From the Couch Hole: I’ve Been So Many Places In My Life And Time

Previously on FTCH, the Barbie in the multiverse of madness was the rabbit hunter, so beware of darkness. The Golden Grahams wanted s’mores and the Cheetos wanted smoked turkey. This week my basketball teams went 1-1 with just two more games left this season. We survived “fake Spring” with a wonderful few days in the 70s and sunshine. This week the little women sing a song for you. The poor things from the night country are believers of vampires and cheeseburgers. Remember, like a good neighbor, FTCH is there.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“I have adventured it and found nothing but sugar and violence.” – Bella
Buy Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite Blu-ray
  • Poor Things (2023) (Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos): “We must work. We must make money. But more than that Bella, we must experience everything. Not just the good, but degradation, horror, sadness. This makes us whole, Bella, makes us people of substance.” – Swiney. This film has been compared to Frankenstein in many reviews. I think that’s the overly simplified view because of the “brain in a different body” aspect of the plot. What happens thematically is much closer to The Wizard of Oz. An adolescent (emotionally here) leaves home, has adventures, learns about relationships, and has a spiritual awakening before returning home. The core cast of Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Mark Ruffalo, and Ramy Youssef all deliver award-worthy performances, but Emma Stone is a tour de force in what could have been very off-putting dialog if she didn’t win us over with her charm. The cinematography, costumes, and set design are tremendous. They create a world just as intoxicating as Barbie World wanted to be. The messages of Poor Things (2023) and Barbie (2023) are feminist adjacent to each other, but while there’s more work to unpack it here, I think it resonates a bit deeper in our experiences.
  • True Detective: Night Country – “The Long Bright Dark” (S.1 E.1) (2024) (HBO): “For we do not know what beasts the night dreams when its hours grow too long for even God to be awake.” – Hildred Castaigne. From the initial quote that references The Yellow King from Season One, we know that this season is going full on supernatural and looking to remind you of your favorite season. They pack quite a bit into this episode. There’s a heavy dose of the Inuit culture and the supernatural, including a one-eyed polar bear who has possibly escaped from Lost. The noir elements are easy because it’s forever night in Ennis, Alaska. Jodi Foster makes a good “true detective”. The plot might seem confusing for this episode if they didn’t do such a good job referencing The Thing (1982) so you know where at least some of this is going. This definitely has potential to be their second best season.
Buy Aretha Franklin – Let Me in Your Life CD
  • Aretha Franklin – “A Song For You” (1974) (from Let Me in Your Life): “I love you in a place where there’s no space and time / I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine.” Leon Russell might have written this song but Aretha owned it. There are a hundred songs, maybe, in the history of popular music that capture the concept of love as much as the feeling of being in love. This one belongs near the top. You know it works because both male and female vocalists can make it work. It’s Aretha and this mix that can almost bring to tears.
“You taught me precious secrets.” – Leon Russell
  • Little Women (2019) (Directed by Greta Gerwig): “I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe.” Jo March. The journey from Lady Bird (2017) to Barbie (2023) needed this central chapter to complete the thematic evolution. This adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott book from 1869 has been adapted many times. Under Greta Gerwig’s direction, the story takes a more feminist tack with women empowering women and the men of the film are mostly just Allan’s. Saoirse Ronan was a standout in Lady Bird and finds herself less the rebel and more of the moral anchor here as Jo March. Her sisters Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) each have their own important journeys. Of the sisters, it’s hard to ignore the energy that Florence Pugh puts into her character. The gold standard of Little Women adaptations has always been the George Cukor version of 1933. This film finds a different and new feel by telling the story of the sisters in a seamless way flipping from past to present. The sisters each represent a different way of finding your path and identity in a male-dominated world. Gerwig’s muse is ultimately Jo who has the same progression that we see from Gloria in Barbie.
  • The Exorcist: Believer (2023) (Directed by David Gordon Green): “God played a trick on you!” – Angela (while possessed). The plan is clear. Get David Gordon Green (Halloween [2018]) to revive your franchise with a film that stars one of the original cast members, a call back to the musical theme that defined the original film, and a young cast. Then set it up for a new trilogy. The best laid plans, as they say. It fell apart along the way. Ellen Burstyn is good but not great returning as Chris MacNeil. The first third of the film might be slow, but it is doing some tension building that’s good. The middle third rushes through the possession portion of the story that was so interesting in the original. The last third the director falls in love with his handheld camera, jump cuts, and sound design in place of letting the characters play out the scenes. Director William Friedkin understood that the story was as much about the priests and their faith as anything else. It’s called The Exorcist and not The Possessed Child. I don’t think they can pull two more films out of this, but I’ve been wrong before.

