Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Adventure Wednesday with The Muppets!

It's time to play the music.  It's time to light the lights!  It's time to go see The Muppets, if you haven't already, because it's pretty damn good.  The best Muppet movie since the 1980s.  For today's Adventure Wednesday, I take you along on our trip to see the movie, Hollywood-style.

Having finished all of my preparation for Thanksgiving by Wednesday afternoon, Tom and I found ourselves with an uncharacteristically open night before our holiday guests arrived for dinner, so we booked tickets to see the movie opening night at the best possible viewing location -- the El Capitan. 

The El Cap marquee, all lit up


This turned out to be especially fun, because El Cap is in the film, as the location of "Muppet Studios."  (In real life, the Henson studios are actually on La Brea north of Sunset, in Charlie Chaplin's former studio space, but the Muppets are now owned by Disney, the owner of the El Capitan.)

The real Henson Studios has a tribute to Kermit and Chaplin - the statue of Kermit AS Chaplin.
Photo via Henson Studios


   We love going to the El Cap.  It's a more expensive ticket than your usual theater, but then, it has so much more to offer than your usual theater does. 

Here's the side of the theater, with the nearby Animal billboard.

It may only be a mile away from our home, but we rarely get over to the tourist district (with Grauman's Chinese among other attractions.)  There's always something strange and amusing to see there, and going to the El Cap gives us a good excuse to people-watch.  Or pet-watch.

For instance, we spotted this very recalcitrant cat being walked - or tugged - on a leash.

The El Cap is also fun because it is such a beautifully restored historical theater.  I'm a fan of old theaters, and this is one of the best restorations ever done.

Here's the ceiling above the ticket box and entryway.

And unlike most old theaters, it has a Wurlitzer organ that is in good working condition -- and their organist plays a set before every show!  There's nothing like seeing a movie like Pirates of the Caribbean or Lady and the Tramp or The Muppets, (all which we've seen there) and hearing its theme song pour out of the pipes before the movie even starts.

The organist at play.

   Plus, whatever is playing at the El Cap, Disney always brings in special displays or events that tie into the movie.  This one was no exception, and it was one of the reasons I most wanted to see The Muppets at the El Capitan.  They included a pre-show holiday sing-along with a live performance by Kermit and Piggy.


Now, I know - and I hope you know I know - that they aren't really people.  But... I'd never seen the puppets in action, actually being puppeted in front of me.  The holiday sing-along with them was worth the ticket price alone.

My inner two-year-old (and my outer thirty-two-year-old) was totally geeked out by the real Kermit and Piggy, in person.

After the sing-along, we enjoyed the audience's giddy reaction to the pending movie.  When the reel didn't roll right away, some fella behind us started doing a Statler/Waldorf impression.  It was spot-on and made everyone laugh.

The film was preceded with a Toy Story short that was so packed with laughs from stem to stern that I am pretty sure I need to see it again to catch everything I missed.

Finally, The Muppets began, and I was amused (and kind of moved) that there was as much cheering by our fellow adults in the audience as we'd heard from the tweens seeing Twilight.  I'm reminded, with the second coming of these felted weirdos, that I'm not alone in my love for them.

Especially when it comes to Jason Segel, the writer and star of the movie.  I was a little worried the film would be jaded and a touch ironic, as is the 'Apatow' style from which he sprung up to stardom.  But the movie was filled with real heart, and lots of funny laughs.

I'm a musical fan, and the music numbers did not disappoint.  I loved several of them, but my favorite by far was "Man or Muppet," which I hope like hell will be nominated for an Academy Award.  There's a terrific cameo for the song, which totally surprised me - I was deeply tickled by it.  I'm not spoiling it for you, and you should try to stay unspoiled.

It was fun to spot the hotel on the corner of our street, in its own cameo as Amy Adams' and Jason Segel's hotel room.  (I was hoping there would be an exterior shot, but alas, no.)

Once the credits were done rolling (you should stay for them, btw) we headed downstairs for the special exhibit of Miss Piggy's wardrobe from the film - yet another benefit of the El Cap screening.

My favorite was this Zac Posen number. He designs so well for curves!

   We didn't realize - I don't think they advertised - that there was also a photo op backdrop down there, plus the Muppet portraits from the film, and some sets and props, too!

Blissed out after the movie.

Tom in front of Kermit's office, complete with his "Standard Rich & Famous Contract"

Me with Miss Piggy's dressing room. I'm holding the Muppets popcorn bucket that came with our VIP tickets.

From there, we headed out through Disney's Soda Fountain, the combination gift shop/restaurant connected to the theater.  (You can't exit a Disney ride without exiting through the gift shop, yo.)  They had a ton of Muppet merchandise.

They had a whole display just for Animal!

They also sold Muppet Whatnot sets - and though I'd really like one, I'd rather wait until I can assemble my own
at the FAO Schwarz in New York - or if it finally comes to Disneyland, as is rumored.

   They even sold the OPI Muppet nail polish series - but I decided not to buy any, in favor of another souvenir I had my eye on.

Sporting my cozy new Kermie hat.

We loved the experience... and we loved the movie, which we'd like to see again while it's still in theaters.  (Having had the full El Cap experience, we'll opt for a cheaper theater this time.  Once is worth it, but once is enough.)

If you're local and you love Muppets, definitely consider checking it out at the El Capitan... and if you're not local, you should try to catch the movie in theaters.  It's a love letter to the original fans, and a cheery introduction for new ones.

OK.  I'll be back again mahna-mañana (wocka-wocka), and til then, take care of you!



  2. I took your Powers neice and nephews to see the movie this weekend and they really enjoyed it!! I likewise enjoyed it artistically, entertainment wise and a wonderful walk down memory lane. Lots of memories especially of you mom when rainbow connection came on and of you throughout the entire movie. I am definately jealous of you getting to go back to the El Capitan. I loved it when I went there with you and Tom.

  3. I couldn't agree more! Loved the movie from the start and the particular cameo you mentioned pushed me right over the edge. I actually bounced in my seat! Got to see it with great friends of mine who I don't get to see often which made it even more special.

  4. I loved it all, from start to finish, and agree w/ you 100% on "Man or Muppet." Most hilarious, yet heartfelt movie musical song I've seen/heard ever. Literally. EVAR. ...Oh, and The Moopets? HIGH-larious. Rolf the dog with a 'doo rag and earring? *snorks* A green haired, punk rock Janice?? Fantastic! And I have to admit I teared up a little when they launched into The Rainbow Connection, version 2. I was around to see the original on the big screen, and revisiting that moment was so sweet.

  5. Oh, forgot to add... I was in line at the damn concession stand trying to get a slushie when the Toy Story short ran. So I totally missed it, dammit! I'll have to wait for the DVD now and see if it's on there.

  6. I am a friend of Joanne Greene in West Virginia and followed her link from facebook. LOVE your story! We took our 3 year old grandson to see the Muppets Thanksgiving evening and loved it. I would love to have the "Hollywood experience". I spent a week with Joanne there and recgonized a lot of places in the movie so it was really fun for me!
    Debbie Vance