From the Couch Hole: Keep the Vampires from Your Door

Previously on FTCH, Furiosa met with the Idea Man to say, “Please let me get what I want.” That included a song from Danny Kaye and a trip to Burger King listening to Depeche Mode after seeing The Muppet Movie. The week has been a disappointment for Dallas Mavs fans. It’s so hard to get to the Finals that it almost feels worse to lose this close to the end. A full week of work and heat slows down the world. This week Ferrari drives through the purple rain to a quiet place. Frankie went to Hollywood and the best Muppets showed the power of love. Remember, FTCH, don’t leave home without it.

Where is the dog?

Pop Culture Ephemera

“What I’m saying is, when a mother interferes in this business, death usually follows.” – Enzo Ferrari
  • Ferrari (2023) (Directed by Michael Mann): “When we win, I can’t see my cars for shots of starlets’ asses. When we lose, you’re a lynch mob!” – Enzo Ferrari. Michael Mann has made a career of telling the stories of flawed characters. Now over 80 years old, Mann finds some simpatico in the story of Enzo Ferrari during the Summer of 1957. Auto racing is interesting. It is one of the sports that translates well to film visually, viscerally, and is full of symbolism. The fast-paced race scenes offset what is a little too plodding of a plot. Adam Driver is wonderful as Ferrari, Penelope Cruz is even better as his controlling wife, and Shailene Woodley is understated strong as his mistress. I could have done without the Italian accents. The film gets lost in some of the clerical issues of the company. It is strongest when we get to see how the man and the machine are so linked in life. The success of the car is how Enzo defines his life. I like Mann’s works, and while this isn’t a pinnacle film, it’s a well-crafted film that will last longer than most of its contemporaries.
Buy Ferrari Blu-ray
  • Crime Story – “Pilot” (1986) (S.1 E.1/2) (NBC): “You hurt anybody else, when this is over, I’m gonna find what you love the most and I’m gonna kill it. Your mother, your father, your dog… don’t matter what it is, it’s dead.” – Lt. Torello. Michael Mann had produced the expensive but successful first season of Miami Vice (1984-1989) and NBC was looking for another hit. NBC was the police and crime show mecca of the time including Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) and going back to Police Story (1973-1980). None of them looked like this show. The show looks like a movie (this first double episode directed by New York specialist, Abel Ferrara, was released theatrically for promotion), the cast is extensive with lots of future stars and the show does a great job of evoking the 1962/63 setting. The idea was to cover multiple decades from Chicago to Las Vegas with each season being a 22-hour story. Television wasn’t doing this at the time. I love the rivalry between Dennis Farina as Lt. Torello as he tries to take down Anthony Denison as Ray Luca. I missed this show because it was mostly on Friday nights while I was in college. I’m hooked now. This is probably an excellent lead-in to finally watching The Sopranos (1999-2007).
Buy The Essential Frankie Goes to Hollywood CD
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “The Power of Love” (1984) (from Welcome to the Pleasuredome): “When the chips are down, I’ll be around / With my undying, death-defying love for you.” 1984 was the year of Frankie (when it wasn’t the year of Prince). This was the third and often-forgotten run of singles off the debut album after “Relax” and “Two Tribe.” The song suffered from bad timing. It was released just weeks before “Don’t They Know It’s Christmas” took over the airwaves, stealing the oxygen from any other new release. Yet, somehow this is often referred to as a holiday song which I don’t understand from the lyrics. There’s a good extended version of the song (as with most Frankie songs from this album), but I prefer the simple pop sensibilities of this album version.
“This time we go sublime / Lovers entwine, divine, divine.” – FGTH
  • Purple Rain (1984) (Directed by Albert Magnoli): “Nobody digs your music but yourself!” – Billy. I was at the Maple Hill Mall Cinema on opening day in 1984, and I was at Flix Brewhouse for the 40th Anniversary in 2024. Lots has changed in our society, music, and films in-between those viewings. This was the pinnacle of what MTV wrought on our culture. There just weren’t films that would show whole songs like this. It opens with “Let’s Go Crazy” and the Time doing “Jungle Love” before we even get an idea of what the plot will be. The conclusion of the film is a nine-minute version of “Purple Rain” including a multi-minute guitar solo. There’s more time left in the movie? Okay, let’s just let Prince perform two more songs to pad out the film. It’s not perfect by any measure. Yet it’s perfect for 1984 and still holds up well as a snapshot of our musical world in that summer. It’s beautifully shot, and as bad as the acting can be, the actors are irresistible. You can’t take your eyes off of Prince. The camera eats him up. There’s a ill-advised family violence subplot and some misogyny that hasn’t aged well. The music saves it all. Prince wouldn’t ever be able to recreate this success onscreen, but we have this as a testament to his power.
  • A Quiet Place Part II (2021) (Directed by John Krasinski): “Run!” – Evelyn. Krasinski is still finding his inner Spielberg on this sequel. There’s more dialogue and more monsters this time. It’s like a lost sequel to War of the Worlds (2005). The film starts back on Day One. This is the best part of the film for me, and it gives me hope for the next film in the trilogy. It then jumps back to the end of the first film. As the family leaves their home to find other survivors, the universe expands but Krasinski keeps the threads from getting too far from the original premise. There aren’t love stories or funny asides, the plot is always about survival and the threat that at any moment the aliens are going to drop from the sky. It doesn’t live up to the first film, but I like the progress that Krasinski is making as a director. This is a fun journey.
Cinema Sentries

Best of the Rest

  • In 2012, John Lewis Christmas advert, a snowman makes a journey across the world to be with the snowperson he loves. The best Christmas advertisements have two things in common: they deal with love and have a timeless soundtrack. The original version of “The Power of Love” is beautiful but it’s all about that ’80s sound. This ad uses a cover by a young singer, Gabrielle Aplin. Her voice is haunting and gives the ad an ethereal, timeless feel. This ad could air today and I wouldn’t question it.
“A force from above.”
  • The extended version adds a depth of strings and synth that make it feel like it belongs as the love theme from a film from 1984. This was one of my favorite things about bands like Frankie, Art of Noise, Depeche Mode, New Order, etc. They had album tracks that I loved for 3:30 and then there would be 12 minutes of a remix that reinvented the song but was still just as incredible.
“Make love your goal.”
  • I’ll pre-apologize for this Frank Sidebottom cover within a medley of 1984 songs (at 1:36 to be exact). You are probably best off to not listen to this. Whatever you do, don’t fall into a Frank Sidebottom sink hole. I can’t take that kind of responsibility for anyone with a fragile mind.
“The very next day you threw it away.”

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 12/14/2008, I had just finished that long week of Buyback and the 13-hour Saturday of Graduation. We had one week left until a family trip to Michigan/Ohio for the holidays. My #60 Favorite Film of All-Time was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). As much as I love Frank Capra (and that’s quite a bit), I don’t think this is a Top 100 film for me any longer. Jimmy Stewart and Claude Rains are both at the top of their game here. There’s just something lacking that would put it just out of the Top 100. On the television, Survivor: Gabon (CBS) was ending and I was questioning the future of the franchise. There was a new development over the past few years called “Fall Finale”, and I was looking forward to it for Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles (FOX) and Heroes (NBC). In a delayed sync, my list would have been more appropriate last week, but it will be interesting to see if I’ve changed much in the 16 years hence.
      • 10. PEPE THE KING PRAWN: He’s still kind of new, but I love him.
      • 9. SWEDISH CHEF
      • 7. THE ELECTRIC MAYHEM: Because I can’t decide between Dr. Teeth or Animal.
      • 6. BEAUREGARD: The best janitor ever.
      • 5. SWEETUMS: I never could figure out what this huge monster was doing in any scene.
      • 4. FOZZIE BEAR
      • 3. ROWLF: One of the first Muppets and still one of the wisest.
      • 2. KERMIT THE FROG: It ain’t easy being green. You got that right.
      • 1. GONZO. My hero. I guess I relate to him more than any of the others.
      • 10. THE ELECTRIC MAYHEM: My appreciation of Dr. Teeth has increased over the years as the audience’s best friend. He’s the one who will turn to the camera and explain just what Animal is saying or what is happening in the story.
      • 9. RIZZO THE RAT: In the scheme of things, he’s also a relative newcomer. As you watch the new properties, he and Gonzo have taken on much more important roles.
      • 8. PEPE THE KING PRAWN; His best bit is mispronouncing other character’s names.
      • 7. BERT & ERNIE: Can you take one without the other? Bert and his turtleneck underneath his v-neck is my hero. I can identify with anyone with a paperclip collection.
      • 6. BIG BIRD: The simple innocence of the character is exactly what was needed on his shows.
      • 5. ROWLF THE DOG: His wisdom is deep.
      • 4. FOZZIE BEAR: He is the character that makes me sad the most often. He is the bear of big dreams and just wants validation from his friends.
      • 3. KERMIT THE FROG: The default leader of any group that you can assemble because of his personality and strength through the years. He’s never more funny though than when he is losing it.
      • 2. GROVER: He redefined meta in The Monster at the End of This Book.
      • 1. GONZO: My love has only grown for this character over the ensuing years. His dedication to Camilla and he’s the risk taker I would love to be. He delivers the best two minutes of The Muppet Show in Season Two (see below).
    • There are lots of characters that you might feel are left off the list. Not one Fraggle or Dark Crystal character made the cut. The biggest one that I have just never bonded with is Miss Piggy. I appreciate her, but she doesn’t elicit the laughter that the others do for me.
“I wish I had a house of stone that looked down on the sea.”

1974 in Review

“The battle to the finish with the Molten Man!”
  • June – Amazing Spider-Man #133 (Marvel): Cover by John Romita, Sr. Written by Gerry Conway. Art by Ross Andru. I was never a fan of the Molten Man. Here you have a villain who dies by diving into cold water.
  • June 12 – The NHL awarded expansion teams to Seattle and Denver to debut in 1976-77. Both would fail to get funding, so we would never see the Seattle Totems. The Kansas City Scouts would move in 1976 to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies. It would take until 2021 for Seattle to get the Seattle Kraken.
  • June 9 – Dotty Dripple ends an almost 40-year run in newspapers. The strip is easily confused with the thematic and stylistic similar Blondie.
“You mean feed him worms . . . and teach him to fly?”

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Eggo Fully Loaded: Chocolate Chip Brownie

I knew the potential for disappointment was there. There was a wonderfully gooey cover picture of dripping chocolate. There was the name “fully loaded” too. In the end, I was fully disappointed. It’s pretty much a Chocolate Chip Brownie Eggo. It’s not overly chocolate or even that much brownie. It’s just that generic Kellogg’s chocolate. Next serving I might put Hershey’s chocolate syrup on it.

Fritos: Ranch (Yellowstone)

They have Cool Ranch in the Pepsi/Frito Lay/Fritos vaults. I’m guessing that this re-release wouldn’t have gotten the Yellowstone tie-in with Cool Ranch in the title. It’s been since 2016 that the flavor graced shelves and it’s still a beloved one. I’m of the opinion that classic Fritos are the best Fritos and other than BBQ, I don’t need much to be added to this perfect corn chip. Worth a single bag purchase but until we get the Cool Ranch spices involved, it’s just a quirky anomaly.

Outshine Fruit Bars: Pineapple/Watermelon/Mango

This variety pack doesn’t include any new flavors of the Outshine Bars. They are just grouped here together for the first time. I wanted to use the release to mention that this is the best popsicle (known here as just a “fruit bar”) on the market. I like the pineapple, but the best experience here is to spread some tajin on your mango fruit bar (trust me here). Nothing better on a hot summer afternoon than a frozen fruit bar.

“Flame on, burn desire
Love with tongues of fire
Purge the soul
Make love your goal” – FGTH

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

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