Monday, October 14, 2013


My latest review for Aleteia is up. It’s been awhile since Tom Hanks has had a chance to give a really good performance (sorry, Dan Brown movies just don’t cut it), but odds are that Captain Phillips (the last 15 minutes in particular) will net him another Oscar nod. Not bad for a guy whose first role was in the Halloween knock-off, He Knows You’re Alone.

Now, unless you’ve completely missed every commercial for Captain Phillips, then you know the movie is based on a true incident involving a merchant ship that comes under assault by Somali pirates. From what’s depicted onscreen I’d have to say it was a pretty harrowing situation, but Phillips and his crew dealt with it well all things considered. Still, I couldn’t help but think, you know who really knows how to handle pirates? Popeye, that’s who…

So, what was with that mysterious edit around 4:38? Just what the heck was Popeye whipping out of that dress that someone really didn’t want us to see? I mean, what could possibly be worse than Popeye in a dress to begin with? According to Fred M. Grandinetti’s book, Popeye: An Illustrated Cultural History, nobody knows and probably nobody ever will. The edit was made for the short’s first run in television syndication way back when and no unedited version seems to exist. I guess we’ll just have to use our imaginations. Which, you know, will probably result in a far worse mental image than whatever the  mystery editor actually removed in the first place.

Probably best not to think about it. Besides, when it comes to Popeye, what most people really tune in to see is the eating of spinach followed by the inevitable kicking of somebody’s rear end, in this case a lecherous pirate captain obviously in need of a good monocle. It’s a shame Captain Phillips didn’t have a can or two of the stuff lying around when pirates paid him a visit because, believe it or not, thanks to its high concentration of nitrate, eating spinach really can help you get stronger. Who knew? Besides Popeye that is?

Of course, it shouldn’t come as that much of a shock to us Catholics. Most of us should already know how eating certain things, especially the Eucharist, can bring benefits. According to the old Baltimore Catechism, “the chief effects of a worthy Holy Communion are: first, a closer union with Our Lord and a more fervent love of God and of our neighbor; second, an increase of sanctifying grace; third, preservation from mortal sin and the remission of venial sin; fourth, the lessening of our inclinations to sin and the help to practice good works.” Not bad, huh? Oh sure, it’s not the kind of stuff that’s going to help you punch a pirate in the face, but really, how often are you going to need that? A closer union with God, though, is probably something you’ll want every day.

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