Journal Entry – The Future

***This was written on October 28, 2015***

My Me,
How’s it going, Bro. B.I.B.? Are you doing alright? Are you smiling? How’s your relationship with God? Do you remember who He is and what He’s able and willing to do?
As of now, it’s been almost 6 months since graduation. I know things have not been going according to plan. You don’t have a job, you don’t have much money, and you’ve only had a couple of gigs. You still want to be out of this house this time in 2 years, but you don’t have money for food right now, let alone money for a can and an apartment. You have a girlfriend who you’re madly in love with and want to take care of. I know I am you, and I know this will be an old letter the next time you read this – despite how soon that will be. But you know that I want to help people, and one of the best ways I can do that is by helping myself. Do, here’s what I’m going to tell you:
First of all, don’t you ever forget about Jesus. Call out His Name. Shout it as loud as you need to. Always seek Him, pursue Him, and increase your knowledge and understand of Him. When your situations are the darkest, that’s when your faith in God has to shine the brightest. Never stop praising Him. Don’t you dare stop worshipping Him. Sing unto Him. Believe in Him. Grow in Him.
Second of all, don’t doubt yourself. Don’t stop believing in yourself. If the same Jesus who can do anything but fail lives in you, don’t you dare think for a second that you’re going to fail! You are talented! You are smart! You are strong! Live like you are! Act like you are! Look in the mirror every day and every night and proclaim blessings over yourself! And go ahead and smile while you’re at it!
Third of all, where are you going? What are you doing? What do you want to achieve? You have to know that in order to know what to do next. The ultimate goal is to own your own production company, right? You want to star in, write, produce, direct, and own your own plays, films, and web and TV shows, right? OK, so how can we get there? Write down your dream, and write out a plan to get there. It’ll take some thinking, but you can do it. Get started on that soon – today!
Bro. B.I.B., God has great things in store for you. Lift up your head. Don’t stop looking to your Savior. He’s got you in the palm of His Hand. You will get there! You are there! Do me a favor, look around at your surroundings. Now praise your Jesus!

Love,

Benjamin Isaiah Black

(c) October 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Advertisements

Benjamin Isaiah Black’s “FINALE: Curtain Call”

***This was performed live on April 22, 2015***

This was the last show I performed before I graduated. It’s me doing what I do best, doing what I love to do. It’s poetry, it’s mime, it’s film, it’s theatre, it’s music, it’s entertainment, it’s inspiring, it’s encouraging, it’s uplifting, it’s art, it’s godly. I hope you enjoy it! God bless you, and I love you!

(c) April 2015, B.I.B. Productions

I’m About to Graduate

***This was written on January 8, 2015***
***This was filmed and shown at Benjamin Isaiah Black’s FINALE: Curtain Call***

BRO. B.I.B.
I’m about to graduate.
Ain’t it great?
May 9, I’ll wake up no later than 8:00,
I’ll get up and prepare myself to cross the stage.
After 5 long years, it’s finally come to this.
Funny how I knew this day would come, my time at Ashland’s about done.
Yet I can’t believe I’m about to say good-bye to these days of fun –
The events and the atmosphere,
The buildings and the cheer,
The people I’ve met who I love dear,
I love them so.
In a short while, I’ll be saying good-bye to it all,
To this place that’s been a home for 5 years.
I’m about to graduate.
Ain’t it great?
Then why can’t I celebrate
What awaits me?

INNER VOICE #1.
You don’t know?

BRO. B.I.B.
Know what?

INNER VOICE #1.
Know the reasons for your doubts,
What your nervousness and confusion are about.
You know. You know you do.

BRO. B.I.B.
I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t got a clue.

INNER VOICE #1.
Sure you do.
How prepared are you for what’s out there?
You think you’re ready for the real world?
You’ve got no place of your own, no car, no job – you’re broke.
You’re going back home with Mom and Dad? That’s a joke.

BRO. B.I.B.
What’s wrong with that?

INNER VOICE #1.
You plan on living there forever?

BRO. B.I.B.
No.

INNER VOICE #1.
When are you going to get it together?

BRO. B.I.B.
Would you go?

INNER VOICE #1.
You’re never going to be successful, never –

BRO. B.I.B.
Yo!

INNER VOICE #1.
If you don’t start putting work in.

BRO. B.I.B.
What do you want? Why are you here?
Would you clear the crud out and stop drawing near my ear?

INNER VOICE #1.
I want you to hear your inner thoughts and realize your true fears.
That’s why you’re nervous. That’s why you’re not at ease.
Say what you’re feeling. You don’t have to hold it in like a lion that’s been tamed.
Just say what’s on your mind.

BRO. B.I.B.
Fine! I’m afraid!
I’m afraid! I admit it, I’m scare!
I don’t know what the crud to expect out there.
How do I know I’ll be successful?
How do I know I’ll be great?
I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 years – I know nothing about my fate!
What if I’m not talented enough to make it far?
I have no money, not even for clothes or my own car!
I spend time watching YouTube video, letting out laughs,
When that time could have been used perfecting my crafts.
What if opportunity after opportunity slams doors in my face
And I’m left in some dark, neglected, forgotten place?
That’s not me. That’s not who I want to be.
I never imagined that kind of life for myself.
I’d rather stay here in familiar territory.

INNER VOICE #2.
Now, you know that’s not your story.
You’ll already be paying 5 years worth of student loans.
You want to pay more?

BRO. B.I.B.
What if I died here? They can’t get me if I’m dead.

INNER VOICE #2.
They’d come after your family, bruh.

BRO. B.I.B.
Crud.

INNER VOICE #2.
Are you really going to allow fear to paralyze you from experiencing all that God has for you?
Don’t sacrifice what He created you to do.

BRO. B.I.B.
How do I know this dream of mine is true?

INNER VOICE #2.
I thought you knew.
You know God made you with a purpose in mind.
He’s got great plans for you so divine.
Don’t let fear bind you, don’t be blind to the truth.
God has been watching you the whole time.
Your life is proof of that – you wouldn’t be here if He wasn’t on your side.
He is in front you, next to you, and behind,
Covering you from all around.
He’s even with you right now.

BRO. B.I.B.
How am I supposed to believe that?
Look at where I am, who I am, what I am.
Does this look like someone who’s gonna be a great man?

INNER VOICE #2.
Can you lend yourself to God’s plan?
Have faith in Him?
Trust that He knows what He’s doing even when you don’t?
Don’t think that He’ll let you down now, ‘cuz He won’t;
Not after everything else He’s brought you through.
Don’t act like you’re hearing something new.
Five years ago you said a prayer,
And Jesus heard and answered it because He loves you and He cares.
During those years, He’s seen you through great ups and downs,
Each trial and tribulation –
It was Him who made a way out for you in your situations.
Now if Jesus, THAT God who lives in you
And brought you through everything you’ve been through –
If He provided you strength to endure back then,
What makes you think He wouldn’t do it again?
He’s always there for you, especially when it’s hard.
Just believe that He is who He says,
That He’ll do what He says He’ll do.
God’s not a man that would lie.
You know this is true. Now apply.

BRO. B.I.B.
I’m about to graduate.
Ain’t is great?
And now…I can’t wait!
I anticipate to see what God has ahead.
I gravitate to His Will.
There’s nothing to debate.
Father, please help me eliminate my fears and doubts,
Not to hesitate to follow You.
Your power and might are great, so who am I to underestimate You as You go to elevate me?
That fascinates me.
I will follow you down the narrow and straight,
Working hard with all my strength
Remembering You’re not through with me yet, You did not eliminate me.
You don’t hate me.
You strengthen me.
Educate me in You.
You have a great future that awaits me,
And so I thank Thee.
There’s much to celebrate.
A word I must emancipate.
Have you heard? Ain’t it great?
I’m about to graduate!

(c) January 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

MOVIE REVIEWS: The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)

The Lion King Poster

YEAH MAN!!! This is my favorite Disney movie EVER! Like so many other people all over the world, I am madly in love with this film! It’s just incredible! It is an unbelievable film! It’s smart, it’s artistic, it’s entertaining, it’s emotional – it’s just a great movie! But what exactly makes it so great? Well, let’s find out.

ANIMATION: The animation is great! I love the way the designers capture the look of the Savannah in Africa! It looks so amazing and breath-taking! But the look of the movie is also influenced based on epic and mythological backgrounds, like something that would come out of a Greek mythological tale. That adds so much weight to the epicness this movie contains. That’s really the best way to describe the look of the movie: epic. It is so large and grand. The stampede scene has got to be the biggest and most epic scene ever put to traditional animation! I also love how real the animals are! Not only do they look real, but they move in a realistic way. When you see the lions walk, you see the bones in their bodies move as well! I love that detail! It’s just awesome!
The Lion King - Stampede

SONGS/MUSIC: I LOVE the music and songs in this film! Before I get to the songs, there are two things to address. First of all, Lebo M., a South African musician, does not get enough credit for his contribution to the music of this film! It was because of him, his arrangements, and his choir that the songs and the score sounded like it came from Africa (…although we don’t know the exact country this movie takes place in – that’s confusing). The music would sound completely out of place if it were not for Lebo M., and he needs to be acknowledged more! Secondly, Hans Zimmer’s score is AWESOME! My word, it is so epic! I am in love with the score! If this score were a woman, I’d marry her! I love the “Lea Halalela” theme that plays throughout the film! It is beautiful! It is grand! It is epic! I love humming along to this score! But, of course, when people think of the music of this movie they think of the songs. These numbers, written by Tim Rice and Elton John, have definitely left a huge impact on so many people all over the world! ALL of these songs are wonderful, and they all stand out! Unlike the Disney films that came before and after this film, this movie doesn’t have one Number One song – ALL the songs are Number Ones! You instantly remember each of them at the mention of their titles! If I were to ask a large group of people to name me a song from The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, most of them would say “Under the Sea” and “A Whole New World.” If I asked that same group to name me a song from The Lion King, some of them would say “Circle of Life.” Others would say “Hakuna Matata,” and others would say “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” So, let’s go through them!
1) Circle of Life/(Reprise): My WORD, what a great opening! Again, it’s just so big and grand! It was such a smart move of the filmmakers to remove the dialogue from the opening and just use this song to speak for itself! Also, this song embodies one of the themes of the movie. It talks about the delicate balance of life and the appreciation for the circle of life. It is a great message, a great song, and a great opening!

2) Morning Report: The only reason I’m including this song is because a lot of people are familiar with it thanks to the Special Edition DVD released in 2003. I don’t like this number that much. It doesn’t add anything to the film, but it does take more of my time away from me. If you’re listening to this song in the Broadway play, the song works OK. That’s just the medium where this can work. In the movie? It makes no sense.

3) I Just Can’t Wait to be King: This is a very fun song. I always felt that this song gave us character development of a young Simba. Unlike Jasmine, Simba is proud of his royal position. In his young mind, he can’t wait to become king so that he can do whatever he wants. Many people have translated this as Simba being selfish and full of himself, but let me remind you that Simba is a kid when he sings this! He’s, what, 10-years-old? He’ll sing and fantasize over his future as he sees it now. What’s wrong with that? Let the kid have his fun and his fantasy. He’ll learn soon enough that things won’t go according to this plan. Simba is harmless! Leave him alone!

4) Be Prepared: So many people are in love with this song! They consider it one of the best Disney villain songs ever. I must say, I can see where they’re coming from. The song does show Scar plotting against Mufasa in the cruelest of ways. He even has a Nazi team of hyenas following him! How awesome is that? And, of course, following in the tradition of villain songs, this song sounds a lot different from the other songs in the film. This song is menacing and threatening. You know something is going down! This is a great song!

5) Hakuna Matata: This song is just a ton of fun. It does slow the movie down for a little while, but I can’t be angry at this song! It has a fun melody and an enjoyable catchphrase that an entire generation still recites today! I love this song! Anytime I hear it, I often walk swaying my head from side to side like Pumbaa and Simba did when they were walking on the log. I challenge you to do the same, it’s a lot of fun!

6) Can You Feel the Love Tonight: I do have mixed feelings about this song. As a stand alone song, it’s great! I can see someone falling in love to this number. It sounds wonderful. I love the message, I love the lyrics, I love the music, and I love the singers. This is a beautiful song! In context of the movie, however, this song has no point in being in the movie. How did a romance work its way into the story the movie set up for us? This was a coming of age story, and then we get a love fest out of nowhere. Not only that, but I don’t believe Simba and Nala are really in love. Look at how Disney conveys romantic love in other films. It’s not conveyed the same as it is in this film. I don’t think they’re in love, but I do think they’re in lust. Did you see that face Nala gave Simba as she’s laying on her back during the song?…Yeah, that says it all. But again, that’s in context of the movie. If you listen to the song on its own, it’s still a really good song.

ROMANCE: …I just talked about this, didn’t I?…Yeah, aside from seeing Simba’s child at the end of the movie, which fits within the Circle of Life theme, the romance contributed nothing to the film…But that face, though.
The Lion King - Nala

