Saturday 19 Apr
 
 

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Being Elmo: A...
Documentary
 

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey


The documentary ‘Being Elmo’ reveals the man behind the beloved Muppet.

Phil Bacharach November 16th, 2011

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch
okcmoa.com
236-3100
$5-$8

If you’re a parent, grandparent or otherwise have spent a lot of time with kids, chances are you have an appreciation for Elmo, the furry, red Muppet of “Sesame Street.”

Elmo’s cute but not ingratiating (mostly), sweet but with enough of a toddler’s self-absorption to keep things from getting too cloying. The documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey,” which screens Thursday through Sunday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, takes a page from its subject’s playbook to celebrate the artist behind the pop-culture phenomenon.

That artist is Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who breathed life into Elmo by giving the character a falsetto voice and a preschooler’s sweetness. As one interviewee notes, Clash is the superstar no one recognizes.

Raised in a modest neighborhood outside Baltimore, he immersed himself as a child in TV’s “Captain Kangaroo” and “The Wonderful World of Disney.” Shy and deferential, he was especially transfixed by Jim Henson’s Muppet creations on “Sesame Street.” The admiring boy began making his own puppets, cutting the fuzzy lining of his dad’s overcoat to fashion a monkey.

By the time Clash was 17, he had landed a gig on a local TV kids’ show and gained a valuable mentor in famed puppeteer Kermit Love. Within a couple of years, Clash entered the Henson fold, working on the movie “Labyrinth” and eventually earning a spot on “Sesame Street.”

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and benefited by an excess of remarkable archival footage, “Being Elmo” is an affable and charming look at an affable and charming personality. It is also fairly gushing; anyone expecting a warts-and-all documentary will be disappointed.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a surface approach, of course, but directors Constance Marks and Philip Shane allude to potentially meaty topics without delving any deeper. Clash concedes that his workaholic tendencies have made him something of an absent father to his teenaged daughter. That seems an irresistible irony for someone whose job is about delighting children, but “Being Elmo” pays it only perfunctory attention.

The documentary is most appealing when it lets Elmo be Elmo. Clash’s joy in performing is palpable, and it’s easy to understand when you see terminally ill children visiting Elmo on the “Sesame Street” set.

“I knew that Elmo should represent love,” Clash says, recounting how he shaped the puppet’s persona.

The cynical among us might scoff at such a pronouncement as being mawkish or pretentious, but such detractors are the very ones who need Elmo most of all.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close