The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Sharing the Muppet love in the lunch room

with 25 comments

Monday. The end of the month, but still a week until next salary.

This means a lunch room packed with people, aimlessly poking around in their boxes from the farthest corner of the freezer, throwing glances at each other to determine if they warranted some envy or not.

A snowstorm was raging outside of the window as the post weekend misery spread across the tables.

“I’m in a really bad mood”, said an administrator in her 50s and judging from her facial expression I’d give her right.

We stared down at our plates in silence. What comfort was there to give?

That’s when I remembered it. There was a cure! There was no need to feel sulky at all!

So I stepped up, first to my chair and then to the table and burst out in song:

“Everything is great
Everything is grand
I got the whole wide world in the palm of my hand
Everything is perfect
It’s falling into place
I can’t seem to wipe this smile off my face
Life’s a happy song, when there’s someone by my side to sing along”

Or rather: I could have done that, but I didn’t. Who do you think I am? Treat Williams?

But I did something that seemed to be just about as shocking as if I’d performed a musical number myself, following the reactions of the table party. I told her that I knew about a cure for the Monday Blues condition.

“Go and watch The Muppets and you’ll be as good as new!”

“The Muppets?”

“The Muppets!”

“Seriously?”

“You bet!”

And then I went into talking about fun and cheerful and sweet it was, full of colors and joy.

“It’s so great to see them all again! You know! The characters we grew up with!”

“They’re all there? Kermit? Miss Piggy? Those old guys? The Swedish Chef? They sing mana-mana?”

“Yes! All of that!” I smiled convincingly and added: “And they’re singing and dancing and once you see it all your misery and cynicism goes out of the window. This is the thing! Doctors should prescribe this to their patients!”

She gave me a long look and said: “I’ve never liked The Muppets. And I hate musicals. You know they sing and dance for no reason. It’s stupid.”

And then I didn’t know what to say anymore. I muttered an “oh” I think and then I went back to inspect the sad content of my lunch box. But inside myself I was still smiling. There was a muppet song for this situation too:

” I’m having a Me Party
A party by myself
A Me Party
I don’t need nobody else”

Honest and loving
I think what makes The Muppets to such a delightful movie is that the entire creation is vibrating with the love and enthusiasm that only a fan of the franchise is capable of. The story goes that this movie wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Jason Segel. And I buy it. This is more than a marketing device, more than just an effort to breathe some fresh air into the brand in order to sell some merchandise. It’s a dream coming true. It feels honest.

Does it work for a young audience? I don’t know. The fact that the movie had subtitles instead of dubbing suggests that the Swedish distributors don’t expect the toddlers to go and see it. On the other hand, the only screenings were in the afternoon in the weekend, which tells you that they expect families. Regardless of which intention they may have, there wasn’t a single child in the theatre when I watched it. Everyone who watched it with me was a grown-up, reconnecting with their childhood. I’m not sure if someone who never had heard of The Muppets would have quite as much fun with it.

Jack Black who?
The only minor complaint I have is an old one, a problem that isn’t new to me at all, since it often happened in the TV shows. It’s about the guests. Half of the times I had never heard of them.  For how famous they might have been in US, their fame hadn’t reached across the Atlantic and any references to their previous works were completely lost on me. Usually it was pretty OK anyway since they could sing and be somewhat funny. But I sensed that I was missing something and it was the same thing with this film.

You may laugh at me, but I had never heard of the celebrity guest, Jack Black. Perhaps that’s a horrible gap in my movie education considering how productive he appears to have been according to IMDb. But it must be the wrong kind of movies, because I’ve seen very few of them. I did see High Fidelity and I loved it, but to be honest I didn’t note him enough to remember his name.

However it’s not crucial that you know about Jack Black and there are several other celebrities around that even I could recognize, so it’s not a biggie.

The final question
One question remained as I lined up in front of the coffee machine to get finalize the lunch break with the mandatory cup to prevent the lunch coma:

“I reflect on my reflection
and I ask myself the question
What’s the right direction, to go
I don’t know

Am I a man or am I a muppet
(am I a muppet)
If I’m a muppet then im a very manly muppet
(a very manly muppet)”

I thought it over. Named Jessica and mother of two, I couldn’t possibly be a man, could I? That left me with one option. Muppet it was.

And I returned to my working place. On the outside I was a frustrated office worker with a Monday Blues. But hidden inside there was a singing and smiling muppet.

The Muppets (James Bobin, US, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

March 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

25 Responses

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  1. The majority of the film didn’t work for me that much. I guess I’m that immovably cynical like your co-worker. Still, the songs, as you quoted, are all so wonderful. I prefer the soundtrack to the film.

    Bondo

    March 20, 2012 at 1:32 am

    • I’m sorry to hear that Bondo. But I refuse to throw out a phrase like “anyone who doesn’t like this movie has no heart”. I don’t believe in sorting people into categories depending on if they like a movie or not.

      Glad you liked the songs though. I might even buy the DVD one day to get the chance to hear them again. Which is something that NEVER happens usually.

      Jessica

      March 20, 2012 at 7:26 am

  2. You are now required to see The School of Rock.

    That is all.

    P.S. I legitimately cried during “Pictures in My Head”.

