From the Couch Hole: Same Old Show, In a Different Town, On Another Time

Previously on FTCH, inside Llewlyn Davis they found Coca-Cola spiced with hot honey. The drive-away dolls have been searchin’ such a long time for war and peace. This last week was all staying caught up and prepping for a little vacation. Not long after you read this week’s Couch Hole, I’ll be headed out to visit both of my Northern-located children over the next week. Below is a sneak peak at Penny who I’ll see in a few days. Rest easy, dedicated readers, I’ve got plans for something for you to read next Sunday. This week the blade runner makes an arrival on Dune again in 2049 and the Shogun is wishing you were here. It’s a chocomania breaking out over the hot honey and brisket queso. Remember, FTCH’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out.

Pop Culture Ephemera

  • Dune: Part Two (2024) (Directed by Denis Villeneuve): “Lead them to paradise.” – Paul. The film starts mid-battle with Paul “Skywalker” Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) leading the Fremen “Rebel Alliance” against the Emperor “Palpatine” (Christopher Walken) and his Baron Harkonnen “Vader” (Stellan Skarsgard) on planet “Hoth” Arrakis. Paul is later reunited with his buddy, Gurney “Solo” Halleck and will have to eventually fight a battle with Feyd-Rautha “Fett” (Austin Butler). This all starts to feel familiar and yet all new at the same time. This continues the same series of excellent editorial decisions that Villeneuve has made over two films on what to leave in and take out of the original material. It’s a beautiful film that continues the world building of the first film. With the assumption that you know the characters, world, and politics, the second film throws lots of plot development at you in short periods of time. That’s where this film resembles the best parts of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the characters are set in our minds and it feels like we immediately slip back into a comfortable pair of slippers. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s a really good film. My only drawback might be the chemistry between Chalamet and Zendaya. It feels forced upon us based on one scene with synchronized walking and a few exchanged glances. Those of us familiar with the next book in the series know there needs to be a believable connection. That said, this is still going to be a nomination beast come next year’s Oscars.
Buy Dune Blu-ray
  • Shogun – “Anjin” (2024) (S.1 E.1) (FX): “What sort of man wields power in a place like this? The one who schemes in the open, or the one you never see?” – Rodrigues. I watched the Shogun (1980) mini-series when it aired on NBC. I read the huge book it was based upon by James Clavell the next summer in 1981. It is as much responsible for introducing me to Japanese movies and culture as any other source. Set in 1600 feudal Japan at a nexus in time, the Japanese have had the death of a Shogun and factions are fighting to take over. The Portuguese Catholics have already laid claim to trade with Japan and now the English and Dutch Protestants have arrived. This is a fast-moving, wonderfully paced first episode. The scenery and acting is as good as any show currently running. The choice of Cosmo Jarvis for Anjin-san aka John Blackthorne is a perfect successor to Richard Chamberlain’s performance in the original. He’s younger and where has this confident, booming voice been? Hiroyuki Sanada as Toranaga and Nestor Carbonell (Lost, although it took me all episode to place him) as Rodrigues fill out the main characters of this first episode very well. FX produces as many high-quality shows as MAX. I’m rarely this excited for a completely new series and since it’s been 43 years, I’m not too worried about changes from the book to the screen.
Buy Shogun (1980) Blu-ray
  • Chicago – “Wishing You Were Here” (1974) (from Chicago VII): “Sleepless hours and dreamless nights and far aways.” Years after “Homeward Bound” (Paul Simon) and almost a decade before “Faithfully” (Journey), Chicago’s Peter Cetera penned a powerful song about being on the road away from the love of his life. The power of the long distances between lovers is always good fodder for a sentimental song. The Beach Boys influence extends beyond just their appearance as background harmonies. The song could fit easily into their releases from the early parts of that decade. In fact, the Beach Boys seem to cover the song in their concerts more than Chicago plays it as part of theirs. This was the last huge hurrah for the original Chicago lineup. Peter Cetera is becoming more of a leading man, but the boundaries they push on this double album are pretty impressive.
“Even though you’re far away, you’re on my mind.” – Chicago
  • Arrival (2016) (Directed by Denis Villaneuve): “But now I’m not so sure I believe in beginnings and endings. There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived.” – Louise Banks. Where has this movie been for the past eight years? I know that it was positively reviewed, but I didn’t know I’d enjoy it half as much as I did. Nobody explained to me that this science fiction film isn’t just an alien film, but it’s primarily about linguistics. Starting on the day that twelve spaceships landed in twelve cities around the world (after a brief introduction scene of Louise [Amy Adams] and her daughter), the story doesn’t waste time getting down to the meat of the plot. Louise and Ian (Jeremy Renner) are recruited by Col. Weber (Forest Whitaker) to help translate the alien language. I love the cerebral science-fiction film movement. I’m thinking of the contemporary The Martian (2015) too. The film is well paced except for a lull through the middle when there are scenes of people thinking. Amy Adams is perfectly cast to bring believable intelligence to her role with emotional seriousness of the situation. The conclusion to the film demands some of this focus on solving the meaning of language issues. I don’t have any complaints with the film, and I’m happy to find such an enjoyable film that I didn’t know much about going into it. The circumstances of the aliens appearance could birth a number of prequels and sequels.
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017) (Directed by Denis Villaneuve): “Pain reminds you the joy you felt was real. More joy, then! Do not be afraid.” – Niander Wallace. It will surprise most of my constant readers that this was my first viewing of the sequel to the film I consider myself quite an aficionado. I’ve watched multiple versions in the theaters and at one time or another owned the different versions and listened to all of the commentaries. There are multiple ways to do a sequel. You can just pick up the plot where it left off and tell a larger story (see Dune). You can do a reboot that captures the characters that people enjoyed without having to worry about continuity (see Friday the 13th). This is the third and more rare kind of sequel. This film skips forward a couple decades. Ryan Gosling is “K”, a new version of a Blade Runner. He is to this film what Amy Adams was to Arrival (2016). He asks the right questions that the viewer wants to know. Jared Leto is another standout as the mercurial Niander Wallace. It’s hard to talk too much about the plot without spoilers. Each step along the way peels away another layer of the onion. It’s a perfect way to take up the themes and questions about humanity from the original film. Villaneuve even manages to solve some of the logic problems from the first film. This needs two to three more viewings at the least, including at least one on the big screen.

