Previously on FTCH, we appreciated King, WootStout, and Mama Cass but had some troubles with new fall releases of popcorn and ice cream. The weather here in Texas just won’t cooperate with the calendar. Getting closer to Halloween and the temperatures are barely lower than mid-Summer. Trying to get in the mood with some murders in the building, communions with aliens, and a visit from the sleep doctor. And remember, FTCH is a professional driver on a closed course. Do not attempt.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (2013) (Scribner): “There came a time when you realized that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.” I was really nervous to start the sequel to The Shining (1977) because of what the book has meant to me. It was my first introduction to the world of Stephen King somewhere around 1980 at the age of twelve. The book haunted me in the best way and it’s one of those books that gave me a thrill that I still seek in books. I’ve reached 2013 in my Stephen King project and I’ve read good reviews of the book so it was finally time to give it a chance.
- Dan (formerly Danny) Torrance is older and we meet up with him at rock bottom of his alcoholism. The story is a long trip to redemption (or failure) for Dan. The plot operates with a smaller cast and fewer ancillary stories than the last few longer books of his that I’ve read. The Shining was steeped in the alcoholism of Dan’s father, Jack. Doctor Sleep exists as a trip through AA and Dan’s recovery of the sins of his father. The good vs. evil here plays out like The Stand in miniature. The True Knot with Rose the Hat and Crow Daddy serve as our Randall Flagg and Las Vegas crew. The idea of the most dangerous people in our country being vampire-types as old people travelling the country in RV’s is a great concept. Abra Stone is a great character as part of Dan’s journey; she serves as his opportunity to be a father and address his issues from childhood. There’s even room left for another sequel should King feel so motivated. As much as I loved this story, I felt like I loved King giving us a sequel to his own redemptions in life from his darker times even more. “Because that was then and this is now. Because the past is gone, even though it defines the present.”
- Only Murders In The Building – “Open and Shut” (S.1 E.10) (2021): “Should make for a fun finale.” – Jan. If you haven’t watched the finale, stop here. I’m going to try not to be a spoiler but it’s hard to talk about the series without giving away some of the goods. In short, this episode did absolutely nothing but cement that it’s the best new series of the year. And give drugged Steve Martin some kind of Emmy please. As clever as some of the episodes were this season, this madcap comedic end to the mystery was a perfect mix of both. Rarely do shows know how to tell a good mystery with a proper dash of comedy. It has always felt Agatha Christie influenced but this added that understanding of movies of the 1950s and 1960s that Steve Martin showed in movies like Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. Each character gets a satisfying moment and Amy Ryan (Jan) seems to be having the acting time of her life. We even end up with the first few minutes of what we are going to see in Season Two. Cheers. “We are all Tim Kono.”
- Ronnie Milsap – “Pure Love” (1974) (from Pure Love) How can you listen to this and not tap your toes and bop your head. This song was written by Eddie Rabbit about his wife and Ronnie was encouraged to record it and move away from more of an R&B style by Charley Pride. This early 1970s era of Country is my favorite and the best part of that Ken Burns’ documentary. Don’t act surprised if in later FTCH episodes we dive back into the world of Ronnie Milsap. Likely candidates “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World” and “(There’s) No Getting Over Me” are still out there just to name a couple. But today we’re shaking our booty to “Ninety-nine and forty-four one hundreds percent pure love” (like Ivory Snow soap).
- File under “This is why we can’t have anything nice”. Y: The Last Man has been cancelled by FX after a single season. Detractors have mostly been comic book readers who wanted a page for page rendering of the show. I admit to be initially thrown by the divergence from the book but I thought after a few episodes the series has really found a lane in the crowded television world of comic book adaptations and dystopian futures. Shows like The Walking Dead and Sweet Tooth have bent their comic book sources to more popular results. I foresee this show finding a streaming home on HBO (synergy with the DC: Vertigo comic) or even Hulu going forward.
- Communion (1989): Whitley Strieber started off his writing career with two classic horror books that were turned into classic horror films of their day with Wolfen (1978) and The Hunger (1981). But in 1985 he had an experience that would change his life. He claims to have been abducted by “visitors” and turned it into the book Communion (1987) that he adapted into this film. I remember the movie tanking at the box office and I never caught up with it on home video. Christopher Walken plays the Whitley character to perfection. Walken in 1989 is still in the process of becoming the character “Walken”. Here he still pulls of a New York-based family man. The film is curious in that it probably sticks to Strieber’s vision of the events in his life too closely and doesn’t develop a decent plot to latch onto. In the end, it presents the story and it becomes a “Do you or don’t you believe this happened” story. Nice score by Eric Clapton and good acting from the supporting cast makes this an entertaining 90 minutes. I would like to have addressed the idea of sleep paralysis and the visions that often accompany that even more.
Best of the Rest
- When the headline reads “Vikings landed in North America more than 470 years before Christopher Columbus,” my mind fills in the natural next lines like “and the Packers still have their number” or “and somehow they don’t have a ground game.” While throwing more shade on Columbus around the time of his holiday, the most interesting part of the article is the dating of the wooden pieces around known date of a solar storm in 992 A.D.
- I’ve been remiss on my advertising updates with all of the snake stories crossing our paths recently. This British ad from John Lewis lets the young boy channel his inner Stevie Nicks. As should we all but with maybe less destruction to our homes.
- That ad reminds me of years of great John Lewis commercials. They have a knack for choosing the right tune at the right time and most importantly the proper version. I’ll have a whole focus on Christmas advertising as we get into November and December. This ad called “Woman” is a good use of song and visuals.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 5/28/2006, I was talking up the Mavs in the NBA Finals and the start of the World Cup. I recommended two shows that looked good that I hadn’t started (and still haven’t) in The Sopranos and Veronica Mars. On the weekend, I pointed readers to the Sci-Fi Network and a movie called Black Hole with Judd Nelson and Kristy Swanson. I don’t remember watching it then so I picked it up again this week to see if the hype was worth it.
- A quick look into director, Tibor Takacs’ career shows a pivot around this era. The man who directed the quality horror films of The Gate and I, Madman had first switched to television shows like Earth: Final Conflict and Crow: Stairway to Heaven. By 2006, he was in the middle of a run that goes from Mansquito and Ice Spiders to Mega Snake. The formula for the Sci-Fi Network film was pretty steady. Two or more recognizable stars, in this case Judd Nelson as the disgraced nuclear scientist who is a divorced alcoholic with spiky hair that no one believes at first. Except for overly make-upped, glasses-wearing Kristy Swanson as Dr. Muir, the one with the most faith in our hero. There are the prerequisite computer-generated effects and shaky camera effects as a black hole and a monster that escaped the black hole terrorize St. Louis. How do you know we are in St. Louis? Lots of shots of the Arch and please ignore the mountains in the backgrounds of the rest of the action. Is it terrible? Of course it is but if you watched NYC: Tornado Terror, you know what you are getting into here. The acting isn’t too bad and if they had injected even a little bit of humor, this would have been a fun weekend night watch.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Stone Enjoy By 10.31.21
I’ve always been a #1 fan of Stone Brewing. I’ve rarely been disappointed with one of their releases. The seasonal “Enjoy By” offerings have become something I look forward to as much as the Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion brews. As good as recent releases have been, this current beer might be my favorite in years. The double IPA checks in at a robust 9.4% ABV and the hazy is big and citrusy. I’m sad this won’t be around for the rest of the year. Time is running out and this belongs in your beer fridge. I’m still missing the excellent Enjoy By 1.1.21 but this is even better.
Lay’s Kettle Cooked Xtra Extreme Cheddar
This is one of two new additions to the Lay’s Kettle Cooked line from this past Spring. I’ve been out of the new potato chip game for a couple years and these hadn’t really caught my attention. For those new to FTCH or my previous potato chip project, I’m a fan of Kettle Cooked as a brand but don’t find the need to go much beyond regular and barbecue flavors. These “extreme” chips first promise to be crunchier. Maybe they are thicker by a tiny bit but I don’t get any audible sense of crunchier. Is the cheddar extreme? It’s overpowering to the point of too much for more than a few at a sitting. And there’s a slight aftertaste of sour cream like you are having a loaded baked potato. All in all, there was no reason to mess with what is one of the strongest entries in the Lay’s line.
Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters
General Mills does typically like to give a huge middle finger to Kellogg’s cereals. A few years ago, Kellogg’s tried to put together a Rice Krispie Treats type of cereal that was just a royal mess. I hoped that this Lucky Charms offering would right that wrong and capture the mouthwatering combination of rice and marshmallows. It doesn’t. It’s actually confusingly terrible too. The first wrong move is corn and rice together to mix with the marshmallows. The next wrong move is the combination of a loud crunch mixed with the feeling that the cereal is sticking to your teeth. I don’t want to have a toothpick with my breakfast cereal. Lastly, is the lack of flavor. It’s just a bland attempt to one up what was a bad Kellogg’s cereal to start with. I’m sorry to have to report this to you but pass this cereal on by if you are tempted at all.
“Soft warm kisses (kisses)
Say good morning
Then I get breakfast in bed
You know you make me so happy (make me so happy)” – Ronnie Milsap (written by Eddie Rabbit)
FTCH S.1 E.16