Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Film Thoughs: Ace Attorney

The Ace Attorney series of video games is one of those things that, like The Simpsons or Homestar Runner, is so bizarre that it's difficult to describe and even a mere description does not do its bizareness justice. On its surface, the series is basically an interactive mystery novel which follows a basic pattern of collecting evidence and then being asked to use said evidence to find increasingly more difficult contradictions in the testimony of a character to prove your client innocent. However, it's the setup and the personality of these characters that really set the series apart: courtroom battles are usually literally such, with the lawyers screaming "OBJECTION!" at the top of their lungs and anime-esque triumpant visuals and music when things get really intense; basically every person who isn't allied with the hero Phoenix Wright is either corrupt or possibly evil (with a few exceptions, most prominently the judge, who is an oblivious idiot), every single person always seems to be against Phoenix and the odds are never in his favor (which makes things all the more triumphant when he manages to save the day by turning things around at the last minute- the Japanese title for the series is "Turnabout Trial"), and dialogue is filled with bad puns and running gags such as the apparently important difference between a ladder and a stepladder.

I'm not familiar with the work of famous and prolific Japanese film director Takashi Miike (pronounced "mee-kay"), but his adaptation of Ace Attorney was introduced at New York City's Japan Society as being more of an Ace Attorney film than a Miike film. As an Ace Attorney fan, I can tell you that indeed seemed to be the case.

As the film begins, we see the juxtaposition between the two attorneys who play a role in the story: Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney, fumbles around in a dinky court while the veteran prosecutor Miles Edgeworth is a press sensation. (The subtitles shown during this screening used the usually signifcant and/or punny English-language names of the characters). The audience- including myself- laughed out loud at the action on screen, in part because of the familiar details that are taken from the games during this introduction, including certain characters and actions.

The story of the film is taken from two interconnected cases from the first game in the series: Phoenix must solve the murder of his former boss, which is pinned on her younger sister (who becomes Phoenix's assistant, more or less). Soon afterwards, Edgeworth himself is accused of murder, and Phoenix soon discovers that not only the lives of most of the people he knows or meets in court, but all of the cases he's taken on, find root in an incident that occured 15 years ago. It's up to Phoenix to not only find his new friend and rival/frenemy innocent, but untangle the mystery of this mysterious case that lies at the center of all the recent events.

This is a difficult film for me to review, since I'm not sure how someone who isn't a fan of the series would react to it. I assume, however, they would enjoy it- it's a very goofy film (much as the series it's based on is). The characters are over-the-top both in visual appearance and behavior (one of Phoenix's old classmates in particular serves as comic relief multiple times), and the exaggerated courtroom antics are amusing enough- the audience seemed to be laughing not just in recognition of the familiar characters and events of the game, but how humorous the situations were in themselves. The film runs a little bit over two hours, but it doesn't feel that long. I've seen complaints in some reviews about the running time, and I will admit that the film does lull somewhere in the middle of the storyline in between the two cases. But that's a fault that lies in the source material as well- the evidence searching is nowhere near as fun as the courtroom situations. I was on the fence myself as to whether or not the film was worth recommending until a situation that I believe a number of players have said is the point they "got" the game itself as well: In desperation and with nowhere left to turn, Phoenix decides to interrogate a parrot. And somehow, it actually works. If you've never played the games before and those last two sentences and/or imagining what events led to such a situation and how it might play out brought a smile to your face, you'll probably enjoy this movie.

Despite the few OBJECTIONs I had, the film as a whole is entertaining enough to recommend. After all, you can't go wrong with a universe where a not-guilty verdict results in confetti flying out of nowhere, part of solving a case involves debunking the local equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster, and a policeman is inexplicably followed around by a costumed mascot called the Blue Badger. The film is quite faithful to the game (with the exception of one character being changed from a corrupt business executive to a tabloid reporter, a change which doesn't really hurt the narrative and in some ways may actually help the story that's being told in the film), and there are some intriguing additions that help flesh out some of the oddities of the supporting characters as well as some self-aware jokes regarding the odder parts of the game universe which only add to the overall feeling of cartoonish ludicrousness.