Best of the Rest

  • I mentioned above the Beach Boys influence on “Wishing You Were Here.” There are a few surviving live performances with the two groups performing together. The Boys are minus Brian Wilson (the major influence of the musical structure of the song) who was taking care of his mental issues at the time.
“But I’ve got my job to do.” – Chicago
  • It’s as if this Dune franchise just came out of the blue for so many people. I love that there are people who have enough time in their lives to put together videos like this. We’ve internalized the references to the point that I had heard many of these and not even registered the reference. Props to the folks at Nerdist.
And Then There Were Dune
  • Black Panther (2018) director Ryan Coogler is attached to the reboot of a “diverse” X-Files series. Unfortunately there won’t be any Chris Carter involvement. Disney and Fox don’t need his permission to reboot the series but at least they put him in the loop. The problem is logistics. Chris has said he would do the series again with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson involved. After the last season, Gillian kindly said that she’s retired from playing Agent Dana Scully. I’m doubtful of the ability to capture the magic again, but I’m not putting it off without seeing cast and stories.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 9/7/2008, I had worked a 90-degree football game at UNT all day on Saturday so I was looking for a relaxing day. Christian’s football starts in a week. By the next month, we were expecting the first Blu-ray players to come in under $399. My #6 Favorite Film of All-Time was Casablanca (1942). It seems pretty run of the mill to put this in your Top Ten, but it holds up. I’d recommend seeing it in theaters to really get the experience. It’s still right there for me and I won’t turn down a viewing. The new television season had some promise. I was planning on watching True Blood (HBO) and Fringe (FOX) and little did I know both would become huge favorites of mine. My list from that week interests me to consider again.
      • 10. Dark Star (1974)
      • 9. The Fog (1980)
      • 8. Starman (1984)
      • 7. They Live (1988)
      • 6. Christine (1983)
      • 5. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
      • 4. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): A tribute to one of my favorite films, Rio Bravo (1959).
      • 3. Halloween (1978): I called it a virtual tie between #2 and #3.
      • 2. Escape from New York (1981)
      • 1. The Thing (1982): No more to say. It gets better with each viewing.
      • 10. Dark Star (1974): It’s a low-budget bridge between 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Alien (1979). A fascinating look at what Carpenter could do with a minuscule budget.
      • 9. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): The more invested that I’ve become in the Western genre, the more I want this movie to have some depth. Still a great film but potential for so much more.
      • 8. Christine (1983): A wonderful adaptation of the Stephen King novel. Keith Gordon is well cast in the lead. Now that I’ve read the book a couple of times, I question some of the editorial choices in what was left out.
      • 7. Starman (1984): Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen save this romantic film. It’s hard to dislike this film. It’s unique, even for the director that dabbles in different genres.
      • 6. The Fog (1980): A great cast including Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Adrienne Barbeau. It’s a ghost story that creeps without relying on huge special effects.
      • 5. Big Trouble in Little China (1986): Kurt Russell is so charming in his role that it’s easy to overlook the holes in the story.
      • 4. In the Mouth of Madness (1995): The story rests somewhere between Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. I appreciate this more with each viewing.
      • 3. The Thing (1982): It’s such a solid Top Three that it’s not a slight to put this down to third and to also say it’s still in my Top Ten Horror films of All-Time.
      • 2. Escape from New York (1981): Carpenter channels his Leone “Man with No Name” trilogy influences into what is essentially a futuristic Western. Kurt Russell makes a compelling character with Snake who is somewhere between Toshiro Mifune and Clint Eastwood.
      • 1. Halloween (1978): The film isn’t the first of the genre, but it has come to define the genre. The movie captures that late ’70s feeling of disaffected teens that has defined film since then. The trailer itself is a work of art. Seeing this film again in theaters a couple of years ago, it’s best experienced in the dark with strangers.
    • The “worst” of John Carpenter is probably a tie for the two of his films that I’ve only watched once. I can’t decide which of Memoirs of An Invisible Man (1992) or Ghosts of Mars (2001) is his least engaging work to me. I’ve probably watched all of these again at least once since that first list and I’m surprised how little it has changed. My opinion on his work changes only as I watch some of his influences as comparison.
“A small American town”

