Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.
There’s an exchange in the preshow for Muppet*Vision 3-D at Disney World that goes a little something like this:
Sam the Eagle: Will you stop this foolishness?
Gonzo the Great: What kind of foolishness would you like to see?
To me, that statement is the essence of the Muppets. And with that in mind, here’s today’s Friday Favorite, presented without context:
So here’s the context. This performance takes place as a part of the Muppet’s fundraising attempt to get money to buy back the Muppet Studios in 2011’s The Muppets. There was nothing surprising about the scene, as it was heavily featured in the trailers. The movie before it was filled with funny bits, clever songs, celebrity cameos and touching moments. But for me, when a Camilla and the other chickens started “singing” “Forget You” by Cee Lo was when the movie finally hit me. It was the moment that tied everything together.
You see, the Muppets have always catered to the weird and random in us. For me, it was a group of characters I could always fit in with, because I never fit in anywhere. That was their great draw, that a group of misfits could create fun, funny and heartfelt moments of art without having to change who they are. In a way, we’re all Walter. The love of the absurd and ridiculous was always at the forefront of that, particularly as represented by Gonzo.
You see, when I first watched The Muppets in the theater, I was apprehensive throughout. It’d been so long since they’d been on the big screen, and the movie was in the hands of a couple of popular comedians (Jason Segel and Bret McKenzie) who I was seriously worried would screw it up. And while I enjoyed a lot of what came before this moment, I was unable to relax and go with it, to have trust in The Muppets. And then Camilla came out and clucked “Forget You” and all was right with the world (or at least in my head).
You see, everything about the scene is absolutely pitch perfect. It’s exactly the sort of thing we would have seen back in the day on The Muppet Show. It was current, taking the hottest song and making it ridiculous in true Muppet fashion. It wasn’t simply a 10 second joke, but a fully fledged song, and was entertaining and faithful to the original, except of course for the fact that it was sung by chickens. It helped that it followed on the heels of a barbershop quartet rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, but for me this was the moment. It was a release of the tension I’d built up until this point. I still cry every time, even just listening to the soundtrack. It’s this moment that allowed me to fully absorb Walter triumph that follows, as well as the finale (featuring today’s Quote of the Day).
Many movies have that one moment when everything comes together. Some of them are by design, and some are personal. For example, when I watched The Fellowship of the Ring, I enjoyed it, but it didn’t click until one particular moment in Moria, when my viewing experience finally lined up with what was on the screen (perhaps a subject for an upcoming Friday Favorite). Sometimes they’re the moments that make you go, “Oh, I get it now.”
As for The Muppets, to me everything I love about the movie feeds through this one scene. It’s my anchor for the film. And yes, it’s delightfully absurd.
What about you? What was the moment in The Muppets when you realized everything would be ok? Do you think they can match that feeling in the upcoming sequel? What movies you love had a moment when everything emotionally clicked into place for you? Let me know in the comments!