Even the vegetables don't like him.
December 23, 2019 8:52 AM   Subscribe

"When we first encounter Gonzo and Rizzo in a Muppetized Victorian marketplace, Rizzo immediately takes issue with Gonzo’s claim that he’s equipped to embody Dickens. “I know the story of A Christmas Carol like the back of my hand!” Gonzo boasts, and when Rizzo demands he prove it, this most unusual Dickens proceeds to describe the back of his hand. The gag may be different, but the effect is the same: this story will be told by a fancifully obtrusive narrator committed to making himself as much the star of the show as Scrooge. If the book’s effects depend as much on groaners as insights, there could be no greater Dickens than Gonzo." Ethan Warren provides his Grand Yuletide Theory that The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best adaptation of A Christmas Carol to Bright Wall/Dark Room.
posted by ChuraChura (76 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
Will now dig into the article, but this is definitely a correct opinion and also it is Michael Caine's career best performance.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:01 AM on December 23, 2019 [32 favorites]


There is no better Christmas movie than The Muppet Christmas Carol.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:02 AM on December 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


LOVE. THIS. Thanks for posting!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:05 AM on December 23, 2019


well duh...

also what is best interpretation of the Gift of the Magi??? hmmm?? some coincidence, you say?

sorry this is the best holiday movie
posted by supermedusa at 9:06 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


Just did our annual watch of this last night with the family, and we all (once again) came to the same conclusion.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:09 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


This is undoubtedly correct, and offers a much more sophisticated and reasoned examination than my argument that a) this adaptation is actually enjoyable, and b) is still enjoyable after repeated viewings.

I would also say the same for Muppet Treasure Island. Although that may be less on the canonical side, it has more on the Pure Movie Magic side.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:11 AM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I'm entirely on team Muppet Christmas Carol. There was one christmas many years ago when we managed to find something like 27 different Christmas Carol retellings on our satellite service and we watched them all (mr hippybear is a hardcore Dickens fan and he re-reads many of his novels every years), and we have both agreed for a very long time that Muppets is best, even above Alastair Sim.
posted by hippybear at 9:12 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


I would pay real money to read a full frame-by-frame walkthrough of the entire film written by Ethan Warren.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:12 AM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm actually really enjoying the one that's on the Beeb at the moment; the first episode really threw me with some fairly obvious Grenfell references, and Scrooge trying to justify his deeds with 'but those were just subcontractors'. It's also convincingly spooky in a way that I've not seen before.
posted by Acheman at 9:25 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Obviously the best, if only for the shot where the two horses dance in a circle.
posted by Iridic at 9:28 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Having read the article, it's bloody great, and if you've only come in here to hi-five the other fans, go read it.

(REALLY didn't get on with the BBC version that aired last night, may just have been the combination of fatigue, wine, cheese and both Scrooge and Cratchett's ATROCIOUS accents)
posted by ominous_paws at 9:53 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Currently streaming on Disney+.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:55 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I had no idea there was any contenders to The Muppet Christmas Carol, still don't.

Perhaps even Bezos isn’t the most apt Scrooge analog; he’s really more of a true neutral, a man willing to commit whatever human rights violations society will allow in the interest of securing a profit.

True Neutral? Lawful Evil at best. Neutral Evil if being real. Chaotic Evil if you have morals.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:00 AM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


So why exactly does Scrooged not count?
posted by St. Oops at 10:09 AM on December 23, 2019


So why exactly does Scrooged not count?

TONIGHT YOU WILL BE VISITED BY THREE SPIRITS WHO WILL SHOW YOU WHY ALL MEN MUST READ THE ARTICLE BEFORE MAKING FLIP CRITICISMS OF IT. REPEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNTTTTTT
posted by ominous_paws at 10:14 AM on December 23, 2019 [55 favorites]


It's honestly taken me a long time to come around to Muppet Christmas Carol, for one big reason: it was the first Muppet movie after Jim Henson's death, and Steve Whitmire just didn't sound like Kermit to me. That said, once I was able to get past that, I found the movie fantastic, and the amount of dust and sliced onions that suddenly appear whenever Tiny Tim is onscreen is a great special effect.
posted by Gaz Errant at 10:19 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


