Young filmmaker Johnny Rome took to social media platform TikTok yesterday to share a surprising story about how and why they ended up dropping out of film school. According to the video, it boiled down to a fundamental difference of opinion with their film professor, spinning out of an essay they wrote about The Muppets. After the professor reportedly asked for an essay detailing the class's most controversial film opinions, Rome wrote what they characterize as their "magnum opus," arguing that while The Muppets could make a great Quentin Tarantino movie, Tarantino could not make a great Muppets movie.
Without having read it, you can probably pretty safely guess that the argument here involves the wide variety of styles and types of stories The Muppets have told stories in over the years. Tarantino, for better or worse, is the kind of filmmaker whose style and trademarks are instantly recognizable, giving him a pretty narrow tonal range even when the plots themselves are theoretically quite different.
You can see the video below.
Yes, Rome says they made sure to mention The Muppets Wizard of Oz, in which Tarantino himself has an appearance, sharing the screen with Kermit the Frog at one kind of surreal point in the movie. It also seems like a pretty clever riff on the thing you see on Twitter from time to time, where viral posts ask users to name a movie/TV show they would remake with Muppets.
Apparently, the professor agreed that Rome's argument was well-reasoned, but took away a letter grade for comparing "the creative team behind foam puppets" to Tarantino, a "master of cinema."
"And...and now I'm a film school dropout," Rome quips at the end of the video, which actually seems like a fairly reasonable reaction to that particular line of logic from the professor.
The Muppets, created in the 1950s by Jim and Jane Henson, have been a consistent presence in popular culture since Rolf first appeared on The Jimmy Dean Show. The Muppet Show is one of the most-watched TV shows in the history of the medium, and the characters have appeared in dozens of TV shows and films since, with an almost-universal agreement that Henson and company advanced the arts of both puppetry and cinema time and time again in the years since their creation. None of this takes away from Tarantino, but it certainly does lend itself to the idea that this professor has a pretty tunnel-vision version of what makes great film.
Do you agree with Rome's argument? Let us know in the comments below, or hit up @russburlingame on Twitter to talk all things comics, movies, and Muppets. But mostly Muppets.