Muppets

Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

Today is… GROUNDHOG DAY! That means you’re doomed to repeat the day over and over until you’re caught up with the best movie stories of the week. At least you don’t have to go back and relive the whole week in order to read every single post and article published in the last seven days. You just need the ten best, which I’ve compiled for you below (plus an exclusive film clip and TV coverage). And at least you have me to compile it for you, so it’s all nice and easily laid out. Then again, Groundhog Day is on a Saturday this year, so maybe you’ll want to take it slow. Enjoy the day off over and over again. The Recap will be here the whole time. The week started with the end of Sundance and later included a preview of our next favorite film fest, SXSW. We reviewed the major and some minor new theatrical releases, including the genuinely great zom-rom-com (Warm Bodies), the forgettable movie with the old action star (Bullet to the Head), the forgettable thing about old gangsters (Stand Up Guys), the strangely reflexive Charlie Sheen movie (A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan), the the political thriller written by Al Gore’s former spokesman (Knife Fight), the latest Korean dissection from Im Sang-soo (The Taste of Money) and the powerful slow-burn sequel to Yossi & Jagger (Yossi). And we interviewed one of the directors of The ABCs of Death (Angela Bettis) and the director […]

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Fraggle Rock

Dance your cares away, because there’s great news on the horizon. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rango co-writer Jim Byrkit and actor Alex Manugian have signed on to write the script for the Fraggle Rock movie. So, yes, two men involved in making a weird, wonderful movie are on board to help make a potentially weird, wonderful movie. Some crazed, colorful cave-dwellers, dangerous monsters on the surface, and a talking pile of trash. It almost makes you wonder where our H. R. Pufnstuf movie is. Of course, Jim Henson‘s name and the resurgence of The Muppets can’t hurt. Nevertheless, this is happening:

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Merch Hunter - Large

This week, in place of the usual triptych of found items and a T-Shirt of the Week, Merch Hunter is dedicated entirely to the mighty tee, the single most versatile member of the wardrobe family. Why 12? Well, science has proven that 12 is the magic number in terms of tee ownership (don’t look it up, it was published in a science journal you probably won’t know of…), allowing the owner to rotate nicely across two weeks, while taking a three day slot for whichever design is the Featured of the Week. After a few months of this rotation, throw in a few wild cards, thanks to supplemental purchase, and you’ll have a winning formula for T-shirt success. And yes, it really should be that mathematical. I seriously had to resist the urge to just make a list of the 100 Star Wars T-Shirts You Need To Own Now, but that will no doubt appear in the future, given how many incredibly impressive designs there are out there (and hardly any of them lining George Lucas’s pocket). For once, my inane wafflings are not needed at all to sell the inclusions below, just look at the pictures and see how many of them you can resist. I’d advise buying them all obviously: but try to only wear one at a time.

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Way back in 2008, the Jim Henson Co. picked up a spec script from Todd Berger that took a standard Muppet trope (a world where people and puppets co-exist and no one thinks it’s weird), turned it on its head (the puppets are treated like second-class citizens), then splashed blood all over that turned head (the puppet stars of a cancelled kids television show start to get killed off), and then threw in some classic crime noir (“a disgraced detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case”). But since that first bit of news about The Happytime Murders, information has been relatively soft (as felt), until today’s brief that IM Global is taking the film (with attached director Brian Henson) to the Berlin International Film Festival next week in hopes of selling it. While that’s certainly good news, it does come with a caveat – as Deadline Rotterdam claims that “Kathryn Heigl is in advanced negotiations to star,” but maybe there’s some other actress out there named Kathryn Heigl that is an up-and-comer who is super into puppets…or maybe that’s just another one of those little Deadline mistakes that will get corrected without a word later today. Fine, it’s Katherine Heigl who might star in The Happytime Murders, and even if she’s going to be portrayed as a puppet, that’s just unsuitable casting.

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Jim Henson and Kermit The Frog

“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending”. ~ Jim Henson When Jim Henson died in 1990 there was speculation about the fate of Kermit the Frog. Had Kermit died with his creator? Could Kermit, Henson’s alter ego, survive the sudden loss of the man who had lent him his voice? The answer was Kermit and his Muppet family would carry on, even without the brilliant creative force that was Jim Henson. The art of puppetry goes back thousands of years, but it’s an ancient art that Jim Henson revolutionized. What makes the Muppet world so believable even when we know we’re looking at fabric creatures? For starters Henson’s use of fabric made his puppets malleable and expressive; the faces of his puppets aren’t static. Henson also understood the power of television. On stage the puppeteer is hidden behind a curtain in a puppet theater environment. That carried over to television with, for example, the classic Kukla and Ollie puppets of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame. Henson was inspired by them, but he didn’t use the static traditional puppet theater. He opened it up by having the cameras focus on the puppets. By keeping the puppeteers out of the frame, Henson liberated the puppets and their puppeteers, allowing them to move more freely and take on a life of their own.

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The Muppet Movie Dinner Scene

Editor’s Note: As part of our week-long Guide to The Muppets, Gwen Reyes takes a look at one of the funniest, most intimate and lovely scenes from the 1979 classic. Setting the Scene: 1979 was a pivotal year for cinema. Not only did modern classics like Alien, Apocalypse Now, and Caligula (!!) make their way into local movieplexes, but in the summer a little green frog and his lovable band of merry men (and pig) leaped from American homes to the big screen. Thanks entirely to the popularity of The Muppet Show Jim Henson’s iconic Muppets were in high demand. Considering how Hollywood obsessed Kermit and company were on their TV series, it only made sense the first film in a long line of Muppet features would be about the crew’s showbiz aspirations. Intentionally self-aware, the film begins with Kermit (voiced by Henson) introducing the final cut of The Muppet Movie in a private studio screening room for all the Muppets we know in love. The camera bounces around from face to face, stopping at everyone from Fozzie Bear (voice by Frank Oz) to Miss Piggy (Oz). Kermit explains to his nephew Robin (voiced by Jerry Nelson) that the film is a loose adaptation of how the Muppets met and made their way to Hollywood—read: meta moment if we ever saw one. And just as Hare Krishna jokes become a running gag anytime says they are looking for direction, The Muppet Movie’s self-consciousness allows the audience to feel as if […]

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Few people can capture the human soul inside soft fabric puppets in photography. Your cousin that keeps trying in his basement can’t, but apparently the on-set photographer for The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made definitely can. These photos are so haunting that it also makes you forget that Ricky Gervais and Emily Blunt have both been announced as cameo figures for the film. Fingers crossed for a Gervais/Rizzo duet. Check out the pictures at Screenrant.

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Even though he’s had many of the famous comedians of the day on his talk show, Zach Galifianakis has never interviewed Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns. Hopefully with his continued success, and the recently divulged information that he’ll be in the new Muppets movie, that will change. Interviewing Galifianakis was a great pleasure, and it would be nice for Galifianakis himself to have that pleasure. Co-star of Due Date, Robert Downey Jr let the news slip and was immediately kicked out of Galifianakis’s wolf pack. However, it’s great news for fans of comedy, because his style should blend well alongside Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and the Muppet gang. [E!]

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Fresh with a new name, the Muppets will be saving the Rec Center and achieving greatness.

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Muppet Noir

Would you see a movie where Miss Piggy is murdered, turned into bacon, and force fed to Kermit the Frog? Of course you would you sick bastard. But that will never happen…

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Muppets

The creators of Forgetting Sarah Marshall turn toward a Jim Henson classic.

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