Ace Attorney seems to be the sort of film that cries to be seen with a group- I could easily imagine it becoming some sort of geeky midnight movie staple, a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show or, perhaps more appropriately given the video game theme, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which this film rivals for my personal "Most Fun I've Had Being In a Film Audience" award). I don't have enough evidence to deliver a verdict as to whether or not Ace Attorney can be enjoyed in a smaller setting and/or without those in the know, but it seems entertaining enough that, despite its flaws, I can declare it not guilty. Review adjourned.

Viewed at the Japan Society, New York City, on July 15, 2012 as part of Japan Cuts/New York Asian Film Festival.

ACE ATTORNEY motion picture ©2012 CAPCOM/"Ace Attorney" Film Partners. PHOENIX WRIGHT, ACE ATTORNEY, and related marks are registered trademarks of Capcom Co., Ltd. No ownership intended or implied.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Defying "Gravity"

Everything is not what it seems...oops, wrong Disney show.
The fictional Gravity Falls, Oregon is filled with mysteries. Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is how it's able to take such an unusual balance and make it work: much like Phineas and Ferb, the show Disney plans to pair it with (as well as the only other watchable show on the network), it somehow manages to be slightly subversive yet still feels like a Disney product at the same time, mixing Ferb's theme of endless exploration of summer vacation with a liberal dose of the reckless insanity of Regular Show. It feels like a Cartoon Network product, yet has a Disney charm- along with a hint of an over-arcing Twin Peaks-style conspiracy storyline that seems like it will run through the comedy, but unlike, say, Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc., never overshadow it.

The preview episode, which aired tonight and is available as a free download from iTunes, sets the scene in the fictional burb and introduces our heroes (as it were), Dipper (voice of Jason Ritter) and Mabel (voice of Kristen Schaal)- who are as different as night and day, with Mabel being your average boy-obsessed teenage girl with a optimism level to the point of quirky airheadedness, and Dipper concerned that something may be hiding in the Mystery Shack, the tourist trap run by their great-uncle (or "grunkle") Stan (voice of Alex Hirsch, who also created the series inspired by his own childhood growing up with his sister and his own experiences in Oregon and the curiosities he imagined a town named Boring that struck him funny might hold that its name was meant to disguise).

Dipper stumbles upon a book telling of the secrets of Gravity Falls which seems to prove him right...even more so when Mabel falls for a mysterious newcomer who seems to fit the book's definition of the walking undead. There's more to him than meets the eye, all right- but it's not what you expect. The revelation of Mabel's crush's true identity is both unexpected and hilarious, calls back to what appears to be a throwaway joke Chekov's Gun-style, and is such a highlight of the first episode that I'm not going to give it away. 

Besides the bizarre comedy that thankfully never gets in the way of the creation of a mystery storyline that will most likely serve as a common thread between the episodes, the highlights as far as characters go are Mabel, who is a perfect match for Schaal's childlike voice and whose optimism in the defiance of pure insanity is in itself comically insane, and Hirsch's two characters, the enigmatic Soos, who serves as sort of a mentor to Dipper's quest to unravel the town's mysteries and seems to be smarter than his dumb-guy persona would lead you to believe, and Grunkle Stan, who seems a cross between the showmanship of P.T. Barnum and the unabashed greed of SpongeBob's Mr. Krabs, bilking tourists out of their money for a chance to see pointless artifacts. In one of the funniest throwaway gags, Stan shows off Rock That Looks Like A Face Rock, only to be greeted with the questions of confused tourists that wonder whether it also looks like a rock and whether or not it actually is a face. (Hirsch, who is not surprisingly a Cartoon Network vet, is no stranger to voice acting- he also voices Clamantha, by far the funniest character on Disney's other current animated series, the subpar Fish Hooks.)

Gravity Falls feels a lot like the sort of series Cartoon Network would air that the fans would gush over but be cancelled before its time. Yet at the same time it still seems to have the "heart" of Disney, if that's possible. Hopefully their marketing clout and their paring of the series with their breakaway hit Phineas and Ferb (which seems like a good companion for it) will make sure that we get to explore the comical mysteries of Gravity Falls for a while to come. With this and future projects such as the feature Wreck-It Ralph, Disney has somehow been able to create revolutionary projects that somehow still feel like they belong in the Disney family. Perhaps how it really happened it yet another mystery for Dipper- and animation fans- to discover. Or maybe it's just another scam by Grunkle Stan. Hard to tell.

Gravity Falls makes its official debut with a rerun of this preview episode plus a new episode on June 29 starting at 9pm Eastern/Pacific on Disney Channel.

