Every now and then I am struck with a case of cinematic childhood regression, and I have to rewatch movies I liked as a kid. It happened earlier this year when I revisited Super Fuzz and They Call Me Bruce? after more than 20 years. Part of this is from a psychological interest in exploring how the memories of a film change as the years pass. Part of it is a curiosity as to what sort of references and jokes were over my head when I was a kid, but which I can understand now. Then there is the guilty pleasure of watching a movie I know I will enjoy and won’t be at all challenging.
The Great Muppet Caper is one of the earliest films I clearly remember seeing in the cinema, when I was 7 years old. It must have made quite an impression on me at the time, because I could remember many of the jokes (“we have to catch the crooks red-handed.” “What color are their hands now?”), and even the visual gags, such as the camera lingering on Charles Grodin’s tack paisley socks. Watching the film nearly 30 years later, the subtle satire of early ‘80s haute couture seems very funny in retrospect. There is also a strong camp element to the humor which I probably didn’t appreciate as a kid, such as Charles Grodin trying to seduce Miss Piggy while keeping a straight face.
Seeing this made me feel sorry for parents today who have to take their kids to the movies and sit through Toy Story 3.