I Am Big Bird

Since 1969, Caroll Spinney has been playing Big Bird (as well as his existential antagonist, Oscar the Grouch) on Sesame Street, and for this documentary profile, directors Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker collect warm reminiscences from him, his family, and various admiring colleagues and coworkers. Behind-the-scenes footage provides some fascinating glimpses of Sesame Street being blocked, and the narrative touches on such milestones as Big Bird’s 1979 trip to China with Bob Hope and choked-up performance of “Bein’ Green” at the 1990 memorial service for Muppets mastermind Jim Henson. There are even a few intimations of friction between Spinney and other key figures on the show, though an unbearably treacly score transforms the movie into an exercise in sentimentality.