In Praise of Puppet Peoples

Last night Katy and I went to see "The Muppets Take Manhattan" at the Central Park Film Festival in Rumsey Playfield. "TMTM" is the first movie I distinctly remember seeing in a theatre (it came out in 1984, when I was five or six); they showed it at Carleton once, in a very well-attended movie night, and Katy and I watched it on video when I first came to New York in August of 2000. Googling the movie now, I see that it's gotten mixed-to-negative reviews, with most people feeling it's only a mediocre entry in the Muppet canon; but my vision of it is so obscured by nostalgia, my fondness for the Muppets, my love for New York City, and my ability to sing pretty much all the lyrics to the not-bad songs in the movie that last night I was ready to put it up there with "Singin' in the Rain." And my fellow New Yorkers seemed to agree -- I turned around to look at the audience during the climactic wedding sequence and there wasn't a frown in the Playfield. Long live goofy, happy movies, whatever the critics may say.

Three other "TMTM" tidbits:
  • When Jenny and Kermit are first seen in Central Park, right before they start jogging, they're sitting on Cherry Hill overlooking the Lake.
  • Lonny Price, who plays the sweetly nerdy producer Ronny Crawford in "TMTM," also played the sinisterly nerdy resort heir Neil Kellerman in "Dirty Dancing" -- another seminal, probably-not-good-but-lord-I-love-it movie of my youth.
  • I remembered the kindly diner-owner Pete's monologues with fond incomprehension, but it turns out the incomprehension is justified: It really doesn't make any sense. "Big city, hmm? Live. Work, huh? But. Only peoples. Peoples is peoples. No is buildings. Is tomatoes, huh? Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes. So, peoples is peoples. Okay?"