Tag Archives: Milton Berle

The Set of 400: #5 – My Favorite Sadly Temporary Side Effect

Today! Because it’s not often you see a guy that green have the blues that bad –

The Muppet Movie (1979)

Directed by James Frawley

Starring Jim Henson (x3), Frank Oz (x10), Dave Goelz (x7), Richard Hunt (x3), Jerry Nelson (x6), Charles Durning (x4), Austin Pendleton (x2), Orson Welles (x5), Cloris Leachman (x6), Dom DeLuise (x8), Steve Martin (x7), Richard Pryor, Bob Hope, Milton Berle (x3), Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Elliott Gould (x5), James Coburn (x4), Carol Kane (x6), Madeline Kahn (x9), Mel Brooks (x6), Telly Savalas, Paul Williams (x3), Bruce Kirby (x2), Caroll Spinney (x2), Scott Walker

The gold standard of Muppet productions. The zenith of the entire franchise. The culmination of nearly 25 years of Mr. the Frog’s place in the cultural landscape, beginning way back with Sam & Friends in 1955. After this, and the subsequent completion of The Muppet Show’s dynamite five year run, the felt gang would achieve superstardom few puppets have entertained before or since. A groundbreaking, world-altering comedy/musical motion picture unduplicated in success or popularity through the entire course of human history. The Muppet Movie is the greatest thing ever produced by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Kermit, for one, is stunned by this adulation

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The Set of 400: #349 – My Favorite Water Glass Musician

Today! Because the man has an axe, there’s two of us – there’ll be four of us in no time –

Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Woody Allen, Mia Farrow (x2), Nick Apollo Forte, Milton Berle (x2), Sandy Baron, Corbett Monica, Morty Gunty, Will Jordan, Jackie Gayle, Howard Storm, Joe Franklin, Michael Badalucco (x2), Howard Cosell

As intimated way back in #399’s Payback, there is a certain point when a filmmaker/actor/writer’s outside life is going to influence the perception of their work. But what will be a much more prevalent issue on this list is the sheer volume of Woody Allen films, compared to Mel Gibson’s – with which I believe we have already finished. Troubles aside, I’ve been an unabashed fan of Woody’s for most of my life – and didn’t see any of his films until after the early scandal of his imploding marriage to Mia/taking up with Soon-Yi. I know this incident was enough for many people to bail on him entirely, but this was pretty much always built into my knowledge of the guy, given the age I was at when it happened. This, of course, says nothing about the later accusations. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #371 – My Favorite Swimming Pool Bathtub Brawl

Today! Because I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel –

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring Paul Reubens (x2), Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton, Diane Salinger, Judd Omen, Alice Nunn, Jan Hooks, Jason Hervey, Cassandra Peterson, Phil Hartman, James Brolin, Morgan Fairchild, Milton Berle

Look, no one is more surprised than me that Pee-wee’s first big screen outing is still hanging around my favorite films list 30-some-odd years on, but here we are. I know there’s a certain section of the fandom that is still all-in on this movie, and would’ve proudly put it higher, but I’m a touch embarrassed. Me, someone who stuck Godspell ahead of 14 films on this list.

But why should I be embarrassed? Sure, Pee-wee objectively is kinda juvenile nonsense, but this movie so far transcended everything else connected to the character (except maybe the original brilliant stage show) that it only really fits the canon in that Pee-wee is the protagonist. This was Tim Burton at his hyper-inventive best! Surreal! Bizarre! Wonderfully inventive! His bicycle alone is an ingenious creation that drives the entire plot, from bizarro inventor’s house to the Alamo to the big screen. Continue reading

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