Previously on FTCH, there was a striptease with a divorce at a funeral. We mixed cinnamon toast with charms and for good measure we separated out blue raspberry, watermelon, and pineapple from the bear mix. As you are reading this, I’m chillin’ in Cali with good friends that I haven’t see since pre-pandemic days. Reports later on the Cruel World Festival. Today I’m starting a new random feature of some of my reader’s pets. This week take a gander at Mr. Uggs, the good kitty of longtime reader, Gabby. This week’s FTCH will bring you sleep, fear, lines in the sand, and vengeance. There are caramel dinosaur prints on the cookie, blueberry in the candy bar, and damned if there isn’t also a love song. Remember, at FTCH, if you don’t look good, we don’t look good.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Doctor Sleep (2019) (Directed by Mike Flanagan): “Our beliefs don’t make us better people. Our actions make us better people.” – Danny Torrance. I let seven months pass between finishing the book and watching the film adaptation. In the way that I thought the book did a great job linking different King Universes from the books, this film serves to link some of the film universes. The world of Doctor Sleep is a world of The Shining movie where the Outlook wasn’t blown up. Flanagan is the perfect director to connect all these worlds. There’s even a feel that this could exist in the same world as his The Haunting of Hill House. The casting is perfection for the two leading roles with Ewan McGregor as the adult Danny and Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat. The adaptation follows the book as close as I could have hoped. The True Knot are what I had imagined. But you do lose much of Danny’s addiction journey in the translation to the screen. It runs a fine line that might be too much a Kubrick love letter for some King fans. I felt comfortable in Flanagan’s control here and I would love to see him direct an adaptation of The Institute (the King book I’m currently reading that also feels like Danny and Abra would be in the same world).
- Fear the Walking Dead – “Breathe With Me” (AMC) (S.7 E.4) (2021): The cast might “fear” the walking dead but for most of seven seasons of this show they are either in the process of splitting up or trying to find each other. Luckily, now they’re in Texas where it can’t be too hard to just keep running into each other. This season takes place after the ultimate “scatter them to the winds” event of nuclear warheads exploding. This episode gives Sarah more lines and screen time since we met her. Sarah is out searching for Wendell who himself is searching for Morgan. Sarah meets up with Josiah with whom our group has a sort of history with who happens to be looking for Morgan, revenge for beheading his brother and all. I was surprised by the tender themes of this in the middle of a post-apocalyptic season. Sarah’s story that relates to the title fills in some important parts of the backstory and gives Sarah some needed depth. I am behind on all three series and yet I find this the one that I come back to most often lately. I guess that says something.
- The Damned – “Love Song” (1979) (from Machine Gun Etiquette): “I’ve got the fare if you’re my inspector / I’ll be the luggage, you’ll be the porter.” The last shout out to the bands I will have seen at the Cruel World Festival by the time you are reading this. One of the original punk bands doesn’t seem to fit with the more New Wave and second wave of punk bands that are in the lineup but I’m not complaining. A fun tongue-in-cheek punk love song. The lyrics are light and screamed and the guitar is loud and fast. Is that a problem? Brian James had left the band but they still moved forward with Captain Sensible stepping forward to play guitar even faster than their previous two albums. Play loud and maybe your ears will buzz like mine will be for a week.
- The Food That Built America – “Lines in the Sand” (S.1 E.1) (2019): The History Channel documentary shows have their own house style in the same way that Discovery documentaries and Food Network documentary shows have their distinct style. This is the first episode of what has become a popular revamp of stories that were floating out there in other formats previously. This show has spun off an equally interesting podcast and it exists in a more compact format in Fast History Of with Adam Richman. This episode is three stories woven together that feels like they kicked themselves later that this could and should have been three separate episodes. Three products are developed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Kellogg vs. Post is a story that has been told enough that it doesn’t hold much interest for me other than wondering how did someone not think that Corn Flakes wouldn’t beat out Grape Nuts. Coca-Cola is another story that works much better in the podcast because it is such a complicated early history. Heinz is my favorite of the stories. He doesn’t get credit for being the master creator and innovator. His use of fresh ingredients, the use of clear bottles to show off his product, he’s the first to put electrical lights in a factory, and he uses an assembly line before Ford ever thought about it. The recreations here get used over and over in other History Channel shows but there are so many facts and stories packed into this that I don’t mind the repetition in other shows.
- Lone Wolf & Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) (Directed by Kenji Misumi): “You would’ve been happier if you’d chosen to join your mother in her world.” The first installment of this movie series based upon a long manga series is an example of why Japanese cinema of this 1972 era is so incredible. The budgets are not large but this movie looks like a blockbuster. It’s a confusing path where American Westerns started copying the aesthetics of Italian Spaghetti Westerns who had copied early Samurai pictures from Japan. And by the early 1970s, the Japanese Samurai films were reflecting the Westerns from America and the rise of Independent Directors of the era. The Kazuo Koike drawn character resembled the actor, Shintaro Katsu as the Lone Wolf, Itto Ogami. But he was already starring in the wildly popular Zatiochi series. The role would be filled perfectly by his brother, Tomisaboru Wakayama. Framed for conspiracy and having had his wife and servants murdered, Itto sets out with his two-year-old son, Daigoro, to seek revenge. Itto isn’t the hero that he might be if the film was made today. Instead, he is stoic and attempts to be honorable in a world where men are not honorable. They are devious and cruel at every turn. The code of honor that once defined the samurai is being eroded. A perfect reflection of what was happening in the world in 1972. This is a great start to the series of films.
