Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Women are from Venus, and Popeye might be Poseidon?

(Females is Fickle)...and so are some internet movie critics, apparently!  Okay, gotta finish this thing up someday.  I guess it's a bit of a stretch to call Females is Fickle an exercise in existentialism, but it at least feels like there's a disparity between the film and its title.  Or maybe a biblical parable; the Bible's rife with phallocentrism and paternal misogyny, right?  At least, you might be surprised by the setup of FiF as I was.  Alas, the filmmakers are still trapped in post-Disney ennui, and for some reason the 3D background turntable has broken down, never to be repaired.  To address the shot off the bow of sexism, I'll just say that males is just as fickle, as you may already know, but apparently guys don't recover from breakups as well as the chicks do.  I heard that somewhere!  That's just math... or one of the dismal sciences.  I swear I didn't just pull it out of my ass.
Anyway, the setup, as much as I hate to spoil it.  Wait, let me dial it up here on the YouTubes... we start with Popeye on his floating mancave, doing sailorly domestic chores: mopping up the deck, and knitting a new chain for the anchor.  And then, along comes Olive Oyl... gosh!  I mean, oh my garsh!  What a strange walk, even for her!  She's brought along her pet goldfish.  "Is it a 14 karat goldfish?" Popeye mumbles to himself.  The fish spits in Popeye's face, much like the Stooges' trained clam, Cedric.  On to the next trick.  Olive gets the fish to jump through the hoop she makes with her thumb and pointer finger.  And by God, the fish does it!  Olive has the fish do it again and again, when suddenly...... I'll give you a moment to guess what happens next... yup, the fish falls into the ocean.  "Quick!  Save my fish before he drowns!" cries Olive.
At first, Popeye takes a stand.  He's not going to save no stupid fish.  "What do you think I am?  Anyhow?" asks Popeye.  Fans of the English language and its many, many eccentricities ought to like that.  But then, Olive uses the old Marty McFly trick, but rather than calling Popeye chicken, she calls Popeye a coward.  That does it.  In he goes to save the fish, using Olive as a diving board, apparently to rub it in a little bit.
And so, it's time for threes in this, the Second Act.  The fish, previously flapping its fins and crying like a lost puppy, is now gleefully spitting in Popeye's face and swimming away.  It's having fun in the ocean!  Popeye tries to put a stop to that... but encounters a few obstacles.  First: the old reliable giant clam... if only someone were reviewing all the Popeye cartoons and made some sort of catalog... I'm a genius!  Anyway, Popeye makes quick work of the giant clam this time.  With each challenge, Popeye has to go to the surface to catch a breath of fresh air, and a new spurt of water from the fish.  The second challenge is a bit more ordinary: a shipwreck with holes in the hull.  Notice how the animators cut a few corners by spacing the holes the same distance apart, and making them shaped the same.  Fine for the era, but not now in the age of 3-D and Pixar.  No sir!
The third challenge seems like a Disney-esque villain somehow, or perhaps it's a metaphor for ol' Walt himself: a giant combination jellyfish and Wimpy-esque glutton.  He traps his prey by hiding behind a corner, then jumping out, opening up its giant mouth and swallowing the prey whole.  And soon enough, Popeye and fish are trapped within the elastic beast.  Fortunately for Popeye, the creature takes a long time to digest its prey.  Of course, this is not frat boy engulfing living earthworms or goldfish.  This is Popeye we're talking about!  And this creature may yet regret not killing Popeye first, as a mighty struggle ensues.  This part is especially diabolical, as the creature realizes its mistake.  For the time being, the jelly creature seems to have the advantage.  Must be Pinto Colvig on voice duty.
Cue the spinach!  You can guess what the creature gets turned into.  The fish is saved... but the ocean's not done with Popeye yet.  It sends a shark, then an angry whale.  Popeye triumphs, arguably in the name of capitalism; too bad he couldn't bring the stuff to the surface, right, capitalists?  Anyway, the fickle part.  Now that the fish is saved, it is back in its tiny bowl, and it is sad, using its fins to dry its tears... if that makes any sense.  Olive is sad too, and decides to liberate her pet fish, and drops it back into the ocean.  Now, with great power comes great responsibility, but Popeye decides to do the opposite.  He drops Olive into the ocean, but not before giving her a new coat of rope, with one life preserver to keep her afloat.  He gets back to knitting himself a new anchor chain and sings the ending song.  Females may be fickle, but Popeye reserves the right to be a downright cruel and vindictive bastard.  Hasn't hurt him yet, has it, folks?  No matter how hard The Simpsons tries.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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