Previously on FTCH, we discussed not Apple Jacks and not the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. We solved a caper with Muppets and a missing body story told in French. There was a bye week last week, so thanks for hanging with me and maybe you read an old episode last Sunday to keep the tradition. I’m coming off a really stressful and anxiety-ridden week at work. It’s good for me to try to reset mentally by writing you, dear reader, this missive. And as we always say, “You are in good hands with FTCH.”
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Blithe Spirit (1945) (Directed by David Lean): This film based upon the Noel Coward hit play is even narrated by the author. David Lean is an interesting director to adapt a play to the big screen. He’s often considered one of the top-ten directors of all-time and is known for his photographic style of directing (a huge influence on Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick). His style translates well to a character-driven, dialogue-heavy play like this one. The quick edits make it feel modern. The play was popular for decades but has fallen out of favor. The fantasy comedy ghost story with the spirit of the ex-wife and the new couple functions best in scenes where the words are flying back and forth. Rex Harrison eats up the scenery and looks to be having a great time. Margaret Rutherford plays the medium but it’s hard for me to see her as anything but the role of Miss Marple that she would later play for a decade it seems. Lean is on quite a run as he’ll do Brief Encounter this same year and his two Dickens adaptations after that, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. This is a product of its day and I can see why the remake was roundly panned.
- M*A*S*H “Fade Out, Fade In” (S.6 E.1-2) (1977) Season Six starts with an hour-long episode that is split into two episodes for syndication sake. Much like the departures of previous characters like Trapper John, Frank Burns goes crazy in Seoul after Hot Lip’s wedding but ends up getting promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and sent back to Indiana to run a VA hospital. This necessitates the arrival of Charles Emerson Winchester III (David Ogden Stiers) who sets up in the Swamp as a foil to Hawkeye and B.J. Clearly the same sort of jokes are still going to be in play except with a more intelligent doctor to play off. This marks a movement into the series middle age. We’re halfway through the show’s run and more and more the humor is being paired against a “drama of the week” story usually centered around a patient or visitor. The other change is an interesting addition of a guitar refrain of the theme song over the end credits.
- Poco – “You Are the One” (from From the Inside) (1971): Poco was on their third album by 1971 and struggling a bit to find their sound without founding member, Jim Messina. The country-rock sound is still developing in 1971. This album messes around with being in the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young category and then crosses over into a proto-Eagles sound when Timothy B. Schmit is given the reins. For a group with three guitarists and from what I can tell seems to be four or five vocalists, the best moments are when they simplify it like on “You Are the One”. I love the toe-tapping qualities to this love song. Feels like you are sitting around the dive bar late on a Saturday night listening to your friends jam on their instruments.
- McCartney 3, 2, 1 – “Like Professors in a Laboratory” (S.1 E.3) (2021): “It’s like we were professors in a laboratory just discovering all these little things.” – Paul. This series is the most fascinating of all Beatles-related things I’ve seen in the past couple years. The six episode series bounces around with Rick Rubin as our “everyman” leading Paul through conversations about the songs. Rick’s instinct for music is obviously top notch but his questions feel like what we would ask if we really put some thought into it. The episodes don’t go through songs in chronological order which really works for the interest level. This episode is my favorite for the way it goes through some of the more experimental songs. I learned more about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” in five minutes than I’ve ever known including the Moog Synth on the song. Paul dancing in the studio as they dissect “Live and Let Die” gives that song a completely fresh take. Paul’s enthusiasm after all these years to just talk about the music instead of the fame of the Beatles is really refreshing. The breaking down of these songs, often instrument by instrument, is like a Master Class on the Beatles.
- The Darjeeling Limited (2007) (Directed by Wes Anderson): The fifth film from Wes Anderson isn’t his best (The Royal Tenenbaums) or the funniest (Rushmore) or even the most technically proficient (The Grand Budapest Hotel). But if you want a great primer on the whole experience of a Wes Anderson film, it’s all here. I wrote extensively about this film back in 2008 and I just revisited it to see if it has held up. Spoiler alert: it does. Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody are three brothers meeting up for a long train ride in India a year after the death of their father. The trip is a spiritual journey for each of the flawed and injured brothers. India as a setting is also a beautiful backdrop that is so full of colors that if feels like a painted set on a stage at times. The trip breaks down the brothers as they lose their baggage, literally and metaphorically. This is the first writing with Roman Coppola that Wes has done and losing some of the quirkiness of writing with Owen Wilson, this sets the tone for what we have seen in all the Wes Anderson movies since this one. Don’t try to read too much into the journey of the brothers, just ride the train.
Best of the Rest
- So you happen to have a job called “snake catcher” and you’re shopping the sssspice aisle at the grocery store and you come across a 10ft diamond python. She went to her car to get her “snake bag” which is good because you always want to bring your own snake bag because they charge you $1.00 a piece to use their snake bags. I’m a little concerned that she released the snake “in a field near the store.” The natural follow-up is “How close?” I would be looking over my shoulder next time I shop for parsssley, ssssage, rossssemary and thyme.
- Does KISS know that celebrities are back into putting their blood into products? First, you have to somehow reconcile the words “Tony Hawk has partnered with Liquid Death.” Tony’s blood has been infused into 500 skateboards. The process is not clear to me but these can’t be the first skateboards carrying Tony’s blood around on them. After the media shock stories of Lil Nas X’s blood-infused “Satan Shoes”, it’s interesting that this story is presented more bemused than outraged.
- The collision of two of the most active brands this Summer for new flavors should provide some chuckles at the store if not inspire some ironic purchases. Mountain Dew and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have combined their marketing powers to create a product that no one has requested, even in jest. This sweet meets spicy drink seems destined to exist as a Holy Grail type of “Do you remember?” among current teens when they reach 30. I’m going to be the least surprised person on the planet when they announce in 2022, Mountain Dew-flavored Cheetos.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 4/9/2006, I was preparing to go see the Tigers/Rangers baseball game with my son, Christian. And I was propping up The Loop (Fox) on Thursday nights by saying, “The show’s growing on me. Charming characters are one-dimensional but the jokes are well set up and rewarding.” Revisiting the first season and start of the second season, I’m not sure what I was taking in those days. The characters are definitely one-dimensional and the plots are pretty paint-by-numbers. Lead actor Brett Harrison came to this role out of Grounded For Life and his comedic timing isn’t very nuanced. The shows are split between his apartment roomies and his work at the airline. By season two, the airline had taken over the main plot of each episode. His boss, Phillip Baker Hall, and his coworker, Mimi Rogers, are out of place among the remaining character actors. The sexual advances of Mimi Rogers towards all male coworkers, especially Sam (Brett Harrison) are really uncomfortable in the #MeToo era. Not surprised it was cancelled part way through the second season. The residual best thing of the series is the theme song by the Zambonis. Written by James Kochalka, “Hockey Monkey” was featured in the first concert I took my children to around 2004 / 2005.
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Cheetos – Mac ‘N Cheese: Flamin’ Hot
The second flavor of the three Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese releases is not as satisfying as the Cheesy Jalapeno. The first obstacle to overcome is the amazing red hot color of the finished product. There is nothing at all shouting “you should eat this.” While a bit of a scary appearance, the spice isn’t overwhelming again. My conclusion is that adding crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to your Mac ‘N Cheese mix might create a better final result. I’m happy to report that there weren’t any terrifying after effects.
Pringles Wendy’s Baconator
Because I tried the Wendy’s Spicy Chicken earlier this summer, I thought I’d revisit the 2020 release of the Pringles Wendy’s Baconator potato crisps. The picture of the Baconator on the packaging is very appealing and if it wasn’t pretty much a day’s worth of calories, I’d just drive down to Wendy’s and get the sandwich. The chips are a poor substitute. Not nearly as appealing as the Spicy Chicken release, these are salty and while I get the sense of a bacon taste, mostly I get the greasy aftertaste of regret with each chip.
Galactic Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms is already a pretty great cereal, so creating additional permutations of it is limited to adding different marshmallows. Take away the marshmallows and you have just Alpha Bits that aren’t letters. Take away the oats and you just have a bowl of mushy marshmallows. Adding space-traveling rockets and magic cloning planets doesn’t add much to the Lucky Charms experience and only serves to remind me that our Artemis Program is in serious jeopardy of being cancelled. If anyone can do the origami rocket detailed on the back, please message me. As they say, “Hurry! This galactically delicious cereal is only on Earth for a limited time.”
“Aha, you are the one
Who only needs to show a smile
You are the one
Who can make any day seem worthwhile” – Poco