiles and joy. There was laughter and grinning for the rest of the movie, but its plot was pretty weak and Rashida Jones didn't help (she rarely does).

Hugo, on the other hand, was absolute magic. I plan to see it in theaters another bunch of times. And between those two movies this was an astonishingly strong weekend for youth-accessible cinema.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:46 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just got back from seeing it and I absolutely adored it. Pure joy!
posted by brundlefly at 4:49 PM on November 27, 2011


Hugo was pretty much perfect. Haven't seen the muppets yet, though I think it's funny how everyone is hissing and spitting at the three negative reviews on rotten tomatoes.

This clip was . . . odd. The muppeteer's acting kinda stinks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2011


I've heard enough great reviews about Hugo that I'll probably go see it - it wasn't on my radar previously. But I really had to see the Muppets, and I pretty much loved it from start to finish.
posted by PussKillian at 4:55 PM on November 27, 2011




Muppets aren't people, that's the whole point of them, so trying to show them as people is counterproductive. Let them do their wacky things.

You are possibly overthinking this, Muppets were shown riding bicycles in past movies.
posted by JHarris at 5:20 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Haven't seen the movie; don't know if I will.

BUT I FUCKING LOVED THIS SHORT!!!

Not because it had muppets (tho' I've loved a lot of shows for that). Because it was awesome, and somehow the muppet character as a real person in a drama made everything that much more real.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:38 PM on November 27, 2011


Oh, yes, "How They Felt"...

I hated the acting which seemed like it was being done through off-screen interpreters or something for all the badly-timed pauses, but I'm overly sensitive to that sort of thing. I liked the point of it. And I thought the ending was right-on, really.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:53 PM on November 27, 2011


Watching the short, having seen The Muppets last night, made me really appreciate the ability of the Muppet performers (muppeteers?).* I'm sure the fact that the 'real' Muppets are already characters to me has something to do with it, but they're so full of life. This puppet didn't feel like a character, it felt like a prop.

*Miss Piggy just isn't the same without Frank Oz, though.
posted by Gordafarin at 7:52 PM on November 27, 2011


Rashida Jones didn't help (she rarely does)

YOU WILL RESPECT THE FUTURE MRS. MIGHTYGODKING, DAMMIT
posted by mightygodking at 8:15 PM on November 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


But frankly, I would have preferred more Muppets and less people, especially scenes of the Muppets walking, that was just badly thought up, composed and directed. Muppets aren't people, that's the whole point of them, so trying to show them as people is counterproductive. Let them do their wacky things.

Walking? In the original The Muppet Movie, Kermit rides a bicycle.
posted by Jahaza at 8:32 PM on November 27, 2011


Yes I am saying all muppets are gay.

I think it's entirely fair to read this movie as a coming out story. And that Jason Segel is, at the very least, muppet-curious.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:39 AM on November 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Finally, why was no one wondering why the human had a Muppet as a sibling?

I dunno. How is it possible that Beaker's cousin is Irish wrestler Seamus> How is it possible that Magic Johnson is the cousin of Magic Screen from Pee Wee's Playhouse?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:05 AM on November 28, 2011


I don't understand nearly anything about this post, other than I can't do The New Muppets, nor will I subject my kids to them. We'll just watch the old DVDs.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:46 AM on November 28, 2011


Hugo, on the other hand, was absolute magic. I plan to see it in theaters another bunch of times. And between those two movies this was an astonishingly strong weekend for youth-accessible cinema.

As much as I was blown away by Hugo, it's very, very slow, and a huge part of the film revolves around historical early French cinema pioneers. I can't think of a single "kids" movie that actual children would enjoy less. Basically, take kids to The Muppets; take dates and first-year film students to Hugo.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:10 AM on November 28, 2011


The original ending of The Muppets. (Spoilers, of course.)
posted by brundlefly at 2:26 PM on November 28, 2011


That's actually a better ending. And explains a lot about Tex Richman.
posted by Gordafarin at 3:56 PM on November 28, 2011


This may be a good place to leave this oddly charming YouTube preview of The Muppets official soundtrack, with clips from each song and aggressive youtube video commenting. (Poor Beaker)
posted by hippybear at 4:19 PM on November 28, 2011


They really missed out by not titling the cover of the Cee-Lo song 'Buck You'.
posted by Gordafarin at 5:08 PM on November 28, 2011


I had thought "Cluck You".
posted by hippybear at 6:52 PM on November 28, 2011




9 Lesser-Known Muppets in 'The Muppets'

I haven't gotten past the first page, but none of those three Muppets are "lesser-known" for anyone who has watched Muppet things over the years. Good grief!
posted by hippybear at 7:56 PM on November 28, 2011


I have a confession to make. I never really loved Kermit. Not the way one is supposed to, I mean.

I mean, I've always liked him, but to me he was to the Muppets what Mickey Mouse is to Disney - the iconographic Lead character, but not nearly as colorful as the others. I loved (and love) Gonzo, and Pepe, and Animal, and the Swedish Chef, and all the others, but Kermit was always so subdued, so much the de facto leader that I didn't see anything else to him, really.

Then, in the movie, during what I guess we'll call the "dreary" portion, he sings the song Pictures in my Head. It is at this point that I fell in love with Kermit the Frog.

Because I got that the point of Kermit is that he holds the rest of the Muppets anarchy together with his love for them, and that said love includes a lot of melancholy. And that's why I love the ending the film gave us, with Kermit bucking up the troops he brought together after a massive failure, struggling to keep his head held high as he exited the studio. I'd never realized how much of Kermit's expression comes from the use of the knuckles in the top portion of his head, and how subtle those movements have to be. Say what you will about Steve Whitmire, but Kermit is the hardest Muppet to perform, and he does a yeoman's job with the subtlety required.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:04 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


And another note about "Pictures in my Head": The line, "would anybody watch, or even care?" is obviously the dramatic question in the movie, and also the meta-question about the film itself. The movie is balls-to-the-wall Jason Segal betting the house that we will care, and not knowing if we really will. It's what makes "The Rainbow Connection" so powerful at the end, because if that moment lands then the movie is a success, and if it doesn't, well, this was all a waste of time, wasn't it?

And then cranky, curmudgeonly-ass Frank Oz had to step out in front of the movie and disavow it. I can't see any reason why Jim wouldn't have loved it, but Frank had to cut the legs out from under a labor of love, and I can't imagine what that must have done to Segal et al's confidence in what they had accomplished.

But, and I say this with the greatest respect: Fuck Frank Oz. Segal et al, you did a great thing with this one. We watched. We care.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:50 AM on November 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't gotten past the first page, but none of those three Muppets are "lesser-known" for anyone who has watched Muppet things over the years. Good grief!

About half are well-known to fans of Muppets, a/o those who watched The Muppet Movie, hippybear. And Beauregard is misspelled "Beaurgard". Sheesh.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:38 PM on November 29, 2011


Yeah, I was just coming in to represent for my starting shortstop Beauregard. And Sweetums! Wasn't he one of the main meta jokes from the first movie?

We watched. We care.

Speak for yourself. I care about the TV shows (pre-Muppets Tonight), but I'll pass on the movies. I didn't even like the first one. The only one that really stands up for me is Caper, and that's b/c of the (almost) always wonderful Charles Grodin.

I have a confession to make. I never really loved Kermit.

I never even liked him. I was mostly rooting for Doc Hopper.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on November 29, 2011


other than I can't do The New Muppets, nor will I subject my kids to them. We'll just watch the old DVDs.

There were some grim years there, I agree, but the new movie is really truly not one of those. I don't know if it represents a return to form or a last good hurrah, but it's worth seeing either way.
posted by ook at 8:51 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


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