It's 20 years to the day since The Muppet Christmas Carol was first released in cinemas. After mixed-to-positive reviews and modest box office, the film has steadily grown and gained legions of new fans, and now it's as much a part of the Christmas landscape as James Bond, Die Hard or It's A Wonderful Life.
To mark the occasion, and to help us to get into the mood for Christmas, here are my Top 20 reasons why any sane person should love The Muppet Christmas Carol. Feel free to post your reasons in the comments below - maybe with a memory of when and where you first saw it.
20. It's a proper Muppet movie. After Jim Henson's untimely death, there were doubts as to whether the spirit of the Muppets could be sustained. But these were swiftly laid to rest by a film that's every bit as fun, heartwarming and memorable as The Muppet Movie.
Oliver and Company being a good example when it comes to Dickens. But even with the addition of ice-skating penguins and a rubber chicken factory, the message of the original story shines through.
18. The Muppets have aged well. CGI can be impressive but it also dates very quickly. The Muppets still have an endearing physicality to them, so that even if you can occasionally see the wires, you'll be too engrossed to let that bother you.
16. The songs are great. 'Thankful Heart' is guaranteed to raise your spirits, 'One More Sleep' will really put you in the mood, and 'Marley and Marley' is both funny and spooky.
14. It gives us Kermit and Miss Piggy as a couple. And what resulted. It was always going to happen - even if exactly how is still up for grabs.
12. It keeps things simple. When Robert Zemeckis made his version in 2009, he threw in a whole bunch of stuff which clouded and confused the plot - everything from Marley's ghost dislocating his jaw to a levitating Bob Hoskins and the carriage from Sleepy Hollow. The Muppet Christmas Carol trusts the original story to do the hard work, and it really pays off.
11. "UNEMPLOYED!" Watch the film if you don't know what this means. It's very funny.
9. It's very funny. Any of the scenes with Gonzo and Rizzo could feature here, especially the running gag about jelly beans and "light the lamp, not the rat!"
8. It's incredibly sweet. "No cheeses for us mices" is just too cute for words.
6. Beaker. Because here he's especially adorable.
4. The humans and Muppets interact in a meaningful way. There isn't any sense of awkwardness between the two, since it doesn't feel like a human drama into which the Muppets just happened to have wandered. Or vice versa.
2. There's nothing cynical about it. It wasn't made to sell a product, it wasn't made to make Disney look good, and it wasn't released in early-November to cynically milk the box office (looking at you, Zemeckis). Even now there's an innocence to the film, and that feels really special.
Only 2 weeks 'til Christmas :) There's more great stuff coming up on the blog between now and New Year, so watch this space!