Previously on FTCH, we welcomed some clusters of the Reese’s and Oreo Toffee variety. There was a ride along with Mercedes, Dodge, and a Coop. This was a super busy week but I’ve found time to type away some thoughts for y’all. This week we adore Yellowstone while we enjoy the taste of cinnagraham and ultimate chocolate. Remember, FTCH is fortified with eight essential vitamins and minerals.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975) (Directed by Volker Schlondorff, Margarethe von Trotta): “Four batteries, an alarm clock, two reels of wire, and various tools. A short blond wig. Books: two romances, three crime stories, a biography of Napoleon, and biography of Queen Christina of Sweden, all from a book club. Typically bourgeois literature.” This quote comes mere minutes into this West German film as the police have entered the apartment of Katharina Blum looking for a suspected terrorist. Katharina (Angela Winkler) meets and sleeps with Ludwig after a party one night. She is arrested and interrogated regarding her connections to him and her life starts to spiral out of control. While this was an indictment of West German politics of the 1970s, this story of aggressive police tactics and a press that turns it into a sensational story to ruin her life feels very contemporary. It’s been on my “to watch” list for a long time mostly based upon some cool VHS covers years ago but I had forgotten any other details about it. The story of a tabloid press willing to destroy this woman with no proof of her connection to the terrorist rings too true. A dark drama that doesn’t waste much screen time, this is well worth seeking out.
- Yellowstone – “Coming Home” (S.1 E.5) (2018): I’m giving into the group pressure to finally start this series after four years of saying “I’ll catch up with it soon.” After four episodes where there were lots of character introductions, lots of banter and serious bouts of violence, this episode slows it down and takes a few minutes to breathe. It reminds me that I want some balance of both those types of episodes as this series evolves. Overall, the Sons of Anarchy elements are strong in this show. Kayce is our Jax. And the Ranch serves as our SAMCRO. Then add to that a good dose of Dallas style soap opera drama and it feels like a show that will have some staying power. I do like it so far but I’m wary of two things. The show needs to find a happy medium with the cornpone Montana folk sayings. It also needs some room to let the characters just relax. The best we get is John (Kevin Costner) scenes with his grandson where we get some greater insight into his character other than one-liners from the back of a Hee Haw comic book.
- Prince – “Adore” (1987) (from Sign O’ the Times): “That night I had to call you / I was rapping till the sun came up” I’ve pretty consistently called Sign O’ the Times my favorite Prince album and one of my favorite albums of all-time. This slow jam puts a perfect cherry on the top of the album. It ends with a song that you feel should go on for 10-15 minutes. Is it also one of the best love songs he’s ever written? I’d argue that as a full package, that’s true. It’s lyrically a love letter and slides over into a sexy seduction piece. It’s got all the trappings of a great Gospel song that then has these passionate horns that punctuate his earlier sex songs. It’s a perfect combo song with “The Cross” which shows off even more of the Gospel influence. Combining the falsetto persona when he’s really going to church and the growl that tells the woman he’s in full seduction mode, this song just illustrates what I love so much about the artists. Worthy comparable songs that fall just short of this one – “Scandalous”, “It”, “Do Me Baby” and “International Lover”.
- All in the Family – “The Blockbuster” (S.1 E.8) (1971) (Directed by John Rich): “What’s good for the goose might not be good for the dander” – Archie. With the furnace on the fritz in the dead of winter, Archie is talking about selling the house and moving to California (“Where the majorities outnumber the minorities.”) We learn that he bought the house for $14,000 and that it might be worth $21,000 now. Archie is tempted by a real estate agent offering him $35,000. The idea of the “blockbuster” who buys the home at an inflated price and then sells to a minority family. That drives down the price of the other homes in the neighborhood that the agent will buy at below market price. The real estate issues feel way too contemporary. Archie’s dream of moving to California is a side of the character we haven’t seen to this point. This episode is just one more illustration of how groundbreaking this show was at the time.
- Buck and the Preacher (1972) (Directed by Sidney Poitier): “Which way are you ridin’, Preacher” (Buck) / ‘Well that’s not exactly settled in my mind yet.” (Preacher). The second week in a row, I have a 1972 film directed by the star of the film. Poitier is strong as a former soldier, Buck. But it’s Belafonte as the Preacher that really gets to stretch his acting chops. The two are bonded together in Kansas to help black settlers make it to Colorado. This falls under the Revisionist Western umbrella and breaks many stereotypes of the Western genre. The best being that black cowboys can play the roles seriously and not just as comic relief. This movie falls between too many cracks for 1972. It isn’t blaxploitation (a movement finding real traction at the Box Office in 1972) and it isn’t straight up Western. It isn’t a buddy comedy like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and it isn’t meant as a reflection on the politics of 1972. The two have great chemistry and they shine together. For Poitier, this was his first directing effort and he’d learn some lessons. But there’s no doubt he had a great feel for how to frame a story and let the characters act their way out of a scene.
Best of the Rest
- Most people have figured out my love of candles, so it wasn’t a surprise that so many sent me this story about the new Campbell Soup Candles. Chicken Soup or Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese are comfort soups and comfort scents. The corporate synergy reminds me of the cereal, cookie, ice cream crossovers that are always happening. The move to candles doesn’t feel like a huge move.
- I love that Saturn moon that looks like the Death Star. Or does the Death Star look like that Saturn moon? I mean, whatever. But it came up in the news this week that Mimas might have a huge underground ocean. The theory that there’s an ocean under the ice because of the motion of the wobble of the planet because of Saturn’s gravity is simple but fascinating to me.
- If you have 124 snakes in your house, I’m not going to be surprised when the story of your death pops up in the news. The police who discovered the man’s body in the house say they don’t suspect “foul play” but don’t say if they suspect “snake hijinxs”. The only line missing in this story (and I only know this from all the other stories you guys send me) is that they probably just released all of them into a field not far from the house.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/20/2006, the temps were still hot and I was planning on spending the day inside watching some television as the week ahead was pretty busy. I was wondering about the new Justice League revamp comic from DC and aroused over the coming television season with the debut of the new season of Prison Break (Fox) the previous week. There were more than a couple documentaries that caught my attention but I didn’t get around to watching them until this week.
- Horatio’s Drive: America’s First Road Trip (PBS) (2006) (Dir. by Ken Burns): The story of the first trip across the country in an automobile by Horatio Nelson Jackson is the story of our American Wonder. We are a curious country at our best. Leaving San Francisco on a $50 bet in 1903, the story is told by Keith David with help from Tom Hanks who is the voice of Horatio in his letters to his wife. The story is quite entertaining and would make a wonderful film. It feels like a Mark Twain-told story. This is a doc that will make you want to load up the car and go discover more of America.
- When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts (HBO) (2006) (Dir. by Spike Lee): This HBO documentary by Spike Lee about Hurricane Katrina was released only a year after the storm. The first-hand accounts are powerful because they are so fresh at the time. The story takes place mostly from when the storm first hits and the events of the next few days. There is a follow-up documentary called If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise (2010) that follows-up with the participants and the progress in New Orleans. I’d love to see one more follow-up another decade later. It’s a powerful documentary and the score by Terence Blanchard is very powerful accompaniment to the events being documented. There is lots of sorrow here so don’t expect to feel great when it’s done but Spike Lee has a great ear for how to keep the story moving and tell multiple stories at once.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
CinnaGraham Toast Crunch
My nostalgia for Golden Grahams fueled my need to purchase this cereal. Honey Graham Crackers with some cinnamon sugar dusted over them. That’s what you get in a box of this new release. I can officially say I haven’t finished a box of cereal faster than this one in years. The Toast Crunch family is strong with children but for me they don’t always get the recipe mix correct. Usually they lean towards too much sugar dusting. But these are great to eat with milk or as a Midnight snack. If you are a cinnamon graham cracker fan then this is the cereal for you.
Oreo Ultimate Chocolate Flavor Creme
This release doesn’t differ as much from the traditional Oreo as much as some of my previous purchases. There are three layers of filling making this slightly bigger than a Double Stuf. Of the three chocolates, none of them are the traditional white creme. I can identify a darker chocolate and two more semi-sweet chocolates. The ultimate result is just a more chocolate flavored chocolate cookie. In the category of “don’t mess with a classic”, it’s nice to have a special release that sticks to chocolate and cookie. I love these
Doritos Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch
There’s a flame war going on. It’s in your almonds, chips, Cheetos and chicken sandwiches. This isn’t the first Flamin’ Hot release from Doritos but it’s the first time that hot meets cool. I didn’t dislike or love them. In my ideal world, you would get the heat first and then the cool. But these taste like a traditional cool ranch to start and then they leave you with the heat. Still not a bad chip but just not one I would be seeking out often.
“Can I talk to you?
Tell you what you mean to me
Every time you wander (until the end of time)
I’ll be your eyes so you can see
I want to show you things
That I show no other” – Prince