Previously on FTCH, there was Billy Summers trying not to be caught and Columbo trying to catch them if he can. Steve and Ali wanted to getaway and the crackers were sweet and salty. Looking forward to seeing my daughter this afternoon – here’s her kitty, Penny, to tide us all over. The week ahead is full-on summer with days all in the 90s. I’ll be in California by the time we hook up again next weekend. This week is an odd mixture like cinnamon toast and charms that are lucky. There’s a striptease, a divorce, and a funeral. There are hot fries and raspberry gummies. Sorry, Charlie, at FTCH we want blogs that taste good, not blogs with good taste.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Carl Hiaasen – Strip Tease (1993) (Knopf Doubleday): “Again, Urbana had offered valuable counsel: ‘A nice smile beats forty-inch jugs any day!” – Hiaasen. This clever and funny title from the Clinton Era is much more in the Elmore Leonard style of crime novels than the “One Last Caper” book and film I talked of last week. I went into this without expectations, not having seen the film adaptation. Hiaasen first builds characters. There is a crime right away but the escalation into murders doesn’t happen until later in the book. Erin and her ex-husband, Darrell, are well executed. It’s the cast that revolves around the Eager Beaver that drive the novel. I love the Shad (the bouncer at the club) and Dilbeck (the lovesick, troubled Congressman) characters and how they play against type. Where Hiaasen excels is with treating outrageous scenes as if it’s just another day in Florida. The pasta wrestling, the vaseline boots, the wolf dogs, and the number of bugs in food products are all almost throwaway mentions. They help give a great balance between the humor and what turns into a mystery where we know who did the killing but it seems so complicated that only at the end do we see how it unravels. A very satisfying read.
- Riverdale – “Ch.102: Death at a Funeral” (S.6 E.7) (2022): As the other CW shows are dispensing with superpowered heroes, Riverdale diverted into an Unbreakable-style superpowers storyline. After starting the season with an alt.future Rivervale story for six episodes, it has returned to the previous plots. At some point, the producers must have determined that fans of the show are also fans of WWE. The over-the-top stories and characters are often not far from the wrestling ring. There are costumed characters and main characters turn heel and become the bad guys every half season. By far the worst story going on is Hermione Lodge as a Real Housewife character. It’s not interesting or funny a bit. The superhero angle for Archie and Betty seems to be settling itself already. The thing about this show is that it’s made for viewers with very little attention span. There are a ton of stories and they each get a few well spaced scenes each episode. The more I think about it, maybe this show is being fully written by robots.
- The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now?” (1984) (from Hatful of Hollow): “When you say it’s going to happen now / When exactly do you mean?” – The Smiths. This is only a stretch if you don’t believe that Morrissey was the driving spirit of the Smiths because I’ll be seeing Morrissey in just a week at the Cruel World Festival. This song is a Top-Ten of the Eighties for me. A song about being shy and not fitting in and having a bad night at the club where you just feel like a misfit who doesn’t belong anywhere. This was a siren call for shy people like me in 1984. Throw in Johnny Marr’s Bo Diddley-inspired riff. It’s one of the most recognizable guitar sounds of the decade. The title comes from a feminist call of the day “How Soon Is Now?” and the memorable “I am the son and the heir / Of nothing in particular” comes from proto-feminist writer, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, “To be born the son of a Middlemarch manufacturer, and inevitable heir to nothing in particular”. This song has aged well and I hope to hear it next week.
- The Cowboys (1972) (Directed by Mark Rydell): “I’m proud of ya… All of ya. Every man wants his children to be better’n he was. You are.” – Wil Anderson. Part of the appeal of this movie is that John Wayne is the John Wayne that we hope he would be in old age. In 1972, the Western was being reinvented almost every month. Then there were pockets of cinema where it wasn’t but really it was in more deceiving ways. This isn’t the John Wayne Westerns of the mid-1960’s. There’s a John Williams score and a bunch of young heroes to take over the battle of the older generation. They are forced into battle and discover skills they didn’t know they had. I’m not saying this is Star Wars but this is the type of Western that George Lucas would retell a few years later. It’s hard to tell if this film is about the end of a generation with John Wayne or the coming-of-age of a new generation. It’s a film that bounces between lighthearted and serious and adventure with ease. It’s a view of the genre that just doesn’t exist today.
- Divorce Italian Style (1961) (Directed by Pietro Germi): I have been familiar with Marcello Mastroianni for a long time. I had held off watching this film mostly because I wasn’t familiar with the director and wasn’t sure what the plot was about. Fefe (Mastroianni) has been married to his wife, Rosalia, for years in a sleepy town in Sicily where very little happens from year to year. Life has a slow inertia towards death for Fefe until he falls in love with his 16-year-old cousin, Angela. Fefe’s is stuck in a society where he cannot divorce his wife. He devises a plan to drive his wife into the arms of another man and then murder her in a fit of passion in order to free himself from the marriage. The comedy of errors flows from this plan not going exactly as planned. Fefe also has an active imagination about ways he might get Rosalia out of his life. The humor here is wonderful and I was completely taken with the characters and the wholesomeness of a movie that is about murdering one’s spouse. I loved all of the characters and was laughing out loud as things keep going awry for Fefe. That will teach me to skip a film because I don’t find the director famous enough. I now have a new Italian director to fixate upon.
Best of the Rest
- The cancellation of Batwoman and The Legends of Tomorrow last week leaves just The Flash standing (for one more season) in the Arrowverse. No one was more doubtful than me about the launch of Arrow in 2012 until I saw the first few scenes at Comic Con that year. The shows often suffered from message creep in their later seasons. Both Supergirl and Black Lightning and to a lesser extent Batwoman suffered from attempts to make social lessons instead of stick to established stories and motivations. The one that I was an unabashed fan of was The Legends of Tomorrow. While starting off as a direct copy of Doctor Who, this show turned into sheer chaotic fun over the past few seasons, especially after the addition to the permanent cast of John Constantine. This article is a good overview of what made the series fun and what I’ll miss of the Arrowverse: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: A Eulogy For The Best Arrowverse Show
- Because you’ve always wanted a pickles and whipped cream Whopper or one with fries and strawberry ice cream, Burger King in Germany is offering the “cravings menu” for pregnant women. Here’s to you, future mothers, and your fish fingers with applesauce needs.
- For Mother’s Day, I’d like to give a shout out to all the Dog Moms out there.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 12/10/2006, it was a relaxing day at home with a busy week of Buyback and Graduation ahead of me at work. Christmas shows were dominating the television. Amazing Race 10 was coming to a fun end and I was enjoying the holiday episode of The Office. There was an award show that I mentioned that I know I didn’t watch until this week.
- Spike TV’s Video Game Awards 2006 (SPIKE): It’s easy to forget that this channel ever existed. Everything about this channel and these awards feel that they wouldn’t have survived the #metoo environment. These awards, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, cater pretty solely to male gamers. The ads are for horror films, shoes, cars, Wranglers (thank you Dale, Jr.), and other video games. The big event of the year was the X-Box 360 and PS3 (although Sam pretty much nails the features of the distant PS4) release and lots of movie/TV-related games that all look very dated. Presenters include 50 Cent, Kurt Angle, Tia Tequila, and most of the cast of Family Guy and Lost. Big winners include “Diner Dash”, “Lego Star Wars” and “The Elder Scrolls IV”. These off-brand award shows capture the zeitgeist of the moment as well as any other historical document.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch / Lucky Charms: Mix!
After years of adding flavors and shapes to cereals, the marketing people have finally just said “To heck with it” and started dumping two cereals together in a bag. Don’t expect this to be the last time you see this over the next couple years. On the surface, I’m sure you are thinking what I initially thought. Namely “Why?” Secondly “Yuck.” In reality, it’s not a bad mix at all and I made it through the box pretty quickly. The end result is like a cinnamon-flavored oat cereal with marshmallow bits. Try it before they replace it with much worse combinations. Definitely before the 2025 release of “Oops Everything”.
Tapatio Hot Fries
Tapatio Hot Sauce has worked its way into Doritos, Cheetos and Fritos over the years. This is the first run through hot fries to my knowledge. I’m not a big fan of the taste of these corn and potato snacks. There’s a good crunch but the picante sauce reads as too vinegary in the aftertaste. I wouldn’t blame you for skipping these and just get yourself an order or real french fries and sprinkle some Tapatio over them.
Haribo Godbears Anniv. Edition: Blue Raspberry, Pineapple, Watermelon
The 100th Anniversary of Haribo Gummy Bears brings three flavors in single flavor bags and in special editions of the mixes. I picked up the separate bags to test out the flavors. The best of this bunch was definitely the blue raspberry. A good sweet raspberry flavor. The pineapple is only vaguely flavored. The watermelon is a great idea but they just don’t get the taste correct either. I know others like Albanese or Black Forest better because they are softer bears. This was my first brand and I’m mostly loyal to them. I hope that the blue raspberry is a permanent addition.
“How can you say
I go about things the wrong way?
I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does” – The Smiths