2. The Muppets
Director: James Bobin
Stars: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ricky Gervais, Jack Black
Release Date: November 23
Why we’re excited: Let’s be honest here: They could’ve cast Pauly Shore as the leading man and we’d still be stoked for a new Muppets flick. It’s been 12 years since the late Jim Henson’s puppet gang has surfaced in Hollywood, a temporal baker’s dozen that’s left Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and their cohorts virtually non-existent. So, hell yes, another chance to kick it with the stars of our childhood is cause for joyous excitement.
The wonderful bonus, though, is that Jason Segel’s the man behind the Muppets’ well-deserved reboot. The Muppets, directed by James Bobin (a TV veteran with ties to Da Ali G Show and Flight Of The Conchords), has been a longtime passion project for Segel, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller (director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek); the comedic actor’s dedication to Henson’s original touch prompted him to use actual puppets instead of CGI, and also inspired a long list of guest stars to sign up, including Ricky Gervais, Neil Patrick Harris, Lady Gaga, Danny Trejo, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, and Rashida Jones, amongst several others.
As the above trailer shows, The Muppets pairs actually humorous slapstick gags with Henson’s trademark sense of childlike whimsy. Segel plays a huge Muppet fan (what a stretch) who, along with his girlfriend (Amy Adams), reconnects the disbanded Muppet team to help save their Muppet Theater from being torn down by an oil man (Chris Cooper). It’s a meta premise, considering that, similar to his character, Segel’s underlying objective with The Muppets is to propel a once-beloved pop culture brand back to high esteem. And for that, we award him endless props.