6/15 - 7:30PM $12/free for members Two of the greatest pop soundtracks of the 1970s — both written by Cinefamily special guest of honor Paul Williams, whom we celebrate with a tribute concert to Phantom Of The Paradise on Saturday, June 16th!)
The Muppet Movie – 7:30pm
It’s the most sensational, celebrational, Muppet-tational film of all time — it’s The Muppet Movie! Beautifully distilling decades’ worth of artistry from Jim Henson & Co., this shaggy ‘70s road movie origin story delights in sending Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and the whole family of weirdos out in the real world for the very first time. Here, they hilariously collide with a cavalcade of super-stoked celebrities (everyone from Elliott Gould and Steve Martin to Richard Pryor and Orson Welles, all genuinely excited at their chance to press the felt on the big screen) in a film which succeeds at being more fun than humanly possible, whether you’re age nine or ninety. The real glue that holds this whole fuzzy, beautiful thing together: Paul Williams’ ebullient, highly-singable, pun-stuffed and endearingly sentimental songs (who thought Gonzo would deliver their feature debut’s most touching number?). These melodic, catchy and classic pop compositions feel perfectly at home with The Muppets, whose television songbook up to that point consisted of showtunes, vaudeville ditties, folk stompers and twists on contemporary pop. Williams would still be legendary even if his legacy consisted solely of The Muppet Movie’s soundtrack, which gave the world (and Karen Carpenter) “The Rainbow Connection”, which perfectly captured Henson’s creative-utopian ethos with the words “Life’s like a movie — write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending. We’ve done just what we set out to do. Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.”
The Muppet Movie Dir. James Frawley, 1979, 35mm, 95 min.
Phantom of the Paradise – 9:30pm
Going for broke as if his life depended on it, Brian De Palma created the single greatest rock musical of the 1970s with Phantom of the Paradise, a frenzied collage of music, horror, style and satire that still astounds first-time viewers, and deeply satisfies hardcore fans. Aided by Paul Williams’ spine-tingly catchy tunes, this tongue-in-cheek melding of the “Faust” and “Phantom Of The Opera” legends emits white-hot energy as it ping-pongs between a wronged songwriter-turned-disfigured-phantom (Sisters’ William Finley), a golden-voiced ingenue (Suspiria’s Jassica Harper), a gay rock star (Gerrit Graham) and a puppet master impresario played by Paul Williams himself (in what is easily his greatest screen role.) Marking the turning point between De Palma’s edgy early films and his heavily stylized “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” classic period, Phantom is crammed to the gills with classic horror references, pansexual playfulness, a simultaneous embrace/critique of the glam rock lifestyle, and a witty, nonstop earworm parade from Williams’ pen that kicks along sweetly from ‘50s doo-wop to surfer parody, to KISS-style rock without missing a beat. Truly essential viewing.
Phantom of the Paradise Dir. Brian De Palma, 1974, 35mm, 92 min.