Dir: James Frawley (All kinds of televison shows; Spies, Lies, and Naked Thighs)
How should I comment on a movie that I may have seen 20 times as kid but not since for 15 years? Is it way worse that I remembered it being? Yes. Did it still bring back fond memories? Yes. Was it a fun movie watching experience? Yes.
I know why I liked this movie as a kid. The puppetry is technologically advanced; Kermit rides a bike! And you can see him pedal it! Even then I could recognize a lot of the numerous cameos, and now I can appreciate them even more. Steve Martin is not just that funny guy on SNL anymore, Milton Berle not just some old guy in a cowboy hat. And I always had/have a soft spot for movies with musical numbers.
It is those songs that take the biggest beating from my contemporary judgment. Sorry, but even "The Rainbow Connection" is poorly written; read the lyrics sometimes and tell me they make sense or showcase even a modicum of elegance. The performances, obviously, don't count becuase they are from puppets. Real stinkers include Kermit and Rowlf on "I Hope That Something Better Comes Along," and the finale "The Magic Store." The major exception to this is "Can You Picture That?" the Dr. John inspired surreal funk song by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Some college band must be covering that somewhere, and I wouldn't mind hearing it.
The Muppet Movie is an Andy Hardy picture, essentially. And Mickey Rooney in felt is just about as lame as the real Mickey Rooney. No matter how nostalgic I am for this film, it cannot hold a candle to the television series. I rewatched several of those lately as well, and the Muppet's are definitely a 20 minute idea. A few corny jokes, let John Denver sing a song, good night folks! Yeeaaahhhh!