But Muppets didn't exist in Victorian London either? A Punch and Judy Christmas Carol I'd accept, but the author seems to have staked out some very specific goal posts.
posted by St. Oops at 10:22 AM on December 23, 2019


But Muppets didn't exist in Victorian London either

The fuck are you talking about
posted by an octopus IRL at 10:24 AM on December 23, 2019 [32 favorites]


But Muppets didn't exist in Victorian London

Neither did ghosts, I suppose.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


It has to be set in Victorian London, yes, but that's just one of his criteria. For instance, there's this:
Let’s start with the element that’s formed the core of my argument on this film’s superiority since long before I was pondering archetypes and transmutation: The Muppet Christmas Carol is the only adaptation to feature Charles Dickens as a character.
Dickens the narrator is a powerful and amusing character in the book. Leave him out of the movie and you lose a lot.

I like the article, but I haven't seen the Muppet Christmas Carol. I'm holding out for The Muppet Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ("It's Easy Being Green").
posted by pracowity at 10:39 AM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


If you haven't seen A Muppet Christmas Carol, then you now have an assignment to complete during this Christmas week.
posted by hippybear at 10:40 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


Also, the FX Christmas Carol mentioned toward the end of this essay... is seriously fucked up. It's effective, but it's really fucked up. Also, they say the word fuck a lot.
posted by hippybear at 10:41 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


(from the essay:)
Honestly, it sounds more like you’re setting very specific goalposts to make your point inarguable.

Well, that’s my prerogative, and you’re a rhetorical device, so I owe you nothing. Now give it a rest, we have to get going if we’re ever going to talk about the Muppets.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:43 AM on December 23, 2019 [20 favorites]


It certainly true that the Muppets' Twelve Days of Christmas is the best version of this holiday classic. Missy Piggy supplies a much-needed bah-dah-dum-dum that was sadly missing from the song.
posted by SPrintF at 10:46 AM on December 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


Cosigned with a fire-extinguisher full of graffiti paint. And it's a great deconstructive essay, too: here's why we love it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:01 AM on December 23, 2019


The version of Twelve Days Of Christmas that is part of the original television special is not the same as the one on the album. And what truly sells it is John's interactions with Fozzie.
posted by hippybear at 11:09 AM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is fabulous, offered up by one of the many people I have sent tfa to:

The thought process of Miss Piggy in the last five minutes of The Muppets Christmas Carol
posted by ominous_paws at 11:09 AM on December 23, 2019 [28 favorites]


I was not into the FX version of A Christmas Carol that just aired.

I mean, why do you need to make Victorian London even darker and grittier than the original text? Are there really psychological depths to the characters that Dickens didn't already plumb? Not only is the original story a masterpiece of economical writing, but this is Dickens we're talking about here. If you want effective 19th-century social realism that also has an emotional pull, the only people you could probably put up with Dickens are Hugo, Tolstoy, and maybe Engels. Trying to put your own authorial stamp on it just winds up producing a lot of unnecessary elaboration, and stretches the thing out to, like, eighteen hours.

Guy Pearce's Scrooge was pretty good, though. Not as good as Michael Caine, however.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:10 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I used to wrap things to the Patrick Stewart one-man performance of A Christmas Carol and that is always enjoyable. But he doesn't have Rizzo in his version and thus will always fall short to The Muppet Christmas Carol.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:10 AM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I wish ALL the songs were included on whatever version of MCC that is available for purchase. I miss the lovely sad ballad between Scrooge and Belle.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2019


I miss the lovely sad ballad between Scrooge and Belle

My brother has this on a closely guarded VHS copy from the initial home release. I'd swear blind I saw it at the cinema, but apparently it was cut from the theatrical release as they (fairly) assumed it would slow things down to the point of utter bafflement for kids.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:17 AM on December 23, 2019


There is a DVD release that contains the uncut version with the song. We had it before we got the blu ray. The blu ray however, has (when paused) intermissions with penguins, rats, and the Swedish Chef. It’s an upgrade, in my opinion.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:25 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, but I know what Muppet classic I'll be watching this Christmas.

