Sunday, January 8, 2012

Muppets in Paris

The Muppets is downright vulgar in its nostalgia mongering. I'm an 80s kid. I grew up with the Muppets. I don't think that this recent movie successfully captures any more than the barest hint at the the essence of the Muppets.

This nostalgiathon cheaply packages up the Muppets as product. They're almost used as a shorthand for some nebulous concept of commercially packaged shared pop culture joy. That probably is what the Muppets have become. Which is a shame because Henson himself and, by extension, his creation was once overflowing with the real deal.


Another Earth shouldn't work. Its sf premise is implausible. Its relationship drama is implausible. The camerawork is often distracting and the script gets talky/preachy at times.

So, why did I like it?

Often, throughout the film, I thought that I could feel the presence of Rod Serling, as if he were always in the background smiling. My biggest frustration with Another Earth is that Serling wasn't there at the beginning or the end to properly frame the story for me. Another Earth, in the end, succeeds as an eminently interesting film, operating distinctly in the borderlands of... The Twilight Zone.


Moving on to TV shows...

Robin Hood "The Knight Who Came to Dinner" is the best episode of Robin Hood in a while. It's a light-hearted broad comedy of Friar Tuck and Little John trying to get a decent meal. The heroics and contests of wits in the show are always enjoyable, but the show is at its best when it explores humor through character.

The last three episodes of Justified Season 1 ("Veterans," "Fathers and Sons," "Bulletville") bring a satisfying open-ended conclusion to the season. Raylan is less and less of a hero even as everything turns out (almost) alright. The title is apt. The entire show explores how and why we justify our actions to ourselves and others.


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