Dec 4, 2020
Popeye: Finding a Non-Traditional Family
I loved the world of Sweethaven, a tiny, cramped, desolate seaport, cut off from the rest of the world, where everyone is trapped, like the castaways in Lost or Gilligan's Island:
God must love us
Why else would He have stranded us here.
Everything is food, food, food
To make matters worse, the town is ruled by a Big Man (literally), Bluto (Paul L. Smith, top photo, bear-hugging Bruce Lee). He levies arbitrary taxes, forecloses on houses, and beats up people at random.
He is engaged to Olive Oyl (Shelley Duval), whose parents run the local boarding house, but she really had no choice in the matter. She tries in vain to think of a reason to like him:
He's tall...goodlooking...and large....so large...so large.
"Large" would actually be a plus for me. Extra-large, even moreso.
Robin Williams), not the sophomoric star of 1960s cartoons, but the ultimate individualist from the E.C. Seegar comics of the 1930s, whose mantra was remixed by Gloria Gaynor and became a gay anthem:
What am I?
I am what I am!
At first reluctant to get emotionally involved, Popeye befriends Olive Oyl and her family and decides to help out.
He wins a boxing tournament to forestall foreclosure, and trounces both Bluto and a giant octopus. On the way he adopts a founding child and re-unites with his long-lost father.
They work together to raise a child that neither has had a biological role in producing. They are a non-traditional family.
The movie is about finding a family, finding a home, not necessarily in a heterosexual embrace, but among people who care about you.