"Who are we, Ma?" "I couldn't care less."
posted by phooky at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2019 [11 favorites]


The correct answer is “all of the Muppet Christmas things”. Why choose only one?
posted by Fleebnork at 11:30 AM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


We did a birthday lunch at a 50s themed restaurant yesterday, and “Heat Wave” started playing. My wife immediately said “the bookkeeping staff would like an extra shovelful of coal for the fire...”
posted by azpenguin at 11:37 AM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I love this article! Thanks so much for posting it--it's funny and clever, but also well-argued and convincing on so many fronts.

Also, that section heading:

Stave Two
What: the Dickens


*chef's kiss*
posted by theatro at 11:39 AM on December 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


For some reason: every time I hear or read about A Christmas Carol I immediately think about a version of it made for teevee in the 1980s starring Marlo Thomas. I never saw it, but this memory tic of mine is 100% real.

I've never seen the Muppet version, either. Perhaps I should.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2019


I still would have liked to have seen miss piggy karate chop scrooge
posted by brujita at 12:03 PM on December 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


ominous_paws:
(REALLY didn't get on with the BBC version that aired last night
100% agree. It had completely the wrong tone. I'm all for alternative stagings but they'd lost the source material with this one. We'd discussed it earlier and decided to skip the remaining parts, both agreeing that we'd rather watch the Muppet version again, and now here we are... ;)
posted by samworm at 12:05 PM on December 23, 2019


This is absolutely my favorite Christmas movie AND the best adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

My mom and I quote this movie endlessly to each other. If she's cooking something, I'll say, "It smells so delicious, Mother" and she'll say, "It DOES, doesn't it?"

I love the character design of the delicate, fairy-like Ghost of Christmas Past. And the jolly, ginger Ghost of Christmas Present.
posted by Aquifer at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I cannot find it online (because it was 1992 and so much of that stuff isn't archived digitally) but at the time the producers said in several interviews that they actually strove to be as faithful to the text as possible. I loved it when it came out, but I don't remember it doing particularly well at the box office. I'm so glad that over the years it's been embraced by people.
posted by rednikki at 12:20 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


A Muppet Christmas Carol has long been my favorite version, and I was spoiled with the inclusion of When Love Is Gone on the VHS, and shocked not to find it in other versions. The Patrick Stewart is a close second, especially for him singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in the church service. Anyone know where I could find Stewart's complete reading of the tale? I had it on cassettes, and thought I had it on CD/MP3, but alas.
posted by JawnBigboote at 12:26 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


I thought the Marlo Thomas special adapted It's a Wonderful Life. I could look it up, but where's the fun in that?

ETA: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076213/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_28
posted by JawnBigboote at 12:28 PM on December 23, 2019


The Christmas Carol adaptation in our house when I was growing up was the Mr. Magoo one, which made some kind of a weird choices for a pre-existing property in that it's very light on the usual Mr. Magoo hijinks to the but very heavy on mournful songs about loneliness. In my memory, they also go way longer on the bit where Scrooge's servants divide up his stuff than most other versions. I don't know that I would recommend it based on vague remembrances from 25 years ago (and there's frankly no way that the Mr. Magoo eyesight gags are going to hold up at all), but it's definitely not really what you'd expect given the title.
posted by Copronymus at 12:34 PM on December 23, 2019


sorry all but ...

Humbug to all the rest: Why the 1951 Scrooge film is considered 'the gold standard'


But please keep on discussing what might be the best American version.
posted by philip-random at 12:37 PM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


The first adaptation I can remember is the Henry Winkler American Christmas Carol (the Fonz!) but my fave now is 1970's Scrooge with Albert Finney.

I used to love Muppet movies a lot but they do less for me over time, even though I think the Christmas Carol is one of the better ones. I think it's a clash for me; I want certain things from a Christmas Carol, and certain things from a Muppet movie, and they are not the same things.
posted by emjaybee at 12:41 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


sorry all but

Sorry Americans, please weep in the face of my link to... er... cbc.ca

We will not be taking questions at this time
posted by ominous_paws at 12:42 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


When I mention that The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas movie, I get looks of bewilderment. Does such a movie exist? Could it really be that good? Yes and yes!

For my part, I'm just surprised so few people have seen it.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:55 PM on December 23, 2019


The movie is *so* good and I laugh and weep through it just about every year, to the tolerant bafflement of my in-laws. Agree with above posters that this essay is very well argued and also a delight.
posted by merriment at 1:13 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I have fond memories of Gonzo being interviewed in costume on CNN when this came out and he said "it has muppets, and it has human actors, and I have to say some of the human actors are very lifelike."

or similar. I have not been able to find the clip.
posted by hearthpig at 1:32 PM on December 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


I mean, why do you need to make Victorian London even darker and grittier than the original text?

I re-listened to Oliver! recently. Sooooo dark and not just the sad songs, but the "fun" ones too.

If you want effective 19th-century social realism that also has an emotional pull, the only people you could probably put up with Dickens are Hugo, Tolstoy, and maybe Engels.

Zola and Balzac are candidates, but would have to be fluent in French and English to really make the judgment fair.
posted by Jahaza at 2:02 PM on December 23, 2019


I am so glad to see this as an FPP although I admit that I am biased because yes, 100% this is the best adaptation and I also believe the best Christmas movie.
*turns on Disney+*
🎵🎶no crust of bread for those in need; no cheeses for us meeses...🎵🎶
posted by pointystick at 2:15 PM on December 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


they actually strove to be as faithful to the text as possible.

Except for the Marley brothers.

Humbug to all the rest: Why the 1951 Scrooge film is considered 'the gold standard'

All Christmas Carol movies ranked.
posted by Melismata at 2:32 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Except for the Marley brothers.

Which the essay addresses thusly: "...the selection of iconic hecklers Statler and Waldorf to portray the Marley brothers—any argument against the value of doubling the role can hopefully be nullified by the perfect intersection between these ultimate embodiments of needless nastiness."
posted by nubs at 2:41 PM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


This is an every year holiday watch for my family. It’s all great, but I want to especially praise the clever songs by Paul Williams, who wrote “Rainbow Connection” and the rest of the songs in the original “Muppet Movie” as well as the lyrics in “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas”.
We're Marley and Marley. Our hearts were painted black /
We should have known our evil deeds would put us both in shackles /
Captive, bound, we're double-ironed, exhausted by the weight /
As freedom comes from giving love /
So, prison comes with hate
posted by Songdog at 3:29 PM on December 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


Surely you mean in shaaaaaaaa-ckles?
posted by deludingmyself at 3:31 PM on December 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


The article had me at the one largely focused on a two-time Academy Award winner being quite rude to a frog.

Christmas Carol had been made and remade too many times, to the point that I am seldom willing to watch a new version. I am watching this one and enjoying it a great deal. And I love Scrooged; the casting and writing is exceptional and it's an all-round terrific movie.
posted by theora55 at 5:50 PM on December 23, 2019


As freedom comes from giving love /
So, prison comes with hate


Oh man, the chair dance I just instinctively did. You guys missed a treat, let me tell you.

To be honest, Muppet Family Christmas is my favorite Christmassy Muppet film*, but Muppet Christmas Carol has the decided advantage of being a lot better-known and easier to get ahold of, so I have more warm, fuzzy memories of watching it with friends over the years. I am sort of surprised to learn that I'm the only person, apparently, who is incredibly glad they cut the extremely long, slow breakup song. I remember getting pretty restless during it as a kid, and I was a kid very dedicated to holding still and being fairly chill. I should check with my sister if she feels the same.

*my favorite Christmas film is The Lion in Winter why yes family holidays ARE quite something how did you guess.
posted by kalimac at 7:17 PM on December 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


The boy and I loved Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, but it's old and the production values are only okay.
posted by theora55 at 9:18 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


A new Sesame Street Christmas special came out in 2016 -- I know because it's the first pop culture memory I had after the 2016 election, and the associated trauma means I'll probably never watch it again.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:32 PM on December 23, 2019


The Muppets are dead to me now that they work for Facebook.
posted by fairmettle at 11:01 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


that feels extreme
posted by philip-random at 11:18 PM on December 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I kind of agree, though. At least I liked crumpets, even if the giant ones they were hired to flog me were a terrible idea from conception.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:40 AM on December 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

We watch this every year without fail, and to this day are easily provoked into saying "Look at the birds up in the trees"/"We're not birds--we're a jug band!".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:24 AM on December 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


This essay is what I've been ranting at anyone who would listen for 20 years. Dickens' writing is similar to Douglas Adams in that at least half of the humor is in the clever wording of the narration, and if you make an adaptation without that narration you're at best telling half the story.

I'm continually amazed at how much Dickens they left in -- it's made with puppets, ostensibly at least partly for children to watch, and yet you still get "Are there no poorhouses?" and "If they would rather die... they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." And even "more gravy than of grave."

My favorite bit is at the end when Gonzo says, in his over-the-top way, "and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT DIE, he was a second father." When I first saw it I assumed this was a Muppet addition to the script, but of course it's Dickens himself being ridiculously saccharine and silly in exactly the same way as the Muppets.
posted by mmoncur at 2:25 AM on December 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


The astronomical unlikeliness of Scrooge’s decision gave rise to one of the more startling reads of the story, even to this Carol obsessive: Marxist critic T.A. Jackson’s 1937 argument that Dickens’ story is best seen as “propaganda in favour of pathetic resignation” encouraging the world’s Cratchits to toil with a smile and await the spiritual rebirths of their own Scrooges

This is a great essay - well-written, full of interesting stuff, charmingly organized. I came away knowing more than when I started.

So anyway, though, the Marxist read on A Christmas Carol should not be startling to anyone who's read much Dickens, and in fact is not* a particular stretch as a read of Dickens. It's what Dickens is always saying - the world will be better when individuals are individually transformed through encounters with significant events and take personal action to improve the lives of specific people around them. The only people who make revolution in Dickens are the bad guys. If anything, Dickens makes a lot of fun of people who do actual, organized charity work - it's not even that he doesn't envision any kind of state-led social reform, he actively disapproves of people who try to do structured stuff outside the state.

The only reason Dickens isn't despicable (morally, I mean, not as a writer) is that he believes his beliefs - you're supposed to encounter death, suffering or injustice and be personally, permanently transformed. The world is supposed to change you, and for the better. You're not supposed to be responsible for, eg, the victims of industrialization, but you are supposed to be responsible for the suffering visible in front of you.

It makes sense that Scrooge is, as the writers says, a lawful character - many of the important secondary characters in Dickens are already trembling on the edge of transformation, people who see suffering around them but are not ready to buck convention or undergo inconvenience to alleviate it - they're people who have already admitted the premise. The villains are for the most part always-already unreachable.

I guess if anything it's a testimony to how terrible humans are that "when you see suffering literally at your door it is your job to alleviate it a bit" is still a stretch and therefore Dickens still has a great deal of moral force. You would think that we'd have processed the whole "if I see an immiserated person at my gate it's my responsibility to at least do something" and passed on to "let's alleviate suffering on a larger scale".

*I mean, I assume that Jackson fleshed this out in more complicated ways not covered in the one-sentence summary
posted by Frowner at 5:35 AM on December 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


I always found it hilarious that Statler & Waldorf are Jacob & Robert Marley (aka “Bob” Marley).
posted by jonp72 at 5:43 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I really love how this article uses that exact thing as its entrance into how the Muppets are archetypes and are assigned characters accordingly. I've always known this but have never thought about it in those terms. I've always appreciated how the Muppets are all personalities and they get cast according to that.

I have this stupid thing about the Muppets in general, though. They have a direct line to my heart, sort of like also Karen Carpenter's voice. I'm defenseless, and I don't mind it at all.
posted by hippybear at 6:07 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


I always found it hilarious that Statler & Waldorf are Jacob & Robert Marley (aka “Bob” Marley).

just to set the scene for you, I'm sitting here, ham cooking away and everything else keeping warm in the oven, this very movie paused in another tab, with my jaw hanging slightly open as I reenact that galaxy brain gif. This is delightful.
posted by kalimac at 6:31 PM on December 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


Thanks, ChuraChura, for this post, and thanks, ominous_paws, for the Miss Piggy/Emily Cratchit link. Finished the annual viewing a couple of hours ago. Cried at the usual spots, laughed at the usual spots, applauded the Micklewhite's sign in its usual spot. Poor, lonesome baby Ebenezer, without the benefit of twelve hundred and seventy-four brothers and sisters!*

Favorite part of the essay: It may seem like splitting hairs to suggest that Kermit’s decency is an order of magnitude more appropriate for the Cratchit role than Mickey’s famous niceness, but while niceness and decency are both archetypal virtues, one leaves substantially more room for nuance. Mickey’s definitional quality leaves him bland; Kermit’s decency, on the other hand, allows for bouts of vanity and pettiness without invalidating his core respect for the value of all life. Niceness can be faked, but decency must be proven, and this quality serves as a magnetic pole for anyone—be they human or frog—to find their way back to where surface-level niceness fails.

I appreciate the distinction and the succinctness, as someone regretting the time/opportunity lost in conflating these qualities.

*This year, Rizzo's constant snacking was abruptly like witnessing a proto-Rusty Ryan, which led to considering all the Ocean's 11 cast's actorly choices as deeply influenced by this film and mapping character to character. The Muppets, they just never stop giving. Happy Christmas, turtledoves.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:04 AM on December 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


OK, I watched it with the kid last night. The good parts were the Dickens quotations and Michael Caine.
posted by pracowity at 1:26 AM on December 25, 2019


Michael Caine Loves The Muppet Christmas Carol as Much as You Do (GQ, Dec. 15, 2016)

GQ: Tell me everything.

Michael Caine: To start, my daughter, who is the mother of my grandchildren, was then seven, and she had never seen me in a movie. I had never made a movie that a 7-year-old can see. And so a man mentioned the Muppets and I said, “That’s it! I’ll do that!” And it’s A Christmas Carol, it’s a fabulous tale! You’ll be old Scrooge, it’ll be marvelous! And it was absolutely perfect at that time for what I wanted. I could make it, and my daughter could see it. That’s why I did it. And it was lovely.

Have your grandkids seen it?

Oh yeah, yeah. They’ve seen it. They loved it. They can’t believe it was their grandpa—and me singing! People say to me, Have you ever sung? I say, Yes, I sang in a movie. They say, Who with? I say, Kermit the Frog.

Caine, later: It’s very funny. One of the best things about it is that puppeteers, compared to actors, are much nicer, gentler, kinder people. They’re really the loveliest of people. I’d never worked with a cast where every single person was lovely. You always get a couple of actors who think too much of themselves. But these were all kind, gentle, loving people and I had the best time.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:05 AM on December 25, 2019 [17 favorites]


The good parts were all the parts.
posted by benzenedream at 1:36 PM on December 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


This is the correct opinion. I would also argue that the Muppet version of Treasure Island is itself the best cinematic version of that tale too.
posted by Tasmanian_Kris at 1:50 PM on December 25, 2019


That GQ article is so sweet. He seems so excited about it, and can't say enough nice things about the movie.

When you’re talking to Kermit, where do you look? Do you look him in the eye?

Yes. You look him straight in the eye. It’s like talking to a real actor.

I love it.
posted by gc at 5:48 PM on December 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


So why exactly does Scrooged not count?

Scrooged is pretty good right up until the last ten minutes. I don't really buy Frank Cross's redemption as it's played by Bill Murray; it seems like he's faking his way through it.

(And believability aside, that ending is just plain bad. I feel retroactive vicarious embarrassment for all the people who watched the film in theaters and had to sit in glum silence while a bored Murray exhorted them to sing along with the sappy song that plays over the credits. I'd have lit out for the exits after 5 seconds of that crap.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:00 PM on December 26, 2019


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