The Muppets Take Manhattan

Jason Takes Manhattan

“The big city? Cops? Shootings? Car chases? That kind of thing?” “Well, no. No shooting stuff. It’s more like songs and dances.” – Exchange between Dabney Coleman and Kermit the Frog, The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) “It’s like this. We live in claustrophobia, the land of steel and concrete. Trapped by dark waters. There is no escape. Nor do we want it. We’ve come to thrive on it and each other. You can’t get the adrenaline pumpin’ without the terror, good people. I love this town.” – Radio DJ, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) “When people see New York in the movies, they want to come here.” – Mayor Ed Koch, The New York Times (1985) Two movies released in the 1980s used the phrase “Take(s) Manhattan” in their title. The first was the latest G-rated feature starring lovable puppet characters from a popular children’s variety show. The second was the latest R-rated installment of a slasher horror franchise. Released almost exactly five years apart, they each saw their familiar — iconic even — characters visit New York City, and with slightly varying results they each made light of the rotting of the Big Apple at the time, creating pieces of virtual tourism that either dismissed or embraced the fact that the place was turning into a terrifying cesspool that no outsider should dare enter.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

After cutting his puppetry teeth on short films and episodes of Sesame Street in the late 60s and early 70s, legendary puppeteer Jim Henson finally got a chance to give his felt faced creations a spotlight show of their own in the mid 70s. That show was The Muppet Show, and it was awesome. So awesome that it eventually spawned a series of feature films. While there’s always room for conflicting opinions, some consensuses (consensii?) about these movies have popped up over the years. It seems that all Muppets are not created equal. Generally everyone agrees that the original film, The Muppet Movie, was the best. And it’s also largely agreed that the first three movies, the ones that still had Jim Henson involvement, are better than the ones that came after. While there’s some general truthiness to these beliefs, I can’t say that I think those divisions hold up as absolute truths. Thank God, this column would have been a wreck otherwise.

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