Thursday, March 13, 2014

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 4. The Muppet Movie

4. The Muppet Movie

There are few movies that I hold as close and dear to my heart as the Muppet Movie. It’s one of those movies that I love so much that words fail me when I try to accurately describe it. 

I always loved the Muppets. Ever since I was a child. My grandfather introduced me to Muppet Babies and the Muppet Show, my mom and I would watch Fraggle Rock every night and I’ve already spoken of my love for Labyrinth. My grandfather played banjo and my uncle Tommy had an old Kermit the frog puppet. At family parent’s they’d perform a duet of Rainbow Connection. It felt like everyone in my blood line just loved that family of felt misfits. However as I got into Jr. High and High School my love didn’t go away so much as I just sorta fell out of it and focused on other things.

Then in September of 2001 the worst moment of my life occurred. My grandfather died. While I was in the middle of my mourning process, dealing with the worst event I’d experienced I turned on the TV and there was Kermit the frog, sitting on a log, singing rainbow connection. The tears exploded out my eyes almost immediately.

I went out and bought the movie on VHS that day and watched it all week long, just trying to hold back crying. While that events is over a decade ago I still get teary eyed during parts of this film now. 

This movie is so full of great speeches and songs it’s impossible to really list them all.

I think there’s 4 key ones to discuss so I’ll focus on those.

The first one would be the song Rainbow Connection which both opens and closes the movie. The song is much deeper than one would expect from a kid’s movie, covering topics specifically destiny and taking control of one’s life. Lyrics like “Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices/I’ve heard them calling my name” and “Life’s like a movie/Write your own ending” all speak to writers and artistic types alike. The song remains my all time favorite song for these reasons specifically.

Another key point is yet another song Gonzo’s song I’m Going to Go Back There Someday. It used to be my least favorite song from the film but now it’s a strong contender against Rainbow Connection. There is one line in this song that I would argue is one of my best lyrics in music history. The line is “There’s not a word yet, for old friends who just met”, this line has always spoken to me because I think we’ve all had a moment where we meet someone for the first time and felt like you’ve known them for years.

In a the very next scene Kermit has a heart to heart with himself. This sequence is one of my all-time favorite scenes in any film. Second only to a scene that will be discussed in 3 weeks for the #1 movie pick. In it Kermit says he shouldn’t feel bad that they didn’t succeed because he didn’t make any promises with anyone. That’s when the 2nd Kermit (aka his conscience) says “really?” and Kermit responses “I guess that’s not true, I promised myself”. It’s such a beautifully touching moment.

The final sequence is near the end of the movie when Kermit confronts the villain Doc Hopper. Kermit is trying to convince him to spare his life and he gives this speech:
Yeah, well, I've got a dream too. But it's about singing and dancing and making people happy. That's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And, well, I've found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And, well, it kind of makes us like a family. You have anyone like that, Hopper? I mean, once you get all those restaurants, who are you gonna share it with? Who are your friends, Doc? Those guys? ...I don't think you're a bad man, Doc. And I think if you look in your heart, you'll find you really want to let me and my friends go to follow our dream. But if that's not the kind of man you are and if what I'm saying doesn't make any sense to you, well, then, go ahead and kill me.

This is the speech that runs through my head every time I write a script, create with friends and focus on chasing my own dreams. Everyone needs to check out this movie out at some point in your life.

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