“The Muppet Movie” is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
The first Muppet film tracks Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear’s journey to Hollywood and how the Muppet gang came together.
It also features cameos from Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise and others.
“The Muppet Movie” will be screened at Bluffs 17, Twin Creek, Oakview, Majestic, Village Pointe and Lincoln Grand on Thursday and Tuesday.
Film Streams’ screenings of “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” where the Muppets attempt to put on a Broadway show, will continue through Aug. 1 at the Dundee Theater.
Film Streams to screen classic movies
As part of its midnight movie series, Film Streams will show “Ghost World” on Friday.
The 2001 film features Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson as best friends navigating the summer after graduating high school. And it becomes more complicated when they respond to a man’s personal ad as a gag.
As part of its repertory series, Film Streams will screen “Private Life.”
Starring Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn, the 2018 film follows a couple’s comedic journey through infertility, assisted reproduction and adoption.
“Private Life” will screen at 3:45 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Dundee Theater’s Linder Microcinema.
As part of the same series, classic horror film “The Thing” will be screened at 3:45 p.m. Sunday and at 9 p.m. Aug. 1 at the microcinema.
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Coming up at Alamo Drafthouse
Special screenings are going down this week at Alamo Drafthouse.
Alamo Midtown will screen sci-fi adventure film “Starshoop Troopers” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, coming-of-age classic “Sixteen Candles” at 7 p.m. Friday, a double feature of Japanese action films “Lady Snowblood” and “Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Prince’s 1984 musical “Purple Rain” at 7 p.m. Monday, monster horror film “Humanoids From the Deep” at 7 p.m. Tuesday and 1984’s “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Alamo La Vista will screen kids classic “The Neverending Story” at 11 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, crime film “Natural Born Killers” at 10 p.m. Saturday and L.A. noir film “Under the Silver Lake” at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.
‘Cooley High’ gets outdoor screening
On Friday, Film Streams will present a special screening of the coming-of-age drama “Cooley High,” about best friends Preach and Cochise’s final days of high school.
The 1975 film was a critical and commercial success, and the show “What’s Happening!!” was loosely based on the film.
It will be shown at sundown at Highlander Community Lawn at 3003 Patrick Ave. Lawn seating opens at 7 p.m.
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There are no strings on him, which makes him a very powerful puppet. In fact, he is the only puppet, that we know of, to become a real boy.
Hey, kids! What time is it? Once the king of all puppets, the kickin’ cowboy marionette created the template for children’s TV that was followed decades hence. Though Howdy Doody stopped making new episodes in 1960 (plus a brief revival in the ‘70s), his impact on culture has lasted ever since, which keeps him on the list despite being absent from television for more than 50 years.
The sweet-voiced little lamb puppet (first voiced by Shari Lewis, then, after her death, by her daughter, Mallory Lewis) has been kicking around pop culture for more than 60 years. Her power ranking has slipped quite a few spots over the years, but she still has enough clout to make this list.
He may be lonely, but poor little Kim Jong Il was hilarious in “Team America: World Police.” Kim is portrayed as an f-bomb-happy megalomaniacal supervillain who attempts to take over the world from his massive North Korean palace, which is complete with trap doors, sharks and a piano. He even gets a musical number.
What started as a one-off “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” gag about a hilariously mean Yugoslavian Mountain Hound has evolved into a long-running comedy institution that no one has been able to put down. The cigar-chomping, celebrity-roasting dog had (arguably) his finest moment in 2016, when he set his deceptively incisive sights on the absurdities of the presidential race. It was the perfect thing for him to poop on.
The horrifying dog-thing puppet was created more than 35 years ago by Stan Winston and 22-year-old Rob Bottin, and it’s still disgusting and horrifying whenever you see the dog/spider/tentacle monster. It definitely holds up.
The pigtailed Fraggle is a Type-A athlete and the alpha of “Fraggle Rock.” She also has the most hair of any Fraggle.
You have to watch those little critters. Spill a glass of water on them or feed them after midnight, and the mogwai will reproduce and turn into hateful, chaotic little gremlins. Despite being the little, adorable, fuzzy antithesis to the reptilian gremlins, Gizmo stole our hearts in 1984 and again in 1990. That he’s even on the list nearly 30 years since his last film appearance tells you how much we love him. He’ll rise higher if they ever make a “Gremlins 3.”
Chucky, as Go Editor Cory Gilinsky noted, is not really a puppet. But as we are NOT puppets of Go Editor Cory Gilinsky, we have chosen to defy him and list Chucky as a puppet. (That’s true power.) And anyways, Chucky is a puppet, Cory. He’s a doll controlled by the reanimated soul of serial killer Charles Lee Ray through the power of voodoo. And voodoo is the true power.
(Editor’s note: You’re both fired.)
Elmo and the mainstream Muppets are in a class all their own, but the rest of the crew — including Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Count Von Count, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Snuffleupagus and so many others — are a force to be reckoned with all on their own. Once the star of the “Sesame Street” crew, Big Bird had his own movie (“Follow That Bird”) and a documentary on the man who ran him (“I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story”). A longtime cornerstone of PBS, “Sesame Street” now airs on HBO.
How could we forget that evil alien plant with the baritone voice of singer Levi Stubbs and an appetite for human flesh? In the film’s original ending (it was edited later), Audrey II kills all the main characters, and he and his Audrey II buds grow to monstrous sizes and take over the world. Power.
There are a lot of puppets to love in the definitely-most-certainly adult-themed musical “Avenue Q.” (It’s as if “Rent” were a comedy, completely absurd and, uh, cast with puppets.) But the best of them all are the Bad Idea Bears, a male and female pair who repeatedly try to convince the main character, the wide-eyed and naive Princeton, to make bad decisions. At every turn. In the end, the bears find the error of their ways and, well, convert to Scientology. (We didn’t say it was gonna make sense.)
(real name Gordon Shumway) He’s a lazy, sloppy, sarcastic jerk who wants to eat the family cat, and yet he still found his way into the hearts of millions of Americans. Yep. True power.
Depending on your point of view, you may find the ever-smiling purple dinosaur incredibly adorable or incredibly annoying. But let’s face it: The super-dee-duper T. rex is a hit with kids. Despite not airing a new episode since 2010, “Barney & Friends” is still hugely popular. Oh, and he’ll likely be back in a new movie or series soon. Count on it.
(Editor’s note: OK, fine, Barney was actually a guy in a suit, not a puppet. But his TV show had a bunch of puppets, and that’s good enough for this list.)
The heartbreakingly cute little extraterrestrial was created by Italian artist Carlo Rambaldi, who died in 2012. Rambaldi, whom Spielberg called “E.T.’s Geppetto,” had previously worked on a marginally more terrifying alien, doing the mechanical head effects for the creature in “Alien.” As “E.T.” was a kids’ movie, Spielberg wanted a creature that was a bit more lovable this time out. To imbue E.T. with empathy, Rambaldi and Spielberg reportedly based the design on photos of elderly people who lived during the Great Depression. And the little guy ended up breaking everyone’s heart. And that’s ... true power.
Not all puppets are cute. When Kane started getting sick in the middle of dinner on the Nostromo, none of us knew exactly what was happening. Even if you went into “Alien” expecting a monster flick, you didn’t think a tiny monster was going to pop out of actor John Hurt’s chest. It ended up becoming one of the best horror scenes ever. The most hideous puppet of all time is the alien Xenomorph, which is still freaking out audiences via puppetry, complicated rubber suits and CGI in movies like last year’s “Alien: Covenant.”
The shark in “Jaws” was actually three mechanical sharks, all made from the same mold, all named Bruce (after Spielberg’s lawyer.) The Bruces were intricate, high-tech animatronics, and none of them worked that well most of the time. Due in part to the stubborn puppets, the film went over schedule and over budget. And yet Spielberg turned the Bruces’ technical malfunctions into a virtue, refusing to show the shark for the majority of the film, which makes the times we actually do get to see the shark all the more compelling. The Bruces did almost no work, and they still comprise one of the most iconic movie puppets of all time. That’s true power.
Small in stature, Yoda is the wisest of all puppets and probably the most quotable, too. “Do or do not. There is no try,” anyone? The long-eared green alien showed up as a curious little puppet in “The Empire Strikes Back” nearly 40 years ago, and we all quickly became his students. And then (spoilers!) the great green Jedi master once again appeared on film last year in “The Last Jedi,” for a powerful scene where he once again shows Luke Skywalker — now a wise, old Jedi master himself — what’s truly important.
More than three decades since his creation, the furry little red monster with an aversion to using pronouns remains the alpha of “Sesame Street.” (Sorry, Big Bird.) Who else among “Sesame Street” residents was a regular guest on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”? Who else was at the ticklish center of one of the craziest toy fads of the ‘90s? Who else has taught millions of children improper English usage? That’s true power.
Jim Henson’s furry creations may not have a movie in theaters or a show on network TV at the moment, but Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy and Gonzo (and their many friends) are still the kings and queens of the puppet world. The beloved “Muppet Babies” recently returned, with computer-animated versions of the tiny Muppets airing on the Disney Channel. The show features their nanny, as well as Gonzo, Kermit, Animal, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and a new penguin character, Summer. Despite stumbling with a primetime show on ABC in 2016, the Muppets have been successful with recent their films. And we have to imagine another Muppet movie is on the way.