Follow That Bird

1985 first Sesame Street movie ever!

Rating: 14/20

Plot: A nosey social worker decides that Big Bird doesn't belong with the Sesame Street gang and needs to live with his own kind. She finds a bird family to adopt him, but he gets homesick for his imaginary friend Snuffleupagus and decides to journey back home. The muppets of Sesame Street, upon hearing that Big Bird is missing from his new home, decide to venture out to search for him.

Did you know Snuffleupagus has a first name? Aloysius Snuffleupagus. Jen tells me that originally Snuffleupagus was an imaginary friend for Big Bird but that they eventually had to ditch that idea because children were confused. "Snuffleupagus" is also apparently a move similar to teabagging where you put your scrotum on somebody's nose. That doesn't happen anywhere in Follow That Bird, by the way, so it's safe to show this to your children. Here's another fun fact: Elmo's in this movie, right near the end when Big Bird comes home. He pokes his head out of a window and says something in a voice that is not the Elmo voice we know and probably despise. Anyway, the movie. Why is it a 14/20 instead of a 20/20? No Roosevelt Franklin. I haven't looked this up or anything, but I'm fairly positive mid-80's movie rules made it clear that you had to have black representation in your movies because black people weren't allowed to vote back then and couldn't be president. Forcing Hollywood to include at least one black character in each movie was the government's way of compromising. Which is a good thing because it really started the healing process after segregation and slavery and all that. The makers of Follow That Bird already had Gordon, the very realistic human muppet from the television show, in a prominent role and had no use for Roosevelt Franklin. Plus, Roosevelt Franklin had a tendency to frighten honkies anyway, and honkies were the main audience for Follow That Bird. How bitchin' would a Roosevelt Franklin movie be, by the way? Damn, my hips are moving just thinking about that. But no, the Sesame Street people are too busy with Elmo, the "idiot" who replaced Sesame Street's original "idiot" (Big Bird) and somehow became the only character who mattered anymore. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up with Elmo, but that little red monster (not to be confused with the little blue monster Grover who my brother refers to as "the mentally-challenged muppet" although if you think about it, they're all kind of mentally-challenged) has "future serial killer" written all over his fluffy little face. Where are his parents anyway? Dismembered in the basement? But I digress. You honkies want to hear about this movie. Anybody who knows me knows I'm a sucker for puppets. I really like the effects that blend these lovable characters into the world outside Sesame Street. No, they don't look realistic. They still look like puppets, but they look more natural flying planes, driving slick-looking automobiles, or using telephones than you might think. Muppet Gordon is especially great to see in such a heroic role, and a death-defying stunt involving a slow-moving truck with a cage on the back of it and a slow-moving Volkswagon Beetle has to be seen to be believed. There's a lot of music in this, much provided by the legendary Van Dyke Parks (Jungle Book songsmith, Brian Wilson cohort) and one song started off by none other than Waylon Jennings. The "Bluebird of Happiness" song and its accompanying imagery might be the most depressing thing I've seen in my entire life. I'd like to see some statistics on how many 3-6 year olds committed suicide in '85 compared to previous years. Anyway, other than the toddler suicides and veiled racism, this is fun for the whole family! Oh, and to bring things full circle: Snuffleupagus has the worst singing voice I have ever heard.


cory said...

Do you provide little bits of fun trivia like "teabagging" just to see if we reading the whole review? Funny review...and I hate Elmo.

Shane said...

I just assume you're all a bunch of skimmers!

I forgot to mention this: I was 12 when this movie came out, but for whatever reason, I saw it in the theater. Not sure what's up with that.

cory said...

That actually explains a lot.