1974 in Review

Death . . . At the dawn of time !
  • March – Marvel Premiere #14 (Marvel): Written by Steve Englehart. Art by Frank Brunner. There’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes story here as the ending of the story suggests that Cagliostro might be God. Stan Lee’s fear that Christian readers would be offended was offset by a “fake” letter to the pages in a future issue by Englehart meant to satisfy Lee without issuing an apology to offended readers.
  • March 7 – Reigning Miss World Marjorie Wallace was forced to vacate her crown because of failure to “maintain a first-class image.” Her problem was caused by dating high-profile celebrities.
  • March 11 – Gordie Howe debuted with the Detroit Red Wings in 1946. He retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1974, Gordie joined his sons, Mark and Marty, with the Houston Aeros of the WHA, winning two championships in a row, scoring over 100 points two seasons in a row and winning the 1974 MVP of the league.
No. 1 at 45

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Krispy Kreme Chocomania

This isn’t the first time that Krispy Kreme has partnered with Hershey’s or dabbled with flavors based upon candy bars. The Krispy Kreme donut exists in its own world for me. It’s best hot in-store. I don’t typically buy it anywhere else. The collaboration with Hershey’s adds what tastes rich but generic. Even the one filled with Special Dark Hershey’s Chocolate didn’t thrill me like I had hoped.

Utz Mike’s Hot Honey

Utz is often first to market with some of the popular trends in potato flavor. These Mike’s Hot Honey chips were out a year ago before the hot honey trend really broke open. These are a quality chip. The flavor is almost like a tangy bbq chip. There’s more heat than the Lay’s brand but not enough to leave you with a burning sensation. Utz chips have a great consistency. If you are interested in the trend, track down a bag of these guys.

H.E.B. Loaded Waffle Fries Brisket Queso

I’m not as much of a fan of making French fries, waffle fries, or even American fries at home because they are so good out of the fryer in a restaurant, especially loaded ones. This kit from H.E.B. is for those who want a little delayed satisfaction. It’s going to take you 20 minutes to bake the waffle fries and then another few minutes to finish the toppings. The results are pretty tasty, especially the brisket itself. I’m just not sure that paying an extra $3 to have it made for me while I drink my beer wouldn’t be the better option. Leave your loaded fries to the professionals.

“And I’d like to change my life, and you know I would
Just to be with you tonight, baby, if I could
But I’ve got my job to do, and I do it well
So I guess that’s how it is (ooh-ooh-ooh)” – Chicago

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter