Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

My younger readers may not recall a curious media phenomenon, a relic of the ’90s and the period when the Walt Disney Company was expanding its theme parks at a rate unmatched before or since. To promote these new attractions – Disneyland Paris, Animal Kingdom in Florida, various new rides and facelifts to existing attractions […]

When Disney conducted its grand experiment in rebuilding the Muppet brand name in 2011 with The Muppets, the results were inconclusive: pleasingly off-kilter and nostalgic, but in the most punishingly authoritarian way possible. Nostalgia was, at a certain point, the only driving element of the plot and the only thing to get back out of […]

That The Muppets would be first and above all a nostalgia trip was probably to be expected; that it would be so very little else besides is a faint disappointment at least, though the fact that it is, after all, the Muppets we’re talking about takes some of the sting out – if you’re going […]

The confession first: I enjoy The Muppets Take Manhattan more than it deserves: it is not, in any meaningful way, a better film than The Great Muppet Caper (Frank Oz, directing solo for the first time, can’t match Jim Henson’s easy shifting between moods in that picture, but he’s more adept with the camera), and […]

The Great Muppet Caper is perhaps the most Muppet-ish of the Muppet movies; not the best, for it is not as funny as The Muppet Movie, nor as full of heart, nor as nuanced in its dismantling of the fourth wall. But it gets the Muppet-ness of the characters more than The Muppet Movie, and […]

The Muppets, taken in the broadest sense, predate by a considerable margin the 1976 debut of The Muppet Show, (Kermit the Frog himself first appeared all the way back in 1955) but it was with that marvelously off-kilter parody of/homage to the ossified traditions of vaudeville and the variety show that Jim Henson’s ingenious puppetry […]

It is largely a matter of chronology that my favorite of all adaptations of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol – and maybe my favorite Christmas movie of all time – should end up as the very last entry in my impromptu retrospective of some of the variant forms of this most well-traveled narrative. But I […]