Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Movies I Love: Being Elmo

Here's something unusual about me: I almost never, ever cry at fictional movies or books. This is especially odd because, in real life, I'm a crier. I mean, I'm not in tears every day or anything, but there's usually a leaky face involved if I'm really upset.

But with a movie or book, no matter how wrapped up I get in the story, there's something that keeps me from crossing that line. I'm talking like the beginning of Up didn't even bring on the waterworks. That's kinda messed up, people.

I can only assume that either I am the kind of cold-hearted being that moves Paula Abdul to song or that there's a part of my subconscious that is hearing the story but also peeking behind the curtain and studying the craft. A part of me just knows it's not real.

Which means that as soon as my synapses are convinced that something is real, all bets are off. Show me the old people choir from Young at Heart, an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or even a mildly decent audition on The X-Factor and I. am. a. hot. mess. It basically takes next to nothing for there to be liquid dripping down my face. (Yeah, I'm not a pretty crier either.)

This is all a very convoluted segue into talking about the documentary I got an advanced screening of last night: Being Elmo. It tells the story of Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind (you guessed it) Elmo and how he literally turned his lifelong dream into reality.

Just like 99% of the human population, I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Muppets. I was five when we moved to America and I went into Kindergarten not speaking any English. My uncle's girlfriend advised my parents that I should watch The Muppet Show and Sesame Street (and soon after Muppet Babies). And I did. I ask of you, who better to learn English from than Fozzie Bear and Animal? Wocka, wocka, wocka is an American idiom I have found thoroughly useful in many-a scenario.

I also have an extremely soft spot for any real-life stories having to do with following impossible dreams, perseverance, determination, hard-won success, and anything of that ilk.

Add to all of that...Kevin Clash is a very nice man. A very humble, compelling, talented man with the most incredibly supportive (and adorable) parents I've ever seen.

I actually interned at Sesame Workshop when I was in college and I got to see a lot of the Muppeteers first hand (I even helped Big Bird put on his costume once!). It was a surreal experience. But the best part of it was, they were all so nice. And so genuinely happy to do the job they'd been doing for years at that point.

All this to say...Being Elmo is an outstanding, uplifting, wonderful film.

And I cried like a baby.

See if the trailer alone doesn't get ya!

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