Best of the Rest

  • Leon Russell wrote “A Song for You” and it would have been easy to fall back on some of the other “better” voices that have covered his song like Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, or even Willie Nelson. I came across this live version and it hit me just the way I imagine he heard it in his head when he wrote it. His piano playing is not appreciated enough anymore. The melody is strong but it never overtakes his emotions. And vice versa. Love you, Leon.
  • The Super Bowl ads are starting to drop. I haven’t been on top of them the way I have been in previous years. I apologize to you for that. This Apple ad might only air somewhere near the Super Bowl but it’s short, sweet, and funny (other than encouraging helicopter parenting).
“Arrived at school”
  • Before we get to the Super Bowl, let’s take a minute to celebrate what Frito Lay’s did on Groundhog’s Day last Friday. Here is the series of eight ads that aired through the day on ABC. These are so much fun and show an understanding of the film that doesn’t get in the way of selling the product. We need more fun like this.
“Here we go again.”

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/3/2008, it was hot. I remember this so well. It was going to be 107 and we had two weeks over 100. Little did I realize we were going to be in store for 30 more of them. Sadly, we had just lost beloved guinea pig, Franklin, at two years of age. My #65 Favorite Movie Of All-Time was Shane (1953) directed by George Stevens. I admitted that I was late to this film because it didn’t star John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. This is slightly higher than I might rank it now but the influence on modern-day films is undeniable. Reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) and Big Brother (CBS) were dominating the summer but that was about to end. The Summer Olympics were starting and that would take over our television for two weeks. I made a list that was worth reconsidering.
    • 10. Near Dark (1987)
    • 9. Fearless Vampire Killers (1967): It’s funny and creepy at the same time. Polanski rocks!
    • 8. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
    • 7. The Addiction (1995): It’s really a morality tale about drug addiction, but it’s one of the better vampire films of the last decade.
    • 6. Nosferatu (1922): The Silent Era classic.
    • 5. Horror Of Dracula (1958): The Hammer classic.
    • 4. Salem’s Lot (1979): Underrated Stephen King adaptation.
    • 3. The Hunger (1983): Never made being undead seem so sexy. Break on through to the other side . . .
    • 2. Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979): Directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski is the scariest vampire of all-time. A slow film that makes your stomach hurt.
    • 1. Dracula (1931): Directed by Tod Browning. My first vampire film and still the one that creeped me out the most.
    • 10. Nosferatu (1922): It’s hard to leave this off the list because of the influence that F.W. Murnau’s film had on future vampire films.
    • 9. Martin (1977): I have to confess that I didn’t love this George Romero the first time through it. It has grown on me to the point that it is one of my favorites and very unique from the man most associated with zombies.
    • 8. Cronos (1993): This Guillermo Del Toro film is a very different take on the vampire mythos. This pushes the usual tropes of the genre into more of a philosophical vision of vampirism.
    • 7. The Addiction (1995): Director Abel Ferrara’s black and white film is partially art, partially genre tribute and makes the connection between the AIDS epidemic and vampirism in New York City.
    • 6. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996): Robert Rodriguez directs his friend Quentin Tarantino and the result is like buddies having a good time making a crime film that happens to have a heavy dose of vampires in order to show off even more blood effects.
    • 5. Near Dark (1987): I don’t think I’m the only one who has moved this film up their vampire film list in the past 30 years. The revisionist Western meets the Vampire genre. Director Kathryn Bigelow would take on much bigger issues in films in her future but this one has aged very well.
    • 4. Dracula (1931): What strikes me watching this now (as I do almost yearly) is how quickly it moves along. At 75 minutes, it loses some of the nuances of the themes that later films play up, but it’s still a frightening ride.
    • 3. The Hunger (1983): The lesbian vampire trope had been around for years, finding a peak in popularity in the early 1970s. The 1980’s art aesthetic and David Bowie put this over the top.
    • 2. Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979): Director Werner Herzog and his muse, Klaus Kinski, find a way to make a film that feels 40 years older than it is, but it also finds a way to bring the Black Death symbols to the death of the Seventies culture. It’s a cold world here. I know I am in the minority of people who rank this film among the best.
    • 1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992): Director Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation was mostly received with disdain in 1992. I didn’t have patience enough to watch it another time until a decade or so ago. It’s got a combination of what makes the other films on this list so good. It doesn’t turn its back on the most important elements of the story. It doesn’t rely on special effects to compensate for lack of content. It’s got great color usage that is more evident when compared against scenes that feel overpoweringly gray. Gary Oldman would not have been most people’s first choice for Dracula, but it works to perfection. Give it another chance if you haven’t recently.
  • This list shows off my lack of knowledge/interest in the genre over the past decade or more. I feel like it’s time to catch up on films like Thirst (2007), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) as just a couple off the top of my head. The modern-day politics and Pandemic should create a whole new boom in the vampire legacy and I think we are just seeing that trend start up again.
“I love the darkness and shadows.”

1974 in Review

A Vampire Rides This Train
  • February – Tomb Of Dracula #17 (Marvel): Cover by Gil Kane. Pencils by Gene Colan. This is part of the era when Blade and Count Dracula seemed to tussle every few issues.
  • February 4 – The SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) kidnaps Patty Hearst (19, granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst) in Berkeley, CA where Patty was a sophomore.
  • February 9 – M*A*S*H is approaching the end of its second season and ratings are great. It’s part of a strong CBS lineup on Saturday nights. This Jack Davis cover is among his best, in my opinion.
The M*A*S*H Menagerie

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Cheetos: Japanese BBQ

(Courtesy of Mallory Bourdo) The Asian versions of our salty cheesy snacks seem to favor savory flavors and not the cheesy part. This bag from Japan has some smelly but tasty meat flavors. This crunchy snack isn’t identifiable as a cheeto by flavor as much as shape. I enjoy these with an American soda like a Dr. Pepper. The flavor will stay with your breath for days afterwards.

H.E.B. Cheeseburger Ridged Potato Chips

I’ve had “Grilled Cheeseburger” chips and I’ve had “All-American Cheeseburger” chips. H.E.B. has kicked off Summer in February with Cheeseburger chips. Is 2024 destined to be the year of meat flavors? I wouldn’t be disappointed. These are some complex chips and I get most of the flavors of the burger, with maybe a little dominant taste centered on the pickles. Ridged chips with a solid crunch are typically my favorites. I need to get a couple bags to steal away until it is actual grilled burger or BLT season.

Oreo O’s: Mega Stuf

Post can always be counted on to package and repackage their greatest hits with slightly different versions to be able to slap “New” on the label. This flavor was on shelves in late 2019 through most of 2020. It’s back again in a time of year that doesn’t often offer new options. The regular Oreo O’s are the chocolate bits with the creme flavored topping. The Mega is the additional mini-marshmallow flavor. Problem is that they don’t carry the Oreo taste when the marshmallows are mixed in. A decent chocolate flavor but nothing special.

“Of the truth withholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hidin’, hiding
But now I’m so much better
If my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody because my love is in there hiding” – Leon Russell

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter