“Film Review: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”


Clare Acuti, Staff Writer

As Christmas time is nearing, there are plenty of movies to watch on repeat in order to get in the holiday spirit. You can always rely on the classics: Elf, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, or How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but there is another classic that not enough people have heard about. Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas was made in 1977 by Jim Henson (creator of Kermit the Frog and the Muppets) and this movie has everything that you need in a Christmas movie. There are musical numbers, comedic animals, and touching moments that will make you feel right at home. There might also be some familiar voices in the movie considering the actors who voiced Mrs. Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and even Cookie Monster voiced some of the characters in this film. This is not only one of my favorite Christmas movies, it is also one of my favorite movies of all time. Here’s why I love it so much, and why I think you will too….

There is an appearance from Kermit at the beginning of the movie (and he serves as a narrator for the film), so this movie definitely appeals to Kermit lovers everywhere. The movie follows Emmet Otter and his mother, Alice Otter, on their separate journeys to win a local talent contest. Emmet’s family struggles with financial problems after the death of his father, so Emmet uses a tool chest for odd jobs, and his mom uses a washtub to do laundry for the neighborhood. Both of our main characters hear about the talent competition, which awards the winner 50 dollars, (Note: this movie is from the 1970s so this was a substantial amount of prize money for a puppet otter) and want to use the prize money to buy the other one a Christmas present. 

The first thing I find so enjoyable about this movie is the relationship that Emmet and his mother Alice share. They sing songs together on the river, they make jokes together in town, and both of them are willing to risk a lot to make the other happy on Christmas. In order to play an instrument with the band, Emmet needs to put a hole in his mother’s washtub (which will make it virtually impossible to clean with). Emmet does this despite the risk of losing because he really wants to bring his mother joy after struggling with money issues. Alice Otter sells the toolbox Emmet uses for work to buy a dress so that she can participate in the show, and hopefully buy Emmet a Christmas gift that he would love to have. The love that Emmet and his mom have for each other is evident in the things they are willing to do to see the other smile. 

Another thing I loved about the movie was the songs that were sung. I loved the singing voices of the characters and songs like “Ain’t No Hole in the Washtub” and “Riverbottom Nightmare Band!” made the movie entertaining and interesting. I also really loved the villains of this movie: Chuck and his gang, the “Nightmares.” They bring comedy to this film and they are even great singers!

Overall, this film gives its viewers a feeling of nostalgia and new songs to sing during the Christmas season. This has been one of my favorite movies ever since I was introduced to it by my parents when I was little and I rate it a solid 9/10. It’s available on Amazon Prime Video for free with Amazon Prime. Let me know if you enjoyed it and have a Merry Christmas!