Follow That Bird

Given that it was first launched in 1969 and is still watched by tons of children all over the world today, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call Sesame Street one of the most iconic and enduring television series of all time. Throughout the years, characters like Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, the Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch have become staples of mornings spent raising a toddler. But over the course of the show’s lengthy history it has only made the jump from small screen to big twice. The first time was in 1985, when the whole Sesame Street crew was set to the task of tracking down a runaway and kidnapped Big Bird in Follow That Bird. The second was in 1999, when a capitalization on the explosion of the popularity of Sesame Street character Elmo was attempted with The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Neither were big hits, with Follow That Bird grossing near $14m and Elmo in Grouchland only around $11.5m, despite having a budget of $26m; which would seem to point to the theory that people who have children young enough to enjoy Sesame Street don’t take them to the theaters all that often. Plopping them in front of public television every morning is one thing, but loading them up and paying to have them sit in a dark room and hopefully be quiet for a couple hours is something else entirely.

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Follow That Bird

“But I don’t want to hunt worms. I want Snuffy to come and visit. And if he can’t come and visit, I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go home!” If you asked a million Muppets fans why they love The Muppets, you would likely get a million different answers, but most of those reasons would probably be rooted in the caring world created by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, a world of family and friendship, of acceptance and education. And while Muppet flicks like The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper embody all those traits (and are much more likely to be the feature titles viewers think of when they think “Muppet movie”), my favorite Muppet flick that has always best exemplified all those traits is the very first Sesame Street film – Follow That Bird.

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It’s a seminal element of the human experience. We grab a few friends, hop into the car that has the least chance of breaking down (but will end up breaking down anyway), and go off in search of that bottle of Dom we buried/that porn tape we accidentally made/Brad Pitt and the nearest cliff. It’s the road! The appeal of the freedom promised by the very founders of this fine country themselves. Fresh air, endless pavement, and the anticipation of leaving yourself open to new experiences in towns large and small alike. Will you end up having a fireworks fight in a graveyard? Will you fall in love with the girl behind the counter at Dairy Queen? Will you go skinny dipping as the Summer sun sets in a blaze of oranges, purples and pinks? Not in these films. In these road trippers, the situations are all a bit different. Buckle up and reset the odometer for 12 Unconventional Road Trip Movies.

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