Friday, May 31, 2013

Short Reviews - May 2013

Even I'm getting kinda burned out on these end-of-the-world post-apocalyptic movies, guys...

Three Days of the Condor - ...that was Sydney Pollack on the phone, wasn't it?  IT WAS!!!!!!!!!!!

Marci X - I can't BELIEVE I didn't do this one before!  Shame on me.  Well, it disappeared off the Top 10 quickly.  It might not have made it on in the first place.  And I think I know why, because I watched a little bit of it, and director Richard Benjamin gave himself a rather juicy part in it.  And I couldn't help but think to myself, "WRONG CHOICE, RICHARD!  IT'S NOT THE 70S ANYMORE!!!  THIS FILM IS NOT ABOUT YOU...."  Well, I could've been real cruel and just said "The 70s called, wants its movie star back."

Icarus - See, this is why my blog is totally useless.  I thought I made a reference to this old claymation film before.  The way I found it this time was looking for Will Vinton's Mountain Music on YouTube.  Icarus is a second-hand icon, basically.

Frances Ha - Funny!  I always thought Greta Gerwig would hook up with Rod Webber.

Pacific Rim - Del Toro's Transformers

R.I.P.D. - Jeff Bridges tried to get some interesting photos, but the whole thing was shot in a Green Screen studio!

Dead Heat - Hmm!  Wonder where they got the inspiration for R.I.P.D. ...

Monsters University - A G-rated Animal House?  See, this is why people are going to eventually turn on Pixar.

"Will and Grace" - Hard to believe they got 8 seasons out of that!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bialystock and Stooges, Goddag på dig!

But... that's not kosher!


Boy!  And you thought Variety was harsh!  Of course, this harkens back to a simpler time when a bad review could make or break a Broadway play.  Nowadays it's all "Broadway?  What's that?  Some kind of a street?"  I don't know how important a good review is to a play these days, but trust me.  In the era of Transformers sequels, big blockbusters hope for bad reviews.  That way, they know they're going to get their target audience: teenage boys of all ages and gender identification.  But for bigtime Broadway producer B. K. Doaks... ooh!  Who's that based on?  Who's that based on?  I need to know right now!
Where was I?  Oh yes.  As it turns out, this newspaper's on no mere rostrum camera stand.  It's being held in B.K. Doaks' hands as I live and breathe.  We dolly back to see Doaks holding the paper, and he starts wadding it up in anger.  He then hurls the paper into the air... and where it lands, he obviously doesn't care, he being too wrapped up in his own wrath.  Fortunately for us, it lands on Moe's head.  So hard, in fact, that Moe slumps into the door he's standing next to with a resounding "BONK!"  Oh, this is going to get ugly spelled uglé.  Unfortunately for Larry, he picks up a different bit of newspaper just as Moe's recovering.  The camera dollies in slightly as Moe goes into Accusatory Mode on Larry's ass.  Larry makes the mistake of sticking out his tongue when paint brushes are near and... Meanwhile, on Shemp's side of things, he's busy struggling with a tiny little squeeze tube of paint.  Would'ja believe it?  It's stuck!  Lol.  You'll never guess who gets hit with it... yup, Moe again.  He gets a black question mark on his face.  Here's Moe with a white question mark on his face.  And it's good and proper too!  It's got the dot and everything.
And so, as decreed by the laws of Stooge combat, Moe peels the black question mark off his face, while Shemp tries to supplicate himself at the tender mercies of Moe's feet.  But Moe is a vengeful God, and wickedly bides his time before striking.  Note the subtle shift in audio from when Shemp's talking off camera to when he appears on camera and starts going into the old "Gee, I'm sorry, Moe" bit.  Ah, but to be Shemp, spending a lifetime apologizing for things he'll never be able to stop doing.  But back to Moe, who seems to be channeling the spirit of Ted Healy when he comes up with this one: a story about an "old twitch."  This may be the highlight of the whole film right there!
And, of course, Shemp's not as sorry as he thought he was anymore.  Time to fight fire with paint... I mean, paint with paint.  Shemp laughs and ducks down.  So much for sorry ol' Shemp!  I understand that in shop classes all across the country that week, kids took to slapping their classmates in the face with loaded paint brushes in much the same manner... okay, okay, I just made that one up.  No, the Stooges never influenced a kid's behavior anytime or anywhere, and it was wrong of me to imply that.  Time for the ol' "Are you ready?" bit and it's back to "work."  How the Stooges got hired to do odd jobs for anyone is beyond me.
We're well overdue for some new characters to enter the foray.  And so, enter the girls.  The door to the stage opens and we hear distant semi-thunderous applause.  And as is often the case, these girls come in threes.  This time, it's Nanette Bordeaux as Lulabelle, with Blonde Showgirl and Brunette Showgirl in tow.  "There they are!" says Lulabelle, pointing in the Stooges' general direction.  "Let's go and have some fun with them," she says.  Only in a Stooge flick.  Next scene: over to the Stooges, where Larry's still busy painting, and the Horwitz brothers are still wiping the paint off their faces... that's funny!  I thought it was Horowitz, or Horovitz.  Go figure.  Lulabelle taunts them by saying "I thought you guys had parts in this show!"  Larry explains that it's only "a small bit in the Southern act of the last scene."  Very specific for a Stooge short!  Oh, this must be based on someone's bitter real-life experiences.  But thank God for the chorus girls and the inspiration they give, even if it is phony.  Nanette encourages the boys, and of course Shemp has to take it too far.  Shemp quickly fires off a round of kisses up Lulabelle's arm, and she swoons as he makes with the erudition... fancy words, that is.
The pissing match begins in full as Moe attempts to outdo Shemp.  What a square.  Larry cleverly insults Moe, using the Bard's words as fodder, and Moe and Larry proceed to fake sword-fight with two giant loaded paint brushes.  The girls wisely take off running at this point, if only because their costumes are more expensive.  Even Harry Cohn wouldn't be able to save the Stooges' jobs if they got paint on those!  Now, here's a good psychological test for ya: if you have a friend or fiancée or even a spouse who finds this next part funny.... dump that person immediately.  No hesitation, no looking back.  Moe and Larry are busy fighting with paintbrushes.  Larry lunges at Moe, but hits Shemp in the face instead.  Larry and Moe switch positions.  Moe lunges at Larry, but hits Shemp in the face instead.  Again, if you know someone who finds that even remotely humorous, erase them from the book of your life... starting with me, because I just wet myself from guffawing.
Is the whole rest of this film going to be this hardly compelling "sword" fight?  ...whew!  Thank GOD!  B. J. Doaks has returned to the fold, and he gets hit by Moe's paint brush.  Ain't that always the way?  When you were a kid, you'd be horsing around with your friends... at least, until someone took it too far.  Then come the lectures, and everyone gets all serious.  Kids just don't get to have any fun anymore.  As it happens, Sitka's as nasty as the Stooges, but he's playing a serious role here, usually reserved for Vernon Dent or... someone else.  "I oughta fire you... but I need you!" exclaims Sitka... I mean, V. D. Doaks.  You know, I think Max von Sydow told Paul Dooley the same thing in Strange Brew.
Anyway, Doaks has got a special job for the Stooges: Doaks wants the Stooges to keep that hated Nick Barker from panning his latest show.  Moe balks, however, because he doesn't want Barker to pan the Stooges' performance.  Isn't this every stage actor's dilemma right there?  What a quaint era when critics' opinions in the newspaper used to matter.  Nowadays, the only criticism that matters is: is it cool?  Is it something the bubble-gummers out there would want to go and see?  Better yet, tell their friends that they saw it?  Hunger Games on Broadway, or a shirtless Harry Potter, that kinda crap.  With his face still fresh with paint, Doaks finds a third solution, rather than firing the Stooges for insubordination: the Stooges should disguise themselves so that Barker won't know who threw him out.  Oh, and one more plot wrinkle... Barker wears disguises himself!  Why, he might be disguised as a gruff Broadway producer for all we know!  Sitka gives the Stooges the following instruction: "If you see ANY suspicious characters, give 'em the works!!!"  Manna from Stooge heaven for the die hard fans like us.  The Stooges usually give their all to each other, so this will surely pay off......


Taking deep satisfaction in their new marching orders, the Stooges salute Doaks, and end up slapping each other in the process.  Doaks rolls his eyes and walks away.  Now, Larry himself didn't get hit in the salute, and Shemp didn't get to hit anybody, but Larry flinches nevertheless.  What a wuss.
Vertical wipe horizontally to next scene, where we see Moe changing into a cowboy outfit... a cowboy with an outrageous beard.  Frisco Kid, anyone?  Sheesh!!!  Cut to Shemp, putting on a similar cowboy outfit.  Shemp doesn't have to search for his hat, though.  And then, Shemp proceeds to alienate the Spanish-American segment of his audience.  He then waits until he finishes his line to get scared by his reflection in the mirror.  0 for 2, Shemp, 0 for 2.  "My disguise is so good, I didn't recognize meself!" says Shemp.  Okay, 1 for 3.  Shemp dropped his gun so he bends over to pick it up and... BOIOIOIOING!  Right in the bud.  Finally, some "random" violence to keep this on track as a Stooge flick.  "Ow," says Shemp.  Man, but suits of armour hate the Stooges.  Cut to Larry, apparently putting on an Abe Lincoln costume.  Larry appears to be about two or three feet too small for the coat, lol.  Larry cuts eye holes in the hat.  The hat's far too big for Larry's head, and Larry's head virtually disappears under the giant stove pipe hat.  Larry admires his handiwork in the mirror, then turns and scuffles out of the room like a robot, lol.  Maybe his costume is an old-timey stove, who knows?
Next scene: Moe and Shemp backstage, looking for Barker.  Good thing they didn't coordinate with Larry, otherwise this film might be over with too quickly.  Moe and Shemp split up, and Shemp turns to see a door with writing on it.  Shemp's basically illiterate, but he sort of knows how to sound out words.  "Dangaroos, kippawa?" says Shemp, when in fact the door says...



A machine starts whirring as Shemp begins to open the door.  Shemp opens the door and gets punched in the schnozz by a boxing gloved hand.  Moe runs to Shemp's side.  Next scene: Larry on patrol.  This is either a bad Ed Wood pic, or... as YouTube's MrFlix1983 rightly points out, Shemp confuses Larry the Stove with Nick Barker, saying "He's disguised like a black banana!"  Moe and Shemp proceed to try and render this intruder in their own private Gitmo.  What could possibly go wrong?
Next scene: more warehouse crates.  Gee, you'd think a theater wouldn't have so much room backstage, but I guess this was the old days.  Moe and Shemp are on the ground floor, while Larry emerges from behind the crates and ends up walking one level above them.  Reminds me of that old Warner Brothers cartoon... hmm!  Forgot the name!  Better try Yahoo... God bless the memory hole AND YouTube!  Together, no more couch cushions in the ol' brain!  Fair and Worm-er!  Similar setup; at least, I think so.  But in Larry's case, it makes more sense, as his vision is limited by the hat he's looking through.  Why, that's probably not even him up there!  The risk was too great for him taking a fall off those crates.  Too great.  Get the younger, expendable stunt double, and... WHAM!  Oh, that definitely wasn't Larry.
Moe and Shemp go to investigate.  Moe and Shemp quickly run past the space in the crates, lol.  You know, in case somebody saw them... just then, Larry... or maybe it's another guy in the exact same outfit?  Nah, this isn't a J. J. Abrams production.  It's a B. A. Doaks joint.  So Larry peeks around the corner.  Shemp raises his club to smite Lawrence upon his stove-pipe hat, but hits Moe instead.  Shemp misses Larry by a Countrywide mile and smites the floor in front of him instead.  What a goof.  Next scene: Moe passed out, listening to the purdy birds.  Shemp turns to Moe, does a massive double take, then reprimands Moe for taking a nap.  "Remind me to kill you later!" barks Moe.  Just then... they hear footprints!  Moe steps past the one-person-wide space between the two stacks of crates.  Here comes Larry even though Moe just stepped right in front of him!  Lol.  Oh, the logical fallacy of it all.  Dubious.  Highly, highly dubious.  Second time's a charm here, and the blunt instruments of Moe and Shemp do not miss their target this time.  Larry's head gets double bonked, then Moe hits him a second time, and then they go to work.
Now, for the beating they lay down on this covered body, the filmmakers decided that a stunt double simply wouldn't do.  For this kind of a beating, a mannequin's the only way to go.  Moe and Shemp punch, while Larry's voice is dubbed in later on.  The body is quickly turned upside down, its head smashed repeatedly into the floor.  All that's left now is to throw it far and true... BINGO!  DOWN GOES NICK BARKER!  The filmmakers wisely decided to film that part at about 18 or 16 fps, but kept the sound at regular speed so they don't sound like chipmunks.  If they sounded like chipmunks, we might have missed that they were talking about beloved and behated theatre critic Nick Barker.
"It's Larry!" says Moe.  Good thing Larry isn't given to swift, punitive revenge like Moe.  He knows his place in the pecking order.  Gee, who are they going to beat up next that isn't Nick Barker?  Perhaps Emil Sitka again!  It figures.  Sitka didn't realize the consequences of what he told the Stooges earlier about beating up any and all suspicious characters.  With carte blanche like that, it's power run amok that's bound to be abused.  Take Larry just now, ferinstance...... well, that was quick.  Doaks gets soaked!  Time for Doaks to tweak his marching orders to the Stooges, methinks.
Meantime, Shemp quickly gets a bucket of water.  Buckets full of water are more common in Stooge films than even in The Wizard of Oz, for cripes pete!  They revive Ron Silver... I mean, Emil Sitka, and once again go into full-on Apologize Mode.  Boy, that can get annoying after a while when it's just non-stop like that.  But, screenwriters take note: the Stooge screenwriters always liked to frame things to quickly drive the plot forward.  Check it out: Larry says "Sorry, boss, we didn't see you!"  Which leads Sitka to say "Yeah, you didn't see Nick Barker either!  He already snuck in and is in the audience!"... something like that.  I just don't have time anymore to do these things verbatim.  Sorry.
Well, the Stooges screwed up their assignment that could've led to a promotion, and are back to the menial work of setting up props, and helping out the catering, apparently!  "Don't forget the salad and the cake," says Doaks.  Ugh.  What could be more degrading?
Moe makes his angry face and looks at Larry and Shemp.  Just as Doaks would like to fire the Stooges, does not Moe want to fire Larry and Shemp if he could?  "Maybe heels... change his mind if we're good in the show," says Moe.  Way to screw up that line reading, Moe.  Still, it was the best take they had time for.  Kubrick wasn't making these, after all!
Now, remember, future leaders of men and other dictators: take a page from the Book of Moe... subordination.  The farming out of the tasks.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Moe tells Shemp to get the cake, and Larry to get the salad.  Look at the hope in and the happiness on Moe's face after giving those orders.  Tis only right that the Universe entire would conspire against him to bring his expectations back down to planet Earth.  Ah, gravity.  Man's oldest, most silent nemesis.  Keeping all objects and all hopes for a better life firmly in its grasp, at 9.8 meters per second squared.  Alas, it was Moe's job to buy the cake and the salad, as Moe's underlings inform him.  Note the smug satisfaction in their voices as Moe's house of cards so quickly crumbles at his tired feet.  To let off some of his eternal steam, Moe slaps the NBC logo out of Shemp's and Larry's faces.  Well, that's different, anyway!
And then, with Moe's face still quivering with anger, he gets a faraway look in his eye.  What's he looking at?  Did Nick Barker suddenly appear backstage to get that beating he was supposed to?  Did the girls return?  Is that Senator Nixon coming round the corner with the Pumpkin Papers?  No... Moe was simply gazing into his mind's eye to see a horrible sight.  "All the stores are closed!" says Moe.  "We'll have to whip up a cake and salad ourselves!"  And then, Moe says "SCHNOZZ!"  Moe grabs Shemp's schnozz, and Shemp grabs Larry's schnozz, and off they go, Stage Left.  Too much game changing in this one.  Usually, Moe does all the grabbing himself, but once again he farms it out to subordinates.  Leadership.  Too many homebuyers, not enough Realtors (TM); shyeah, that's the ticket.
Next scene: the kitchen proper... sheesh.  Can I skip this one, teach?  Good Lord.  Well, maybe they'll DQ something different this time, who knows.  Larry's on salad duty, and ... he seems to be slathering a leaf of lettuce with shaving cream?  Then attaching them on a clothesline with clothespins.  I hope they tell their customers up front that they made the food themselves.  Hopefully everyone's already learned that lesson.  Meanwhile, Shemp's struggling with a very very large bag of flour.  Let's see... how on earth is this going to get dumped on someone's head? ....genius.  The old-fashioned way, that's how.  Also, didn't they just have a big scientific study that shows that multi-tasking doesn't work?  That and this scene prove it conclusively.  "Take it easy, Moe," says Shemp.  Isn't that the one or two things you never say to someone who's angry?  That or "calm down."  And so, once again, Shemp finds himself having to clean up Moe.  Well, it should be easier than paint, anyhow.  Shemp goes to work on Moe with a feather duster.  See?
Back to Larry who's now cutting the lettuce into a bowl with a rusty pair of scissors.  Upton Sinclair's second worst nightmare.  Back to Moe who tells Shemp "I don't know what I would've done without you.... but I do know what I'M GONNA DO WITH YOU!"  Moe then lays an epic beatdown on Shemp.  When it's over, Shemp begs for mercy, and starts a flour fight with Moe.  You know, it did seem like they could've made about five or six cakes with all that flour, but that was but an idle dream.  At least half of it is now fated to end up on the floor.  They end the scene on this note.
Next scene: several days and several actual chefs later, Moe's ready to get the cake out of the oven... gee, that's a rather thin cake!  I never figured the Stooges for a torte.  Moe tells Shemp to get "the rest of the layers."  Gee, you'll never guess in a million years what's going to happen next.  Never.  Especially if this is the first Stooge film you've ever seen... Shemp makes it a little bit different as he takes a small pinch of feathers out of the broken circular potholder and blows on them.  The feathers scatter like the gossip in Doubt.  Screenwriters take note: that's how you set up the phony cake scene!  Shemp casually tosses the broken circular potholder away and... yup, right in the tin it goes.  Bulls-eye!  Shemp brings over the white frosting.  All eyes are now glued to the unholy cake like a ticking time bomb under the table that Hitchcock talked about.  A brief glimpse of Larry putting the final ruining touches on his scissor-cut salad, then back to the cake, where Shemp goes unpunished for sneaking a bite off of the frosting mountain that Moe squirted out on top of it.  Apparently they've got to make another cake and then get into costume for their crucial scene in that damn Third Act we've heard so much, yet seen so little, about!  With all this anticipation, it better be good.  Doaks' reputation rests upon it.


The stage.  The band's thrusting "Dixie" into the audiences' ears... oh, right, must be stock footage of an audience.  Cut to a tight shot of a curtain; now THAT's more like it!  The Stooges are on stage in Southern gentlemen uniforms with two other guys, singing a song... sorry, wrong link.  They're singing a song.  Yeah, Doaks couldn't get anyone else to do that.  I think the Stooges should try to leave him!  Bad manager.  They all turn and face the wrong way to greet Janiebelle, played by that delectable buttercup Christine McIntyre.  Oh, she's one of those people I'm going to meet in Heaven, that's for sure!  Got my checklist all made out and everything.  And, why look!  She's got a cake!  And here's the real icing: she'll marry the one who eats the most cake the fastest... what was this show like with a normal cake?  Maybe there's a damn good reason why Doaks is getting bad reviews.
Anyway, the actors take pieces of cake and begin to eat... to the Kill Time Mobile!  They notice right away that this cake is not light and fluffy like cake should be.  It does not yield to the light, slight touch of the fork.  See, usually when the boys are eating a cake with Southern comforter in it, they're trying to impress some fine Southern belles while disguised as Confederate soldiers.  But as Moe explains to Larry WHILE ON STAGE, "You got to eat it!  It's part of the plot!"  Why, they've got a whole audience full of Southern belles to impress this time!  Especially that damn Yankee Nick Barker.
The audience is strangely silent.
Now, where's Shemp in the midst of all this gastronomical madness? ... oh, there he is!  Whew!  Oh, and his struggle really is epic.  His struggle to swallow a piece of cake and potholder goes on for about 29 seconds.  One take!  All the stops.  The hitting of the belly.  The splash of cake and potholder in the gastric juices below.  Back to Moe, who's got a hard act to follow.  Well, he and Larry are seen actually eating feathers, so there you go.  McIntyre goes over to Shemp but doesn't seem to sense anything wrong with the cake.  Maybe it's just a regular part of the show after all!
Moe says "You know, this cake is as light as a feather!"  Cue the feathers.... sorry, wrong link again.  And so, the orgy of coughing up feathers begins in proper on the stage of Doaks' troubled production.  And as in Uncivil Warriors, a Stooge says "They're molting!"  McIntyre finally starts freaking out.  It's Shemp who says "They're molting!" and then he coughs up a goodly amount of feathers... how'd he do that?  Magic!  Must have iron in his jowls... oh, never mind.  An unsubtle edit.
At some point, Nick Barker's inevitably going to hail this as genius, and it's all uphill for the hapless Stooges... I'm just guessing.  Especially since Moe produces an egg from his mouth at this precise moment here.  Genius!!!


Shemp has to one-up Moe of course, getting a whole fried egg out of his mouth.  Meanwhile, Doaks is in the wings tearing his hair out.  What a perfectionist.  The curtain falls and Doaks finally fires the Stooges.
"Here comes Nick Barker!" says Larry.... did I call it or what?  Sitka promises to make the Stooges the star of his next production, and Sitka and Nick Barker go off stage to discuss... whatever.  It doesn't matter, because the fate of the Stooges is secure.  Shemp starts to get all pretentious, and Moe brings him back down to earth, hitting him in the face with a very creamy cake.  "If I only had some coffee," says Shemp... oops, wrong one again.  No, this time, Shemp is none too pleased about having his dramatic moment ruined, and the camera dollies in real close on his cake-stained face... but he looks 30 years younger!  Maybe it's not such a bad thing!  Good thing they didn't eat that cake, or there wouldn't be any Third Act!
So is there a moral to this story?  What information pertains?  The thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and bones... I mean, hearts and brains.  Or as Homer Simpson once said, there's no moral.  It's just a bunch of stuff that happened.  For me, I think the lesson is probably that showbiz is a harsh but fertile mistress, and if the private detective stuff doesn't pan out, there's always cakes that need to be baked and salads to be tossed.  Also, Three Hams on Rye feels a bit too much like it's been left in the day-old bin in terms of plot, but I do really really like that part where Moe "complains" about that old twitch.  A lot of good moments in this one despite the overall plot.  Three and a half it is.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

James Cameron's "Popeye of the Deep"

Dizzy Divers... what is this?  A Stooge flick?


Some fun, eh kid?  ...sorry, wrong one again.  God, I love that part.  Okay, on to the next one.  Circle-wipe on a scene that's destined to eventually erupt: two rival deep sea diving companies side by side!  On Stage Left, we have Bluto and his assistant Wimpy, and on Stage Right we have Popeye and his loyal assistant Olive Oyl.  Popeye calls to Bluto.  Bluto emerges from his ship and bellows "Hello, Popeye!"  Then, their two ... geez, how to describe this... I did this for a living once!  Describing books on audio tape.  The billowing smoke from each of their ships turns into giant arms, and the hands shake hands.  Oh, that's going to be my new facebook wallpaper.
Ugh.  Don't look at the animation on the water, whatever you do.  Especially if you're picky like me  Anyway, Popeye, in the spirit of brotherhood, invites Bluto over for a job.  Did I foreshadow it enough already?  SPOILER ALERT.
Next scene: the inside of Popeye's ship, where Bluto enjoys a rare contemplative moment.  'Tis some sort of treasure map!  After a lot of mumbling to himself... I thought only Popeye did that!  Go figure... Bluto has figured out the best course to take.  Well, I hate to say it, but it's time to stretch out time a little bit.  Not that the dialogue isn't good, mind you.  And so, Bluto draws a long wavy path on the map towards the treasure.  Popeye kills his buzz by drawing a straight line to it... gee, I wonder who copied that bit later on to greater notoriety?  BUSTED!!!  PLAGIARIST!!!  Hah!... ah, no one cares. (wipes away tear)
And so, Bluto is forced to agree that Popeye's idea is better, but he still don't look too happy about it.  "Now, look!" says Popeye.  However, rather than rubbing it in, Popeye lifts the tab on the map with that fancy-schmancy "X" on it that's always on treasure maps.  Or maybe he is rubbing it in, in a way?  Anyway, Popeye lifts the tab, and it shows a shipwreck.  "There's the wreck," says Popeye.  Popeye lifts the shipwreck tab to show a picture of a chest.  "There's the treasure!" says Popeye.  I assume it's somewhere in the shipwreck.  Anyway, note the weird look in Bluto's bulging eyes, the slobbering expression on his face.  Telltale signs of an altruistic soul, of course.  And as in Jim Jarmusch's 1995 deconstructionist Western Dead Man, Popeye insists on starting right away, even though it's already well into the afternoon, and no one's even had their nap yet!  What a pushy guy.  However, Bluto wants to git that treasure, and he wholeheartedly agrees.  Now, here's the tricky part.  Popeye says "Fifty fifty!"  And even though Bluto shakes Popeye's hand, Bluto's mind gets a slightly different idea...