GRAVITY FALLS ©2012 Disney. No ownership intended or implied.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quick Film Thoughts: The Lorax

So sue me, I liked The Lorax. Well, most of it anyway. It was cute, it was entertaining, it was funny, the songs were catchy, there were some funny jokes (even if a few of them were along the lines of, say, fish singing the Mission Impossible theme- which I'll admit I laughed at- and Ed Helms imitating the Swedish Chef). The bizarre questions that come when you analyze what it took to extend the story to feature-length (If the Lorax was magic, why didn't he just use his magic to stop the Once-ler? I understand him and the animals taking over the Once-ler's house in a sort of "Occupy Thneed" protesty thing, but did they actually like living there more instead of the forest? Did Betty White really need another paycheck?) are overshadowed by the enjoyable story of environmentalism vs. commercialism wrapped within a parallel, very similar story of environmentalism vs. commercialism.

Until the last act of the film when the Lorax's story is finished and the movie somehow becomes a chase scene involving Ted and Audrey (ha ha, I see what you did there, movie) protecting the last truffula tree from the evil air businessman or something.

I understand you have to pad a story of such short length to get it to a certain longer length. Hell, even Chuck Jones had to put a comic action sequence in the middle of How the Grinch Stole Christmas to get it to 30 minutes minus commercials (and nowadays commercials minus the already-short short to the point where they have to rhyme "hoss" with "stunk"). But he didn't spend an entire reel doing it.

Chase sequence aside, it's a fun film and not as much a travesty to the source material as, say, The Cat in the Hat. Horton Hears A Who! remains the best feature based on a Seuss book, but this is a close second.

On my scale, I give it a Recommended. I think stars are subjective and pointless, but if I had to, I'd give it 2 and 4/5 out of 4 stars- one point has been knocked off the third star for that last-act chase.

(As an aside, one of the most amusing things in the film isn't intentionally amusing- or at least I don't think it is. The song the Once-ler sings about the greed and excess of his growing business at the expense of the forest, including a remark about PR people lying for his gain paired with a visual of the Lorax being thrown a thneed in surprise which becomes a "Lorax approved!" billboard photo op, could just as easily have been sung by the studio heads who approved, say, a "truffula-tree-friendly" Lorax that's "the sort of car the Lorax would drive." Not since WALL-E have I seen such commercialization of a film with an anti-commercial message- and this one is unintentionally aware of it! The irony's so thick you could cut down a truffula tree with it.)

THE LORAX Motion Picture ©2012 Universal Pictures. THE LORAX book and characters ©1971, 2012 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. No ownership intended or implied. Photography: Universal Pictures - Associated Press.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pac-Man Fever Dream

I’m not sure if anyone was clamoring for a stereoscopic 3D CGI cartoon from the creator of Animaniacs and the former head of Marvel Comics about Pac-Man as a teenager, but we’re getting one anyway. In a bizarre news announcement (but, then again, a good portion of the news to come out of the entertainment industry is quite bizarre), Namco Bandai announced that it sold the U.S. rights to their new Pac-Man cartoon to Disney XD. Set to premiere in the fall of 2013, Pac-Man: The Adventure Begins comes from producer Avi Arad and writers Tom Ruegger and Paul Rugg. This thing has actually been in development since 2010, and at E3 that year, Namco Bandai showed a preview clip. Based on the promo photos and such, it seems that the series won't be too far off from what this original preview showed...

(The reason the video is blurry is because it's was meant to be viewed at the E3 event itself with those newfangled non-red-and-blue 3D glasses; this could very well be the first stereoscopic 3D series in television history.)

At the same time, this looks like a trailer for a Michael Bayesque big-budget adaptation of a familiar property, a parody of a trailer for a Michael Bayesque big-budget adaptation of a familiar property, and a tad satirical in that it appears to be somewhat self-aware that said premise is ridiculous and at least makes a few jokes along the way, perhaps due to the Animaniacs factor at work (the leader of the ghosts not really caring that his minions are defeated so much as they didn't leave him for good is at least somewhat amusing).

So, what are we dealing with here? Basically, we have an origin story which also tries to create a backstory for Pac-Man. Pac-Man, who is apparently a laid-back, gluttonous high-schooler, becomes an unlikely hero as he is forced to save the Pac-world from the wrath of the ghosts, who are apparently the actual ghosts of an invading army who failed to invade the Pac-world before but are somehow able to now as ghosts are something. He does this, of course, with the help of the power pellets, and this makes it seem even more likely that power pellets are actually drugs of some sort.

For that matter, some of what Arad said about his plans for the show back in 2010, combined with what's shown here, make it seem even more bizarre, like the countless fan fictions I've seen that try to tell a serious story with children's cartoon characters, or that Simpsons line about "a realistic down-to-earth show that's completely off the wall and swarming with magic robots." (Then again, Rugg's most recent writing credits include Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which is pretty much that Simpsons quote personified.) "We feel we have a unique opportunity to have an action adventure, human interest story. As a filmmaker, it's a unique opportunity to get to know the characters you play...We don't know what happened to Pac-Man's parents. He's the only yellow one in Pac-Land; what does that mean? Is it a social statement? We'll find out."

At this point in time, it's too soon to tell whether or not this thing will work. There's definitely some potential; as I said before, it seems to know how bizarre the premise is and not take itself seriously. The casting of Pac-Man as a reluctant hero is also an interesting one- it's the sort of Peter Parker "with great power" thrust-upon-him-unexpectedly thing that's been done time and again, but given how little story Pac-Man has to begin with, it's at least some sort of plausible story that you can gleam from the source material. At the same time, however, some of that grandiosity- and Arad's suggestions that it may be even more so- make the idea seem even more unusual than it already is. Whatever happens, I'll be keeping an intrigued eye on this project as it gets closer to air date. If there's one thing we can all be assured of, it's that it will at least be better than the Hanna-Barbera Pac-Man cartoon.

I just wonder what Billy Mitchell thinks about all this.

PAC-MAN ™&©1980-2012 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. No ownership intended or implied.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quick Film Thoughts: Being Elmo

©2011 Constance Marks Productions. Elmo character ©2011 Sesame Workshop.

Kevin Clash's rags-to-riches story seems like something out of fantasy or fiction: a young black man from Baltimore starts to create puppets for fun as a kid, and as a teenager, his talent finds himself rubbing elbows with Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan and Jim Henson, among others. You probably don't know Kevin Clash, but you do probably know his long-time companion, a little red guy with a high-pitched voice by the name of Elmo. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey is a sweet documentary that shows Clash and those he has worked alongside and know him closest telling his story first-hand.

For the most part, it seems like a good portion of Clash's success is based on "being at the right place at the right time"- Elmo literally fell into his hands, after Richard Hunt got fed up with performing the character and threw Clash the Elmo puppet to see if he could do anything with it. (Footage of Hunt's Elmo is seen in the film- it almost seems like a Bizarro Elmo compared to the character we know now, speaking in a similar fashion to the modern if not a bit more Cro-Magnon but acting a bit more mischievous. A funny outtake of Clash as Elmo attacking a Muppet piece of cheese shows the difference between the two- even when Clash's Elmo is clowning around, he still seems like the Elmo we know and love). But it's also very clear that Clash would not have gotten as far as he has if it were not for his natural talent. Seeing him help train Muppeteers for the French version of Sesame Street, you can clearly see this as he gives little bits of advice to them: keep the puppet's mouth open a little to make it look like they're smiling. When someone is talking to them, have them look inquisitively and nod. If the puppet has to scratch its head, have its head move down a bit so the rod on the arm can't be seen on-camera. It's seems so complicated, but Clash is somehow able to make it second nature.

You can't help but end up with a smile on your face when this film ends. The life of Kevin Clash (and Elmo) is (thankfully) not one filled with controversy or scandal*, but it does have his complications: Elmo's rise to fame was so sudden and made Clash so busy that he for the most part was literally not able to see his daughter grow up. But he does manage to give her a very sweet send-off when she turns 16 before she heads off to college- not surprisingly, with a little help from Elmo. Seeing this, and the way children react to Elmo, seems to show the natural talent that Clash has. Clash states that he feels Elmo represents love, and it's clear to see this.

Some people think that Elmo ruined Sesame Street, but Being Elmo seems to show both the amazing life story of Kevin Clash and the "Elmo" of Elmo. Both are hard to describe in words. Elmo clearly seems to be both the opposite of Kevin Clash's personality but also an extension of him- given his high-pitched voice and enthusiasm, it's possible he can represent the child in Clash and allows him to let it out. Kevin Clash himself was self-taught, but then was lucky enough to become a part of Jim Henson's inner circle. No one will be able to replace or overshadow the genius that was Jim Henson, but as far as puppeteers go, it's possible that Clash is the closest thing to a second-generation Henson: he was literally raised on Jim's creations and, like Henson himself, decided to experiment with puppets and ended up giving a voice and a personality to a character who, much like Henson's legendary Kermit the Frog, serves today as one of Sesame Street and Muppet characters's most famous faces, entertaining adults and (especially) children just by being himself. For Kevin Clash, the answer to "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?" was "just be yourself." Both of them seem to have clearly benefited from it. Being Elmo is a wonderful feel-good film, and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of Sesame Street, Muppets, Jim Henson, or anyone who just wants to see an amazingly sweet true story. Elmo loves you (as he loves to remind us), and we love him for it.

*UPDATE (February 28, 2013) - When I originally wrote this review nearly a year ago, I wrote that "[t]he life of Kevin Clash (and Elmo) is (thankfully) not one filled with controversy or scandal". Sadly, as the events that led to Clash's resignation from Sesame Street revealed, this is no longer the case. Being Elmo remains an incredibly sweet documentary about how one man made his dreams come true, but rewatching it in the wake of how those dreams sadly came to an end is bittersweet, as it shows what a great loss to the worlds of Sesame Street, puppeteering, and entertainment in general the departure of Kevin Clash is.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ad Bowl XLVI Preview

Last year, I did what basically everyone does and did a recap of the ads of the Big Trademarked Sporting Event. This year, a good number of advertisers are taking advantage of the Internet and releasing their ads early in order to create social buzz. In my opinion, this sort of defeats the purpose, but as long as they're doing it, let's take a look at some of the fare. (In a way, this sort of feeds into what they hope will happen, as I myself am helping to create buzz and technically offering free advertising. That's consumerism for you.)

A lot of ads go for memorable names (including a number I’ll show off here), and this one is no exception…though its familiar faces are a little more “animated” than most. MetLife goes for nostalgia and diversity while delivering a message of insurance for everyone, by bringing long-time mascot Snoopy and his friends together with a bunch of classic cartoon characters. The best gag is the multiple blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances by the always-elusive Waldo.

Interestingly, save for the famed beagle and his entourage themselves (owned by the Peanuts Worldwide division of Iconix), all the characters in this ad are owned by only two companies: Time Warner (Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera) and Classic Media. Shows how diverse those two companies’s portfolios are.

The Coke driver who prefers Pepsi- and the mishaps that ensue because of it- is a familiar theme Pepsi first used in a 1996 spot which was the winner of that year’s USA TODAY Ad Meter, as well as the winner of a 20th-anniversary Ad Meter best-of in 2008. With “Your Cheatin’ Heart” once again as his theme song, the hapless driver returns, now preferring the low-cal Pepsi Max to his own Coke Zero…and a retired talk show host ends up getting involved.

Marketers would kill for a spot during the big game, and in Priceline’s case it’s quite literal. The highly publicized final appearance of William Shatner’s Negotiator, the spokesman literally goes out with a bang as his message of savings lives on. Would we expect anything less from the usually-extravagant Shatner? (Sadly, the crisis leaves no time for his jingle, sung by one of my “pals” Laura Dickinson, she of the heroic platypus “Perry” sting and other female vocals on Phineas and Ferb. And yes, I can link anything to Phineas and Ferb. They’re my Kevin Bacon.)

Making fun of what’s popular is one tried-and-true ad tactic, and Audi uses it here taking on the whole vampire craze. Whatever these vampires are, however, they aren’t related to Mr. Cullen, given their reaction to the lights…which is more in line with your run-of-the-mill bloodsucker.

Alongside joining the other companies who are showing their ads early online to create social buzz, Coca-Cola is using one of their most famous game-day icons- the polar bears- to add an extra social-media buzz for the large number of folks who (like myself) will be online during the game. Two animated polar bears- one a fan of the Giants clad in a red scarf, the other in Patriots grey- will be watching the game live and reacting accordingly to the action both during the game and the commercials. (During the Pepsi ads, they’ll fall asleep). To tie into and promote the Polar Bowl website, Coke has two ads set up, one of which, which features a fan of whichever team is behind at that time showing off his own skills during a break in the action, has two versions ready to go depending on which team is losing at the time. Seeing as I’m rooting for the Giants, I’ve decided to show the version starring the Giants bear here.

Volkswagen’s teaser for this spot, featuring dogs barking John Williams’s Imperial March, implied that Star Wars would return as a theme this year alongside dogs. Indeed, VW’s spot this year, featuring the new Beetle, has both…though not how’d you would expect it to. Canine exercise is on display here…though last year’s pint-sized Sith Lord makes a surprise appearance of his own.

Given that the Peacock Network is running the game this year, perhaps it’s not surprising that one of their biggest stars is starring in one of the spots. In my personal favorite of the ads that have been revealed so far, the former Mr. Must See TV himself discovers that fame can’t get him everything, and tries to use what he does have to get his hands on a new Acura. Given his fame, talent, and especially money, nothing could stop him…except maybe another familiar NBC icon.

Another star-studded car spot whose teaser got a lot of buzz, Matthew Broderick proves that he’s still got a bit of childlike spirit in him, just like his famed early role of Ferris Bueller. Matthew “saves Ferris” by having a day off of his own. I know he’s disliked nowadays for his creationist beliefs, but it’s a shame they couldn’t have at least gotten Ben Stein to do a cameo. (You may recognize actor Brian Stephanek, who played the quirky janitor Arwin on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, as Matthew’s agent. Then again, you may not.)

Who knew “Mean” Joe Greene was still around? The Steeler probably best known for his iconic Coke ad than anything he ever did on the field pokes fun at his own famous ad here alongside Amy Sedaris.

Let’s end our preview with a tried-and-true game day winner: good old fashioned comedy. Taking a page from Doritos’s playbook which led to two of the past three USA Today Ad Bowl winners (last year’s was a tie with long-time champ Bud Light), Chevy called for submissions for their spot. This winning ad is very much in line with classic Bud Light and Doritos spots, just goofy comedy thanks to a case of a graduate who thinks he’s getting something more than he really is.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Negative Spin-ach

I'm not familiar with the band Wilco. But I am familiar with Popeye. What do they have to do with each other? Heck if I know. But they're working together for some reason. Their collaboration was teased in last week's Popeye comic strip, which makes absolutely no sense, but is pretty nice looking.

Click to enlarge

And now their collaboration has been released, and it also makes absolutely no sense, but it sure as heck isn't nice-looking. I give you the music video for "Dawned On Me", directed by Darren "DrX" Romanelli and designed by Frank Caruso of King Features (who also drew the comic strip above).

This was animated by a studio in Singapore. No offense to the actually talented animators that live in Singapore, but it definitely shows- it's going for a '30s Fleischer look, but ends up looking more like one of those Korean redrawn colorized Popeyes instead. Olive Oyl's head looks too small for her body, and the wrinkles on Swee'Pea's head make him look like an old man. (Granted, Swee'Pea does look somewhat like an old man, but this doesn't help him any.) And, for that matter, the question has to be asked again: what does Popeye have to do with any of this? Is King Features so desperate to get Popeye out into the public eye again that they'll stick him in anything?

Interestingly, King claims that this is Popeye's first hand-drawn appearance since 1987's Popeye and Son, a Hanna-Barbera series which interestingly was also the first Popeye animation after the death of his long-time voice and Guinness world record holder for such Jack Mercer (Maurice LaMarche provided the pipe-smoker's pipes). But that's not actually true. In 2001, Popeye and Bluto appeared in an ad for Minute Maid orange juice which was very true to the spirit of old Popeye cartoons and much more well-animated than this music video, but was made infamous for when it became a discussion topic as some believed it harbored a subtext that the foes had become gay lovers. Long before The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert proved his mock newsman chops in this vintage Daily Show sketch in which, much like his future mock-conservative alter ego, he comes to the over-reactive conclusion that orange juice makes you a pirate smoker.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fruit Juice
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The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Fruit Juice Pt. 2
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Popeye proved he was able to survive the rumors about him and Bluto, and chances are he'll survive this music video as well. Given his moxie and muskels, it's probably not the worst thing he's had to deal with.

POPEYE ©2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc. ™Hearst Holdings, Inc. THE DAILY SHOW ©Comedy Partners. No ownership intended or implied.