Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Sprinkle 19

Director: iain softley Runtime: 2 hrs ( 120 min)
prot ..... kevin spacey
dr. mark powell ..... jeff bridges
rachel powell ..... mary mcCormick
dr. claudia villars ..... alfre woodard
howie ..... david patrick kelly
ernie ..... saul williams
sal ..... peter gerety
doris archer ..... celia weston
dr. chakraborty ..... ajay naidu
maria ..... tracy vilar
bess ..... melanee murray
russell ..... john toles - bay
joyce trexler ..... kimberly scott
betty mcAllister ..... conchata ferrell
navarro ..... vincent laresca
simms ..... mark christopher
steve ..... brian howe
abby ..... mary mara
natalie powell (age 6) ..... tess mcCarthy
gabby powell (age 9) ..... natasha dorfhuber
josh (age 10) ..... brandon michael dePaul
michael powell (age 21) ..... aaron paul
sheriff ..... william lucking
walter fleen ..... kelly connell
duncan flynn ..... peter maloney
david patel ..... lance nichols
stuart hessler ..... paul linke
danny trexler ..... christopher jason brown
dominic mcAllister ..... greg lewis
homeless veteran ..... clarke peters
sara porter ..... kateri walker
rebecca porter ..... katya abelski
babbling man ..... norman alden
jennifer ..... moet meira


A mysterious man (Kevin Spacey) appears in a crowded train terminal out of nowhwere…literally. He has no luggage, and seems to be awed at absolutely everything and everyone around him. He clearly has no intention of harming anyone, and seems to be very happy to be where he is.

So, naturally, the authorities haul him off to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan. Initially, he is escorted to the office of Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges), Chief of Clinical Psychiatry.

This man, who calls himself Prot(long o vowel), is far from threatening. He obviously has a sense of humor, but no physical expressions or reactions to signify it.

He claims to come from a planet named K-PAX, which, says Prot, is about 1,000 light years away from Earth, in a constellation we call Lyra.

At first, he is the only one of his collegues who accepts the vague possibility that Prot is actually who he says he is, and is, in fact, from a planet called K-PAX. The institute is managed more in the fashion of a community rather than a hospital, so everyone is on a semi-formal basis with the residents and the staff.

As Dr. Powell spends the duration of the movie trying to analyze and figure out Prot, Prot himself is observing the residents of the Institute as they characterize themselves through incident and reaction.

In some cases, Prot changes the residents' attitude toward being ‘locked up.’

Dr. Powell takes Prot to meet some of the collegues of his astrophysicist friend (Brian Howe), who also takes an interest in him.

We learn that Prot does have past history involving tragedy. However, Prot describes it as having happened to a friend who is a native of Earth. This is where everyone's stories, because they are all so believable and apparently undebatable, begin to revive the wonder and doubt of the movie and it's several angles.


Talk about twisting the towel dry (but still getting wet)!

That might be the wrong way to start this review. It sounds as if I believe this topic to have run its course. On the contrary. Let me start a few paragraphs back, at the actual beginning of my thoughts…

Mainly, this movie is an insight into the lack of logical thinking, but also how two different cultures may develop completely different lifestyles and sets of values, each maintaining their respective cultures as the only logical way to live.

When Prot first encounters Dr. Powell, the expected conversation ensues, whereas the alien seems to have all the answers to the problems of the domestic inhabitants. This seems to be a common theme among many horror/sci-fi-alien movies.

On the other hand, Prot comes to Earth to study and learn the ways of the people of this planet. Of course he learns, observes, and criticizes our ways and customs, but he also teaches the residents of the hospital (and Dr. Powell himself) that there is a world beyond the social norm, and to be labeled mentally deficiant may show some insight into the labeler.

While (as anyone who has ever seen an alien/other species movie knows) the superior species of the universe has developed a slew of horrendous flaws. The alien race, which is, of course, perfect and technologically advanced beyond all imagination may not have developed lifestyles that any sane person from Earth would choose voluntarily.

For the entire movie, you (and Dr. Powell) are challenged to decide who Prot really is, where he is really from, and what really is his history.

Movie stereotypes such as these are exploited shamelessly in K-PAX, and the theme has been used over and over in the past (e.g. Cocoon, Batteries Not Included, E.T.). They are themes, though, that survive without becoming redundant. For some strange reason, we seem to enjoy the exploitation of our own flaws. By the same token, we enjoy redeeming ourselves by creating other superior beings with little, often social disturbances that tremendously outweigh our piddly frustrations.

As an added aspect, you just cannot write a story such as this, without having the characters described as crazy (pardon my lack of political savvy) as being the only ones who see beyond what is generally accepted.

As long as writers and actors keep the individual stories fresh (i.e. This isn't your father's Oldsmobile.), this type of movie will always make you think.

And speaking of thinking…from where do you think Prot comes? What exactly is his true story?

Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Prot : I've been here many times before. But what brought me here first? I don't know. Pure curiosity, I guess. I'd never been to a Class BA-3 planet before.
    Dr. Powell : Class BA-3?
    Prot : Early stage of evolution. Future uncertain.
  • Dr. Powell :[Ignoring Rachel] Oh, look. They've published my letter.
    Rachel : I spoke with Natalie about going into the after-school program next year…in case I go back to teaching. And this morning my head fell off, but I was able to sew it back on with dental floss. Waxed, of course.
    Dr. Powell : Dental floss? Sorry, I wasn't listening.
  • Dr. Powell : You were born, right? K-PAXians have babies?
    Prot : Oh, yes, much like on Earth. But unlike you humans, the reproductive process is quite unpleasant for us.
    Dr. Powell : Could you compare the effect to something that I might understand? Like a toothache?
    Prot : It's more like having your nuts in a vice, except we feel it all over. And to make matters worse, the sensation is associated with something like your nausea, accompanied by a very bad smell. The moment of climax is like being kicked in the stomach and then falling into a pool of mod droppings.
  • Dr. Powell : How do you know right from wrong?
    Prot : Every being in the universe knows right from wrong, Mark.
  • Prot : You humans. Sometimes it's hard to imagine how you've made it this far.
  • Dr. Powell : Prot, it's one thing to take an interest in your fellow patients. It's quite another to make them think that you can cure them.
    Prot : You seem overly upset, Mark. To borrow a phrase from Navarro, ‘you need to chill.’ For your information, all beings have the capacity to heal themselves, Mark. This is something we've known on K-PAX for millions of years.
    Dr. Powell : Listen to me. On this planet, I'm a doctor, you're a patient.
    Prot : Doctor. Patient. Curious human distinction.
    Dr. Powell : It's not your job to cure Howie…or Ernie…or Marie or anyone else. It's mine.
    Prot : Then why haven't you cured them yet?
  • Dr. Becker : It's a pleasure to meet you, Prot. I'm Doctor Becker. This is Doctor Flynn, Doctors Papel and Hessler.
    Prot :[shaking hands with and nodding at each one in turn.] Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor…How many doctors are there on this planet?
  • Prot : Kids. Come here. [has barking conversation with Shasta, the dog] Okay. [to the kids] She says she doesn't like it when you hide her favorite tennis shoe. And she doesn't hear so well in her left side so…
    [Shasta barks again]
    Prot : …so don't sneak up on her anymore.
    Natalie : No way.
  • Prot : I believe I mentioned my taking a trip up north, Mark…in this very garden.
    Dr. Powell : ‘Taking a trip?’ You're a patient here. You don't leave here without a discharge. And don't give me this ‘beam of light’ shit, because I don't buy it. What would you say if I told you that I don't believe you took any trip at all, to Iceland or Greenland, or anywhere? That I don't believe you're from K-PAX? I believe you're as human as I am.
    Prot : I would say you're in need of a Thorazine drip, Doctor.
  • Dr. Powell : Let's hope extra-terrestrials qualify for Medicaid.
  • Prot : Why is a soap bubble round?
    Dr. Powell: Why is a soap bubble round.
    Prot: You know, for an educated Man, Mark, you repeat things quite a bit. Are you aware of that?
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sprinkle 13