CHARACTERS: These are some of my favorite characters in a Disney movie ever! Since there are so many of them, I’ll just mention 5 characters.
1) Simba – I’ve gone on record saying that this is the Disney character I relate to the most. Yes, he starts out naïve and rebellious, but he matures. He learns about responsibility. He matures and becomes strong. He applies the ethics and morals and lessons his father taught him. He may be one of the most ethical Disney leads! I like that he has flaws, yet he learns from his mistakes. If Ariel is too flawed and Belle is too perfect, Simba may be the perfect balance between the two. He’s very relatable, and I admire that. I love watching his story arc to see how he comes to accept his position and responsibility. It’s something that so many of us go through everyday. Again, I see so much of myself in Simba. He’s a great character!
The Lion King - Simba
2) Mufasa – This guy is easily my favorite character in the movie! Why? Because he’s so powerful! He is strong! Even without him opening his mouth, you can look at him and feel the weight of his power and might. And then, once you hear his voice, the weight hits you even more! Mufasa is one of the strongest characters I’ve ever seen! He says my favorite line in the movie when his image appears in the sky. He said, “Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become.” OH MY GOSH – that line WREAKS with power! It just BLEEDS power! But not only that, Mufasa also displays himself as a kind and loving father. He disciplines his son, plays with his son, educates his son, and he protects his son. This makes him relatable to the audience because we see our parents in Mufasa, knowing that they would give us the same love and care Mufasa gave to Simba. This is also why his death scene is so emotional for us. If we didn’t get to know and relate to Mufasa, we would not have cried when he died. But he immediately became a true person, the person you didn’t want to go away. When he did, we balled our eyes out. Not to mention…he’s voiced by JAMES EARL FRICKIN’ JONES!!! YEAH!
The Lion King - Mufasa
3) Scar – I won’t say too much here since I already talked about Scar in my Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains list. I will say briefly that what makes Scar stand out from most Disney villains is he didn’t have any super powers or magic spells to cast on anybody. All he had was his mind. He’s very smart. You heard him say it early in the movie when he said to Mufasa, “As far as brains go, I’ve got the lions’ share…” He knew what to do to get what he wanted. He knew a young and naïve Simba would be curious and rebellious enough to go to the elephant graveyard. He knew Mufasa would save Simba from the stampede. What I don’t understand, though, is why he sent the same hyenas who couldn’t kill Simba and Nala is the elephant graveyard to kill Simba after the stampede. Didn’t he suspect that they’d mess up again? Aside from that, he really proves himself an intelligent villain, and I love hating him.
The Lion King - Scar
4) Rafiki – This is my second favorite character in the movie! Why? Because he’s both wise and funny! He’s a perfect blend of both! I love watching him talk to Simba about learning from his mistakes. He displays so much mystical and spiritual guidance, but not in a goofy and cartoony fashion. His wise personality is very believable – you believe someone like Rafiki really exists. He delivers, in my opinion, some of the funniest lines and moments in the movie; like when he tells Simba, “…You are a baboon, and I am not,” or when he hits Simba and
replies, “It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past!” That is absolutely funny, yet wise! I love it! I love Rafiki!
The Lion King - Rafiki
5) Timon and Pumbaa – Since these two have so much to contribute to both the story and the identity of this movie and franchise, it’d be wrong to leave them out. And, as you may imagine, I enjoy them. They’re not the funniest Disney characters ever, but they do keep me laughing and they do entertain me. I like their humor. I like how their humor doesn’t necessarily come from referencing modern pop culture. That was a huge thing for kids/family movies after Aladdin, and it got annoying. It was fine for that movie, but I don’t need to see it everywhere. These two are funny because of their personalities, characteristics, and the events that take place around them – not because they were watching Friends or Full House on television. I also like how they support our main character. When he’s on the verge of dying, they saved his life. When he needed a home, they took him in. When he needed to return to his home, they were right behind him. They never asked “what’s in it for me?” They never got in the way of anything or caused something bad to happen. They kept me smiling and singing. I like them.
The Lion King - Timon and Pumbaa

STORY AND THEMES & MESSAGES: I know a lot of people say this movie is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but that’s not entirely true. The filmmakers were developing an original story, and in the middle of the process they saw connections between this film and Hamlet. After they decided Scar should be a member of the royal family, they realized this story paralleled Hamlet. The filmmakers were influenced by Shakespearean tales, however. They were also influenced by Biblical stories like Moses and Joseph. They were drawn to Greek myths as well.
As a whole, I really like this story. I like the pacing, and I like the sequence of events. There’s only one thing in the story I don’t understand. After the stampede, Scar finds Simba and tells him to “run away and never return,” and then, as I said earlier, he sends his hyenas to go kill him. Question: why didn’t Scar kill Simba himself? No one else was around, and he would have gotten away with it. None of the answers to this question I ever hear holds any water. “He didn’t want the blood of Simba on his hands.” Really? Because not only does he have the blood of Mufasa on his hands, not only does he get into an epic fight with Simba at the end, but I don’t think he’s above killing children to get what he wants. “He has lackies. It’s their job to kill him.” Yeah, because they did such a great job before in the elephant graveyard! “Well, it’s a fact that lions can pick up the scent of someone or something off their paws.” How many people know that? Do you really think a large number of people who love this movie knows that? In fact, did the filmmakers know that? I doubt it! The only answer I can come up with is that if Scar had killed him, then there’d be no movie. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s really lame! Anytime that becomes the answer to any plothole in a movie, that means that the movie did not have to happen. That means that this movie, for as epic and wonderful as it is, for as much as I love it, didn’t have to happen. Crap.
As for the themes and messages, there’s the obvious one about accepting responsibility, which I think is conveyed very well. I get a strong sense that this movie is saying something about fathers. In fact, the filmmakers were originally going to dedicate this film to fathers! I wish they had followed through with that, it would have been wonderful! Anyhoo, Mufasa, as I said before is an awesome father! He’s the best Disney father EVER! I love how he really disciplines his son for doing the wrong thing. He scolded him for disobeying him and putting his and someone else’s life in danger. That is a real father! In any other Disney movie, the protagonist would have said, “I’m 16, Dad! I can make my own decisions!” Not here! But Mufasa still loves his son! He will protect him from harm and he will hug him and play with him. This is what we need to see more of! This is the type of parent we need to keep seeing from Disney! It’s such a wonderful message! Fathers – parents as a whole are strong and loving!
I love the theme of the circle of life – caring for everything and the life they live, and celebrate the lives we live as well. Life will make you happy, life will make you sad. Life offers good and bad things alike. Under the right team, this movie could have been less story-driven and more character-driven, just showing the life of this lion. But one of my favorite themes in the movie is maturing and growing into the people we’re supposed to become. Simba is naïve and rebellious as a kid, and is not ready to be King yet, though he thinks he is. He still has so much to learn and do. This is conveyed when Simba finds his small paw print in his father’s large and massive paw print in the ground. I love that image!
There’s debate whether or not this movie promotes segregation. Everyone is in the pride except the hyenas. I always just assumed it’s because in the animal kingdom, hyenas are dangerous and they prey after the animals that live in the pride. I don’t know, maybe there is something there I’m not seeing, but that’s how I see it. Maybe I’d have to think about it more.
The Lion King - Paw Print

CONCLUSION: I love this movie so much! This isn’t just my favorite Disney movie, but it’s one of my favorite movies period! It’s so great! The story, the characters, the songs, the animation, the design, the writing – it’s all so good! Yes I take issue with the romance and Scar’s choice to have the hyenas kill Simba, and I don’t know where in Africa this film takes place, but this film is too great, too fantastic, too epic for me to turn my head away from it! I love it so much! I can’t wait to have kids of my own so I can introduce this movie to them! The Lion King rules!
The Lion King - Characters

MOVIE REVIEWS: Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992)

Aladdin

It appeared as if the Walt Disney Animation Studio was on a role as the twentieth century entered its last decade. It made a smash hit with its 1989 release of The Little Mermaid, it drew great critical praise with The Rescuers Down Under, and Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. The question was could Disney continue to make more phenomenal animated pictures? Enter Aladdin. So many people all over the world are in love with this movie. They love the characters, they love the songs, they love the comedy, they love the action – it definitely proved to be a great and fantastic hit. After finally having seen it, I can say that it’s good. I like the movie, but I don’t know if I love it as much as everyone else does. Why? Well, let’s get into the review.

