Early “Muppet Movie” Screening at The Alamo

22 Nov

“I can’t seem to wipe this smile off my face.” Jason Segel sings this line at the beginning and end of the pitch perfect “The Muppets” movie and after seeing an early screening with Caitlin last night, I feel the same way. It was so delightful, we totally forgot we were sitting in the front row, and found ourselves fighting back tears of joy* throughout the film we almost didn’t get into.

*I lost the battle on two occasions.

Thanks to my Internet skills*, we got tickets to an early South Lamar Alamo screening Monday night. We arrived an hour early and still found ourselves in the “stand-by” line. Jerry Seinfeld has a line about stand-by, saying you call it that because you end up just standing there and waving bye. Not this time. They had enough room for 11 people in the stand-by line. We were numbers 6 and 7. The luck of the Wittbloom strikes again!

A lot will be made about the endless cameos, and with good reason. Everyone is in it and they all shine in their brief time on screen (pay special attention to who plays fake Animal when they go pick up real Animal**), but the Muppet “cameos” are  just as impressive. Anytime the chef opens his mouth, cue Caitlin laughing maniacally***. When they pick up the old gang, while “traveling by map,” Roowlf asks why his scene didn’t even get played up in the montage and then is shown why. The movie is incredibly self-aware and never anything less than fully engaging at just over two hours.  

*This is a serious and definable set of skills Zack has. He Internets better than almost anyone I know.

**I actually spotted this before Zack did, which made me happy since he loves this musician more than I do, so I got to watch his expression change to pure delight as I pointed it out.

***Maybe it’s because I actually speak a little Swedish, I don’t know, but it gets me every time.

It was the kind of movie where you see Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie as the musical director in the credits and just nod. Of course he was. The movie has plenty of Jason Segel’s touch all over it, but it oozes that Conchordian charm with its inspired musical choices. Something tells me the Rhymenocerous and Hiphopotamus were involved in Chris Cooper’s hysterical rap number, to say the least. 

We could talk about the new Muppet, Walter, in great length and the emotional pull of Kermit and how this is Ms. Piggy’s best work in decades*, and how even Amy Adams was a nice addition, but we don’t want to ruin anything else for you. Just see this immediately and then we can talk about it at great length and listen to the soundtrack. Thanks, Alamo and Jason Segel. You’ve outdone yourself. Love to The Muppets.**

*I don’t know that I was ever a huge Piggy fan, but this movie changed that for me forever. She’s so cool in this movie!

**This footnote didn’t feel right anywhere, but I wanted to mention:  I think I went into this movie fairly skeptical, having a nostalgia for the Muppets but thinking this would be a kids’ movie and hokey and something cute but forgettable. It has to be said that Jason Segel wrote the script for people exactly like me. You can go into this with all the cynicism in the world, but it will 100% remind you why the Muppets are such a brilliant creation, and why they need to stay around forever. We miss you, Jim Hensen.

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