Tag: James Frawley


Many films that we watch for nostalgia are not empirically as great as we remember them to be. When you step away from them for years and come back, you may realize that it was your love of the characters, or the feeling the film gave you as a child, that clouded your ability to see it for what it actually is. It is with this vigilant caution that I rewatch the films I loved as a child. However, the crushing realization that your nostalgia outweighs the quality of the film does have a positive counterpart. There is a satisfying joy in revisiting your childhood films and finding that not only have you remembered them correctly, but they have much more depth to them—depth added specifically for adult viewers—than you knew.

August 16, 2008 / / Film Notes

By: KJ Hamilton

The Muppet Movie – 1979 – dir. James Frawley

The basic plot of the film is absolutely charming. Kermit the Frog leaves the swamp and heads west to Hollywood to try to “make millions of people happy.” He encounters a host of enchanting characters along the way, and discovers that it is possible to make your dreams come true if you work hard enough. Ok, I admit it: I love this film. I have loved it since I was a kid, and it’s one of only five films that I can watch repeatedly and never tire of them. So, I jumped at the chance to write about it. I’ve never before wondered just exactly what I love about this film until right now. There are so many things that make me smile and laugh about this film, but I managed to narrow it down to eight things. Let me tell you, this was not easy at all. Here we go…

August 14, 2006 / / Film Notes

Written by Jason Haas

U.S.A., 1979. 97 min. Henson Associates. Cast: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, James Coburn, Dom Deluise, Elliot Goud, Bob Hope, Madeline Kahn, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Orson Welles; Music: Paul Williams; Produced by: Jim Henson; Written by: Jack Burns, Jerry Juhl; Directed by: James Frawley

The Muppet Movie is a timeless family film for a number of reasons, but it is also a product of its times. The film rejects much of the cinematic aesthetic of the 1970s, an era that began with pornography enjoying widespread mainstream success and ended in the birth of the blockbuster, which reveled in auteurloving “look-at-me” filmmaking and/or special effects. Throughout the decade, cinema was fighting with television for its audience, so it is odd to find that a production staff that came mostly from television created a movie bursting with a deeply innocent love for the movies and for a time when movies provided a more cheerful joy. It seems as if Henson and his collaborators (most notably Frank Oz) were dedicated to creating a film that reflected a love of all that made the golden age of cinema so fantastic. Simultaneously, Henson and company, not unlike their big budget and pornographer contemporaries, make clear that their movie offers something that cannot be had in the comfort of one’s living room: more Muppet action than viewers could get out of TV’s The Muppet Show.