For nearly 50 years, at "Sesame Street," he's been inside the Big Bird costume and crouched behind Oscar the grouch's garbage can, giving life to those beloved creations. By Sandra Hall. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes , the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 73 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. Gene Siskel had a simple test for gauging a movie: Is it more interesting than a documentary about the actors having lunch would be? I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story review The unexpected virtue of innocence... By Emma Morgan 27 April 2015. Elissa Suh StageBuddy.com. One time Stone yelled at Spinney, and Delgado remembers yelling at Stone to cut it out. As the title would suggest, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (2014) details the puppeteer who brought to life our favorite eight-foot tall yellow bird. But as endless processions of friends and colleagues attest to Spinney’s genius, and the filmmakers wallow in never-before-seen behind-the-scenes imagery, they fail to fully capture the actual art of puppeteering, with woefully few substantial excerpts from the show itself. Book Reviews . Helpful. Certainly Spinney’s bio offers its fair share of variety, humor and drama. Fiction Thriller & Suspense Mystery & Detective Romance. Popular Genres. I Am Big Bird. July 26, 2015 — 12.15am. critic Reviews, 84% Certified Fresh Tomatometer Score 84 % Every bit as good-natured as longtime fans might hope, I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story offers heartwarming behind-the-scenes perspective on a cultural icon., Fresh Tomatometer Score. How did he create Big Bird, an icon known the world over? Spinney opens up about his loneliness as a child, his fear of his father, his devastation at the dissolution of his first marriage. Film Review. Spinney's understanding of what was needed in that moment, that the moment was bigger than his own personal loss, and the catharsis he would provide for others, is near transcendent. His name is Big Bird. In acting classes, it is common for teachers to tell students that during sad scenes, perhaps the best choice is to hold back the tears, because that leaves room for the audience to cry. It is a warm and enthusiastic celebration of Spinney as a man and a performer. In an essay on 1985's "Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird," for Movie Mezzanine, RogerEbert.com contributor Odie Henderson observes "...one swears that there really is something going on behind those fake Muppet eyes, something alive and relatable. But Big Bird was different. from A big year - birds 2020: Night bridge by ZephyX from Bridge over untroubled water: Winter's Coming by F5Nikon from My best photo of the week. Inside a costume of some 4,000 feathers, Spinney has no contact with the outside world. But surely the most fascinating aspect of the documentary concerns the complicated low-tech human mechanics through which Spinney controls the wonderfully expressive movements of the giant yellow bird. While you wait impatiently for the movie to come to your city or your TV, here’s my review! Molly Eichel wrote a wonderful article at the A.V. Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker, "I Am Big Bird" features lengthy interviews with Spinney, his wife and manager Debra, Frank Oz, the cast members of "Sesame Street" ("Bob," "Luis," "Maria," "Susan"), as well as the producers and head writers of the show. On a more somber note, Big Bird was scheduled to fly on the ill-fated Challenger Space Shuttle to interest children in America’s space program. Save. Yet, as the film spends an inordinate amount of time illustrating, there is little difference between the bird and the man. He is inside the huge Big Bird suit, and his right arm is lifted up into Big Bird's head to make the mouth move. I Am Big Bird tells the story of Carol Spinney, most famously known for portraying the iconic character Big Bird on Sesame Street and Oscar the Grouch. In a world riven by deep divisions, there is at least one thing that nearly everybody has in common. David LaMattina and Chad N. Walker’s straightforward documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story explores just that, giving a face to man behind the bird …Read more The second bus-sized HEXAGON photo-reconnaissance satellite roared off its California launch pad in January 1972. Finding out more about the "man within the bird" just made me fall in love with Big Bird even more. Browse by Genre. Film Review: ‘I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story’ Schmaltz continually threatens to overcome genius in this super-sentimental account of gifted puppeteer Caroll Spinney. Spinney walks us through what is involved in playing Big Bird. 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It is this same accessibility to emotion, this unselfconsciousness about his own vulnerability that helps make him who he is as a performer, that helps make Big Bird what he is. © Copyright 2021 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. His work in very early television on his own puppet show and subsequent tenure at “Bozo’s Big Top,” where he created several memorable supporting characters (seen in brief excerpts), is as revelatory of the fledgling nature of the medium as it is of Spinney’s talent. The transcendence that the film offers isn’t to be taken lightly considering the near impossibility of living professionally as an artist. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story 2015 Watched Sep 19 , 2019 geoffreyjar’s review published on Letterboxd: Caroll Spinney may not be a household name, but his iconic Sesame Street characters surely are. David LaMattina and Chad N. Walker’s straightforward documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story explores just that, giving a face to man behind the bird …Read more The transcendence that the film offers isn’t to be taken lightly considering the near impossibility of living professionally as an artist. While you wait impatiently for the movie to come to your city or your TV, here’s my review! “I Am Big Bird” opens with clip from an old episode of “To Tell the Truth,” featuring three men who all claim to be “the real Caroll Spinney.” It sets up the dichotomy of the film; while Big Bird may qualify as one of the most universally recognized figures in the world, Spinney remains virtually unknown. Log in, register or subscribe to save articles for later. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story 2015 ★★★ Watched Apr 14 , 2020 Jackson Goldberg’s review published on Letterboxd: Who is the man inside the feathered suit? Often syrupy and at times emotionally manipulative, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story has the potential to be a celebration of the life of a true American legend. Big Bird is eight feet tall, and every inch of him is happiness and sunshine. More recently, Mitt Romney put Big Bird at the forefront of the national conversation by joking, after promising to cut funding to PBS, "I like Big Bird!" Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. But Luis is very protective of Big Bird." Bert and Ernie were independent enough to have their own apartment. Review by Mark Dujsik | May 15, 2015. This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Block this member This member is blocked; Report this review; russman liked these reviews. Spinney had worked on an act that involved puppets acting in front of video footage projected on a screen behind them. At Henson's funeral, Spinney shows the eternal truth of such advice. It's a simple interview moment, but indicative of the larger power of what Spinney created. Spinney's left arm is down in Big Bird's left arm, and the right arm is attached by a triangle of invisible fishing wire, so it moves in response on its own. No one who has seen that episode will ever forget it. "I Am Big Bird" is a loving personal profile of Spinney, with memories and anecdotes shared by his wife, his children, his co-workers and friends. The website's critical consensus reads, "Every bit as good-natured as longtime fans might hope, I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story offers heartwarming behind-the-scenes perspective on a cultural icon." With so many years of puppetry to draw from, helmers LaMattina and Walker seem content to take the essence of their subject’s art for granted while milking his private life for all it’s worth. He invited Spinney to join him and his team in New York to create a new television show for children called "Sesame Street". Mainly focusing on Spinney’s career with a few brief moments of his […] Big Bird's presence on the show (along with all of the educational counting and spelling games built into the show's structure) allowed "Sesame Street" to tackle many difficult topics through his character's perception of events. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story at Amazon.com. His supportive wife observes that Spinney speaks of past events with an immediacy that is child-like: "Even if it happened sixty years ago, it's like it's happening now." If you're a fan of The Muppets, Sesame Street or even if you just have a beating heart, I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story is a great work of film making. But the spotlights shining at the stage had blurred out the projection screen, essentially ruining Spinney's act. The other puppeteers were all clustered together beneath the screen, so there was a camaraderie amongst then that Spinney, isolated in the bird suit, did not share. Even Spinney's kids, who talk in the documentary about missing their dad a lot when they were growing up since he traveled so much, say that all they had to do was turn on "Sesame Street" and they could "visit" their dad. To do all this while acting up a storm through line readings and subtle eye and body movements requires an incredible amount of skill and coordination. He can only see indirectly through a video monitor strapped to his chest, and must navigate the set quasi-remotely and counterintuitively (his right is the camera’s left). Who is this man? General Fiction Nonfiction Teen Children's. Spinney treats the change philosophically. Spinney cannot see out of the suit, so strapped to his torso is a tiny monitor showing him the outer world (only in reverse). 0 Comment Report abuse kss. Time Out says. The beloved Sesame Street characters are revealed as deeper aspects of their masters psyche. I Am Big Bird, while focusing a lot on Spinney's personal life, is sure to include ideas and notions of what it means to be Big Bird. Last month, the Caroll Spinney documentary I Am Big Bird was picked up for distribution by Tribeca Film, with plans for a theatrical and on-demand release in early 2015. The Count clearly had centuries of experience behind his counting mania. Off the heels of Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (2011) comes another documentary of perhaps an even more iconic Sesame Street character. Day after day, Spinney's work attire consists of a hot, eight-foot-tall mascot, where he is positioned inside with his right arm extended in the air to move Bird Bird's mouth (and hold his head and neck up), while his left arm is placed inside Big Bird left wing. ), The idea of playing Big Bird as a "big kid" was what landed the character for Spinney. Canon EOS R5 4.1% Fujifilm X-T4 2.8% Sony a7C … His supportive wife observes that Spinney speaks of past events with an immediacy that is child-like: "Even if it happened sixty years ago, it's like it's happening now." Early in I Am Big Bird, there’s a scene of Caroll Spinney preparing to shoot a scene on Sesame Street. At 81 years old, the rigors of playing Big Bird impact him more, and having a little bit of time off seems okay to him. 5.0 out of 5 stars loved by kids ages 1-3. as Big Bird / Oscar the Grouch / Himself, essay on 1985's "Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird,". With his pinky finger, he manipulates Big Bird's eyelids and eyeballs with a little lever up in the head. The other Muppets on the block, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Kermit, The Count, were of more indeterminate age and experience. There's a certain type of documentary that seems to take that test to heart, and I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is one of them. Copious homemovie footage finds him cavorting around the house as it charts his fairy-tale romance with his second wife, Debra. As a craft, puppeteering goes back to ancient times, and in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, Spinney would have traveled around in a theatre troupe, but he came up at a very specific moment when television and puppeteering were being revolutionized, due to the genius of Jim Henson, and the pioneering children's show "Sesame Street." Delgado laughs at the memory, saying, "I could have lost my job. 5 and 6 year-olds related to Big Bird. You’ve probably seen Caroll Spinney hundreds of times, but you won’t recognize him. Book Big Bird & Wolf Chalets, Kendenup on Tripadvisor: See 11 traveller reviews, 10 candid photos, and great deals for Big Bird & Wolf Chalets, ranked #1 of 1 B&B / inn in Kendenup and rated 5 of 5 at Tripadvisor. Popular Content. That Spinney continue to do it into his 80s seems well-nigh miraculous. He wept later, by himself. Big Bird, the six foot tall, sunshine-yellow plumed creature, is perhaps the unofficial mascot and most recognizable entity on Sesame Street, but who is the man inside the feathered suit? Amazing story! (With the rise of Elmo, that dynamic changed. When Spinney realized the snafu, there was nothing to do but walk behind the projection screen and start pulling at his hair in an exaggerated manner (causing the baffled audience to erupt into laughter at his silhouette). The documentary follows Spinney’s career as a puppeteer through his ups and downs in the business. On merit alone, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is a profoundly moving documentary.But if you grew up with “Sesame Street” in the 70s and 80s, you may find yourself experiencing an extra, particularly overwhelming set of emotions. Spinney states that he wants to play Big Bird as long as he can. They were both difficult men, and there were times when things got tense. The few extended scenes sampled, including his moving song at Jim Henson’s funeral, bring home what otherwise remains empty praise. Title: I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. I have always accepted them as sentient beings." Innumerable behind-the-scenes glimpses follow Spinney/Big Bird from the Sesame Street set to the Great Wall of China. There was a Kickstarter campaign to make a movie about a guy named Caroll Spinney back in July of 2012, which successfully raised $124,115 USD from 1,976 backers. Full Review Leigh Paatsch Herald Sun (Australia) There’s no ducking the frank admiration and love on display in “I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story.” Last month, the Caroll Spinney documentary I Am Big Bird was picked up for distribution by Tribeca Film, with plans for a theatrical and on-demand release in early 2015. I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story. This puppeteering mastery is all too rarely on display: Shots of Spinney drawing and painting accompany other interviewees’ insistence that he’s a great artist, but their opinions must taken on faith. His Big Bird will have to be his Big Bird, although hopefully maintaining the integrity of the character. When I finally had a day to get in touch with the company I had missed the return date by four days. Luis Delgado (who played Luis on the show) remembers some friction on the set between director/head writer Jon Stone and Spinney. I Am Big Bird is not great filmmaking but it pays fitting tribute to Spinney and the character into which he invested so much of his own personality. Lesson Learned. Find out everything Empire knows about I Am Big Bird. Directors: Dave LaMattina, Chad Walker. (Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, had actually died, and instead of pretending Mr. Hooper was on vacation in Bermuda, the creators of the show decided to address the issue head-on.) I Am Big Bird hits upon the very revealing notion that Spinney's two polar-opposite characters, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, actually represent the two sides of Spinney's personality. (Previous editions of Reeling can be downloaded from iTunes by clicking this link.) There is so much technical stuff that needs to be managed, just to make the bird walk and talk, and then when you put on top of that the voice, and the amount of emotion and thought and personality that is in the performance ... anybody else might short-out having to keep all of those balls in the air, but Spinney was set free. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here. Among them is his understudy, Frank Oz (Cookie Monster, Bert), the late Jerry … What went into that creation? Suddenly, Big Bird became the heart of the show. twilight - cyan, blue, red, orange, yellow, dark gray by BonsaiZG1 from tell me the sky: After Thanksgiving by Autonerd from At the festive table: Discover more challenges » Most popular cameras. Comments; Shares. I Am Big Bird presents Spinney’s life as one built on fate, good fortune, and above all, earthy humility inside a dark and sweaty Muppet suit. These anecdotes and more constitute “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story,” a documentary about the man who has been making Big Bird … He, the actor, had to hold back his own tears in order to make it through that song. Elmo is geared more at the 2-year-old set. Spinney at first didn't want to do it and he found the work so difficult at first that he almost quit. Spinney remembers filming that episode, with tears soaking his face inside the suit at the end of it. Read the latest news, features and the Empire review of the film. Review: ‘I Am Big Bird’ a gentle peek at the guy behind the yellow feathers Caroll Spinney, left, prepares to don Big Bird’s yellow-feathered costume with help of Kermit Love. On the rare occasions he's critical, it's in the gentlest way. Science Fiction & Fantasy Nonfiction Biography & Memoir History. This affectionate documentary tribute traces the life and career of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who has played both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" for over 45 years. Some person I went to high school with was Oscar as a summer job at Sesame Place. Spinney ended up appearing on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update to "comment" on the controversy, and "anchorman" Seth Meyers seemed honestly in awe of the fact that it was actually Big Bird sitting there in the chair next to him. Big Bird, the six foot tall, sunshine-yellow plumed creature, is perhaps the unofficial mascot and most recognizable entity on Sesame Street, but who is the man inside the feathered suit? Caroll Spinney is a great example of someone that was determined to do exactly what he loved to do first -- and then find a way to get paid for it. He was the audience. I Am Big Bird swings between the past and present, using never before seen home video footage as well as interviews with those who know Spinney best, including friends and colleagues. "I liked what you were trying to do," said Henson. Big Bird has always been a huge favorite of mine - "Follow That Bird" is one of my favorite movies of all time. Jim Henson first saw Caroll Spinney at a puppeteer festival. Spinney accepted, but it was decided there was not sufficient room, and ultimately teacher Christa McAuliffe took his place. I Am Big Bird: Sunny tale sweeps the clouds and negativity away. Those puppets are alive. 3 out of 5 stars. Watch the current Reeling broadcast here! Club about the episode.) Club about the episode. One of Spinney’s arms must remain continually extended to hold up the neck and head, with his hand manipulating the beak and his other hand moving the wings and controlling the eyelids, while he reads the script taped to his body. I hope she likes it and wish she understands that it was given by her grandpa faraway in Korea. Formally, I Am Big Bird doesn’t do anything particularly interesting or stray too far from the usual talking heads and archival footage documentary formula, but it still manages to a be fun, endearing, and nostalgic trip. And taped in front of his eyes, on the interior of the suit, is the script, with his lines circled meticulously. Review by andrew ★★★★ american popular culture has only exported one fully good product worthy of pride and it is sesame street. Review: ‘I Am Big Bird’ a gentle peek at the guy behind the yellow feathers Caroll Spinney, left, prepares to don Big Bird’s yellow-feathered costume with help of Kermit Love. His father was a stern man with a bad temper, but his mother encouraged Spinney's interest and actually built a puppet theatre for him. News & Features . Diehard Big Bird fans will delight in this treasure trove of intimate moments, but the pic’s relentless outpourings of affection might prove too saccharine for general consumption. Jim Henson was no dummy: he sensed that in Spinney. Our Verdict. Reeling Reviews I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story. Open this photo in gallery: Caroll Spinney, left, and Kermit Love on the set of a Sesame Street production. big-bird-spinney-tribeca.jpg. By Ronnie Scheib I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is a portrait of creative work as unexpected savior. He has spent 45 years inserting himself into a big yellow feathery puppet as Sesame Street's Big Bird, pretending to be a six-year-old. There are many interesting elements of the journey shown in the documentary: Big Bird's groundbreaking 1983 trip to China for the Sesame Workshop special "Big Bird in China", where he was treated like Mick Jagger, with throngs of people flooding after him through the streets. Current Events & Social Issues Graphic Novels & Comics Teens & Young Adult Children's. The film has received positive reviews. The act was a bust, but Henson came to see Spinney backstage. Of the many beloved creatures that sprang from the genius of Jim Henson, Sesame Street’s Big Bird … Save a murder in the grounds of his house, Spinney’s life lacks drama, but I Am Big Bird delivers an affectionate portrait of a big-hearted man and a … I Am Big Bird tells the story of Carol Spinney, most famously known for portraying the iconic character Big Bird on Sesame Street and Oscar the Grouch. All is fresh for him, all is raw, tears come up in Spinney's eyes when he speaks of events that happened to him in the first grade. Even his courtship of Debra makes for diverting viewing, as Spinney asked out three different women over a period of months, only to discover they were all one and the same. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is a portrait of creative work as unexpected savior. "I Am Big Bird" is a loving personal profile of Spinney, with memories and anecdotes shared by his wife, his children, his co-workers and friends. Big Bird needed to be cared for. Vogel is honest about the challenges of such a job (he's been doing it for 15 years now), and he knows that "imitating" Caroll Spinney is not an option. ‘I Am Big Bird’ documentary is just as wonderful as it should be. Day Monday, December 14, 2020 . It becomes undeniable that the childlike wonder and guileless joie de vivre that animates the bird is that of Spinney himself — this, despite the fact that Spinney’s other masterpiece of Muppet manipulation was Oscar the Grouch. In 1986, NASA approached Spinney to go into space on the space shuttle Challenger, but Spinney's participation was canceled at the last minute because there wasn't room for the Big Bird suit on board. Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on the show, says, "I have always loved Big Bird because he's complicated. Caroll Spinney Summary: For 45 years, Caroll Spinney has been beloved by generations of children as the man behind Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch - and at 80 years old, he has no intention of stopping. Schmaltz continually threatens to overcome genius in this super-sentimental account of gifted puppeteer Caroll Spinney. Instead, the filmmakers relentlessly attempt to score cheap emotional points, and they do so to the detriment of the genuinely emotional moments. Big Bird sang "It's Not That Easy Being Green" at Henson's funeral, Spike Lee Recieves American Cinematheque Award, America Has to Come to a Reckoning: Director Sam Pollard on MLK/FBI, The TV Homages of WandaVision are an Amusing, Unfulfilling Distraction. I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story 2015 ★★★ Watched Nov 28, 2016. russman’s review published on Letterboxd: Caroll wasn't the only person to portray Oscar the Grouch. He has an apprentice, Matt Vogel, who steps in and acts as Big Bird's "double" at times when Spinney needs a break. DVD review: I Am Big Bird Caroll Spinney’s first performance before legendary Muppets master Jim Henson was disastrous. I am Big Bird: the Carroll Spinney Story is a documentary that takes itself far too seriously. 1 Big Bird Review about salary & benefits work culture skill development career growth job security work-life balance and more. I Am Big Bird, while focusing a lot on Spinney's personal life, is sure to include ideas and notions of what it means to be Big Bird. Big Bird and their Dad was the same thing. Big bird, little bird: chasing Soviet anti-ballistic missile radars in the 1960s by Dwayne A. The documentary follows Spinney’s career as a puppeteer through his ups and downs in the business. Early in I Am Big Bird, there’s a scene of Caroll Spinney preparing to shoot a scene on Sesame Street. As Caroll Spinney reminisces in the wonderful documentary, "I Am Big Bird," "She didn't realize she was giving me my career.". No negative thoughts, words or deeds intrude upon “I Am Big Bird,” Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker’s documentary about Caroll Spinney, the man behind the voice, walk, heart and soul of the beloved Sesame Street character for the last 45 years. No separation between character and part. Frank Oz remembers, "He didn't fit in and he knew it." Kermit had a job as a roving reporter. Read more about working at Big Bird.
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