And so, Bluto has slugged Popeye, leaving Popeye spinning in his chair.  Bluto grabs the map and takes off.  Olive rushes to Popeye's side, even though she apparently doesn't know what just happened.  Popeye comes to and goes out on deck to see Bluto sailing away, waving the map in a goodbye fashion.  Alpha dog of the week... interesting effects shot, by the way.  They must've used a really large background and zoomed in close on it, then slowly pulled back.  And even though it's in black and white, I think they knew how to do "green screen" type effects anyway.  I doubt they had a second layer of glass mounted to the actual camera with cels of Bluto on it, anyhow... Cabarga?
And so, Bluto never learns.  Hasn't he figured out yet that Popeye's just going to keep kicking his ass over and over, even though he's a puny and goofy-looking?  Sometimes Bluto figures it out, but God bless him, he just doesn't remember the next day, or the next film.
"I'll see you at the last roundup!"  This is one of the things Popeye mutters as he prepares to set sail for the treasure.  Snapping the rope holding the boat to the dock, Popeye pushes the ship out to sea as far as he can from the pier, then jumps on at the last last possible second!  Now I know it's just a cartoon and all, but the Fleischers rotoscoped these things, you know.  Real enough.
Next scene: the deep sea proper, where Popeye grows unhappy with the forward progress of his vessel.  "Wotsa matta?" he says.  And so, in order to speed things up and catch up with Bluto, he tosses a rowboat out in front of his ship and starts rowing!  Lol.  Well, even without his spinach, he's still pretty strong.  Next scene: so strong, in fact, that his vessel's flying above the waves!  Must be fun to watch this after smoking a lot of weed.  And now Popeye's passing Bluto.  We could tell he was gaining on Bluto because of the smoke from Bluto's ship.  Lol.  And now it's Popeye in the lead by two boat lengths... three!  Four!  FIVE!!!
Next scene: the "X" that marks the spot is conveniently floating in the ocean.  Lol.  Take that, Zemeckis and the beginning credits of your What Lies Beneath!!!  And now, Popeye's approaching the giant floating "X".  Why, Popeye looks like a flea compared to it!  That X is HUGE!!!  Popeye stops and flies into the air, landing on the deck of his main vessel, and begins to don the deep sea diving equipment he needs to get to the undersea treasure.  He's not Superman, after all!  He does a perfect landing on deck right into his boots, and he starts to put on his deep sea diving coat.  Lol.  They dived in style in his day.  However, since the beginning of time, man has been consistently plagued by two seemingly mutually exclusive arch nemeses: gravity and zippers.  In this instance, the zipper on Popeye's deep sea diving coat gets stuck.  And it couldn't come at a worse time, for up comes laughing Bluto, practically already in his suit, and therefore practically halfway to the treasure.  Bluto secures his helmet into place by pounding on his chest.  Lol.  A smiling Wimpy gleefully hooks up Bluto's airline, and down dives Bluto.  "Aw, give him a head start," says Popeye.
Next scene: a nice cutaway view of the ocean, as though it were captured in a big-ass fishtank, with Bluto in the lead heading down to the treasure.  Don't go too fast now, or you'll get the bends!  Meanwhile, back on the surface, Olive's still lifting Popeye's helmet up.  Jeez, he'll never get down there in time now!  Notice that Popeye's diving helmet has extra room in the chin.  Lol.  And so, with his helmet very loosely fastened, in the same manner as people rub their eyes when they can't believe what they're seeing, Popeye hops onto the ship's anchor.  Using it like a pogo stick, he leaps over the side, while Olive begins pumping Popeye's air.  If Popeye doesn't get the bends, no one will.  Popeye "skeet-scat"s past Bluto in this literal race to the bottom.
nEXT SCENE... God, I hate when I do that.  NExt sce... man, I wish I enrolled in that typing class this quarter.  Next scene: the ocean floor proper.  Popeye lands and heads over to the shipwreck.  Is that an electric eel swimming close to him?  I guess this isn't the time for that yet.  But first, Popeye turns on his windshield wipers.  Lol.  Always gotta do that.  Okay, NOW is the time to head over to the treasure.  And, of course, it wouldn't be right unless there was some sort of challenge for the workers in the Fleischer factory, so Popeye walks behind a wooden piece of the ship, then what looks like an underwater cactus.  And so, like a video game, Popeye arrives at two giant safe doors.  Lol.  If only all treasure were so conveniently located.  Does anyone remember hearing about those giant natural deposits of gold off the coast of Australia or somewhere?  Oh, there must be someone trying to steal that stuff.
Anyway, back to Popeye at the doors of the giant safe... hmm!  They seem to be stuck!  Time to fire up the old corn cob pipe acetylene torch!  That'll cut through anything, lol.  ...whoa, dude!  Popeye's circumventing the doors and turning the safe into a breadbox instead.  Epic!  Iconic!  Game-changing!  And speaking of game changing, down finally comes Bluto.  Gee, you'd think he'd drop a lot faster seeing as how he's such a tub of... well, anyway, he finally hits bottom.  At about the same time, Popeye finishes up the welding job, then gives the safe the old "Wham!" punch.  Right behind the safe appears a saber-toothed shark.  Popeye quickly cooks its bacon.  Oh, now the Fleischers are just ripping themselves off.  But I am a video junkie, so here's a link right to the moment of contact.
And so, with the underwater guardian of the treasure defeated, Popeye goes over to lift up the trunk.  Alas, tis a bit too heavy for him.  Gee, but I hate to see that.  As Popeye's tugging away, Bluto comes walking up carrying a hammer, just like people on the New York subway.  Bluto hits Popeye in the face, and Popeye goes sailing backwards about twenty feet.  Dayamn!  That would kill you or me, of course.  Gee, but I hate to see Popeye take a light beating like that.  Next scene: Bluto hit Popeye so hard that Popeye's pipe is now inside his helmet!  Lol.  Have I been saying that too much in this review?  Probably, but it's too late to turn back now.  Speaking of which, Popeye takes advantage of the underwater environment by sailing at Bluto like a torpedo.  Popeye hits Bluto in the head with his own head, and Bluto flies back.  "Ohhhhhh!" says Bluto.  Bluto's getting ready to strike back, when he turns and looks... why, it's a mean-looking octopus and its shadow floating behind him!  That's just what the doctor ordered.  "I'll crown him with this spider," Bluto mutters... and he does.  Popeye starts swearing up a semi-blue streak, but can you blame him?  He can't always keep his cool like Bruce Willis!
Which reminds me.  Did you happen to notice the lack of music during this part?  It just occurred to me.  GENIUS!  Of course, it'll probably start up when Popeye eats the spinach, as you would expect.  Anyway, Popeye's new set of octopus eyes is quickly disposed of.  One punch, and the twisty-armed octopus straightens out.  A second punch, and it starts rolling, picking up Bluto along the way, and with Bluto's oxygen line, the whole thing turns into a wagon-wheel shape in the process.  LOL.  The octopus lands in a heap next to Bluto. :(. come its one tentacle is standing up straight?... oh, okay.  They both hit a mirror-like wall.
Back to Popeye struggling once again with the chest.  Alas, Popeye's too busy struggling to look up and see Bluto bearing down on him avec hammer in hand.  Bad move.  No, see, you're only supposed to not notice the other guy when you're in a bar and you're hitting on his girlfriend.  Oh, and you're only supposed to do that if you're richer, bigger or know more kung fu than the other guy, basically.  Do the Sy Ableman Shuffle!  Why not?


And so, having smited Popeye with the hammer, but on top of his head this time so he flies down into the chest rather than away from it, Popeye seems to be down for the count.  He is now Bluto's plaything to do with as Bluto pleases.  And Bluto's got a Duesenberg of a dilly lined up for an unconscious Popeye.  It's the old giant Venus-less clam that only seems to be in cartoons like this.  And for those of you who don't get it, it snaps shut on a tiny fish first, and licks its giant clam lips with a rather human-looking tongue.  LOL!!!  So, now that that's been established, time for Popeye to go in.  Fortunately, Popeye isn't digested as quickly.  "I never liked oysters on the halfshell anyway!" grumbles Popeye.  Damn, he's in a tight spot, and he's not ashamed to admit it this time.  Time to send the pipe beacon to the surface, and fast!
Next scene: the surface.  The hose unhooks, and Popeye's pipe toots twice.  That's all Olive needs to hear.  (The pipe quickly goes back down to Popeye, Lol)  She frantically reaches for the spinach, removes the can from its holster (a pick-a-nic basket LOL!!!), triumphantly holds it up for all to see, and then proceeds to jam it into the oxygen hose to send down to Popeye.  "There you are," says Olive.  Awww...  ...did anyone else notice that the camera couldn't stop zooming in on the can of spinach?  I thought only Art Davis did that in some of his Ant & Aardvark shorts.  Bush league, guys, Bush league.
And so, having digested the lump of spinach, Popeye finds the strength to free himself from the iron jaw of the giant clam.  He shows mercy on the clam as it snaps back shut, but Bluto will not be so lucky, I predict.  Meanwhile, Bluto uses the old leverage trick to free the trunk from its place in the ocean floor.  I guess Popeye just wasn't massive enough to do that, lol.  What is it with Popeye and trunks?  And so, the opposite scenario presents itself!  Bluto does all the work of freeing the trunk, and Popeye now moves in for the glory!  Surely Popeye won't stop being the hero now?  Popeye the penny pincher?  A greedy little coward like Daffy Duck?  Popeye starts shaking his ass and catching up to Bluto, on his way to the surface, with the trunk in his arms like an underwater newborn babe.  Popeye opens Bluto's helmet and punches him in the face.  Bluto sinks out of sight.  Oh, dude, somehow that seems uncool.  And then... it happens AGAIN!!!  I know Bluto has it coming and all, but still.  Popeye's holding all the cards now.  The third time is apparently too much for Bluto, and Popeye helps him to the surface this time.  Wotta pal.  Next scene: there's fish swimming around in Bluto's helmet.  Oh, that's just not nice.  But it is a cartoon, and Bluto always survives for his next beating.
Next scene: we're almost to the surface when... oh, snap!  Bluto punches the chest out of Popeye's grasp and it plummets to the ocean floor a second time; the first being when the ship it was in sank in the first place.  Seems like the safe it was in was more valuable!  Probably heavier too.  It may have fit within the Plimsoll line, but it was ultimately too heavy for the ship to hold it.  Unfortunately, Popeye wasn't much of a multi-tasker, and he wouldn't survive in today's job market.  He's a "First things first" kinda man.  And so, first things first.  Time to enjoy a brief break back at the surface, and time to take out the trash... nope, better rewrite that.  Popeye stands on the deck of his ship and starts twirling Bluto around like some kind of child's toy with a string on it.  Bluto's oxygen line must be pretty damn strong!  "Ibbidy-bibbidy-BAM!" says Popeye, and he sends Bluto rocketing to the sea floor.  Oh, I don't want to see him land, methinks... wow.  Have you seen the trailers for the "new" Superman movie?  There's the one part where he flies up into the air like the Space Shuttle.  Oh, the visual effects of that.  Much like Bluto plummeting to the ocean floor here: body surrounded by shock waves; the sonic boom... but under the ocean in this case.  Poor whales!  And so, Bluto gets buried in the ocean floor himself, but he hits a board before that.  On the other side of that board?  The treasure chest, of course.  And so... like that same damn "Test your Strength" game that seems to be a recurring theme of these damn Popeye cartoons, the chest flies to the surface and right into Popeye's arms.  But even in Spinach Mode, Popeye's no match for the chest.  Thank God Olive's there to keep Popeye from falling into the ocean!


The chest drops onto the deck of the S.S. Popeye and opens, revealing gold doubloons.  Probably some triploons and quadrooploons as well!  God bless Yahoo!, they've got everything.  Well, everything important to our web-based culture, anyway.  ("...he's Jack."  LOL) 
Olive and Popeye sift through the treasure, thinking of how they're going to spend the money: un-ugly clothes for Olive, and a spinach farm for Popeye.  Meanwhile, Bluto makes a very very quick recovery and starts to climb aboard Popeye's vessel.  So what's Wimpy?  Chopped hamburger?
Bluto's still clinging to the side when he cries "Hey!  We said fifty fifty!"  And so, Bluto asks for mercy and fair play where he initially showed Popeye none.  Ain't it always the way?
"Right!" says Popeye, and he splits the chest in half over his knee.  Dayamn, that's tough love.  He gives Bluto his half of the treasure, and the moral fabric of the Movie Hero universe is re-threaded anew, and a little bit stronger for it.  However, Popeye does deck Bluto, sending him into the sea, and he drops Bluto's half of the treasure on Bluto's head, so alas, all is not forgotten.  Well, Popeye was never meant to be a conventional movie hero.  Have you ever read any of those old Popeye cartoons?  Oh, they nasty!
Anyway, the last shot of the pic looks like it took more trouble than it was worth, so leave us dwell on it a second or two.  Popeye says "I always keeps me woid, 'coz I'm....."  We know, Popeye, we know...

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Albert J. Allie

Hey hey hey!

Box Office Memorial Day weekend

Again with the Fast and Furious.  New model, original parts.  If only Rotten Tomatoes was still on IFC, and the guy on there sat down to watch all the Fast and Furious movies back to back, like he did once with the Harry Potter series.  Teach us, O Master!  Teach us!  Seems like only yesterday that Vin Diesel was stealing MP3 players in the first one.  I guess he's given up on doing the Hannibal Barca story.  You know, the elephant guy we learn about in elementary school!  At least, as long as Texas approves.
Meanwhile, at #2, it's been two years, so it's time to wrap this series up, and I'm talkin' about The Hangover.  Why, it seems like only yesterday... geez, there I go again.  Damn, my own recordkeeping only goes back to 2010, but I think that in 2009 the first Hangover was #1 at the box office.  That's when I knew I was out of touch with the youth.  Where?  Where did this come from?  Who knew about it, and why?  And Ed Helms?  Nerdy guy from The Daily Show?  Really?  Well, really, that's the strength of The Hangover's formula.  All three male body types are represented: endomorph, ectomorph, and fat-ass-morph... something like that.  It's a win-win-win!  And of course, in 2011 the inevitable sequel charged to #1.  But now... the series has grown up, and the grey hairs are starting to come in, and all those same kids that flocked to The Hangover when they were getting ready to enjoy the summer before high school... are now graduating high school.  They're already married with kids, they've already got receding hairlines, and they're already looking for man caves to hide out this life in, endlessly tinkering on their cars, and going to Fast and Furious 6 for good tips.  Hint: use NOS!  The sports drink of note for both man and car!
The other big debut this week is Epic.  No, it's not Pixar.  It's from Pixar's second or third closest rival, those Ice Age geeks.  Lemme guess... even though it's set in the Middle Ages, we're still going to get a cameo from a certain wise-cracking mammoth?  Fingers crossed!
Oh, speaking of Pixar wannabes, in case I haven't done it already, I want to give a brief shout-out to The Croods.  Ten weeks in the top ten!  Oh, the people involved with that are going to get a second story added to their house, no question!  On the flip side of that coin, Tom Cruise's Oblivion is almost gone.  Sure, it debuted at #1, but then next week it was #2, and then the week after that it was #4, and then the week after that it was #6, and then the week after that it was #8... is there a pattern emerging here or what?  I never took those SAT tests, so I wouldn't know....................................................

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thrice Three

The Casanova theme continues.  You know, they say that Casanova was so attractive that he seduced himself!  I guess he was bisexual or something.  In the Stooges' case, maybe it's Casanova meets Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor, because, according once again to Wikipedia, this is one of two Stooge shorts with no supporting cast.  It's ALL the Stooges, baby!


Sheesh.  It's going to be a long week.  We start with Moe in drag.  Maybe I'll check out that Popeye cartoon now........ Well, I've got no excuse now!  Time to dive in to the Stooge flick.  As the title card informs us, the Stooges play all the parts... save a few stunt doubles here and there.
You know, the AFI did their list of the 100 best comedies, and if memory serves, Tootsie was #2 and Some Like it Hot was #1.  What, Victor/Victoria's chopped liver?  Not as funny when a girl does it, I guess.  The Stooges' girl names here are Laraine, Shempetta and Moella.  I'm laughing already.  Larry's name translates the easiest, go figure.  And so, they give it their all while in drag.  Shemp gets a run in his stocking and tries to fix it.  Lol.  Pretty good legs for a 55-year old!  Larry has a lot of trouble with his dress, lol.  They'll figure it all out at some point.
And now, the setup.  They're going to an old-fashioned portrait sitting because, you know, they're such big mucky-mucks in New York or someplace.  They swoon a bit over their respective artists, and then they skip out of the room.  Moe... I mean, Moella takes a header into the next room, while Shempetta and Laraine run smack dab into the walls adjacent to the door.  There may be a lesson about inbreeding here for somebody.
Cross-fade to the artists at work.  In the Stooges' world, being an artist is a man's job, damn it.  Eight hours a day, five days a week.  Shemp's a canvas man, Larry's dabbling in clay, while Moe's a chiseler of marble.  But, they all sing the same song: the French lollipop song.  Sing along if you can... Shemp sings the song a little too long after it ends, and Moe gets mad, of course.  Time to admonish Shemp.  Again!  Moe points to Shemp's eyes and asks Shemp, "What are those things?"  "Eyes," answers Shemp.  That's got to be the worst setup for an eye-poking I've ever seen.  Moe asks for Shemp's help, and slurs his way through the instructions.  He's working harder than he has to, methinks.
I can't believe it!  A normal scene with Larry at 2:02!  Leave us savor this moment for a moment.  Okay, back to the mayhem.  Moe goes to work on "his" statue.  They get to do the surgery bit!  Moe asks for the tools with the made-up names.  Shemp and Larry confuse an "anacanapuna" with an "anacanapana."  Figures.  The help these days.  Sheesh.  Larry's in the Lone Man Again position that Curly used to occupy.  And so, Moe gets the right tool, so Shemp and Larry set about creating a sidepot of chaos.  Why?  Because they choose to, that's why.  Because they can.  Which is why Shemp chooses to hit Larry in the neck with a large mallet.  He's just trying to help, the only way he knows how!  Is Larry at all grateful, the little prick?  Of course not.  Boy, Larry's really pissed off!  He grabs the mallet and tries to confuse Shemp's head with a croquet ball.  Instead, he turns "Moe's" statue into a Venus de Milo, only sans tête instead of sans bras.  Larry tries to calm an enraged Moe by handing him the mallet.  It might have worked if he didn't also say "I'm sorry, Moe.  The hammer did it."  As we all know too well, hammers alone don't destroy statues.  And so, with his back turned, Moe smites Larry in the back of his head, causing Larry to run forward very fast.  So fast, that he runs right into his head of clay.
Shemp and Moe look on in horror as Larry lies on the floor, face covered in clay, gasping for air.  Larry reaches for the clay to get a grip on it, and gives it a mighty peel, peeling it off of his face in one giant piece.  However, there's a little bit left on his nose.  Is it time to channel the spirit of that human-proboscis monkey hybrid Jimmy Durante?  I think so, if only briefly.  The whole film's not about that, after all!
Larry tries to get redress for the ruination of his clay head.  Well, a head for a head is the law of the land in the Stooges' art studio.  Frankly, I think Moe's work suffered the most irreparable damage.  Sure, someone could argue that it's not really his statue, but someone could also counterargue that it's probably not Larry's clay head, either, or Shemp's painting.  Shemp's painting seems to be the only survivor so far.  In any event, the time for civilized debate is over, and a massive clay fight breaks out.  Moe rips off Larry's new clay proboscis, and Larry squeals as if it was his real nose.  Moe manages to keep clay off his face during the whole fight, so Shemp fixes that at the last second.  Lol.  Fade to black.
Fade-in.  And what a sight to fade in upon!  There's six Stooges in the same shot!  The three Stooge girls are on the left, posing for their portraits, and the three Stooge men/artists are on the right.  Take that, Bob Zemeckis!
Note to any and all aspiring painters: never smoke a cigar while painting.  Larry shows us why.  Next, Larry heads over towards Moella, but they have to cut to a two-shot, as the technology to seamlessly have Larry walk into the Stoogette half of the frame hadn't been developed yet.  Also, we can't have Moe falling in love with Moella, either!  Not only was it technologically impossible... but kinda creepy as well!  Larry tries to get fresh with Moella.  "Fresh!" says Moella, brushing his advances aside, but Larry does manage to get some paint on Moella's cheek.  Lol.
Sheesh.  Oh, I just can't call the play-by-play on all this stuff anymore, so I'll jump ahead to some of the yuk yuks.  But I will create a link to the following part: Shempetta showers Moe's hand with kisses.  Sheesh.  Moe puts his other hand on a thermometer, and the temperature rises, of course.  But check out the sound it makes!  Why, isn't that the same sound from Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century?  I believe it is!  And all you film buffs out there will remember that the Duck Dodgers clip is also featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when Richard Dreyfuss breaks off part of the small mountain of his model, thereby turning it into Devil's Tower.  Shyeah, right.  And abandoning his family to go party with the aliens.  The only two flaws in that otherwise flawless movie.
Okay, on with the yuk yuks.  The Stooge girls have flowers by their chairs, and it's time to pick them up and hold them for the pose.  But before we get to that... look at this shot of the Stooges; the artist Stooges.  Isn't this a first?  I think it is!  Joe Besser shorts feature a lot of frame composition like that... of course, I haven't suffered through too many of those yet.  It's coming, though.  Anyway, back to the flowers.  If you blink, you miss the joke.  We get a close-up shot of the flowers, and we see that it's crawling with ants.  I think the close-up is of Moella... no, wait.  It's Shempetta.  "She" has the bouquet with ... a small sunflower?  Kinda makes me wish I knew my plants better.  Anyway, it's time to kill some time, as the Stooge girls get all itchy with ants.


I should probably point out that they time it well in the complex split-screen shot with the two sets of Stooges.  The Stooge girls stop scratching when the Stooge artists turn to look at them.  Also, the scratching is starting to infect the other artworks.  LOL!!! 
And now, pay attention, screenwriters future and past.  Shempetta gets so itchy, she stands up, says "Ants!" and throws her cushion away.  It lands on top of the piano and rips, dumping feathers into the piano innards... oh, wait, we can't tell it's a piano yet.  SPOILER ALERT.  In any case, the Stooge girls change their poses so much, that Larry finally goes over to Moella to verbally complain.  Screenwriters should also probably note how this verbal exchange turns into an engagement proposal.  Pure genius.  Larry leaps into Moella's strong arms, and Moella carries Larry over to the piano bench.  And it's a little hard to tell from the YouTube version, but this seems to happen at 12 fps.  "Girls!  We're engaged!" yells Moella.  Boy, artist-types really know how to live.  Following in Moella's mighty footprints, the other two couples declare their marital intentions as well; Moe is positively cross-eyed with love, as will be his unholy offspring.  Sorry, forgot to suspend my disbelief again.  Larry starts playing the piano and..... fade to black.
Fade in on the unhappy aftermath, where the patriarch of the... I mean, the father of the Stooge girls.  I was trying to be fancy.  Maybe Laraine's adopted, who knows.  And who better to play the grand Stooge patriarch?  Why, Moe, of course!  He reminds me of Geraldo Rivera for some reason, as he gruffs his way through the role of angry father, much like James Finlayson in Our Wife.  "Artists!  Of all people, artists!" bellows old grey Father Moe.  He's using a deeper voice to get into his new character.  And off he goes to find out about these artists. As with GoodFellas, it's all about the hair.  As time marches on, the guys get grayer and grayer.  And Moe the father's got a nice crop of gray hair on his head, and a gray moustache to boot.  Whoever did the wigs on this one deserves some serious props!
We kill a little bit of time as we see Moe the Patriarch go through the door, and I mean completely through the door.  To be fair, it at least advances the plot a little bit.  Compared to the time killers yet to come, it's a good thing. (TM Martha Stewart)  Well, now that the Stooge girls are all alone, how to pass the time?  Stabbing each other with knitting needles, of course!  Moella gets the worst of it, naturally.  "Help me, I'm losing my mind," he/she screams at one point.  Lol.  It's all for charity, folks.  How many more needles and knives have to be ruined by the Stooges' asses?  How many?  Someone besides me must be keeping count of these things!  (The Joe deRita cartoons don't count, as far as I'm concerned, BTW)
Cut to the lobby.  Wait a second... the Stooge girls live in the city?  Oh, pish posh and tish tosh.  Dump 'em, I say!  Oh well... the cooler heads are prevailing for now.  And so, here come the artist Stooges, all dressed up in nice suits.  That's Hollywood artists for you!  They are the canvas, actually, especially their distinctive haircuts.  Maybe that's why people don't like Shemp; his hair's too normal.  Anyway, the Stooges are marching towards a door when... a "meet cute" with Moe the patriarch, perhaps?  Only, it's not so cute to the Stooges.  Why, Shemp's cake is ruined!  Absolutely ruined!
Next scene: okay, how are they going to handle this?  No clear dividing line between the two Moes... wait a second, is that a stunt double on the right?  I think so!  And yet, there's all this hoop-de-doo about that second Shemp we have yet to experience.  No one ever talks about the second Moe!  But back to the plot.  "Why don't you look where you're going?" Shemp asks this rude older gentleman.  The rude older gentleman retorts with "Why don't you go where you're looking?"  Yup, that's an old man answer for you.  Slam the younger generation just because we're too busy doing all the work.  Shemp then introduces this old bird to the Stooge cult with a flick to his nose, avec the appropriate sound effect for that.  But the old guy seems to be quite well versed in the Way of the Stooge, and he grabs both Lawrence and Shemp by their extruded probosces, and twists a little, just for good measure!  It's old age 'avin' a go at youth, but the young Moe surrogate is going to do something about it.  Oh, and by the way, note that Shemp's box does say "cake" on it.  Lol.  Hope that helps!  Moe's double hits the old man over the head with whatever the hell Moe was bringing for the girls.  In that spirit, Shemp sacrifices his cake for the more immediate good; young Moe says "Give it to 'em, boys!" but his mouth doesn't move!  Lol.  Zemeckis, I owe you an apology.  Larry doesn't want to be left out of the fun, so he rips the old man's shirt and dumps his carton of ice cream against the old man's chest.  "WHOAA!" cries the old man.  I tells ya, I haven't seen an epic struggle like this since Vernon Dent tangoed with the Stooges in Scrambled Brains, but we'll get to that one soon enough.  Clothed in the food they brought, the Stooges' final act to this man they crossed paths with is to send him against the wall.  The wall aids in subduing this old man by knocking a potted plant upon his head.  Cue the canaries.  Boy, it's just lucky for the Stooges that they'll never have to see this guy ever again.............................................. Regular Moe's back now, and up to the girls' place they go.
Horizontal-wipe to another effects-heavy shot.  Oh, these horizontal wipes just aren't the same anymore in the digital age!  The Stooge artist men come in through the door and greet the Stooge ladies, dressed in lovely casual dresses... okay, I admit it, I don't know basic fashion terminology.  I'm just a rube.  Actually, they might be the same dresses they wore for the portraits.  Reminds me of that time Marge Simpson had the one Chanel dress.  Oh, how can a girl live with just one of something like that?
And so, the girls lay out the scenario: their father wants to meet the boys before he gives his blessing for marriage.  The Stooges are confident that they'll win this guy over, whoever he is.  Larry waxes especially boastful at the exact wrong moment, because... here comes the cake and ice cream with an angry guy under it!  Larry looks over at the other two, a bit worried.  Lol.  What a shot!
The Stooge girls ask in unison: "Papa!  Wha happan?"  Moe the Patriarch wipes some of the silver off his face and gets an eyeful of the three idiots he ran afoul of just about a minute and 10 seconds earlier.  Priceless.  "That's them!" he screams, and goes for the handgun in the cabinet next to the front door.  (The double for young Moe makes sure not to look directly at the camera.)  The chase is on.  Probably no better time for that Act Break.


Arguably, it's not much of a chase.  It's a small apartment, and the Stooges can't seem to leave it.  Well, you often hear about feature length movies losing it in the Third Act, so why not a Stooge short every now and again?  As in many a cartoon, they seem to keep running around the same loop.  The Stooges try to trick the old man by blocking the path with a bench, and the old man seems to give them enough time to place it, too!  What's up with that?
Bear in mind, of course, how much time they ate up doing the complex shots and costume changes, and given their shoestring budgets of time and money, something was bound to give.  Alas, this is it, folks.  And alas, the Stooges fall for their own trap.  Why, the camera has to move to capture their epic fail in all its mighty glory!  The old man catches up to the Stooges and unloads a bullet into each of the Stooges' asses.  So much for the simple joy of sitting in a chair!  The old man says "I gotcha, you rat.  Take that!" but his mouth doesn't move!  But he does have that crazy killer look in his eye that all fathers-in-law have.  The Stooges and their new leaded derrieres take off running some more.  The old man moves the bench and the Stooges close the door of their loop and hide behind it like idiots.  Time for three more bullets.  I think Ben Burtt did the bullet noises!  Haven't heard those before or since.
Having been shot a second time, the Stooges have a little trouble getting through the door, especially Shemp, but they persevere and continue to run like cowards.  Meanwhile, the old man's out of bullets.  Tis only a six shooter, alas.  Time to reload!  The Stooges are running counterclockwise now.  Shemp and Larry prepare to trip the old man, but end up tripping Moe.  They pick up Moe and begin to chew him out as if he was the old man, but they eventually realize their mistake.  Meanwhile, we can see the old man going through the bullet drawer and reloading his gun.  Lol.  Moe the Patriarch gets off one shot and the Stooges scatter, heading once again for the door.  Time to change the game.  As the old man runs for the door, Moe closes it.  The old man hits the door and falls to the floor.  Guess he's just lucky there's no door in the floor!
...actually, you know what?  I think I'm just going to skip ahead.  And after this part, you can see why.  I'll just take a slight jump ahead to where the Stooge artists dress up like Scotsmen and find a new way to fool the old man, if only temporarily.  "They went THAT way, lad!" bellows Larry.  Love it!  Also, the older Moe stunt double has to make sure his hat stays on so we can't see that it's not Moe.  Lol.
Otherwise, this sequence is pretty lame, considering.  Continuity!!!!!  A betrayal of the grand Stooge tradition, which is why I'm going to cut right to the end of the chase... see how I did that?  Another clever ruse later, and the Stooges have got the father trapped like a rat... or maybe more like a chrysalis.  The price of his freedom?  The girls' hand in marriage.  But the father's not desperate to get his girls married off just yet, so Moe has to result to underhanded tactics.  This involves putting his hand under older Moe's foot and tickling him to submission.  Done like true Stooge movie heroes.


Older Moe eventually gives in and the unholy marriage takes place.  Cross-fade to... babies!  Dayamn, but that was quick!  They didn't waste any time, but they do end with a long shot of the Stooges as babies.  I guess I'm just not in the right mood for that right now.  Needles to say, that baby Moe is a little bastard.  A bastard chip off the old bastard block.  Alas, Curly never had a scene quite like that, playing an infant, but I think he did dress up in adult-sized children's clothes one time; at least one time I can recall at the moment... okay, with the help of Yahoo!, here's the second one.
So, how to rate this one?  Well, four stars for the split-screen technology, but two stars for the weak Third Act, which averages out to three stars.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

"The Graduate" with Popeye as Benjamin Braddock

Kewl!  According to Wikipedia, this is the first Popeye to use 3-D backgrounds.  I've been looking forward to that.

For shame, YouTube Intelli-search!  It's For Better or Worser, not For Better or Worse!  What gives?  Computers are kinda stupid.  Anyway, the slate is wiped clean once again, and we find Popeye all alone, at the men-only Bachelor Apartments.  For some strange reason, I thought he was in the navy.  I guess he's just a lone sailor.  They have one-man armies, why not a one-man navy?  Besides, with Popeye and a little spinach, all enemies of freedom don't stand a chance.  But, as it happens, Popeye's a lost man without his spinach, and we soon find him trying to hold a single household together. 
Next scene: Sheesh!  What a mess.  Using the bathtub as an umbrella stand... the very idea.  We close in on Popeye standing next to his oven, and it looks like he's mixing up a batch of pancakes.  He's got an empty look in his eyes!  Oh, I don't like that at all.  And then... the theme song!  Why, I can't even remember the last time one of these cartoons opened with that.
And now, time for a good spate of mumbling as Popeye does battle with an unruly oven.  Cooking four things at once is hard!  Especially for this guy.  He wrecks the coffee pot and burning his eggs, and then... oh no!  Not the chicken!  It's burned to a tiny chick by the time Popeye opens the oven door.  That tears it.  Once the pipe twirls, all bets are off.  "I HAVE TO GET ME A WIFE!" bellows Popeye, throwing his apron over the remnants of what was supposed to be the center piece of the meal.  Popeye walks through his front door and out into the world at large.  Look out, world!


Next scene: Popeye goes to... where else?  Your friendly neighborhood "Matrimonial Agency."  Notice the slick cross-fade as he walks through the door.  "Matrimonial agency!  That's where I'll find a good woman.  I'll bet ten dollars on it," mumbles Popeye.  But she's only worth fifty cents!... oh, wait, that was the last one.  I get confused. 
And as you can see, Bluto's already there, looking for a woman as well.  Popeye looks at the pictures on the wall.  There's an "it girl," a fat chick, and a widower with a lot of kids... or maybe she just runs an orphanage.  Of course, all these sailor types want a bad girl, and Olive's picture has the following caption:

No. 13

Leaving the irony of the number aside, Popeye and Bluto both grab her picture, go up to the buck-tooth geeky guy at the counter and say in unison "I WANT TO MARRY THIS ONE!"  They then realize that they're both holding the same photo, and they gleer at each other.  Rather than referee this pissing match, the cashier just presses the button to call Olive.
Next scene: I remember this part!  Mostly because of the scrolling number.  I used to really like that kind of stuff, and I would tend to ignore the larger picture... the larger picture being, these women really have nothing better to do than sit around, waiting for some loser off the street to marry them?  Actually, I guess things haven't changed all that much over the years.  All the women who aren't number 13 hang their heads in shame, as a very East Coast voice drones "Call for number thoi-teen!"  Olive realizes it's her that's being called, and she gets all dolled up for her big entrance.  This'll eat up some time!  Cynical, I know.
She throws her romance novel up into the air and it doesn't come down.  Lol.  She hollers "Hooray!" and starts applying the war paint.  She has a foundation brush case that makes the same squeaky noise as do the cigars in Can You Take It?  Some fun, eh, kid?  Now, some of you might find her lipstick a little strange.  I certainly do, but we'll press on, regardless.  And last but not least, the eye lashes.  In fact, it seems to be the best part.  Reminds me of that orange.  Olive then pulls her veil over her face, and proudly walks out to meet her suitors, taunting the other ladies as she goes.  What a bitch.  God bless heterosexual marriage!  Nyaah nyaah is what it's all about.  Of course, she's got her usual outfit on.  I don't think it was meant to be a wedding dress, but never mind.
Next scene: she makes her grand entrance, as though she was in a church being escorted by her father to the altar.  She walks up to Bluto and Popeye and asks "Who's my boyfriend?"  Bluto and Popeye both bow at the same time, and hit their heads just like the Three Stooges!  I guess that means Bluto is Moe and Curly all rolled into one... or maybe Moe and Larry. 
And then... the tug of war begins.  Bluto meets Popeye in the middle and bellows "SHE DON'T WANT A RUNT LIKE YOU!"  And, judging from the musical number from the 1980 movie, I'd have to agree.  I mean, it's called "He's Large," for God's sake!  And so, Bluto picks up Popeye by his face, and heaves him against the wall of pictures.  All the pictures crash to the floor.  This is still a comedy, right?
And so, the chase is on.  Popeye's always several steps behind.  He picks himself up off the floor, twirls his pipe, and starts galloping after Bluto.  The background music seems to be "Blow the Man Down," but I prefer the rendition in Axe Me Another... I mean, version.
And so, the 3D part begins.  Apparently, the Fleischers and their team would build three dimensional sets on a giant turntable, and film cels standing up in front of them.  Genius.  However, this must be one of the first ones they've done.  Notice how quickly it repeats!  And I thought Hanna Barbera was bad!  Take a 3D background in something like The Spinach Roadster.  They made some strides in the art form by that point.
Anyway, back to the horse race.  Bluto had about as good of a head start as you'd expect, but Popeye's finally catching up.  Popeye grabs onto Olive's left arm and tries dragging Bluto to a stop, but to no avail.  He then tries to ... actually, I don't know what he's trying to do; either outrun Bluto, or just get Bluto to look over.  And then... yup, Olive hits a tree.  Her arms tie into a knot and make that damn "ING!" sound again!  Well, it was all the rage in the Fleischer audio department that year.
Next scene: Bluto looks back to see Olive, then he turns to Popeye, and picks him up and punches him into a telephone pole.  Alas, even in cases like this, you only end up hurting yourself, tee hee hee.
Back to Olive, who doesn't know her own strength, especially with the veil still over her face.  Unable to untie her arms, she's now walking slowly along, carrying the whole tree with her!  She walks up to Popeye avec tree, and Popeye's just shaken himself to full consciousness.  He's unable to untie Olive's arms as well, so he just breaks the tree off near her arms.  Lol.  "C'mon, baby!" Popeye mumbles.  Bluto removes the telephone pole from atop his head, and takes off after Popeye.
Popeye's clearly not running fast enough, and now Bluto gains on him.  Bluto now grabs hold of Olive's arm and he's able to drag Popeye to a stop.  They're now in the middle of the street, with Popeye trying to run.  Oh, it's one of the saddest things I've ever seen.  It gets worse.  Bluto gives Olive's arm a mighty tug, and Popeye flies in the air towards him.  Bluto punches Popeye to the ground.  The loop repeats until Popeye lets go of Olive's hand and flies off screen.
Next scene: Popeye lands in a trough full of liquid.  There's bags of cement next to the trough... oh, no.  Say it isn't so.  Popeye's completely submerged, and air bubbles start erupting from the spot where Popeye's head must be.  When he gargles like that, he sounds like Wimpy!  What gives?  Bluto comes up and waits for Popeye to climb out of the trough.  He holds a bag of the cement aloft and smites Popeye with it, and before you know it... yup, Popeye calcifies just as he's about to punch Bluto.  Oh, the irony.  Bluto enjoys a good laugh, and poses Popeye just to rub it in a little more.  The orchestra seems to be on Bluto's side as well!  More salt in the wound.  If this isn't time for Act Three, nothing is...


Next scene: the Justice of the Peace's office.  Gee, you'd think they'd want to make that a little closer to the Matrimonial Agency, but whatever.  Gotta kill time somehow in these movie contraptions.  Up the steps go Bluto and Olive.  Maybe it's a bad omen that Olive's feet get stuck on the railings on the way up, or just a really good metaphor.  But irony is usually lost on Bluto, and he powers through the situation, but ends up getting knocked on the floor by Olive.  Bluto stands up and shakes himself to full consciousness like a dog stepping out of a brook. 
Boy, Bluto just bosses everybody around, doesn't he?  "UP ON YER FEET!" he tells Olive.  He then picks up Justice of the Peace J. Wellington Wimpy by the scruff of his fat neck while he's still dining on a hamburger from his usual pile, of course.  "WE WANNA GET MARRIED IN A HURRY!" bellows Bluto.  Wimpy obliges, of course, just like Vegas.  Good thing gluttony's not a sin!  And so, with family and friends of neither the bride's family nor the groom's family present, the bride and groom and Justice of the Peace walk towards the altar, with a decrepit version of "Here Comes the Bride" playing in the background.  God bless heterosexual marriage!  Tis a fine veneer of legitimacy for swingers.
Is Popeye out of the game?  I mean... story?  Well, let's get back to him to find out.  As it happens, only his feet are free from the prison of concrete the rest of his body is trapped in, so he tiptoes his way to freedom.  Freedom in the form of a giant masher slamming an iron girder into the ground.  God bless construction sites!  Is there any more suitable location for cartoons?  I think not.  Popeye quickly tiptoes under it before it comes down again.  Lol.  It comes down and shatters Popeye's concrete exoskeleton.  Alas, Popeye enjoys his freedom for too long in the wrong place, and he gets hit by the masher a second time.  Popeye shrinks to about a quarter of his original size, and the masher's not doing too good either.  OSHA will hear of this!  Meantime, Popeye takes off for the Justice of the Peace's office as fast as his new stumpy legs will carry him... which is decidedly not that fast.  But who knows?  Maybe he'll make it in time.
As it happens, there's plenty of time.  The slow march up the aisle is in progress, and Popeye has slowed his pace out of respect to that.  He reaches into his back for a can of spinach.  The spinach senses Popeye's new-fangled lack of height, and after the first mouthful, Popeye starts getting ratcheted up to normal height like an old-timey car jack.
Next scene: Wimpy's at his podium, with Olive and Bluto standing in front of him.  Popeye politely asks Bluto to hold his can of spinach so he can take another bite and beat the sh... stuffing out of Bluto.  Bluto obliges, of course... twice!  What a goof.  Surely, Bluto's beating will be a little more epic than that?  It gets better.  Next scene: a "shot" of the length of the church, and all the chairs look like they're not part of the permanent background!  Oh, this is going to be good.  Popeye decks Bluto, and he flies towards the far wall, taking all the chairs in his path with him.  BRILLIANT!  Bluto flies right back like the thingie in one of those "Test Your Strength" games.  Popeye then enhances his fist by putting a roll-top desk on it like a giant boxing glove.  Well, you don't see that every day, you gotta give him that.  Popeye hits Bluto with the desk.  Bluto's head is sticking out of the writing portion of it, and he sneers at Popeye, "Ya missed me!"  So, Popeye closes the roll-top part on Bluto's neck, and that shuts him up... no pun intended.


And so, Popeye takes Bluto's place at the altar.  God bless traditional marriage between a woman and whichever man gets there last!  We get the short version of the vows, seeing as how there's only 40 seconds left.  "Do you take this man?" Wimpy asks Olive.  "I do!" says Olive.  "Do you take this woman?" Wimpy asks Popeye.  Popeye pauses, asking "Huh?"  Olive lifts her veil to reveal that her makeup got a little bit messy during the struggle to get over to the Justice of the Peace's office.  "I DO NOT!" bellows Popeye, and he leaps out the window, even crashing the glass in order to get the hell out of there that much faster.  Geez, but men are so fickle.
And so, just like that Spinal Tap song, Popeye has discovered in his travels that life's better in a hellhole.  Folks lend a hand!  You know where you stand!  Why, he climbs up its outer walls to get back to his away-from-work cubicle.  He re-dons his apron and gets back to work on his bowl of pancake batter, or whatever the hell it is.  However, I don't think he's quite ready to return to the single life.  He mixes that batter until it fills the entire screen!  Lol.  He needs to get a wife to clean the mess up!  Meantime, the ending lyrics are "I yam what I yam, and I'm be what I yam... I'm POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN!!"  Another classic.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan