Thursday, March 19, 2009

Can you picture that? What's up with the marvelous Muppets

At the start, a hearty huzzah to the makers of "Up," which has somehow been chosen to be the opening night film for the Festival de Cannes when it returns May 13. It's not yet known if the film will take a competition slot or not, but that's still just an immense honor for what is, 3-D and all, after all just a "cartoon."

But here today it's all about one of my favorite subjects, the Muppets, and specifically the new "Muppet Movie" that Jason Segel and professional partner Nicholas Stoller are cooking up. The first sign that this will hopefully be as funny as it deserves to be comes up with the new flick's title, "The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time."

If it manages to come even close to that it will be good enough for me, because I've always just had an inordinate amount of love for the Muppets. I guess it's just because they hit their height with "The Muppet Movie" when I was 9 years old, and I can remember for a fact that we just wore right through the cassette of that flick's great soundtrack on family trips.

So, what prompts this trip down memory road? Well, someone calling himself "Gonzo" has a review of the new movie's script up this morning at AICN. You can read the whole thing here, and be warned it does indeed have some fairly serious spoilers, but I just wanted to share my favorite bits below.

The movie has our beloved Muppets reuniting to stage a show (of course!) in the Muppet Theatre to raise $10 million to save The Muppet Studios from an evil Texas oil tycoon. And the most important fact, which would be a deal-breaker if the reverse were true: It's a musical.

The funniest thing "Gonzo" revealed is that the Muppets, who at the beginning are spread around the country and probably world, have a "Muppet signal," a la Batman. I can already picture the possibilities for that in my mind, and will gladly allow it to occupy at least a small portion of what should be my workday.

Also very funny is what the Muppets are all doing when they get the signal, according to the AICN spy: Rowlf is working in a Kinko's run by cats; Gonzo is a crime fighter (including a cameo from Christian Bale); the Electric Mayhem are performing in some dive bar in Alaska, and Animal is in a celebrity rehab center for anger management.

That all sounds great to me. This still isn't listed in any form at IMDB, but here's hoping it happens, because the world would certainly be a much more bearable place with another great Muppet movie in it. 'Nuff said.

More from Adrienne Shelly

Sorry to bring everyone down, but if you didn't hear about or have perhaps forgotten what happened to Adrienne Shelly, it really is one of the great Hollywood tragedies in my book.

Shelly, who you may remember best as the star of great Hal Hartley flicks like "The Unbelievable Truth" and "Trust," was murdered in 2006 in her New York apartment. Why? Because she actually had the nerve to ask her neighbor to turn down his stereo.

Disgustingly sad that, of course, but good things are continuing to emanate from what she left behind. Already there was "Waitress," a perfectly charming little flick that she wrote and starred in with Keri Russell, Captain Mal and Andy Griffith. And now it seems two more projects are in the works from scripts she managed to pen before her way-too-early demise.

Her husband, Andy Ostroy, is developing "The Morgan Stories" from another Shelly script, and it's described as a "multigenerational family drama that revolves around three sisters and follows them over the course of several decades."

That's just getting underway, but much further along and possibly finished is another Shelly-penned flick, "Serious Moonlight," which I can only find described thusly: A dark comedy about a wife who duct-tapes her husband to the bathroom just as burglars arrive. Unfortunately, that wife is apparently Meg Ryan, but amazingly enough Veronica Mars, a k a Kristen Bell, stars in this somehow too, so I'll definitely be checking it out as soon as I can (most likely, I'd have to imagine, on DVD.)

Just wanted to share all that, which I find to be a rather uplifting bit of news coming from such an awful tragedy.

A must-read: Friday morning link

I've made my love of "Friday Night Lights" very well known in this space many times before, but if I can do anything at all to help land a fourth season of easily the best drama on TV right now (which, believe me, I do know I can't), I'll certainly continue to do my little part.

I've adored watching how they've bid goodbye to beloved characters, and it seems that, like me, showrunner Jason Katims singles out the departure of Gaius Charles' Smash Williams as the show's best moment. You can hear about that, and almost an apology for the whole Tara/Landry murder story, in Variety managing editor Kathy Lyford's interview with Katims here.

It's well worth reading for anyone who's a fan of the show (and again, if you're not, why the heck not?), and in the intro Lyford even hints that there might be a NBC/DirecTV deal in the works to bring the show back for a fourth and maybe even fifth season. All I can say to that is bring it friggin' on, and I'll certainly let you know when I see anything that confirms something as crazy as that.

And comedy fans should note that Stringer Bell from "The Wire," a k a Idris Elba, begins a short run on "The Office" as Michael's new boss tonight, and Jon Hamm returns to "30 Rock" as Liz Lemon's new paramour. Good viewing indeed.

A glimpse of "Where the Wild Things Are" coming soon?

The rumor I've heard is that there will actually be a trailer for Spike Jonze's much-anticipated (by me, at least) take on the children's classic "Where the Wild Things Are" to precede "Monsters Vs. Aliens" on March 27. I was probably gonna go see that one anyway, but now I'm definitely in. All I have here today is this poster for Jonze's flick, which you may well have already seen, but it just made me smile and I think it will you too. I can tell you I feel exactly like Max does below at least once every single day. Peace out.


Anonymous said...

What a sloppy piece on Adrienne Shelly. If you had an ounce of journalistic talent/integrity, you'd have researched her case further and known that the killer (a) was not her "neighbor" but rather a construction worker; and (b) the "turn down the noise" story was part of his original confession which was later retracted at sentencing when he admitted he simply forced his way into her apartment to attack and rob her. Additionally, who the hell is "Capatin Mal?" You then go on to undservingly diss Meg Ryan, and "predict" that Serious Moonlight will likely go straight to video. For someone who claims to respect Ms Shelly so much, you sure do show it in an odd way. This poor woman, and her family, have suffered enough. The least you blogging idiots could do is get the facts straight about her, her work, life and death.

A family friend

Reel Fanatic said...

I certainly meant no disrespect to Adrienne Shelly, anonymous one, so I'm sorry if my writing conveyed anything like that ... I loved her as an actress, and can't wait to see what the last two movies she came up with will look like, no matter what form I get to see them in