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  1. #1

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    Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???



    I watched this movie recently. I am still trying to get my head around it. Is it a work of genius, or the ramblings of an insane film maker, or just an example of really bad cinema? I submit, for your examination, the words to one of the songs in the film:

    Everything is food, food, food
    Everything is food to go
    Everything is food for thought
    Everything you knead is dough

    It is food
    Everything is food

    Everything is meat, meat, meat
    Careful what you put on your feet
    Once it lived on an animule
    Now it walks along with you
    It could be food
    Everything is food

    Everything is chow chow chow
    Everything is food to go now
    Everything is fast food chains
    From your lemon to your sugar cane

    It is food
    Everything is food

    Everything is upside down
    Everything is sunny side up
    It's ubiquitous
    Enigmatic and
    They can't trick us
    With no hot dogmatic

    It is food
    Everything is food


    And yet further, listen to another of the songs, titled "He Needs Me" -

    http://www.nametagmuseum.com/heneedsme.mp3


    What on earth are they singing about? Is this an experiment in metaphysical mysticism, or again, the mad ramblings of an insane writer? Is the film a commentary on the sad fate of man, and his potential to improve himself, or is it a mishmash of loosely connected plot points that make no sense to anyone? Your input is greatly appreciated in this matter.

  2. #2

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    Those lyrics suggest a commentary on a consumerist society. Altman was all about that kind of stuff.
    I have only seen the movie acouple of times and cringed each time. It is a bad movie. I don't know what Robin Williams saw in it except the script must have been better and if it was a poor script blame his manager.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I was seven when that movie came out! I loved it then and still like it a lot. To me it was just a fun movie.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I love this film...

    As for the song above, it's basically Wimpy's song. You forgot a very important piece of it:

    I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!
    He will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!


    I've always saw the song you quoted as not only just a song for Wimpy, but also as one of the many atmospheric scene-placing songs of the film. It's not quite a song for deep thought or for putting on its own, it's a song that's the equivalent of an establishment shot. It's there to establish the scene and the workers and their relationship with Wimpy.

    The most prominent of the establishment songs would be Sweethaven, heard several times in the film as an anthem of the town. And thus it's an establishment of the city and how they're a rather close-knit community.
    -Tim

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    We bought the dvd a couple of months ago - I love the movie. My kids were singing - I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam - for weeks.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    The music for Flopeye was done by Harry Nilsson...who when high or not...had fun experimenting with different styles and lyrics structures in his music. If I recall correctly...they actually recorded the music near the set in Malta...as Harry wanted to be with the cast and write the music "on-the-fly."

    FYI...the Paramount studio head assigned to ride shotgun on the production in Malta, was one Michael Eisner. It was Eisner's relationship with Williams that developed during the filming of Popeye, that got Williams to later agree to come over to Disney to film "Good Morning Vietnam"...shortly after Eisner moved to Disney.


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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I. Love. That. Movie. I loved it when I was nine, I love it now.

    We bought the DVD and my kids absolutely adore it. He Needs Me is my favorite song from the movie.

    But I love Robert Altman and musicals. So my input isn't worth much.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I like the take on the characters.

    You want a flop, look up Popeye the pinball game
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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    A cigar is sometimes just a cigar, and this movie is what it is. It's not Citizen Kane, but I never cared for Citizen Kane. Robin Williams is extremely young (this was filmed while Mork and Mindy was on break). Some good casting all around.

    The other thing I enjoyed were some of the local sets; the entire film, I think was shot in or on Malta, and it's very pretty in a rugged sort of way.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I love Popeye. I grew up with it too, even though I was little older than Sweet Pea when it came out. I know it was rerun on television a lot and I remember watching it often on the weekends. I also am a big fan of Harry Nilsson's music. In fact, I named my dog (Arrow) after a Nilsson song.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    God, I saw that movie. It sucked.

    Shelly Duval couldn't sing and Robin Williams was just nearing the end of his "Mork and Mindy" days.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    Shelly Duval was Olive Oyl in the movie -- Olive Oyl was never known to have the greatest voice in the world, speaking or singing. It was always meant to have that sense of extreme awkwardness about it. Perfectly cast.
    -Tim

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    The movie is absolute genius.

    That is all.


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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    I thought casting Duval as Olive Oyl was perfect. But the movie was horrid. It was bland, boring and the songs weren't memorable at all to me. Not to mention the colors in this film were dull. Lots of greys.
    The cartoons were kind of silly and fun, the movie was totally opposite.
    My 2 cents.

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    Re: Robert Altman's "Popeye" - genius, insanity, or ... ???

    ^^

    Agreed. I found the casting, right down to Sweat Pea to be inspired. The production values were also top notch. The problem was the films bizarre island setting of Sweet Haven, the forgetable songs and the eccentric energy that served to alienate, not involve, the audience.
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