ANIMATION: The animation is one of the best things about the film! Before I saw this film, I heard the designs of the city described as Arabia meets Vegas. To be honest, it really does work! The colors all pop. They are vibrant. They pretty much have a life of their own. I think if you were to take the characters away, the colors and the backgrounds could tell the story by themselves! They are so great and impressive to look at, and they’re just amazing!
Aladdin - Arabia

SONGS/MUSIC: Sadly, this is the last film to feature the wonderful lyrics of Howard Ashman. Ashman served as both lyricist and executive producer of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He passed away before the latter film was released, but he already began working on this film. After he passed away, Tim Rice was brought in to help Menken with the rest of the songs. Let’s go through each of the songs individually:
1) Arabian Nights: I’m not going to lie, I don’t like this song. If you like the song, fine; and admittedly I do find the music catchy. But in all honesty, I cannot get past those racist, offensive lyrics. Whether you go with “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face” or “where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense,” they still end with “it’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home!” I’m going to side with the New York Times when they wrote, “It’s Racist, But, Hey, It’s Disney.”

2) One Jump Ahead/(Reprise): The first time I saw this movie, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to remember this song later.” Ironically, I did find myself humming the melody. I think Menken has a very strong sense of composing fantastic melodies – sometimes they’re more impactful than the lyrics. The song itself is nice. We get some exposition on our main character. We learn who he is, what he is, and what he does. It’s not the best song in the film, but it’s not a bad one, either. The lyrics are funny, and, again, the melody will have you humming for days.

3) Friend Like Me: THIS is my favorite song in the movie! It’s fun to watch! The words are impressive! The music is great! It’s fun to listen to! You can dance to it! But what really makes this song is the performer! Robin Williams brings so much energy to this song! I love that he gets just as animated as the animation does! I often joke that he sung the entire song in one take and the producers said, “Nope! We don’t need to do that again!” This song kicks butt!

4) Prince Ali: This is my second favorite song in the film. Again, Williams as the Genie just makes this song so much fun and entertaining. Outside of that, the melody and the lyrics will have you singing this song for about a week before you get it out of your head. It’s not as big as “Friend Like Me,” but it still brings the right amount of entertainment.

5) A Whole New World: Now we’ve gotten to it, the film’s Number One song. This is the song everyone remembers the movie for. I must admit, it is a beautiful song. It’s fun to see Aladdin and Jasmine together and enjoying each other this time. I like seeing their romance grow even more. I love how pleasant and whimsical this song sounds. It’s no “Beauty and the Beast,” but it’s still very nice to listen to.

6) Prince Ali (Reprise): I often joke that this is the greatest Disney villain song ever…I put emphasis on “joke.” It’s not the strongest moment for Jafar, but it’s entertaining enough. For me personally, it’s fun seeing how Jafar exposes Aladdin for who he really is. What’s really interesting about this song is that Tim Rice wrote the lyrics to the reprise while Ashman wrote the lyrics to the original. That means that Rice had to capture, not only the same syncopation and rhyme scheme, but also the same tone and spirit that Ashman created. He still had to bring something new, though, because this song was sung by Jafar, not the Genie. That’s great talent, and I think Rice succeeded.

ROMANCE: After seeing this movie, I realized that the romance here is the same as the romance between Ariel and Eric in The Little Mermaid. The main character sees his/her romantic interest and falls in love. They save their lives and they want to be with their lover. However, something keeps the two of them apart from each other. The main character has to alter their physical appearance in order to be with the other person. They eventually have to fight for the one they love, save them again, and then, after the day is saved, the male picks up the lady and spins her to signify that they are together. What I think works better in this movie, though, is that Aladdin and Jasmine spend a lot more time together. They talk to each other about their problems and even tries to help one another. Also, I like that Aladdin doesn’t keep his prince appearance in the end. Unlike Ariel, who remains human, Aladdin actually accepts who he is, and he and Jasmine are still able to stay together. That is a very good message for children to walk away with. It’s very well done.
Aladdin and Jasmine

CHARACTERS: This shouldn’t take too long. Let’s quickly go over the main characters in the film:
1) Aladdin – He’s OK. In my opinion, he’s not that interesting. He’s definitely not boring or dull, but nothing stands out about him as a character either. He’s not that exciting. But I enjoy watching him and seeing him interact with the others.
Aladdin - Aladdin
2) Jasmine – I think of her in the exact same regards as I think of Aladdin – she’s OK. She’s alright, she’s interesting enough, but she becomes a lot less interesting once she returns to the palace and stays there. I’m not too high on Disney characters always rebelling, but she rebelled once and immediately returned home and stayed there. Why didn’t she try running away again if she was so sick of living under the palace rules? I don’t know, but, in any case, Jasmine is OK.
Aladdin - Jasmine
3) Genie – This is easily the best character in the movie! Again, I didn’t grow up with the movie. I saw it for the first time almost a year and a half ago. As I was watching it I thought, “This is OK, but why was it such a huge hit during the Disney Renaissance?” Then the Genie came on screen, and all my questions were answered. Robin Williams puts so much into his performance as the Genie! He’s so much fun and very entertaining. But I love that he’s not just a pop cultural referencing, funny person. He also has some heart to him. He still expresses those human emotions of wanting something. He still gets sad, he gets hurt, he gets angry, he becomes scared, he can be joyful, he feels happiness. He is still a three-dimensional character. Way to go Genie, and much respect to the late and the great Robin Williams!
Aladdin - Genie and Robin Williams
4) Abu – OK, Abu annoys the crud out of me. I don’t like how selfish and greedy he is. He gets in the way! If it weren’t for him, Aladdin would not have been trapped. The homeless children could have had more to eat if he weren’t so stingy. I don’t feel any sort of sympathy for him. Every time I watch this movie and I see the Cave of Wonders begin to collapse, I find myself shouting to Aladdin through the screen, “Aladdin! You don’t have to go back for Abu! Really! He can burn in there!”
Aladdin - Abu
5) Magic Carpet and Iago – I put these two together because I have the same feeling for the both of them: they’re OK. I like them OK. Sure they can be a little annoying sometimes, but they’re not always annoying. To be honest, I don’t think Iago is annoying because of his voice. No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Gilbert Gottfried. My annoyance with Iago comes from what he has to say, which goes back to the writing. Either way, I still like these characters fine.
Aladdin - Magic CarpetAladdin - Iago
6) Jafar – If you read my Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains list, you might have wondered why Jafar isn’t on the list. So many people declare him as one of the best Disney villains of all time…Well, I’m glad you saw that, but I didn’t. You see, after I saw Jafar in the first few scenes he was in, I thought, “Wow, this is a cool villain! He’s shady and mysterious. He keeps you wondering what he’s doing. This guys is cool!” Then he dressed up as an old man…A silly, goofy, cartoonish old man…Huh? I know he had a motivation for doing so…But did he really need the over the top voice, the jagged teeth, hunchback, and ridiculously skinny legs? This isn’t the Jafar I thought I as going to get! And let’s not forget some of his witty dialogue with Iago. I’m not saying Jafar can’t be funny, but this was not the villain I thought I was going to get. Speaking of his role as a villain, I think his power is incredibly weak. First of all, why was the Sultan able to just break out of the trance Jafar was putting him in? Yeah, he just decided not to be hypnotized! Huh? How the crud does that work? Secondly, he is not subtle with his power at all! He always leans in with his staff…in broad daylight! It’s quite interesting thinking how he’s able to get away with so much! No one in the palace ever saw him hypnotize anyone? Aladdin noticed it right away when he saw the Sultan under a trance, but no one else in the entire palace ever realized what was going on? I don’t get it. But that’s OK. If you like Jafar, that’s fine. Me on the other hand, I just can’t figure this guy out…But in all honesty, I do like the sound he makes when Jasmine throws wine at his face. That’s funny as crud.
Aladdin - Jafar

STORY & MESSAGE: I decided to put the message along in this category because talking about the story and the themes and messages of a movie are 2 different things, but the message needs to be addressed. The story is fine. It’s good. Like other Disney movies around this time, the story in this film is well paced. There are some flaws with the details in Jafar’s power, but as a whole it’s good…Also, I still don’t understand how Genie still has his powers if he’s not a genie anymore…Eh, whatever.
As for the messages and themes, I find myself liking them. Of course there’s the message of being yourself, which is conveyed rather nicely. When Aladdin decides to be himself, everything works out fine. When he tries to be something else, the role of Aladdin is taken over by a “tall, dark, and sinister, ugly man.”
There’s also the theme of freedom. Aladdin and Jasmine feel trapped in their surroundings. I can understand Jasmine’s yearn for freedom a lot more, but they both want freedom. Of course, Genie expresses how he wants to be free from eternal solitude. If you look closely, though, you’ll see that Jafar also wants freedom. He can’t stand working under someone he’s smarter than. His surroundings often look like bars on a jail cell. I like that subtly.
What I can’t wrap my head around, though, is what Disney was trying to say with the relationship between Jasmine and Jafar. Why the crud was Jafar lusting after Jasmine, who is only 15? Jafar looks like he’s in his 50s! OK, maybe he’s in his 30s, but does that make it any better? Jasmine would still be more than half his age! What, is pedophilia OK? I wouldn’t even talk about this theme if it weren’t for that kiss. What was the purpose of it? True, Jasmine did it as a way to distract Jafar from Aladdin, but if he was going to notice Aladdin anyway, what in the world was the point of that kiss?!? What was the movie trying to tell us? Was it bashing Arabian girls and women? Was it bashing Arabian men? Was it supporting pedophilia?…Actually, seeing as how Disney princesses are always so young, I wouldn’t be surprised if this were it. Maybe I’m looking too deeply into it, maybe I’m not looking deep enough. All I know is the image of Jasmine kissing someone more than twice or three times her age will never leave me. Creepy as crud.
Aladdin - Jasmine and Jafar

CONCLUSION: I do like this movie. It doesn’t impress me like it impresses other people, Jafar confuses me, and I will always question the choice to have Jasmine kiss Jafar. But I love how entertaining this film is. I love Robin Williams’ portrayal of Genie! I love the songs! I love the animation! I really enjoy this movie. I see why it was such a hit during the Disney Renaissance. To me, the film’s entertainment factor is more than worth the price of admission. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a watch…And rest in peace, Robin Williams!
Aladdin 01Aladdin - Robin Williams

MOVIE REVIEWS: Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991)

Beauty and the Beast

After the great success The Little Mermaid had, the Walt Disney Animation Studio was set to make some of the greatest animated hits the world has ever known. Of course their next film was The Rescuers Down Under (Hendel Butoy and Mike Gabriel, 1990), but I haven’t seen that one yet and thus I can’t review it…A lot of people haven’t seen that film. Shame. But the next picture the studio released went on to be one of the best film adapted fairy tales the world has ever known…EVER! I am, of course, talking about the beloved Beauty and the Beast! Not only did it receive great commercial and critical praise, but it was also the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards! Is the film really that good? Does it hold up that well?…Yes. This is a great movie! Why? Let’s find out.

ANIMATION: The animation in this movie is stellar! It is just beautiful! I love the colors in this movie. Pay special attention to the colors in each location and notice how they create the mood of each scene! Look at how rich they are, how wonderfully they blend together! I also love the design of the characters! The designs only enforce the theme of the movie! I love that Beast looks like an ideal villain and Gaston looks like an ideal hero. The animators and filmmakers wanted to be sure Gaston did not look like the typical Disney villain, and it worked well in their favor! There are two moments in the film I love admiring the animation. The first is the ceiling in Beast’s ballroom. It looks so lovely! It’s something straight out of a painting! The second is Beast’s facial reactions as he’s holding Gaston over the cliff. I love how the animators knew how much attention to give to the look in his eyes, the texture of his face, all of it! It is amazing!
Beauty and the Beast - Animation

SONGS/MUSIC: All of these songs are fantastic! Not one of them is out of place, annoying, distracting, or anything like that! They are great, they are wonderful, and they are brilliant! They add to the tone of the film perfectly! Let’s go through each of them:
1) Belle/(Reprise): This song is wonderful because it gives us some really important exposition. We learn who Belle is and what she’s like. We get an understanding of the culture of the town, or the “little town,” she lives in. We learn how all the women in the town throw themselves at Gaston and how Gaston is full of himself. The reprise also gives us a bit more insight into Belle’s character. She longs for something that is greater than she can comprehend. The song sounds nice and pleasant. It’s whimsical, it’s elegant, and it’s beautiful. It’s a very good song!

2) Gaston/(Reprise): I often hear people refer to this song as the villain song of the movie. I don’t know if I’d agree with that. The villain part doesn’t show up until the reprise when Gaston actually begins plotting. The main part of the song consists of the town singing his praises. Does that count as a villain song? I don’t think so. Either way, this is still a great song! I love the melody! It is so much fun! And, again, it’s good to see how much the town holds Gaston in the highest regards. They cannot stop admiring him or talking about how great he is. Plus, Richard White, the actor who voices Gaston, has a marvelous voice! The more we can hear this guy sing, the better!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuJTqmpBnI0 & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f3hFq2crOo
3) Be Our Guest: Of course, this is the song that everyone goes nuts over! This is the movie’s Number One song! But, in all fairness, this doesn’t really add that much to the movie. We don’t move the story forward, we don’t get character development, we don’t get exposition, a moral, or anything. So why do people love it? Because it is a fantastic song! Really, you don’t always need a song that has everything that’s listed above if the song can still be a knock-out. The song is big! The song is fun! The song is memorable! The song is just as welcoming to the audience as it is to Belle! It’s a moment you don’t want to end – you want it to go on and on! It’s just a ton of fun! This moment doesn’t rely on the story, characters, or animation to be incredible. Instead, the best element about this scene is the song alone, and it does not disappoint at all! That is the sign of a great and remarkable song! Howard Ashman and Alan Menken did a stellar job here!

4) Something There: In all honesty, this is my least favorite song in the movie. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song or that I hate it – neither of those statements are true! I just don’t like this song as much as the other songs in the film. But that’s alright. This is still a really good song. This is where we begin to see the romance between Belle and the Beast truly blossom. It’s just beautiful to watch. It’s charming, and it’s very nice! I love how the music sounds like it came out of a ballroom. It’s very nice!

5) Human Again: If you’re only familiar with the original theatrical release of this film, you may not know this song. It’s available on recent DVD and Blu-ray releases. I love this song! This sounds like a light-hearted waltz, and it makes you want to dance. This song reminds us that the supporting cast does have motivation to get these two to fall in love. But, really, the music alone captivates me. I just love listening to it! It is very beautiful!

6) Beauty and the Beast: If “Be Our Guest” is the movie’s Number One song, this number comes immediately after. This is one of the most romantic, beautiful, enchanted, elegant, and loveliest songs Disney has ever released. It is the romance song done the absolute best. This song could not have a more perfect singer, more perfect lyrics, or more perfect music to go with it. It is so beautiful, you’re kind of jealous of it. I mean, I wish Mrs. Potts was singing specifically about me, or that I could write a song this beautiful – this perfect! It totally engulfs the entire theme and feeling of the movie! I love it!

7) The Mob Song: OK, I’m sorry to end on such a harsh song, but this is the last song in the film, so what do you do? THIS is the number I consider to be the film’s villain song. Do you see how Gaston is convincing the town that the Beast is evil? He has the town like putty in his hand. And listen to what the town is singing about: they’re going to KILL someone! They are invading someone else’s home and environment to kill him! My word! This may be worst than the “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead” song…No, no, it’s not…But it’s up there! The song sounds as threatening as the situation is. It doesn’t sound like any other song in the film, not even the “Gaston” numbers. It’s fun! It will definitely have you chanting “KILL THE BEAST” after it’s over…C’mon, I know I’m not the only who shouts “KILL THE BEAST!”

ROMANCE: I really don’t think I have to go into much detail about the romance in this movie – it speaks for itself. This is the best Disney romance the company has ever done; not just in their animated films, but in any production period! I cannot think of another Disney romance that even comes close to rivaling this one! There’s a reason and a need for them to fall in love – the whole story revolves around it – but they don’t fall in love at first sight. Despite Beast’s outward appearance, Belle eventually does find herself becoming attracted to him. She sees his spirit and his humanity. Beast also admires her strong will and her kind nature. I also love that she doesn’t fall for Gaston despite his outward appearance. Again, all the women in the town throw themselves at him because of how handsome and strong he is, but looks do not impress her. She focuses on the heart and the personality, which is why she falls for the Beast. I LOVE that! That’s a fantastic message, all coming from the romance! It’s incredible!
Beauty and the Beast - Beast's Castle 04

Characters: I will be as brief as I can be here. Just know that I love all of these characters! There’s not a one of them I dislike! Let’s go through them:
1) Belle – This is one of the best leads in a Disney movie ever! I love Belle! I love that she is so determined! She’s adventurous, she’s smart, and, again, she’s strong willed! She’s also kind and caring to everyone around her. She is one of the most beautiful young women Disney has ever designed, but she doesn’t flaunt it. She’s very humble. But even after you take all these compliments into account, she’s not a perfect character. Sometimes her curiosity can get the best of her. That doesn’t make her bad, though, it just makes her more human, which we need if we’re going to relate to her at all. All of these things considered, Belle is easily one of the best Disney characters ever!
Beauty and the Beast - Belle 01
2) Beast – Beast is probably my favorite character in this movie! I love his design, I love his voice, and I love his story arc! I also love some of the funny moments that come out of him. I think my favorite line in this movie is when he shouts “Then go ahead and STARVE!!!” That is funny as I don’t know what! But I think the reason I like Beast so much is because he is a kind person, but he has a difficult time showing it. On the surface, his character is the same as his outward appearance: very beastly. Below the surface, he is patient and compassionate. He just has a hard time showing it because of his appearance. He battles between being a beast and being a kind person. His true self does exist underneath the surface, and it’s with the help of Belle that he reveals who he really is. That makes him complex – I love it!
Beauty and the Beast - Beast
3) Gaston – The only character in the film to be more complex is Gaston! Gaston, in contrast to Beast, appears to be the hero. He looks like he’s the one who will save the day and win Belle’s heart, and he acts like it too. However, his pride is wounded and he becomes a villain. I like how full of himself he can be. I like the humor that comes out of him. He is easily one of the most enjoyable Disney villains ever! For more information, check out my Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains list.
Beauty and the Beast - Gaston
4) Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts I put these three together because they all pretty much serve the same purpose. They are great supporting characters. They help move the story along wonderfully, and they help our main characters as well. It goes without saying that they are all a lot of fun. Even beyond these three, the other supporting characters are enjoyable and a lot of fun as well: Chip, Lefou, Maurice, the Wardrobe, Babette, and the others – they’re all just a ton of fun to watch! There’s not a character in this film I dislike at all. They’re all very well developed, they’re fun, they serve their purpose, and there isn’t any unethical moral any of them enforce! Way to go guys! You all rock!
Beauty and the Beast - Supporting Characters

STORY: This is one of the best stories you’ll ever find in any Disney animated movie! It knows the perfect amount of details it needs, it has the perfect amount of pacing, and it moves along so fluidly! There are a couple of issues I do take with the story, however. They’re not that big, but I do think they need to be addressed. First, how much time goes past in this story? I’ve heard some people argue over how much time the story takes – days, weeks, months, whatever. This isn’t a problem, seeing as how this is each audience member’s own interpretation. The problem comes when you incorporate the “When We’re Human Again” number. It looks like it’s spring or summer, but the events before and after that scene look as though the story is in the winter. So, then, how long does it take again? The second problem I have with the story is how Belle gets to Beast’s palace. Belle finds the Beast’s castle, where the Beast is imprisoning her father Maurice, because the horse, Philippe, led her there. But how did Philippe know where Maurice was? Philippe ran away before Maurice got to the castle, so he couldn’t have known where he was. These are the only problems I have with the movie, but they’re not huge problems at all. Actually, they’re very minor. The rest of the movie is so unbelievably good, you didn’t even notice these flaws. Not only did you not notice, but you also don’t care.
Beauty and the Beast - Beast's Castle 03

CONCLUSION: This is easily and unarguably one of Disney’s best movies ever! Everything about the film is wonderful! It’s perfect! Even with those very minor flaws, this is still a perfect movie! The animation is perfect! The characters are perfect! The songs are perfect! The romance is perfect! The story is perfect! This beautiful, enchanted movie is just unbelievable! It is as perfect as a movie can get! Beauty and the Beast is a fantastic film!
Beauty and the Beast - Stained Glass

Reviews!

Hee-lo!

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to analyze entertainment. There are a lot of current and nostalgic movies and television shows. I love analyzing to find out why they are good or why they are bad. Because of that, I will be publishing some reviews! With that being said, let me say right now that I am by no means a critic! I have some understanding of cinema as an art, but I don’t study it like I study other art forms, like theatre. However, I do have my own opinions about these pictures that I’d love to share. If you disagree with any of my reviews/opinions, that’s fine! That doesn’t mean either of us are stupid, it just mean we don’t share the same opinion. That’s what makes us different and unique. With that being said, be on the lookout for some reviews!
—Bro. B.I.B.
—BOOYIKA!

My Top 10 Favorite Muppet Productions

Muppets 02Muppets 04Muppets 03
If you read my “Top 10 Favorite Disney Villains” post, you’ll remember I said I always wanted to watch the Muppets as a kid. Everybody always relates magic and the belief in dreams with Disney animated films, and I can finally see why. However, I always related those things with the Muppets. The Muppets were always creative. I was blown away by what they did! As a kid, I wondered how the Muppets worked; sometimes I still wonder how they work. How are the puppets operated? How are they built? How are we able to see a full-bodied Muppet from head to toe without seeing the puppeteer? However, I wasn’t just amazed by the puppeteering, but I also loved the Muppets and the productions themselves. I love the characters, the TV shows, the movies, the TV specials, etc. They are so wonderful. So much passion and work is put behind them. Thus, I thought it’d be fun if I shared my top 10 favorite Muppet productions. Jim Henson and his Muppets have made so many fantastic productions for nearly 60 years now, and so, as you can imagine, it was hard for me to figure out which 10 Muppet productions were my favorites. However, I was able to compose the list, and I’ll share it with you now. Join me inside the Rainbow Connection!

Number 10: THE MUPPETS: A CELEBRATION OF 30 YEARS (Peter Harris, 1986).
The Muppets - A Celebration of 30 Years 00The Muppets - A Celebration of 30 Years 01
This is one of the many Muppet productions I didn’t see until my teenage years, about six years ago. In this special, all of Jim Henson’s Muppets gather together to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary. We see the characters from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even the very first Muppet production, Sam & Friends. That’s one of the reasons I like about this special: we see all the Muppets in the same place. The other thing I enjoy about it is the celebration of the Muppets themselves. We celebrate their movies, their TV shows, their music – even the celebrities that have appeared with the Muppets over the years! I like watching the history behind the Muppets, seeing everything they’ve done that led them to celebrating 30 years. Who knows? Maybe within the next couple of years the Muppets will have a special celebrating 60 years! The only question I have, though, is why did this special air in 1986? The Muppets’ 30th anniversary was in 1985; was the Jim Henson company too busy to make it and release it in 1985? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. It’s a fun celebration with some of our favorite characters.

Number 9: SESAME STREET: 20 YEARS AND STILL COUNTING (Peter Harris, 1989).
Sesame Street - 30 Years and Still Counting 00Sesame Street - 30 Years and Still Counting 01
Another anniversary special, this special gives us the history and legacy of the world famous children’s television program, Sesame Street. I think I enjoy this more than The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years because we get to see the Muppets behave and interact with others in their own environment. They’re actually on Sesame Street, and so it feels like the home we’ve been apart of for the past 20 years. I enjoy listening to how much of an impact this show has had on people. I love listening to the human cast talk about their experience on the show. I love watching Bill Cosby, Ray Charles, and Plácido Domingo interact with the Muppets. I especially love watching the kids who were on Sesame Street, and how they look nearly 20 years later! It is adorable to watch! If you haven’t seen it, find it and watch it! You’ll love it!

Number 8: THE MUPPETS CELEBRATE JIM HENSON (Don Mischer, 1990).
The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson 00The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson 01The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson 02The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson 03
This is a TV special that aired in November 1990, six months after Jim Henson passed away. The Muppets (along with Carol Burnett, John Denver, Ray Charles, Steven Spielberg, Harry Belafonte, and Frank Oz as himself) come together to put on a special tribute for Jim Henson. This is especially close to my heart because some of my favorite characters come together to honor one of my favorite celebrities. Whenever we gain a favorite celebrity we really, really love, we always hope to meet that person. Jim Henson passed away nearly 2 years before I was born, so I didn’t have a chance to even hope to meet him. But to hear so many people come together to talk about his legacy and his art and the impact he left on so many people all over the world brings you a bit of joy. Not only that, but the Muppets also assure us that they will continue to entertain and continue Jim Henson’s legacy. The tribute the Muppets give Jim Henson creates such a bittersweet moment. You don’t want to except the fact that he’s gone, but you feel good knowing that he will never be forgotten. This special is such a gem.

Number 7: A MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS (Peter Harris and Eric Till, 1987).
A Muppet Family Christmas 00A Muppet Family Christmas 01
I look forward to watching this special every Christmas! There are two main reasons I love this film so much: 1) Something the Muppets can do very well is put on a Christmas special. Many of the Muppets’ Christmas specials and movies are very simple. They’re not trying to force a message or a feeling down our throats; they don’t try to impress us or grab our attention with flashy lights or Santa Claus. It’s just the Muppets getting ready for the holidays, and that’s all we need! Its simplicity causes us to feel the joy and the wonder that Christmas brings! It’s so innocent, yet so genuine and passionate! 2) All of the Muppets are together! Yes, much like The Muppets Celebrate 30 Years special, we get to see our favorite characters here: the gang from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and we even get a bit of Muppet Babies! I wouldn’t know where to find this on video or DVD. In fact, I’d be surprised if it’s still available on video or DVD at all. Unfortunately, since these characters are owned by different companies, I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to purchase this. It also makes me sad that we’ll never get to see these characters together like this again in the future. This is what Jim Henson wanted – it shows in several different Muppet productions, but it’ll probably never happen again. With that being said, if you are able to get your hands on this (either on video, DVD, or online), grab it and don’t let go! You’ll enjoy it. It’ll bring you a warmth for the holiday season!

Number 6: THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (Brian Henson, 1992).
The Muppet Christmas Carol 00The Muppet Christmas Carol 01
While I love A Muppet Family Christmas, I didn’t see it until my teenage years. This film, however, I grew up with. It’s probably the first Christmas movie I ever saw! It’s the first Muppet movie released after Jim Henson passed away, and I think it’s a wonderful tribute to him. It is a fantastic adaptation of the original Christmas Carol story – it’s a great way to introduce the tale to children. There are changes, of course, but it’s not sugarcoded that much. And, again, it’s very simple. The filmmakers don’t try to impress us with any over-the-top song numbers; they focus more on trying to faithfully retell this story, and they do it very well. My family and I have to watch this movie every Christmas season – it’s a sin if we don’t! We love the songs, the scenes, the characters, everything! See it if you haven’t already!

Number 5: SESAME STREET (Joan Ganz Cooney, 1969-Present).
Sesame Street 00Sesame Street 01
Oh my crud, I could on forever and a day about why I love this show so much! Do you realize that this November, Sesame Street will be 45 years old?! This is the show our parents grew up on, and they were so proud to introduce it to us as well. This program has taught us so much, not just about numbers, shapes, and letters, but also about life situations like marriage, childhood, and death. I’ll admit, I’m in my early 20s and I look forward to watching both classic and recent clips of Sesame Street on television and online. Why? Because this is one of the first TV shows I ever saw. Because of that, it always feels like I’ve come home whenever I see this show. Watching the characters is like seeing your favorite family members or your best friends. Admit it, you probably found yourself watching an old Sesame Street sketch or listening to an old Sesame Street song and said to yourself “I remember that! Good times!” Hopefully and God willing, this show will exist another 45 years so we can watch it with our grandchildren!

Number 4: THE MUPPETS (James Bobin, 2011).
The Muppets 00The Muppets 01
I’ll admit, I was expecting to hate this movie! Beginning with the TV show Muppets Tonight (1996), it seemed as if the Muppets were releasing bad production after bad production. Movies, specials, television shows, straight-to-video films – you name it, it ranged from OK to horrendously awful! So when I heard that the Muppets were releasing a new movie in 2011, I was not looking forward to it. After it came out, critics and audiences were praising it. My friends and peers were telling me I had to see this movie. Independence Day 2012, my family and I finally sat down and watched it. And, I must say, I was FRICKIN’ BLOWN AWAY!!! This is the type of movie I had been waiting for the Muppets to release in a long time! It’s hilarious, it’s musical, it’s heart warming, it’s impressive – it’s everything you’d see in the earlier Muppet productions when Jim Henson was alive! That what this film does, it captures that classic Jim Henson/Muppet spirit! There are even a number of tear-jerking scenes in this film! When Kermit is singing “Pictures in My Head,” you want to become one of the pictures on the wall so you can come out and give Kermit a hug! When all the Muppets sing “Rainbow Connection,” I was overwhelmed with emotions! And I nearly lost it when the filmmakers recreated the whole The Muppet Show introduction! That was incredible!!! I still haven’t seen Muppets Most Wanted (James Bobin, 2014), but after seeing this film I’ll watch anything the Muppets release in the future! This film truly restored my faith and love in the Muppets!

Number 3: THE MUPPET MOVIE (James Frawley, 1979).
The Muppet Movie 00The Muppet Movie 01
What kind of list would this be if I didn’t include the grandfather of Muppet movies? This movie is so precious, so wonderful! I do wish this film were more appreciated; I think it deserves to be up there with The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1979), and all the other great American film classics. It’s really a great story to see how the Muppets got started. In fact, if I’m correct, this is actually a parody of how Jim Henson rose to fame. We get to see our favorite characters do things we never thought were possible before. Did you ever think you’d see a puppet riding a bicycle? Audiences were completely amazed when they saw this! What’s incredible about this film to me is that a lot of the scenes are completely unnecessary and pointless. For example, why did we need to see Gonzo blow in the wind with the balloons? It didn’t add anything to the plot; the Muppets didn’t get to Hollywood any quicker. The strange thing, though, is that it really works in this movie! All of the scenes, moments, and songs work in this movie because they help further the Muppets’ identity. Speaking of songs, this movie also gave us some of the most memorable Muppet songs ever: “Can You Picture That,” “Movin’ Right Along,” “I’m Going to go Back There Someday,” and, of course, “Rainbow Connection!” This film is definitely a classic in my book!

Number 2: THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER (Jim Henson, 1981).
The Great Muppet Caper 00The Great Muppet Caper 01
This isn’t just my favorite Muppet movie of all time, it’s also one of my favorite comedies of all time! The jokes in this movie are unbelievable!! Nobody can break the fourth wall like the Muppets! Take, for example, the scene when Piggy is hired as Lady Holiday’s receptionist. Lady Holiday goes into an unwarranted monologue about her no good brother, Mickey. When she’s done ranting, Piggy asks her “Why are you telling me all this?” Lady Holiday replies, “It’s plot exposition, it has to go somewhere. Anyway…” That’s genius! It’s so funny! There’s another joke when Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo take a cab back to their hotel with Beauregard as the driver. They share this dialogue:
BEAUREGARD: It takes a while to get to know the town.
FOZZIE: Well, how long have you lived in London?
BEUAREGARD: All my life.
KERMIT: How come you don’t have an English accent?
BEAUREGARD: Hey, I’m lucky to have a driver’s license!
I’m telling you, you can’t find these jokes anywhere else! I believe this was the film that showed me the difference between children’s comedy and adult comedy. Children hear some things, but they can’t understand everything, thus they are mainly laughing at what they see. Adults, however, can both hear and see everything. A lot of the jokes in this film are so subtle, you have to pay attention so you can hear them all. Not to mention, we still get the traditional celebrity cameos, and we still get the traditional impressive puppet scenes – in this film we see the Muppets outdo themselves by creating a more complicated bicycle scene after the first movie! I love this film! I put it on whenever I’m in the mood for a good laugh!

And my Number 1 favorite Muppet production is:

THE MUPPET SHOW (Jim Henson, 1976-1981).
The Muppet Show 00The Muppet Show 01
This television show had a huge part to play in the Muppets’ identity. They were weird, they were quirky, they were goofy; but they could still be artistic, smart, and heart warming. This put a stamp in the type of entertainment the Muppets would be known for. They mixed classic forms of entertainment with their own unique brand of entertainment, and it really worked. I think it was really smart of Jim Henson and his collaborators to make this a variety show rather than a program with a traditional narrative. It opens the door for more possibilities and chances. They could be more creative and artistic because they weren’t bound by a story line or specific style. The sky was the limit. They could do whatever they wanted. This is where some of our favorite characters originated: Fozzie, Gonzo, Piggy, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Scooter, Dr. Honeydew and Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, Robin, Sweetums, Camilla, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Sam the Eagle, and so many others. What’s interesting to me, though, is that this was the number one show in the entire world while it was on the air, yet I don’t hear too many people talk about it today. I know Saturday Night Live (Lorne Michaels, 1975-Present) is entertaining, but it has nothing on this show in my opinion! This show embodies the spirit of the Muppets and Jim Henson himself! I enjoy it, and I will always watch it to gain the fantastic feeling of that wonderful spirit that only Jim Henson and his Muppets can give us!

What are your favorite Muppet productions? Who are your favorite Muppets? Did I leave one of your favorite movies, shows, or specials off this list? Leave a comment down below, and let me know what you think of some of the world’s most beloved entertainers. God bless you, and I love you! BOOYIKA!
Muppets 00Muppets 01Muppets 05