Thursday, September 11, 2014
We start a little bit like Laurel and Hardy's classic, Helpmates. Pappy's room is not as much of a mess, arguably. He did come home with a street sign, however. Lol. One way!!! Love it. And then... Pappy proper emerges from the roiling mass of sheets. His brain is clearly angry and trying to escape. The orchestra has fun at Pappy's expense during this passage.
Well, if nothing else, these Popeye cartoons are certainly ed-ja-ma-case-shunal! When you've got a hangover, all the world's a jackhammer. This here next part clearly informed the thinking behind the 1945 Stooge short, Idiots Deluxe... and, of course, its subsequent remakes. Just to add insult to injury, the camera pulls back to reveal the city at large, in all its glorious noisiness. Pappy seems to have a place like Elwood Blues in the first Blues Brothers movie, right next to the elevated train line. Popeye's pipe can be heard in the background as well.
And then, noisiest of all... it's Popeye at Pappy's door! I'm with Pappy. I don't like relatives either. Pappy 2016! ...maybe it's just me, but the incidental music here reminds me of that last one with Eugene the Jeep. Better visit these links now, folks. They'll be gone in a couple days. "I just wanted to wake you to see if you was up yet, Pappy" says Popeye. Ah, that's the stuff. Pappy quickly puts everything under the bed and invites Popeye in.
Pappy does his best Ferris Bueller in bed sick performance. Of course, with Popeye, you gotta be able to back up the claim. Popeye puts his hand on Pappy's forehead... and almost doesn't get it back! Popeye's hand literally gets burned up on Pappy's head! He must've tried some of his homemade hooch last night or something. And even though Pappy clearly has a temperature, Popeye says "Wait 'til I get the thermomo-meter." Ah, that's the stuff. Also, thermometer jokes are kind of a tradition in cartoons, aren't they?... if only a blogger out there who kept track of this kind of stuff. The only one I can think of is An Ache in Every Stake, but that's a Stooge film and it was just a regular old outdoor thermometer. There's also a Laurel and Hardy where Stan takes Ollie's temperature. Stan says "Wet and windy." "That's a barometer!!!" exclaims a frustrated, and late for his golf game, Ollie. But the neo-Fleischers do what they can. Popeye puts the thermometer in between Pappy's toes by mistake first. Well, he was covered up by the sheets, and flipped himself around at some point. Eventually, the thermometer ends up under Pappy's tongue, and... yup, the mercury breaks through the glass, and it makes a little firework in the sky above Pappy's bed, in keeping with the theme of New Year's celebration.
Next feat of strength: the ice bag. Once placed upon Pappy's head, it melts and begins to emit steam. Popeye removes the bag and... hmm! It kinda looks like a... never mind. The outside noise starts to pick up: your car horns, your police whistles, what have you. Popeye's diagnosis: "What you need is resk and quiet," Popeye tells Pappy. Pappy complains about the racquet outside, and rightly so, frankly. The Fleischer Orchestra's kind of overdoing it. Popeye goes to the window and sends forth his decree to the land: "QUIET!!!" And wouldn't ya know it? It was quiet! ...well, second time's the charm. Pleased with his handiwork, Popeye closes Pappy's shade... but not the window! Go figure. Popeye tiptoes out of the room, making more noise than the cat earlier.
Next scene: Popeye exits Pappy's room and closes the door. "AND KEEP IT QUIET!" yells Pappy from within his room. Lol. And so, like Superman's effect on crime, Popeye gets to sit back and enjoy his handiwork, confident in the knowledge that all is quiet for now, and probably always will be, forever and ever amen. Perhaps a rocking chair will provide some comfort during Pappy's slumber! But then... the first Barbarian at the gate. A crying infink! Where's that baby's parents at, anyway? It's up to Popeye to find a solution and fast. Fortunately, with the help of one of those... those things that phones used to rest on. Needles to say, Popeye shows the same level of ingenuity as Betty Boop's grandpa, and without a thinking cap, no less!
Next exception to Popeye's decree: the much hated milkman, with his clinking empty bottles and his noisy, smelly horse. Didn't he get the memo? Who does he think he is, anyway? The milkman? At least the baby's got an excuse. We see Popeye looking from his window, then running away. The noise stops. Lol. Good editing or direction, whatever. Next scene: the milk wagon's got pillows on the wheels, and Popeye's gingerly tiptoeing along with the horse on his back. What a good son! (sniff, wipe away tear.)
Next: the much hated factory whistle. Popeye makes quick work of that, though. Hmm! Sounds like an oil can or something. Next scene after that: Popeye runs afoul of a radio on the street. Popeye's a regular old Luddite in this one! An electric punch flies back to the radio station and hits the singer right in the chops. Well, you gotta hand it to the background department; they must've worked a lot of overtime on that section.
Next challenge: Popeye stops two trucks from crashing into each other. Oh, the insurance industry's not going to like this. The elasticity of the animation reminds me of the Famous Studios '50s era Popeye, yet somehow I don't think they'd put that much work into them.
Next challenge: the construction sector. We begin with one falling girder, which Popeye catches. Second, he takes on a whole noisy construction site and... I should of known! Popeye seemed a bit younger and scrappier. This part's been imported from Sock-a-Bye Baby!!! How do you like that? I don't. But maybe I'll get over it. It's a Stooge trick, damn it! Always check the "Connections" section at the IMDb. Always... unless you're not me, of course.
Fortunately for the filmmakers, they were able to use updated audio for Popeye with the old aminations... I mean, animation. I've been reviewing too many of these things. I'm starting to spell words like Popeye! Popeye's far away, so he has to stretch his arms out, and you can see big reaction lines from far away. They look like reaction lines for ants! Anyway, it's time for Popeye's final challenge. There's about to be a big planned explosion. We'll save the debate for later on how lazy this writing is, but it'll definitely be on the docket. Notice the bottom of the sign, and how it says in the teentsiest of letters, "Sparber Destruction Company." Oh, filmmakers and their in-jokes! It never ends. See you next Wednesday! Anyway, Popeye runs afoul of, I can only assume he's the explosion foreman. Well, these Popeye cartoons are nothing if not educational. Popeye uses the foreman to pretend to play basketball. "Basket!" yells Popeye as he throws the poor guy into the mouth of a giant digging machine... I didn't describe that right. The guy's okay, though, as he falls through the crane mechanism. The point being, even though the NBA's not going through any moral crisis right now, unlike the NFL, maybe NBA players should start yelling "Basket!" before they throw the ball. Yeah, that's a good idea.
And so... the Sparber Destruction Company's going to blow up a mountain. Of course, maybe it's small enough to just be a hill. I'll leave that debate for the finest effete British minds to figure out. Poor Hugh Grant... he doesn't get to do movie posters like that anymore. Anyway, to piggyback on Chico Marx, the guy who's going to detonate the mountain has a bad Italian accent. "At's a one... At's a two..." he says, as Popeye rushes to stop the explosion. Welp, despite his mighty feats of strength just a moment or two ago (knocking down a whole four or five stories of naked iron girders, throwing a guy up into the air to land in the be-trap-door'd mouth of a giant metallic crane) Popeye knows it's spinach time. Not just because there's only about a minute left, mind you. And so, spinach quickly digested, Popeye once again morphs his body into half-Popeye, half-lightning bolt... oh, wait. I guess he's just riding a lightning bolt. The truce between Popeye and lightning held over from the previous Popeye short, Problem Pappy... I think Jack Mercer did the voice of the Italian guy, too!
Anyway, Popeye clings to the top of the mountain, as he barely contains the explosion. The spinach wasn't powerful enough to stop the explosion entire, but I guess it's enough to keep Pappy from waking up. Reminds me of the crucial moment from that Daffy Duck / Elmer Fudd cartoon, A Pest in the House. It's right before Daffy's tirade that wakes the guy up, but that's YouTube for you. It's apparently a violation of TimeWarner's voracious copyright laws to have the whole cartoon on YouTube for free, but it's okay to have several snippets of the cartoon scattered about like autumn leaves. They don't appear to have the moment where Elmer muffles the guy's radiator with a bunch of pillows... but they do have the part where the guy's eyes turn to spirals... and now I can't even cut and paste the time that it happens at. That's perfect.
Okay, back to Popeye. This is one of the few times Popeye seems to get PTSD from his exploits. Dang! He's getting older than James Bond in Skyfall or A View to a Kill! I guess it's happening because Popeye's doing these things all for his Pappy. The mountain deflates as Popeye shakily walks away. Lol. Was I the only one who thought of The Shining soundtrack? I hope not. There's a lousy economics lesson here someplace: the demolition company's happy because the mountain's been destroyed, and Popeye's happy because Pappy's still asleep... as far as he knows. Okay, bad econ example. Let's try a pizza place instead...........
O joyous joy! Popeye hears silence and gives his trademark laugh. Looks like his Pappy-induced PTSD is gone, which is good for everyone. Popeye quietly creaks open the door and tiptoes inside, when suddenly... loud jazz music! Plaster falling from the ceiling! Time to kick some ass. Popeye rushes to the floor above and skids to a stop. Ah, that's the stuff. A little fake 3D to keep the animators busy. Never enough of it. Now it's all Pixar or Zemeckis mo-cap stuff. Animation's been sanitized to death these days. Where's the fun moments like this one? Where, I asks ya? Actually, that kinda looks like it was rotoscoped, so what can you do. Popeye goes into the noisy room and... wha? Pappy dancing and scatting? Pappy helpfully explains to Popeye: "I'm okay now! All I needed was a little rest and quiet!" Now, you'd think Popeye would be happy about that... wouldn't you? Not quite the case. Popeye falls backwards, as Bert often does in response to Ernie's shenanigans. Here, however, Popeye falls through the floor, landing in the bed in his apartment below. The ice bag and thermomo-meter fall into place, and Popeye gets his own mercury fireworks from the thermometer. This is worse than sibling rivalry! Is there a Greek term for this, like Elektra or Geffen Records?
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan