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'I yam what I yam' with spinach on the side

Solving problems through fisticuffs, even cartoon fisticuffs, is not our idea of a good time. So the new movie "Popeye," with real-life actors playing the long popular comic characters, was not unalloyed fun.

Yet in its zany way it made finer qualities appealing as few big films manage to do these days.

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A son's love for a father, a father's love for a son, everybody's love of a foundling. And then Popeye's stout efforts at forbearance in the face of bullying, his conviction that what's wrong is wrong even if it seems to bring big winnings, his determination that "I yam what I yam" means self-respect.

With all of today's talk about awesome complexities and ineffective simplicities, here are simplicities that can prevail -- and not only when Popeye finally eats his famous spinach.

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