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Nothing interests filmmaker Robert Altman more than a contained culture that mixes bare humanity with local eccentricity (think of his M*A*S*H and Nashville). So Altman's Popeye (1980), based on the old comic strip, works best as a portrait of a busy, cluttered, cartoonish town called Sweethaven. But it is much less successful as a comprehensible story about the famous sailor with massive forearms and a relationship with Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall). Robin Williams plays Popeye with his usual brilliance for mimicry, Paul Dooley makes a credible Wimpy, and Paul L. Smith makes an impression as the oversized bully, Bluto. But this strange, disastrous film never becomes more than an expensive workshop airing out Altmanesque themes. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
On the other hand, after starting out like a masterpiece, it doesn't really go anywhere. The plot lines get more conventional and less subversive as it goes along, and the climax is pretty instantly forgettable. At first you think it's going to be Popeye meets Threepenny Opera, a complex social satire under the jokes, but it ends up just sweet, good natured, wonderfully done, but slightly shallow fun. That's more than enough reason to see it, but disappointing when you think what could have been.
Robin Williams is the only actor in history that could have pulled off the role of Popeye. His comic genius is now a known fact now but back in 1980 this movie proved he could do more than just Mork from Ork. Shelley Duvall, same thing, no one else could have done the Olive Oyle role any better. Had they decided to set the movie in the real world it may not have worked out, however, by creating a mythical island town like Sweethaven, it allowed the movie to feel like you were being transported to a wierd, trippy world where no one is completely normal.
I agree with a previous review that this movie suffered from a bad marketing strategy. It really straddles the fence between being a movie for adults or kids. This is probably why it stands the test of time so well. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie, it was just released on DVD and the print quality is outstanding. Not many extras but beggars can't be choosers.
Most recent customer reviews
I miss Robin Williams so much, and this was one of my favourites when I was a kid. He does a great job being Popeye!Published 1 month ago by Laura Schuler
This is one of those movies that you have to appreciate for it's simplicity and sometimes almost cheesy scenarios. Read morePublished 2 months ago by OLGA S.
I bought this because it's one of my sisters favorite and I haven't seen it anywhere it's still a cute movie and enjoyable to watchPublished 5 months ago by sheila peterson
Fast shipping, item as described, thanks ! Envoi rapide, objet tel que décrit, merci !Published 6 months ago by David Gagnon
Popeye, the sailor man, punches an octopus in the face. And eats spinach out of a can. And probably has some kind of weird cancer in his arms.Published 6 months ago by Chris Hatt