From the Couch Hole: All the Lights Are Changing Green to Red

Previously on FTCH, the little women were poor things that had to call an exorcist who said “This is a song for you.” The Night Country had Japanese BBQ with a Mega Stuf. It’s Super Sunday. I have less interest in this game and even less interested in the ads than I have been in years. I’ll still get some wings and fries because Super Bowl. This week we spend our past lives in Babylon with Dr. No. It’s Jim Dandy from May to December with beer in our chips and cream in our Cocoa Puffs. Remember, like a good neighbor, FTCH is there.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“It’s true that if you leave you lose things, but you also gain things, too.” – Nora’s mother
  • Past Lives (2023) (Directed by Celine Song): “What if this is a past life as well, and we are already something else to each other in our next life? Who do you think we are then?” Hae Sung. I love this film. It’s a deceptively simple story of a married woman meeting up with the man in New York City with whom she had a crush both were young children in Seoul. The cities are characters representing tradition and change. The camera moves through New York City in a way that has to impress Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee. There are many silent moments of couples walking through the East Village where many directors would tell their story with music. Celine Song’s camera allows the sounds of the city to set the tone and the faces of the characters to say more than words can say. It’s a confident story that talks about love at all stages of the relationship, including the one in the next life. Few films recently have been able to remain as entertaining while telling such a simple love story about the things we left behind. Cinema needs more voices like this.
  • Lisey’s Story – “Jim Dandy” (S.1 E.4) (2021) (Apple TV+): “Secret secrets are no fun. Secret secrets hurt someone.” – Dooley. Apparently I now only watch shows and movies with Julianne Moore (see below), Clive Owen (Monsieur Spade, A Murder at the End of the World) or Jennifer Jason-Leigh (Fargo). Take all three of them and make it an adaptation of a Stephen King novel and I’m almost powerless not to watch. The book was not my favorite and four episodes in, I can see that they are having trouble translating the magical elements of the story. That’s a big problem here as the world of Boo’ya Moon starts to play an important role. Lisey (Julianne Moore) is finally opening her eyes as a separate entity from Scott (Clive Owen), just as her eyes are being physically closed by Dooley. The issue with the first four hours is pacing. Things just aren’t happening except for the last five to ten minutes of every episode. That would be okay if I thought that exposition and characterization was happening. I’ve read the book and it’s still confusing. Good acting can’t overcome this so far.
Buy David Gray White Ladder CD
  • David Gray – “Babylon” (1998) (from White Ladder): “Let go of your heart / Let go of your head / And feel it now” By 1998 this was David Gray’s fourth album. It’s unusual to have your signature song on your fourth album without any significant hits before then. His pleasant soft voice is a fabulous fit for this song of love lost and love found again. As this song became a hit in 2000, I was going through quite a few career changes and this song was with me on many car trips from Dimondale to East Lansing. Very much a part of my memories of the last days of Gen X.
“Kicking through the Autumn leaves / And wondering where it is you might be going to.”
  • Dr. No (1962) (Directed by Terence Young): “World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon. Or God.” – James Bond. My first theatrical viewing of this film came earlier this week. It wasn’t the first spy film, they’ve been making those almost as long as they’ve been making movies. This is the film that made the spy film big business. JFK was President and “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul was the #1 song in the nation. The plot of an evil genius trying to disrupt the launch of an American satellite to ruin our Space Program is mostly a story that seems low stakes in 2024. The story doesn’t jet set around the world. We are in Jamaica, London, and then in Jamaica for the rest of the film. The mystery doesn’t get too bogged down until the very end. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder is very attractive and doesn’t get in the way of the plot nor add much to it. Very bare bones compared to what passes for a Bond film these days. No gadgets and no extended chase scenes. It’s never anyone’s favorite Bond film, but it’s a good starting point for your Bond adventures.
Cinema Sentries
Buy Dr. No Blu-ray
  • May December (2023) (Directed by Todd Haynes): “Insecure people are very dangerous, aren’t they? I’m secure. Make sure you put that in there.” – Gracie. This film, like other Todd Haynes’ films (Safe, Velvet Goldmine), elicits mostly reviews at both ends of the spectrum. A cultural take on the society that celebrates celebrity, even negative reasons for fame. A loose interpretation of the Mary Kay Letourneau story of the teacher who slept with and eventually married their student. Natalie Portman is a younger actress spending time with the couple to get inspiration for playing the Julianne Moore character in a film. There’s an outdated feel to the neighborhood that Grace and Joe inhabit. It’s like a Mad Men neighborhood that has the feel of a setting for a horror film. The film is unsettling for many reasons, but a big part of that is the lack of moral judgement about what happened in the past because this is about the present. Julianne Moore gives an award-worthy performance. I wanted this to be one of the best of the year but it ends up just being middle of the road.

Best of the Rest

  • Kate Ceberano did a more than respectable cover of the David Gray song in 2008. She didn’t fundamentally change the song except for giving the tune more of a funky vibe that takes away some of the depressing elements of the lyrics. There are a few moments with that sweet keyboard that you can close your eyes and imagine it being the soundtrack for a TV show in the late ’70s or early ’80s.
“Saturday I’m runnin’ wild”
  • The Super Bowl is mostly a venue for comedy ads. There is always a company or two who attempt the tug at the heartstrings commercials, typically reserved for Christmas. Most fail. Every year there is one that breaks through and they are almost always the ones that stick with me. I’m convinced that Kia has nailed it with “Perfect 10” and the Cat Power/Coldplay song “Wish I Was Here.” Daughters, fathers, and grandfathers . . . get the tissues handy.
“Don’t know where I’ve gone / And I, I wish I was here.”
  • Budweiser goes Old School with the Clydesdales, dog and the Band. I guess I’m a big ole softie for dogs and horses. I think it’s more special that we don’t see these ads outside of this Super Bowl window. I’ll predict this for a top five finish after today’s ads.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/10/2008, I was just coming off a 13-hour day at work for Graduation. It was August, so the need to rest on the free Sundays was important. The day was going to be watching the Olympics with Christian. My #7 Favorite Film of All-Time was The Shawshank Redemption (1994). I’ve given this anywhere from a #3 to a #10 ranking over the years, so this is definitely where it should reside. Better or worse if Clint Eastwood had been the Morgan Freeman role? I think this is the rare film that I say it benefits from not having Clint Eastwood’s presence. It’s a film I still enjoy watching every few years. The week ahead was mostly going to be watching the Olympics with Michael Phelps going for his sixth gold medal on Wednesday. My list of the week feels like one I need to revisit.
      • 10. “A Little Less Conversation” (1968) (from the Live a Little, Love a Little Soundtrack)
      • 9. “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956) (from Heartbreak Hotel)
      • 8. “In The Ghetto” (1969) (from Elvis In Memphis)
      • 7. “All Shook Up” (1957) (from Loving You): “I’m itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.”
      • 6. “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) (from Jailhouse Rock): My first Elvis song and the same for Caleb.
      • 5. “Always on My Mind” (1972) (from Separate Ways)
      • 4. “Hardheaded Woman” (1958) (from King Creole)
      • 3. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960) (from Elvis Is Back!)
      • 2. “Kentucky Rain” (1970) (from Live in Las Vegas 1970)
      • 1. “Suspicious Minds” (1969) (from Elvis in Memphis)
      • 10. “Kentucky Rain” (1970) (from Live in Las Vegas 1970): This tune written by Eddie Rabbit was a nice transition to his 1970’s Vegas sound.
      • 9. “Always on My Mind” (1972) (from Separate Ways): It’s had some great covers since 1972 but this one sounds ethereal still. His first single after his separation from Priscilla is heartfelt.
      • 8. “A Little Less Conversation” (1968) (from the Live a Little, Love a Little Soundtrack): This song was a bit of an afterthought until it got an updated remix in 2002 and found itself in movies and commercials.
      • 7. “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960) (from Elvis Is Back!): One of the first releases after his return from the Army is also one of the ones most associated with the King.
      • 6. “In the Ghetto” (1969) (from Elvis in Memphis): Not known for his social commentary in his music, this one shows off a side of Elvis that I think could have benefited him.
      • 5. “Suspicious Minds” (1969) (from Elvis in Memphis): His disappointment in how his marriage was going at the time comes through in his interpretation of lyrics by Mark James.
      • 4. “All Shook Up” (1957) (from Loving You): Of the early songs, this one still can’t help but get the toes tapping and the singalong started.
      • 3. “Burning Love” (1972) (from Aloha from Hawaii): His last big hit has moved up my list of favorites.
      • 2. “Jailhouse Rock” (1957) (from Jailhouse Rock): That guitar riff and two drum beats announce a new stage in the evolution of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s a bold statement even today.
      • 1. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (1961) (from Blue Hawaii): How did I leave his best love song and probably the most consensus best song of his off of my first list? It’s Elvis at his most vulnerable and romantic. Also the last song he would ever perform live.
    • The story of Elvis has grown to be an American Mythology. He represents the good and the bad of the era of the Rock Star. He’s symbolic of rebellion and excess and the tragic results of drugs into the ’70s. His story is that of the becoming a American Icon in Elvis (2022) and his story is that of the tragedy of fame too like in Priscilla (2023). He is our America.
“Should I stay? / Would it be a sin?”

1974 in Review

He’s different. He’s deadly.
  • February – Amazing Spider-Man #129 (Marvel): Written by Gerry Conway. Art by Ross Andru. Cover by Gil Kane and John Romita Sr. This issue is a true milestone in the Marvel Universe. It’s the debut appearance of the Punisher and the villain the Jackal. It’s still one of the most sought after comic books of the decade.
  • February 5 – Space probe, Mariner 10, provides the first close up pictures of Venus before heading to Mercury
  • January 28 -Muhammad Ali wins the second of three fights with Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden. The match is known as Super Fight II.
Ali Again

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Wavy Lays: Craft Beer

(Courtesy of Mallory Bourdo) The Chinese import named after a uniquely American movement of the past decade might be the worst chip I’ve had in the past 10 years and I’ve had lots of chip flavors. I wasn’t sure what flavor they were going to go after but it tastes like mostly a malt vinegar with a sickly sour aftertaste. It’s like the bottom of a really warm keg of malt liquor. The bag wasn’t huge but I had to bail after a small bowl. I love that my Mallory has chosen a great variety for me and it wouldn’t be research if we didn’t fail at times.

Cocoa Puffs: Loaded

A chocolate exterior filled with a vanilla creme filling. It’s almost like General Mills wasn’t aware that the Kellogg’s cereal Krave is detested by most cereal fans. The idea of the filled cereal has never really caught on. The problem is illustrated here. They have taken one of the best chocolate cereals on the market and taken away what makes them so good – the crunch. You get less Cocoa Puff and more soft flavorless “vanilla” flavor. It’s the worst you can get in a cereal; it’s boring.

Oreo Space Dunk

Props for the name alone. The rest I’m more skeptical about. The pink and blue creme center is marshmallow flavored mixed with popping candy. Much like any other snack with popping candy (previous Oreos and Hershey bars), the end result is less of a popping celebration in your mouth and more of a “what is stuck in my teeth?” aftertaste. In regards to the name, it’s clever, but these aren’t as dunkable as a normally filled Oreo. I wish it had been original creme because look at the fun designs on the biscuits.

“Only wish that you were here
You know I’m seeing it so clear
I’ve been afraid
To show you how I really feel
Admit to some of those bad mistakes I’ve made” – David Gray

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter