When these posts began their avowed purpose was to make sure the blog had some content while my attention was mostly directed elsewhere, stoking my own and hopefully my readers' enthusiasm for the new Muppet movie.
Of course these past few months have ended up being among the busiest on the blog, not only in terms of posts posted but viewers viewing them — which is one reason why I decided to keep the new content flowing with more than just Muppet Monday stuff, but that too, even after the movie opened. I'll share some further thoughts on bloggy business in a couple of weeks; right now I'm wrapping up this volley of Muppet Monday with one last round of links.
Here's a list of seven sites for Muppet lovers interested in further exploration, most official and most mentioned on the blog before.
Christmas is here. As always, I wish you a day of peace — and family, and tradition, and fun. My grab-bag of goodies is especially full of music this year.
I heard a very clever parody of The B-52s' "Love Shack" called "Toy Sack" on WXPN the other day. Bob Rivers apparently wrote and recorded the ditty for his 1997 album More Twisted Christmas. His version is on Vimeo set to holiday lights at the preceding link.
Photo © 2011 Brian Saner Lamken.
This year the winter holidays have been a bit different for my family. We had a bunch of cousins move up here to the Philadelphia suburbs from South Florida this past summer, bringing with them an annual tradition of doing Christmas big, whereas usually I either try to visit my father in New Jersey or hang out with friends if I'm able to get out at all. Last weekend there were almost twenty of us decorating cookies; the menorah with the blue background at the bottom of the photo up there and the Christmas tree right above it are both mine, paying homage to my interfaith heritage.
We've had this little travel-sized, traditional-styled Chanukah menorah for
at least as long as I can remember.
I'm fonder of it with every passing year, not just for the memories but for how its collection of "battle scars" — the bits of leftover wax, never completely scraped off the arms and base or entirely gouged out of the little cups that hold the candles — have accreted over the years to give it extra character.
The last three movies I saw were about movies. And one of the next ones I see probably will be too, as The Artist is opening soon at my local art-house theater. I came to this realization walking out of a screening of My Week with Marilyn the other day, my last cinematic indulgences having been Hugo and The Muppets.
While the Muppets actually put on a telethon in The Muppets, and the film's cornerstone reference is TV's The Muppet Show rather than the 1979 Muppet Movie (reprises of "The Rainbow Connection" notwithstanding), it's about movies in the way the characters make metatextual references— in the broader sense of the word; "metacinematic" if you prefer — to being in a movie.
Hugo could be said to be a movie about the moviegoing experience by virtue of the way in which it takes full advantage of the medium of film — the 3D process in particular. Of course, Hugo is also about movies themselves in the very literal fact of its plot involving silent-film auteur Georges Méliès. The scenes of Méliès and company producing his early-1900s fantasias is a highlight of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, as is the opportunity to see actual clips from classics of early cinema featuring Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Louise Brooks, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin rendered in Hugo's surprisingly thoughtful 3D.
Jimmy Fallon returned to Saturday Night Live this weekend — and so did Horatio Sanz, Tracy Morgan, and Chris Kattan, to help him close out 2011 with a rendition of their old standard "Christmas Is Number One".
Screencap © 2004 NBCUniversal.
The last time the song was performed on the show, seven years ago, Sanz was the only one of the four still in the cast, and stopped the tune almost before it had begun when he realized there was nobody to back him up. Until, that is, Kermit the Frog popped up to tell Horatio that his friends would happy to join in... Here's the video from this past Saturday, to jog your memory, and the previous clip with the Muppets.
Kindred Posts: Muppet Monday [12/5] • Stocking Stuff
Screencap © 2011 Disney.
Given that last week's installment was another long one — also that I've had trouble posting, with both that and this going up late — I thought I'd keep today's Muppet Monday brief. A music video for the song "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets (performed by the new Muppet, Walter, and Jason Segel as his human brother Gary) has been released with clips from other parts of the film interspersed with the song's scene in the movie. For those who've seen The Muppets, the song is a treat to revisit, but for those who haven't seen it and plan to there are some surprises spoiled — like what's probably the funniest cameo in the film, even if like me you don't actually watch the show that made the actor in question famous.
Whether you're fortunate enough to still be in touch with your sense of wonder or have lost it and thought it never to be regained, I beseech you: See Hugo.
Directed by Martin Scorsese from John Logan's screenplay, based on Brian Selznick's acclaimed book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Hugo is 126 minutes long. About 120 of those minutes are pure cinematic nirvana. I'm almost mad, yet also strangely relieved, that no matter how many films I see as this stacked season progresses — and no matter that it's difficult to compare movies of wildly different styles, aims, and approaches — I've clearly seen the most fascinating, most captivating movie of the year (unless, somewhat ironically given their subject matter, The Artist ends up matching it).
I haven't yet read Selznick's book, although I plan to do so before I see the movie again, so I can't say how faithful the film is to it. I can only tell you that Scorsese has delivered a masterpiece.
The look at some of my favorite things begun last year after my 40th birthday is finally continuing. Now, though, it's 41 Favorites, since I took over a year off after my last post; I'm going to try to wrap it up before I turn 42.
My fifth favorite thing in alphabetical order of the bunch that I spitballed last October is the music of Edie Brickell.
Above is a neat homage to the iconic, oft-mimicked Robert Freeman photograph used on the cover to 1963's With The Beatles and early the next year for the US release Meet The Beatles! It's from a recent Parade article titled "Meet the Muppets (Again!)" — which is also the general theme of this post.
Since I'm under the weather and behind on everything, here's another batch of the word-verification definitions that I leave when commenting on other blogs, starting with a seasonal one that's been gathering virtual dust until this time of year came back around. You can find an explanation of what's going on and a collection of
all the definitions to date at the dedicated page I've set up for that purpose.
• adynog — [ad ee nahg] n. (Spanglish) Having promotional material in one hand, a traditional Yuletide drink in the other.
• britend — [brit end] n. 1. A bum (not a panhandler; rather, the buttocks region) in Merry Olde England. 2. The farthest point of the United Kingdom's territorial waters in the English Channel or Atlantic Ocean.
• colifou — [koh ly foo] n. French bacteria strain that takes your sanity.
• copone — 1. [kop wun] v. Get handsy. 2. [koh pohn] v. Make cornbread in tandem.
• Exhiali — [eks hee ah lee] Alien race of heavy breathers.
• Flumenta™ — [floo men tuh] The first FDA-approved treatment for psychic influenza.
• grizato — [grih zah toh] n. Italian ice cream made from brown bears. [No animals were actually harmed in the creation of this definition.]