Best of the Rest
- The weather is warming up and you know that the snake stories are going to start up again. Imagine my surprise that the first one of the season was practically in my backyard. “Beware of ssssssnake season, Texas.” they say. Southlake police reporting that a baby cottonmouth showed up in a woman’s shoe closet. (Yes it says “shoe closet”.) The interesting sidebar to the story is the little detail of the officer called in to remove the snake: “resident snake expert, officer Barrett (who is “a little bit country”), confirmed the snake was a cottonmouth.” A little bit country. You will be relieved to know they also confirmed that the snake was released in a heavily wooded area and last seen slithering North. Yikes.
- One of last year’s best ads wasn’t really in the “advertisement” category. The Taiwanese seven-minute film “In Love We Trust” told the story of a woman who worked at the Taiwan Registration Office and saw people all day in for marriages, divorces, and deaths. It caused her to reevaluate her relationship with her boyfriend and they decided to get married at the end of the short film. This sequel picks up the story after their marriage as they start to build a home together (“marriage” in Taiwan can be expressed by the words for “building a home”). It is told from the point of view now of the husband who works as a photographer. They are faced with trying to conceive a child, saving money and constant distractions from work. It’s almost too real. But what a great message. Things are not all fairy tales and focus changes and what’s important changes. It’s hard and this shows that but it also gives the perspective that it’s worth the battle. It’s amazing how the first film and this one can show such amazing depth in a total of 15 minutes of screen time. I am anxiously awaiting the next “episode”.
- You should be spending time looking up at the night skies anyways but tonight there’s a great reason to observe the stars. This will be the night of the Super Flower Blood Moon. This huge moon happens to coincide with a lunar eclipse around Midnight (give or take depending on your time zone). The Earth’s shadow covering the moon isn’t as rare as solar eclipses but it still fills me with awe.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 12/17/2006, coming off a super busy week at work, I was looking to get some Christmas shopping done. I was excited for the end of Survivor: Cook Islands and predicted that they would eventually get rid of the Immunity Idols (cue laughter). The first season of David Tenant’s Doctor Who was coming to an end and I scored it with high grades. Most of the rest were Christmas specials except for a new game show that interested me.
- Identity (S.1 E.1) (NBC): Penn Jillette hosted a week-long show that is a To Tell The Truth based show on steroids. The set is the Deal or No Deal set as are most of the graphics and even the numbers that they stand on are the same. Twelve strangers stand on number squares and the contestant is given twelve jobs or facts about the strangers identity. You get three “helps” pretty much like Deal or No Deal too. This silly game show is set up with four to five really obvious clues (“7 months pregnant”, “created Marvel comics”, “jockey”) to make sure the average contestant will win $10,000 – $25,000. I miss when there were only week-long game shows and not clogging up the Primetime schedule. We are a country that likes to judge people by appearances only.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Captain Morgan Cherry Vanilla Spiced Rum
As a brand, I don’t have much of an opinion on Captain Morgan. It’s definitely not my favorite (thank you, Kraken) but it’s no better or worse than a Bacardi for me at a bar. I was intrigued by the Cherry Vanilla combination and immediately mixed it with Coke. In retrospect, there are better applications. First, I would just pour it as is over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. As a mixer, you are going to want some pineapple juice to mix for your best application. A good summer bottle but not a permanent addition to my bar.
Keebler Fudge Stripes: Chocolate Caramel
This summer doesn’t appear to have the top-notch movie tie-in food or drink products that we saw a decade ago. Fudge Stripe Chocolate Caramel with dinosaur prints from Jurassic World are really a stretch. Although this isn’t the first tie-in to the franchise for the striped cookies. The “footprint” is barely identifiable. The caramel flavor is a little “fake” tasting, not as good as most candy bars, but the mix of the chocolate and the caramel was a winner for me. Good job, Ernie and his elves.
Kit-Kat: Blueberry Muffin
I’ve reviewed a few different flavors of Kit-Kats over the past year. I tend to like anything where they replace the chocolate with dark chocolate. But this blueberry muffin twist is probably the best I’ve tasted outside of the traditional flavor. The flavor of the creme is unmistakable for more of a blueberry cake with a blueberry cream frosting. It’s not as overly sweet as I feared. The scent alone is worth the price. Grab the mini ones as a perfect little blueberry treat this summer.
“Just for you here’s a love song
Just for you here’s a love song
And it makes me glad to say
It’s been a lovely day and it’s okay” – The Damned