The Pope has retired. Long live the Pope.

Today felt like a day to recommend some papal pop culture…

Pope Benedict has announced his retirement–a rare event.  1978 marked another rare moment in Vatican history: the Catholic Church had three popes in one year.  Popes were dropping like flies.  After the death of Pope Paul VI on August 6, the newly elected Pope John Paul I served a mere 33 days before suffering a fatal heart attack on September 29. 

Which brings me to Foul Play.  Released in July of 1978–just a month before the popes started dying–the film follows a hapless librarian (Goldie Hawn) and a San Francisco cop (Chase) who become the last line of defense against a plot to assassinate the Pope.   How odd is that?

No odder than the film itself.   A comically alchemical festival of absurdities complete with a Barry Manillow soundtrack, Foul Play works something like one part mystery, one part hairy dog tale, and one part romantic comedy.  This whodunnit (or whoisplanningtodunnit) movie incorporates a classic San Francisco car chase, an albino hitman, a dwarf Bible salesman, and a striptease by Dudley Moore into its quest to save the Pope.  

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