    Duck Soup

    March 20, 2012 at 3:51 am

    • Hehe, someone else pointed it out to me so I reckon I have. I’ll keep an eye open for it.

      Jessica

      March 20, 2012 at 7:27 am

      • I second Duck Soup’s School of Rock motion. Jack Black is hardly a fantastic actor, but he’s the only person who could have made the School of Rock as good as it is.

        FlimsrRuss (@FilmsrRuss)

        March 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

  3. I think….this is the most adorable review you’ve ever done.

    I give it 3 fluffysnufflegins out of 3.2

    an inclusion of ‘d’aww’ and anime eyes would have made it a perfect adorableness score.

    Holly "Digit" Dotson

    March 20, 2012 at 5:38 am

  4. Oh, bless this review. It made me as happy as I was after I saw The Muppets. While it is not perfect, it is a fun, happy movie with a perfect song for any occasion.

    (whenever someone is down, I sometimes do break into the ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ routine)

    Stevee

    March 20, 2012 at 7:23 am

    • It certainly is. I need to buy it one day and start to practice on the routine. Then I’ll take the lunch room glooming party by surprise.

      Jessica

      March 20, 2012 at 7:29 am

  5. HAHAHA I thought you actually did that for a minute Jessica!!! LMAO

  6. Jack black… As a wow player, I am ashamed that you don’t know him!
    http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2009-Tenacious-D-Live-in-Concert-at-BlizzCon-2010

    Also go rent “tenacious D the pick of destiny” Great song-movie, great camp fun. One of my all time favorite “sunday hangover” movies.

    dwism

    March 20, 2012 at 11:55 am

    • To my defense: someone e-mailed me to inform me about Jack Black and mentioned the name “Tenacious D”, which made me reply that I recognized it since I thought they had peformed at Blizzcon. Just wanted to point that out! Sadly enough I’ve never been to Blizzcon. If I’d been I guess I would have recongized him.

      Jessica

      March 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

  7. This is a wonderful review. I really loved the film when I watched it but it hasn’t exactly stuck with me, other than the songs, which are almost uniformly great (written by Flight of the Conchords member Bret McKenzie, and check them out before Jack Black if you don’t know who they are either). It’s a fun movie, but one I don’t need to own or rewatch with any great alacrity.

    Alex Thompson

    March 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    • I actually thought to myself that this is a movie I might want to buy. I never buy movies, but this one would be handy to have at home as a remedy for melancholy.

      Jessica

      March 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

  8. Great review. I can’t imagine anyone not liking the Muppets, but it takes all kinds to make a world. I have heard that argument against musicals before and it makes no sense to me. Who says that musicals are supposed to be “real” and therefore are bad because the singing and dancing are not real? Are action films real? No. Are comedies real? No. Are animated films real? No. Why should musicals have to be real then?

    Random thoughts:

    I always wondered what Swedish people thought of the Swedish Chef (funny or insulting).

    In High Fidelity, Jack Black was the record store assistant who was loud and who kept talking about his band, which we found out at the end was pretty good. And I agree with the other posters – School of Rock is his best film.

    Don’t feel bad about not recognizing some of the people. I’m American and I didn’t even recognize one of the guest stars – the teenage boy who asks Kermit if he’s a Ninja Turtle. It turns out he’s on a TV show I don’t watch.

    Chip

    March 21, 2012 at 1:58 am

    • I can’t speak for all Swedes. For my own part I can’t say that The Swedish Chef was my biggest favorite. I don’t know… He mumbles and mutters some found up language, which definitely isn’t Swedish. Is that how Swedish accents sound to Americans? It’s not insulting really, but not all that funny either. Mostly puzzling. But there are so many other characters to love.

      Jessica

      March 21, 2012 at 7:05 am

  9. I take it that administrator has no soul? If she doesn’t like The Muppets, then that would confirm it, in my opinion! 😉

    Rodney

    March 21, 2012 at 6:58 am

    • Hehe. I’m reluctant claim that people who don’t like certain films “have no heart” etc, even if I know it’s said i jest. But my view on her did change a little bit perhaps. She’s really not into the things I’m into, that’s for sure. The question is what she’s into?
      The end of the story was that a fellow worker bought her a pastry from the bakery as a surprise and after eating that one she was in a better mood. To each one his own I guess.

      Jessica

      March 21, 2012 at 7:07 am

  10. In relation to John Carter, is this the next step in the Evil Movie Empire Agenda? Marketing a movie based on pure and simple love for the characters and the phenomena as such, rather than enough dollars? Does this Jason Segal even exist? 😉

    Sofia

    March 22, 2012 at 5:54 am

    • *Nods*. He’s somewhat unreal, isn’t he? But I embrace it anyway. It makes me happy. That’s what matters.

      Jessica

      March 22, 2012 at 7:38 am

  11. I decided to buy this the other day as well. I had expectations with the amount of love that went into the project and I’m glad to say I was very satisfied. Man or Muppet is on constant rotation in my household too.

    Max Covill (@Impsndcnma)

    March 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm

  12. […] The Muppets The day after watching this I had a muppet singing inside of me. This was the film that brought me the biggest smile in 2012. […]


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