Underground Film Journal

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Cinefamily: Emmet Otter & The Christmas Martian

By Mike Everleth ⋅ December 21, 2010

Exterior marquee of the Silent Movie Theater

Dec. 25
Emmet Otter: 4:00 p.m.
The Christmas Martian: 8:00 p.m.
The Silent Movie Theater
611 N Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Hosted by: The Cinefamily

It’s two times the oddball holiday fun on Christmas Day in Los Angeles, thanks to two spectacular programs hosted by the Cinefamily. Just to be clear, these are two separate programs that require two separate ticket purchases. But, oh what fun you and the family will have!

First up, at 4:00 p.m., for children and the child-like, it’s a screening of the beloved Muppet holiday treat Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. An adaptation of the children’s book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, this old-fashioned Christmas tale originally aired on HBO in 1977.

This was one of Jim Henson’s most elaborately-produced Muppet productions, featuring the typically hand-controlled-from-underneath puppets, marionettes, and even radio controlled critters — all on large, extremely detailed sets. All this was in service to an endearingly charming story of a young otter and his friends forming a jug band in hopes of winning a talent contest so that he can give the cash award to his poor, widowed mother.

What also makes this special so special is that Emmet Otter is arguably one of the darn cutest designed Muppets of all time. Plus, the songs by frequent Henson music collaborator Paul Williams are all extremely catchy and some near heartbreaking. So, come on out and enjoy this amazing classic on the big screen — and, if you do, you’ll also get to see lots of other fun Muppet Christmas clips!

Here’s a sample of that great Williams music:

Then, at 8:00 p.m., catch a rare screening of the ’71 French Canadian holiday flick The Christmas Martian. According to the website Canuxploitation, The Christmas Martian was the first Canadian kids feature-film, produced by two well-meaning, but completely inexperienced filmmakers, director Bernard Gosselin and writer Roch Carrier.

The result is a goofy concoction of terrible storytelling and awful special effects. For bad movie lovers, this one sounds like a real goldmine! During the holidays, two children, Cathy and Frankie, run into a green alien in a general store who takes them on a spaceship tour of the Earth. Strangely enough, the film actually has little to do with Christmas except for a tacked on scene in which the Martian comes bearing gifts. Even more strange is the Martian’s name: Poo Flower!

In addition to this bizarro treat, Cinefamily will precede it with all kinds of Christmas oddities, including “verité footage of department store Santas, misguided movie tie-ins, exhumed cartoons and aborted holiday specials.”

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