Director: gus van sant Runtime: 2 hrs 8 min ( 128 min)
harvey milk ..... sean penn
cleve jones ..... emile hirsch
dan white ..... josh brolin
jack lira ..... diego luna
scott smith ..... james franco
anne kronenberg ..... alison pill
mayor moscone ..... victor garber
john briggs ..... denis o' hare
dick pabich ..... joseph cross
rick stokes ..... stephen spinella
danny nicoletta ..... lucas grabeel
jim rivaldo ..... brandon boyce
david goodstein ..... zvi howard rosenman
michael wong ..... kelvin yu
art agnos ..... jeff koons
dennis peron ..... ted jan roberts
denton smith ..... robert boyd holbrook
frank robinson ..... frank robinson
allan baird ..... allan baird
tom ammiano ..... tom ammiano
thelma ..... carol roth silver
mary ann white ..... hope tuck
mcConnelly ..... steven wiig
dianne feinstein ..... ashlee temple
carol ruth silver ..... wendy king
gordon lau ..... kelvin han yee
phil burton ..... robert chimento
lily ..... ginabel mochado
morning show host ..... velina brown
riot cop ..... richard gross
medora paine ..... camron palmer
assistant sheriff ..... cully fredricksen
sylvester ..... mark martinez
priest ..... mark e. stanger
chamber clerk ..... jesse caldwell
don amador ..... cleve jones
pizza delivery man ..... drew kuhse
robert hillsborough ..... eric cook


This entire movie is an account of the short, but significant and effective political career of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn). Although the entire movie is not told as a narrative, the movie is supposed to be a portrayal of the recordings made by Milk as he reflected, in the movie, in solitude, into a tape recorder. The movie periodically flashes to this scene, with Harvey sitting at his kitchen table, speaking into a microphones.

The film begins with real archive news footage of police officers raiding public establishments such as restaurants and movie theatres. Included in this footage is the public announcement of the assassination of Mayor Moscone (Victor Garber) and supervisor Harvey Milk.

The first theatrical scene has Harvey meeting his soon-to-be friend and partner, Scott Smith (James Franco) at a train depot. They have a night together (which just happens to be Harvey's 40th birthday) and become partners.

Harvey and Scott start a photography shop in a small (six blocks square) Irish-Catholic district in San Francisco called The Castro. The other shop owners are not happy about it, but they leave it alone, and eventually, the business is accepted.

When Harvey sees the violence all around his neighborhood, he decides to run for San Francisco Supervisor.

He finds that, even with a legitimate cause and backing, there are always those who will fight you and attempt to stand in your way. He learns the ins and outs of politics, often not agreeing with them. He learns how others in government often play ball with each other. Friends often takes on a different meaning.

Although, being California, and a highly Liberally populated state, the politics are some of the most ruthless (looks like the disease has done nothing but spread in 35 or so years). Among the opponents to Harvey's movement are Anita Bryant, a very out-spoken, religious, anti-gay activist, and her go-to guy, State Senator John Briggs.

Not only is Milk fighting the anti-gay movement (i.e. Proposition 6), but he is also fighting the idea of using politics to fight the issues rather than truly believing in the issues at hand.

Dan White (Josh Brolin) , another supervisor, asks for Harvey's help in keeping a mental health facility out of his district. Harvey votes against the bill, which puts this friendship on the rocks.

Harvey is a fighter with a strong following. Anita Bryant moves her cause throughout the nation, but Harvey moves his followers just as swiftly…causing riots in the streets. He is losing support, though, so it is suggested that he focus his political efforts somewhere else in addition to the gay rights movement. As it is sort of a comic relief to the serious tone of the story, I will not reveal here which cause he chooses, but I will say that it sure does beat the crap out of Anita Bryant's movement of the moment. (See the movie to find out why that's so funny.)

Dan White retaliates against Harvey for not supporting his bill by voting No on Milk's gay rights bill. From this point on, White is vengeful against Milk, and does not support him in anything else. Harvey, however, does get the backing of the Mayor (Victor Garber) and most of those on the Board of Supervisors.


Obviously, in reviewing a true story, there's not much room for criticizing the plot. Also, not being previously familiar with the story or the people involved previous to this viewing, I will not attempt to evaluate the validity or accuracy of facts.

As far as the movie in itself and the performances, they are superb. Though it was not intentional on my part, this does seem an appropriate movie on which attention is to be focused. (Don't you love my perfect sentence structure, Mrs. Holley?)

Although it might be hard to overwrite unpleasant memories of Sean Penn and his days with Madonna, as an actor, he is fantastic as Harvey Milk.

I also want to extend praise to Josh Brolin, playing the part of Dan White. Nothing in specific, which I believe is the best type of praise. His overall performance is unbelieveable..

I have not seen Sean Penn in many performances in quite some time. It's hard to imagine Harvey Milk being portrayed by the same actor who played Jeff in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, if you've seen I Am Sam,you can see how Sean Penn is very talented at portraying several varied types of characters.

As I have said before, spoiler is not in my cache. If you know the real story, watch this movie to compare it to the history books. If you are not familiar with that part of political history, this is a terrific movie from which you may learn something.

Critics's personal note: I am very disappointed that some 30+ years after this movement, conservatives and the tea party are rallying up the same issues that were fought for so hard in the '70s.

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some of you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Harvey : My name is Harvey Milk, and I wanna recruit you.
  • Anita : I believe that, more than ever before, that there are evil forces, roundabouts, even perhaps disguised as something good, that would want to tear it down, the very foundation of family unit that holds America together.
  • Briggs : Sir, my bill has procedures for identifying homosexuals.
    [Further heckling]
    Briggs : You can argue with me. You cannot argue with God.
  • Harvey : Privacy. In this movement, at this time…I'm not saying this as a supervisor…privacy is the enemy. And if you want real political power…if that's what you want…try telling the truth for a change.
  • Harvey : A powder blue pen to sign the city's first gay rights law.
  • Scott : Congratulations to you. Looks like you're part of "The Machine" now.
  • Scott : Happy 48! Looks like you're going to make it to 50 after all, Mr. Milk.
  • Harvey : This is not just jobs or issues, this is our lives were fighting for.
  • Harvey : And how do you teach homosexuality? Is it like French?
  • Harvey : Dan, even Ronald Reagan is against Proposition 6.
  • [After Jack's suicide.]
    Scott : Harvey, look at me. You did everything that you could.
    Harvey : No, I didn't.
    Scott : So, what more could you have done?
    Harvey : I could've come back at 6:00 or 6:15.
  • Harvey : I like that. A Homosexual with power. That's scary!.
  • Harvey : Any witnesses?.
    Cop : Yeah. Just a trick. Jerry Keller.
    Harvey : Jerry's not his trick. He's his lover.
    Cop : Hey, call it what you will. All I know is, he's our only witness. He said he can't identify the attacker.
    Harvey : You'd have a dozen witnesses if they thought you boys had any interest in protecting them.
  • Briggs : My proposition promises to protect our children from these gay perverts and…these gay perverts and pedophiles who recruit our children to participate in their deviant lifestyle, including the ones who do it in our public schools. The time has come for us to root them out.
    [Gets booed off the stage.]
  • Dan :[drunk] Hey, I gotcha a little somethin'.
    Harvey :[under his breath] You didn't have to…
    Dan : ‘You didn't have to’ I knew you were gonna say that. Why do people always say that? ‘ You didn't have to.’ I mean, of course, right? But that's what they always say. They always say things like that…Always.
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2 cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Pumpkin 27

MOVIE REVIEW OF Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Not Rated
Director: frank capra Runtime: 2 hrs 9 min ( 129 min)
clarissa sanders ..... jean arthur
jefferson smith ..... james stewart
senator joseph harrison paine ..... claude rains
jim taylor ..... edward arnold
governor hubert hopper ..... guy kibble
diz moore ..... thomas mitchell
chick mcGann ..... eugene pallette
ma smith ..... beulah bondi
senate majority leader agnew ..... h. b. warner
president of the senate henry ..... harry carey
susan paine ..... astrid alwyn
mrs. emma hopper ..... ruth donnelly
senator macPherson ..... grant mitchell
senator martin monroe ..... porter hall
senate minority leader barnes ..... pierre watkin
nosey ..... charles lane
carl griffith ..... william demarest
bill cook ..... dick elliott
peter hopper ..... billy watson
jimmy hopper ..... delmar watson
otis hopper ..... john russell
hopper boy #1 ..... harry watson
hopper boy #2 ..... gary watson
hopper boy #3 ..... baby dumpling (larry simms)
h. v. kaltenborn ..... h. v. kaltenborn - radio announcer
sweeney farrell ..... jack carson
barber ..... gino corrado
reporter ..... dub taylor


Senator Sam Foley has died, leaving an empty seat in congress. It is the responsibility of Governor Huber Happy Foley (Guy Kibbee) to choose a replacement.

Back west, a guy named Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is the leader of a Boy Scout-type group of boys called the Boy Rangers.

The governer flips a coin to make his decision. Should he appoint the handpicked stooge of his corrupt political boss Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), or a reformer named Henry Hill? The coin is no help, as it lands on its edge against the side of a local newspaper. The story on the front page of said newspaper concerns the acomplishments of the aforementioned leader of the Boy Rangers, Jefferson Smith.

Governor Foley sees this as his opportunity to worm his (and his corrupt buddies) way into the midst of congress and continue to bask in the approval of Taylor. Taylor's agenda includes a dam-building scheme to be constructed on the very spot where Smith is advised to propose a bill that would pay for the development of a national boy's camp.

Smith is taken aside by Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), and is advised to propose a bill. Although Paine is the oldest and best friend of Smith's late father, he is nevertheless corrupted by Jim Taylor's political machine. This suggestion to propose a bill is just a scheme to keep Smith out of the way of the dam-building plans. However, since the sites of the to projects are one and the same, this just escalates the tension and the determination of Smith to actually DO something with this newly acquired seat in the government.

Taylor's political machine realizes that their plans are backfiring, and that Smith is not the doormat that Taylor thought he was going to be.

In order to avoid Smith ruining Taylor's plans, he hits below the belt by wiring all the papers to print stories (i.e. twisted and false stories) of Smith's ulterior motive to profit from his proposed boys' camp bill. Fraudulent evidence is fabricated to show that Smith already owns the land on which he is proposing to develop the camp.

Smith tries to enlist the boys back home to spread the good word of his proposal through the Boy Rangers' self-published newspaper. However, Taylor's machine quickly confiscates that publication, and attacks the boys, replacing that with his own fraudulent stories of misconduct and deception by Smith.

Not to be overthrown by this political corruption, Smith enlists the assistance and the confidence of his secretary, Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur) to complete his Boys Camp bill. He intends to present the bill to congress regardless of Taylor's political machine and its attempts to kill it. To do this, Saunders enlightens him to the filibuster, and Smith takes full advantage of it.

As I hope you realize by now, I am not a fan of the spoiler. That is the gist of the story. The rest concerns the conflicts that ensue when this one senator from a small town takes on the powerful forces of a corrupt congressional machine in order to do what's right.


It is amazing just how relevant this movie is to current politics. Although it is not specified to which party the corrupt senators in the movie belong, in today's political battlefield, they would have Republican written all over them.

When this movie was made (1939), although there is no doubt that scandal existed in government, it was not usually exposed and broadcast to the public as much as it is today. Therefore, I imagine (I can only speculate, as my existence was still another 36 years away) that this story was much more of a shocker when it was first released. What is rather shocking, though, is that in that time, government (i.e. congress, mostly right-wing conservatists/tea-party extremists) has not only failed to improve, I believe it has actually gotten worse. This contradicts what I would expect to be the normal order of events (kind of like a Starburst® candy). More media coverage and exposure, as we have today, would suggest a decrease in corruption. However, all you have to do is to turn on the news (respectable shows such as The Rachel Maddow Show…NOT Fox News or The O'Reilly Factor) to see that nothing is sacred anymore in politics.

You will probably notice that this review is not quite as in-depth with regards to plot as that to which I normally strive, but I fear that expansion would send me on a rant about current politics, and that would NOT be something you would want to see. (I also apologize… I realize that that last sentence was a grammatical nightmare!) Nevertheless, I will drift your attention to one event in the movie that made me raise my eyebrows, because at the time this movie was made, this was not an issue…the filibuster.

Previously, the filibuster was a rarely used tactic to stall a bill or proposal from a vote, or an insertion to proceedings with that same goal, and to give a congressman as much opportunity to present his case as he can endure. (Yes, in days of yore, it was required that the congressman presenting the filibuster remain standing throughout his presentation. If he sat down, he relinquished the floor.)

In today's lazy and irresponsible congress, one is no longer held to that requirement. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that it took no more effort than leaving the senate chamber for a burger to enact a filibuster! No surprise as to why very little productivity is seen in congress today. Unless, of course, the issue concerns whether or not the congressmen will be able to catch their flights to go home for vacation…then procedure flies! And there it is…I am now entering into the realm of personal political criticism…back to the movie…

I will leave you to create your own treasure hunt to find connections (intentional and otherwise) to current politics…have fun with that one! 😏

On the filmmaking end of this review, I always find it interesting to watch (and review) the movies of this era (1920s to 1970s). There are, or so it seems, a smaller pool of actors, directors, and other significant names dominating Hollywood. As this movie exhibits, you will see names repeated more often. This extends beyond pretty boy actors with little talent and huge egos.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington sees several familiar names that will probably become household names if you are a regular reader of this blog. To name a few: director Frank Capra (It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It WIth You (1938), Meet John Doe (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), the list goes on…), James Jimmy Stewart (You Can't Take It With You (1938), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Rope (1948), Harvey (1950), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Spirit of St. Louise (1957), Night Passage (1957), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959),The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962),Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Harvey (1972), The Shootist (1976), again, the list goes on…), Jean Arthur (The Canary Murder Case (1929), The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929), The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1930), If You Could Only Cook (1935), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), Shane (1953) ), Claude Rains (The Invisible Man (1933), The Clairvoyant (1935), Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), King's Row (1942), Now, Voyager (1942), Casablanca (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Strange Holiday (1945), Nortorious (1946), Deception (1946), Lawrence of Arabia (1942) ), Edward Arnold (Whistling In The Dark (1933), Duck Soup (1933), Diamond Jim (1935), Remember Last Night (1935), Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Meet John Doe (1941), The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), Three Wise Fools (1946), Annie Get Your Gun (1950) ), Harry Carey (The Last of the Mohicans (1932), Barbary Coast (1935), Beyond Tomorrow (1940),Angel and The Badman (1947) ), Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach (1939), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Swiss Family Robinson (1940), Our Town (1940), The Long Voyage Home (1940), Three Wise Fools (1946), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Pocketful of Miracles (1941), High Noon (1952) ), Guy Kibbee (Flying High (1931), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936),Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938), Our Town (1940), Fort Apache (1948) ), H.B. Warner (Conquest (1928), Charlie Chan's Chance (1932), The Crusader (1932), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), The Garden Murder Case (1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939), Topper Returns (1941), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Sunset Blvd. (1950), The Ten Commandments (1956) ), Charles Lane (Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take it With You (1938), The Invisible Woman (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), The Music Man (1962), It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) ), Dub Taylor (You Can't Take It With You (1938), Them! (1954), Dragnet (1954), A Star Is Born (1954), No Time For Sergeants (1958), A Hole in the Head (1959),The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969), Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), Tom Sawyer (1973), 1941 (1979) )…yeah, and that doesn't even approach exhaustive.

As my continuing efforts to expose you to quality and true entertainment and talent moves on, I encourage you to take the suggestions listed, along with any others you might find, and really watch them with interest. And if…I'm sorry…WHEN you find another movie you enjoy that features these people, jot a note, either at the end of the post here, or in an email to me, or in the suggestion question in the weekly survey, suggesting it as a possible subject of review. Don't be discouraged if you don't see your suggestion appear in the survey right away or for quite some time. I keep all suggestions for future consideration…i.e. no expiration datel

Finally, a few examples of these connections to which I made reference that come from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

First, Auld Lang Syne is heard near the beginning of this movie…it is also sung in the final scene of It's A Wonderful Life. Both movies are directed by Frank Capra and feature James Stewart (Jeff Smith/George Bailey), H.B. Warner (Senate Majority Leader Agnew/Mr. Gower), Thomas Mitchell (Diz Moore/Uncle Billy), and Charles Lane (Nosey/Mr. Potter's Real Estate Salesman).

Before I go on, I apologize for the lack of specificity in this next connection, but I thought it too good to completely ignore. There is a point near the end of Mr. Smith… where the Senate President (Harry Carey - yes, an unfortunate name - rather cruel parents if you ask me) is attempting to call order to the Senate chamber by banging his gavel. After a sustained banging for quite some time produces no response, he gives a priceless expression with a smile attached, and gives up, tossing the gavel aside. The connection, (again, I apologize for being vague and seemingly clueless here, but it was too good to ignore) : there is another movie in which this scene is almost duplicated. In this other movie, the setting is a legal courtroom, and different actors and specific situations are involved. I just cannot, for the life of me, remember whiich movie this is! If you know, I would really appreciate a heads-up so I can sleep. Some possibilities include: A Miracle on 34th Street (1947), You Can't Take It With You (1938), or A Smokey Mountain Christmas (1986). See my sneaky ways of getting you to sit on your duff to watch movies instead of engaging in physical activity?…You're welcome!

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some of you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Mr. Smith : I suppose, Mr. Paine, when a fella bucks up against a big organization like that, one man can't get very far, can he?
    Paine : Nope.
  • Mr. Smith : There was a bus outside, and I just naturally got aboard.
    Saunders :[sarcastically] Most natural thing in the world.
  • Diz : I'll see ya' later, Saunders. I gotta go out and think this over.
  • Paine : Jeff, these bills are put together by legal minds after long study. I can't understand half of them myself, and I used to be a lawyer. Now come on, forget it. When the time comes, I'll advise you how to vote.
    Mr. Smith : Yes, I know you will, sir. But that's just the point. There's no reason for me to be here at all.
  • Paine : At the expense of some of the furniture, Susan, you've made another conquest.
    Susan : Not old Honest Abe?
    Paine : And with Honest Abe's ideals. A rare man these days, Susan.
  • Mr. Smith : Dog-gone-it…you ever have so much to say about something, you just couldn't say it?
    Saunders : Try sitting down.
    Mr.Smith : I did…I got right back up again.
  • Saunders : Father was a doctor. He thought more of ethics than he did of collections. Speaks well for Father, but it wasn't so…now look, we'd better get back to this.
  • Paine : This is a man's world, Jeff, and you've got to check your ideals at the door, like you do your rubbers.
  • Paine : Mr. President, will the senator yield?
    Senate President : Will the senator yield?
    Mr. Smith : No, sir, I'm afraid not. No, sir. I yielded the door once before if you'll remember, and I was pracitically never heard of again. No, sir. And we might as well all get together on this yielding business right off the bat now.
  • Mr. Smith : If I yield for only a question or a point of order or a personal privilege, that I can hold this floor almost until doomsday.
  • Mr. Smith : I call the chair's attention to uh…rule 5 of the standing rules of the Senate, section…section 3…‘If it shall be found that a quorum is not present, a majority of the senators present’…and that looks like me…‘may direct the sergeant at arms to request, and if necessary, compel the attendence of the absent senators,’ Well, Mr. President, I so direct.
  • Diz : This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor Machine, allegedly crooked from the inside and out…and for my money, you can cut out the ‘allegedly.’
  • H.V. Kaltenborn : This is H. V. Kaltenborn speaking. Half of official Washington is here to see democracy's finest show, the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in it's most dramatic form. The least man in that chamber, once he gets and holds that floor, by the rules, can hold it and talk as long as he can stand on his feet…providing always, first: that he does not sit down, second, that he does not leave the chamber or stop talking.
  • [Mr. Smith is talking extensively on the floor of the congress. He pauses, puts his fingers into his mouth, and whistles. Startled, all the senators jump in their seats, and turn to look at Smith.]
    Mr. Smith : Ah, that's alright. I just wanted to find out if you still had faces.
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mr. Hobbs Takes A Vacation

Sugar 24

MOVIE REVIEW OF Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962) NOT RATED
Director: henry koster Runtime: 1 hrs 56 min ( 116 min)
roger hobbs ..... james stewart
peggy hobbs ..... maureen o' hara
joe carmody ..... fabian
katey hobbs ..... laun peters
janie grant ..... lili gentle
byron grant ..... john saxon
martin turner ..... john mcGiver
emily turner ..... marie wilson
reggie mcHugh ..... reginald gardiner
marika carter ..... valerie varda
susan carver ..... natalie trundy
stan carver ..... josh peine
danny hobbs ..... michael burns
brenda ..... minerva urecal
mr. kagle ..... richard collier
girl #1 in dormatory ..... sherry alberoni
girl #2 in dormatory ..... true ellison
boy ..... darm duke
pizza maker ..... ernie gutterrez
driver in bird walk scene ..... bill hickman
bartender ..... colin kenny
freddie ..... tom lowell
carl ..... stephen mines
peter carver ..... peter oliphant
phil ..... michael sean
secretary ..... maida severn
dick ..... dennis whitcomb


Roger Hobbs (James Stewart) is your average family man. He goes to the office each day, has a house, a car, a wife and a few kids and all that. Arriving at work one day, though, after returning from his family vacation, he calls his secretary (Maida Severn) into his office to take some dictation. He then proceeds to relate the aformentioned vacation (a.k.a. the movie) in the form of a letter to Mrs. Hobbs (Maureen O' Hara).

The family vacation was meant to be a getaway for Mr. Hobbs and his wife, but quite quickly turns into a zoo-type affair with the kids, husbands, and their children. To make matters worse, the beach house they are borrowing from friends looks about 200 years old, and behaves even older!

As they settle in, some things go wrong (i.e. the water pump won't work), some things go right (i.e. Katie (Laun Peters) meets a boy), but everything goes haywire!

Mr. Hobbs meets his neighbor Marika (Valerie Varda), the typical beach blanket blonde, who in turn finds one of Mr. Hobbs's sons-in-law, Byron (John Saxon) quite a catch.

The intention was to reunite the family and to enjoy each others' company for a month. Tension is apparent, however, and it only escalates as they are all forced together in the run-down beach house.

While Byron is occupied with Marika, Mr. Hobbs's other son-in-law Stan (Josh Peine) is out of a job, but a phone call gives the opportunity for that to change. His soon-to-be boss, Mr. Turner (John McGiver), wants to stop by the beach house with his wife (Marie Wilson), so impressions must be made…and boy are they made!

Relationships are challenged, tested, and strengthened. But the family holds together for a happy turnout. The question is…will Mr. Hobbs ever go on a vacation with his family again?!


This is one of my favorite movies; one of those that I bought with the intention of watching it over and over at my leisure…and actually doing so.

It's not one of those movies that is funny because you can relate to the characters and the situations and the dilemmas. It's funny because you are saying to yourself, I'm glad that's him and not me, but thinking, I did come awfully close to that when…

Jimmy Stewart is typical Jimmy Stewart, one of the most reliable actors I know. Whether playing a serious role (e.g. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), or a comedic one such as Mr. Hobbs…, or halfway between (e.g. It's a Wonderful Life; Harvey), it's always Jimmy Stewart under there. (In his case, this is not a bad thing.)

Not far from the spotlight are the co-stars, too. Maureen O' Hara pairs wonderfully with Stewart as his wife, Peggy. She is sensible, trying desperately to make the best of ugly situations, yet all along empathizing with Mr. Hobbs, realizing how hard life is for him.

The kids - at home and away - couldn't be more on-target. Roger's son, Danny (Michael Burns), isn't interested in much other than his cowboys and indians on TV (or so it seems), and his teenage daughter, Katey has new braces and is boy-shy. If that isn't timeless, with perhaps slight deviations in specifics, I don't know what is.

The other daughters, Janie (Lili Gentle) and Susan (Natalie Trundy) are both married (Susan with children) and have problems of their own.

But wait…enter Mr. Turner, prospective employer of Stan, and his wife Emily. Never was such an eccentric couple discovered. Mr. Hobbs tries his best to impress Martin Turner, but is often just left speechless. Emily Turner, despite her claim of not being a drinker, exhibits rather risqué behaviour in the company of Mr. Hobbs after having her little nightcap with her husband. (Well, risqué for 1962.)

Of course, the co-star list for this '60s family film would not be complete without an appearance to make the teenage girls happy. Fabian (born Fabiano Anthony Forte) shows up as Joe, Mr. Hobbs's attempt to scoot Katey into the social scene. Although Fabian's role is well-written into the script, we all know a significant portion of the audience would have been lost without him. This is not so subtle as he and Katey take a break from the movie to sing a duet together at the pizza shop. See lyrics to Cream Puff below.

Finally, a couple of cross-movie references can be spotted if you're a Jimmy Stewart fan as I am…or an annual viewer of It's A Wonderful Life (who isn't?), as both are from that movie.

First, and not at all subtle, when the family arrives at the dilapidated house, Roger, headed up the staircase, grabs on to the bannister, and the top of the bottom pilaster comes off in his hand; as it does in the house he and Mary (Donna Reed) buy in It's A Wonderful Life.

Second, and not quite as obvious (i.e. you have to be very familiar with It's A Wonderful Life to catch this one…bravo if you do before reading this) is when Stan finds a potential job and is talking with Mr. Hobbs on the telephone. Mr. Hobbs encourages him to take the job. He tells Stan, Now you go on to Rochester, or wherever you have to go, and just don't give it another thought. Rochester is mentioned in It's A Wonderful Life when George (James Stewart) is on the phone with Sam (Frank Albertson), talking about the plastics factory Sam wants to build. Sam says he's going to build it in Rochester, to which George replies, Rochester? Why Rochester? Why not right here in Bedford Falls?

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Mr. Hobbs : Speaking to you now, from beyond the grave, let me say to you frankly that I'd rather stay on as a go-pher than to be trapped with my family for a whole month in the same house…PARAGRAPH! I also agree heartily with all modern authorities that there is no more sacred obligation in life than a lasting communication between parents and children, but from now on I'm going to see if I can't manage mine by long-distance and the longer the better.
    Secretary : Paragraph?
    Mr. Hobbs : NO PARAGRAPH! It's not that I don't love them, you understand. It's just that the day finally arrives when a man simply hasn't got the strength to handle all the jams his children get themselves into!
  • Mr. Hobbs : I've never loved Katie as much in my life as I have since she enrolled in that school and 900 miles away.
  • Mr. Hobbs : A bulb this weak…you can't even call it a light. It's a dark! You turn that thing on in the middle of the day and the whole room goes black.
  • Mr. Hobbs : Anyone wants to take a bath around here tonight, they can go jump in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Mr. Hobbs : Honey, would you feel better if I went out and gave that butterfly valve a twist now?
  • Mr. Hobbs : I've never sworn at a cook in my life.
    Peggy : Well she said that you did when you came downstairs this morning.
    Mr. Hobbs : This morning? When I came down…I never even spoke to her. I asked the kids how they'd like a little sun on the beach and they…an-an-an-…[they look at each other, realizing the misunderstanding]
  • [Peter is smashing knick-knacks around the parlor. Mr. Hobbs tells him to stop]
    Susan : It's alright, darling. Boom-pa didn't mean it.
    Mr. Hobbs : Yes, Boom-pa did mean it, too. He meant every damn word of it. Now someone's got to straighten this kid out when he gets outta line.
    Susan : If you don't mind, Dad, I hate to say this…it is your house and all that…but we don't believe in saying 'no' to the children. According to all modern psychologists, saying 'no' just leads to neurosis.
    Mr. Hobbs : Well it can also lead to bankruptcy, too, if he breaks up enough stuff!
  • Mr. Hobbs : You'd think that lousy surf would lay off for two or three minutes, wouldn't 'cha?
  • [Katie starts dancing with an odd-looking shy boy]
    Boy : You're…you're too tall for me. [Walks off.]
  • Mr. Hobbs : Joe, what's your father like?
    Joe : Dad? He's okay, I guess.
    Mr. Hobbs : All the time?
    Joe : Well, most of the time. Now and then he's a little kooky, of course.
    Mr. Hobbs : Why don't you go in there and tell her that.
  • Peggy : I can't find them. Didn't you get his last name?
    Mr. Hobbs : Nope.
    Peggy : Well, where did you pick him up?
    Mr. Hobbs : You saw me. I just called the name 'Joe' to a group of boys…and there's always one 'Joe' in a group.
  • Woman in Boat : Ohhh--he's going to hit us!--Don't you hit us!
  • Mr. Hobbs : How far off the point do ya' wanna go?
    Danny : Just so land's not in the way.
  • [Discussing the eclipse]
    Danny : You know, there won't be another one 'til 1999.
    Mr. Hobbs : Waddya say we watch that one together, too?
    Danny : Do ya' think we can?
    Mr. Hobbs : Well we can try.
  • Mr. Hobbs : [VO] The Coast Guard informed Mrs. Hobbs that the only hope now was that the boat had drifted far enough out to sea to be picked up by a passing tramp or tanker.
  • Mr. Hobbs : That ship straightened me out. You see, that ship was northbound. I just corrected the course and…we're alright now. [VO] The captain of a southbound tanker recorded having sighted a small boat shortly after noon on Thursday…He said it was headed for the open sea.
  • Danny : Dad?
    Mr. Hobbs : Yes?
    Danny : Would'ja like to look at TV with me sometime?
    Mr. Hobbs : Well, that's a good idea, son. Thanks.
  • Susan : Dad?
    Mr. Hobbs : Yep?
    Susan : Mom says would you take a look at the pump?
    Mr. Hobbs : Nope.
  • Peggy :[sarcastically] Oh 'Man,' what are you waiting for? Get their bags upstairs.
    Mr. Hobbs :[VO] To his few remaining friends, Mr. Hobbs had been known for some time affectionately as 'redcap.' He was not aware at the time that Mr. Turner was an eccentric who carried concrete in his suitcase.
  • Susan : How about some tennis tomorrow morning?
    Emily : Same thing with tennis. I used to play a little bit, but Martin never cared for it, so…I gave it up.
    Martin : That's the way it is with everything with us. If Emily doesn't care for it, then I don't either…and vice versa.
    Peggy : Well, what I think we ought to do is just stretch out there on the beach and do absolutely nothing.
    Emily : Unfortunately…
    Martin : I'm afraid that's out of the question. You see, Emily has very sensitive skin. If she's out in the sun more than a minute or two, she breaks out in big blisters.
    Emily : It's probably 'cause my body's so white…every square inch of it.
    Mr. Hobbs : Well, how 'bout you, Mr. Turner?
    Martin : Oh, no. I've got splotches all over. Big brown ones. But I never take my clothes off.
  • Mr. Hobbs : I've gotta be up fresh for those straddle-legged coat-hangers.
  • Byron : Didn't you like [Moby Dick]?
    Marika : Well, it's alright, I guess, but…who wants to read a book about a fish?
    Byron : About a fish!!
  • Mr. Hobbs : What're those up in the tree there?
    Martin : Barnswallows.
    Mr. Hobbs : How can you tell?
    Martin : Easy to spot. Barnswallows are the only ones with white spots under their tails.
    Mr. Hobbs : But they're sitting down!
  • Martin : Ever see a Red-Eyed Vireo?
    Mr. Hobbs : No.
    Martin : Halfway up that tree.
    Mr. Hobbs : Well what do ya' know about that?
    Martin : First one I've seen this year.
    Mr. Hobbs : What's that little fella next to it?
    Martin : [annoyed] Barnswallow.
  • Martin : You've never done much walking, have you?
    Mr. Hobbs : Only since I was about two years old.
  • [Emily screams from the bathroom]
    Mr. Hobbs : What the hell's she doing in the sink?
  • Martin : What's the matter? Did you lock yourself in?
    Mr. Hobbs : The knob came off.
    Martin : Who's there?
    Mr. Hobbs : If the knob's not on the door, look on the floor. It may have dropped off.
    Martin : Are both of you in there?
    Mr. Hobbs : Would'ja look on the floor, please?
    Martin : Where's the knob?
    Mr. Hobbs : Will you please look on the floor?
  • Martin : Mrs. Hobbs, I'm going to punch your husband in the nose.
  • Danny : I thought that creep of yours was coming to say goodbye.
    Katie : Oh, turn blue.
    Danny : And look like you?
  • Byron : Aren't you likely to get a hernia carring a load like that?
    Mr. Hobbs : I am.
  • Cream Puff
    ♪♫Cream puff Short cake Sweet stuff Jelly roll Gum drop Milkshake Curl up and be my baby doll♪♫ ♪♫Woe is me my solution isn't solvin' Maybe the answer can't be found Looks like I'm gonna have to keep revolvin' Just goin' round and round 'Cause I simply can't let go It's a terrible confession I'm like a Jonah and the Whale Can't hold on if you'll pardon the expression I've got a tiger by the tail I've got a tiger by the tail♪♫ ♪♫Cream puff Short cake Sweet stuff Jelly roll Gum drop Milkshake Curl up and be my baby doll♪♫
    ~ Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini Take me back to where I was reading
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Great Muppet Caper

Sugar 3

MOVIE REVIEW OF The Great Muppet Caper (1981) G
Director: jim henson Runtime: 1 hrs 35 min ( 95 min)
kermit the frog/ rowlf/ dr. teeth/ swedish chef/ waldorf/ the muppet newsman/ zeke/ man having snapshot in restaurant ..... jim henson
miss piggy/ fozzie the bear/ animal/ sam the eagle/ gramps ..... frank oz
the great gonzo/ beauregard/ zoot/ dr. bunsen honeydew/ lobbuck lou ..... dave goetz
floyd pepper/ pops/ lew zealand/ crazy harry/ louis kazager/ slim wilson/ CB voice/ man in park ..... jerry nelson
scooter/ statler/ sweetums/ janice/ beaker/ bubba/ monster/ cab driver ..... richard hunt
nicky holiday ..... charles grodin
lady holiday ..... diana rigg
neville ..... john cleese
british gentleman ..... robert morley
trick driver ..... peter ustinov
mike tarkanian ..... jack warden
rizzo the rat/ lips ..... steve whitmire
anne sue pig/ lou ..... louise gold
chickens/ gaffer the cat ..... kathryn mullen
oscar the grouch ..... caroll spinney
marla ..... erica creer
carla ..... kate howard
darla ..... della finch
security guard ..... michael robbins
dorcas ..... joan sanderson
maitre d' ..... peter hughes
prison guard ..... peggy aitchison
bus conductor ..... tommy godfrey
girl in park ..... christine nelson
reporter #1 ..... suanne church
reporter #2 ..... ian hanham
prisoner #1 ..... patti dalton
prisoner #2 ..... mary mastead
tramp ..... peter falk
aggressive man in restaurant ..... trevor howard
street dancer ..... danny john - jules
doorman ..... rodney lovick
delivery man ..... david ludwig
fashion show photographer ..... cy town
woman having snapshot in restaurant ..... amy van gilder


The movie opens with Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo the…well, Gonzo, floating through the air in a hot-air balloon as the opening credits appear in the sky around them. They are commenting on things that tell you they know very well that they are making a movie.

When they crash land in the middle of the street in the city, the whole city breaks into song. (What? You didn't see that coming? Gimme a break.)

While everyone on the street is singing and dancing, Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg), a famous fashion designer, has her jewels stolen literally right off her back. Well, her front, actually. As reporters, something like this happening right in front of them gets Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo fired. So they set off to London to redeem themselves by catching the thieves and returning the jewels.

Meanwhile, in London, Miss Piggy is trying to land a job as a model for Lady Holiday. Through conniving persuasion, she succeeds in getting the job…of secretary. Through mistaken identity, she meets Kermit, who thinks she is Lady Holiday.

When everyone finally realizes who everyone else really is, the three reporters, along with Miss Piggy and the residents of the Happiness Hotel (the place where Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo are staying) set out on an adventure around London to get back Lady Holiday's jewels. Along the way, we are treated to several cameo appearances by such celebrities as Peter Ustinov, Oscar the Grouch, and Peter Falk. Jim Henson even shows up for a brief second or seven.

The movie is also not so briefly interrupted for a 3½-minute, Esther Williams-style synchronized swimming sequenced starring Miss Piggy.

I'd like to say that the movie ends with a song-and-dance routine. However, the ending shows all the Muppets parachuting out of an airplane. So I guess it's just a dance routine. 😺


If you are or were a fan of The Muppets, especially, The Muppet Show (my favorite), then you will enjoy this movie.

Although I did manage to find a significant amount of material for the Memorable Dialogue section of this review (with some help from another subscriber…thank you), this isn't really a movie for watching for such elements. Many of the jokes are situational, and therefore, visual. The quotes that are concerned with dialogue, are often in tandem with the action on the screen.

The comedy is typical Muppet absurdity. Often (but not always) you will see a joke approaching, but even when it arrives, you are still caught making a double-take at the punchline; this is usually accompanied by the comment (or thought), I didn't see that one coming! Other times, you aren't expecting a joke, but there it is. Regardless, you still find yourself spouting the same I didn't see that one coming! When one of these moments occurs, remember to close your jaw, and don't dwell on figuring it out, lest you miss the rest of the movie.

Huh? you say? Okay…case in point…the gang want to enter a museum. This museum (naturally) has an iron security gate (what'd they expect? A tollbooth?). As they approach, Kermit says to Rowlf, Rowlf, hand me the blowtorch. To which Rowlf replies, Blowtorch? Who said anything about a blowtorch? (This, disregarding the fact that they reviewed the trousse d'outils d'espionnage (espionage tool kit) in a previous scene.) This does not prepare you for a joke, but one shows up anyway. Lew offers an alternative to said blowtorch for breaching the iron gate…I got some paper towels! Thanks, but no thanks? How do you respond to that? You just smile and go on…while you are, as the young'uns say these days -- ROTFLOL. (A.k.a. laughing pretty hardily.)

Of course, most of the appeal of The Great Muppet Caper comes from Jim Henson in the form of the Muppets themselves. As I sat watching this movie (I think for the third time), I tried to imagine the characters as human actors. For lack of ideas as to which Hollywood celebrity was most like each Muppet, I chose personal acquaintances to fill in. There is, of course, no comparison, and the bulk of the humor is royally lost. My sister calling my friend from grade school Kermy just doesn't have the same effect as when a talking pig says it to a timid cloth frog! And Oscar the Grouch…well, my Aunt Mary is not nearly as charming.

As for the storyline…it does not suffer as much as you might think. These types of movies are targeted towards children. I, myself, however, am 37 years old, and I am still a big Jim Henson/Muppet/Sesame Street/et cetera fan.

I find that when a joke is told that is expected to elicit laughs from the adults in the audience, there is also an element in the scene that will spark at least a chuckle from the children as well. Note:I use the term chuckle with hesitation, and only for rhetoric variety. I have rarely, if ever, seen or heard anyone under the age of six utter what I would consider a chuckle. Perhaps that is why, when we get older, a chuckle is about all we've got left in us?! Okay, back to the review…

I only did not give this movie a full ten meows because, as much as I am a Democrat, I do not like being too liberal with my laurels. Parts of my evaluations are relative. If I give ten meows to too many of my movies, I leave no room for anything better. Very similar to school teachers who never give 100% (A+) grade, claiming that, there's always room for improvement. Note: I always thought that was a load of crap. Sometimes you really are doing the best that you can do. If you mess with it any further, you're trying too hard to please and as a result, you begin to make it worse!

Just one more thought before I sign off. I admire movies including cameos from forgotten actors. We live in an era where, if it didn't come out yesterday, it's obsolete. This is mainly true for technology, but holds true for movies as well; and some great performers get dragged right along with them. When I was in the hospital back in 2012, I was chatting with a young intern while she was jamming sword-like needles into my arm. I came to discover that she had no clue as to who Humphrey Bogart was! I kid you not. She actually said, Was he in a band? (Which surprised me even further, since the conversation we were having was centered around movies.) To not have ever seen a movie with Humphrey Bogart (and this applies to hundreds of actors and actresses from decades past) is believable (yet saddening), but to not have ever heard of him is sad and disheartening. Incidentally, this is one reason why I do this blog. Unfortunately, I fear that most of my followers are not included in the crowd just mentioned. (Knowing who they are, I would hope that is the case.)

Anyway, The Great Muppet Caper incorporates this only slightly, but a little is better than none at all. The best example is the brief appearance by Peter Ustinov. Peter who? you say? My hopes would be, that between the child viewer and the accompanying parent (or other adult), the child would be alerted to the fact that this person is a very talented, well-known, and respectable performer from an era when it took a lot more than Justin Beiber-level talent to have such adjectives attached to your name.

Just as disappointing is realizing that the forgotten celebrities are from that long ago. Some are even still alive and working today. Actors such as John Cleese, although at the time this movie was made, he was not a forgotten actor, today I am shocked to meet people who guess him to be a version of Billy Mays. (Oh, come on. My six-year-old nephew knows who Billy Mays was!)

And now, as always, I will end my review in order to give you the chance to GET AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER AND GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!!! 😼

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some, but these are my own picks (and some from a friend), not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Gonzo : Woo-wee! I'd like to try this without the balloon!
    Kermit : Try what, plummeting?
    Gonzo : Yeah.
    Kermit : I s'pose you could try it once.
  • [Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, and Kermit are flying through the opening credits in a hot-air balloon.]
    Gonzp : Gee, a lot of people worked on this movie.
    Kermit : This is nothing. Wait'll you see the end credits.
    Fozzie : Kermit. Are the credits over?
    Kermit : Uh, not quite.
    [Jim Henson's name appears as director.]
    Fozzie : Nobody reads these names anyway, do they?
    Kermit : Sure. They all have families.
  • Gonzo : [Gets hit by a car] It's okay. I landed on my head!
  • Kermit : They don't serve food in ninth-class.
  • [Sitting in a ritzy restaurant]
    Fozzy : Boy, a costly place like this, you'd think they'd have pretzels on the table.
  • Waldorf : Look ma, no brains! Hehehehehe.
  • Miss Piggy : Kermy! No wonder he hasn't come by to see me. He had to finish law school.
  • Dr. Bunsen : I suggest we jump.
    Fozzie : Are you crazy? That's about a hundred feet!
    Dr. Bunsen : I didn't say it was a good suggestion.
    Beauregard : Maybe we could jump partway.
  • Kermit : Rowlf, hand me the blowtorch.
    Rowlf : Blowtorch? Who said anything about a blowtorch?
    Lew : I got some paper towels!
  • [Miss Piggy is stranded by the roadside]
    Miss Piggy : It's nearly midnight. What am I going to do?
    [A 'Super Wheels Stunt Team' van drives by]
    Miss Piggy : Hey! Hey, you!
    [A motorbike flies out of the back of the van and rolls over next to Miss Piggy]
    Miss Piggy : What an unbelievable coincidence!
  • Waldorf : Would you believe it, Statler, they're heroes. Now they're gonna be obnoxious.
  • Gonzo : Woo-wee! I'd like to try this without the balloon!
    Kermit : Try what? Plummeting?
    Gonzo : Yeah.
    Kermit : I s'pose you could try it once.
  • British Gentleman : Whoever you are, whatever you are, welcome to Great Britain.
    Kermit : Great Britain. We're actually in Great Britain!
    Fozzie : Oh, no. We'll never get to England now.
  • Fozzie : Hey, Kermit. Are bears allowed in those fountains?
    Kermit : No. I don't think so.
    Fozzie : I need a bath.
  • Pops : How're you guys fixin' to pay?
    Kermit : What're our choices?
    Pops : A, credit card, b, cash, c, sneak out in the middle of the night.
    Fozzie : We'll take c.
    Pops : Very popular choice.
  • Miss Piggy : As you can see from this small sampling, modeling is my life. It is my destiny. I shall accept nothing less.
    Lady Holiday : I can offer you a job as a receptionist.
    Miss Piggy : AHHHHHHHH!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! OH, THANK YOU! Oh, ah, ah, ah! Oh, you won't be sorry, I promise. I can type, I can take shorthand, I can make coffee, oh, I can do it all!
    Lady Holiday : Sit.
    Miss Piggy : I can sit. I am very good at sitting.
  • Miss Piggy : Why are you telling me all this?
    Lady Holiday : It's plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.
  • Kermit : Where do you live?
    Miss Piggy : Umm…guess.
    Kermit : Probably some high-brow street somewhere.
    Miss Piggy : Highbrow Street. Absolutely right. Highbrow Street. How did you guess? Are you psychic? But now, guess what number.
    Kermit : I don't know…um…number seventeen?
    Miss Piggy : Yes. Alright, seventeen Highbrow Street.
  • Dorcas : What is it, Neville?
    Neville : Um…pig…climbing on the, um, outside of the house.
    Dorcas : Oh.
  • Neville : If I was bored, I'd go out and buy something, wouldn't I?…cheese or, or, or quail eggs.
    Dorcas : Yes, I suppose you would.
  • [Neville discovers Miss Piggy and Kermit hiding in his closet]
    Neville : Uh, don't think me rude, but is there anything I can do for you at all?
    Miss Piggy : Um…Yes. Yes, yes, you may suggest a nice restaurant.
    Neville : Ah, well, there's the Dubonnet Club. Actually, it's not as much a restaurant, it's more of a supper club.
    Miss Piggy : Ah, thank you, Jeeves. No time for cocktails.
    Kermit : Good evening.
  • Fozzie : You know, if you put enough sugar in this stuff, it tastes just like ginger ale.
  • [Miss Piggy throws the Truck Driver (Peter Ustinov) out of his truck and into a pile of trash cans. Out of one of the cans pops Oscar the Grouch]
    Truck Driver : Oy, what're you doin' 'ere?
    Oscar : A very brief cameo.
    Truck Driver : Me too.
  • Rowlf : Woof woof! Woof woof! It helps to know a second language.
  • Gonzo : [After closing credits, takes a flash picture towards the camera] I'll send you all a copy!
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
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