Previously on FTCH, there was Coke from Space and no one Leggo’d our Pop-Tarts. There was soft skin, ghosts, and shiny, happy people. Back to a full week of work and the weather has turned from winter to spring (almost summer). Welcome to March and the madness that is contained therein. This week there’s an hombre, a belle, and a prophet. There’s an epic cupcake and zero sugar space. Remember, FTCH ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Elmore Leonard – Hombre (1961) (Ballantine Books): “At first I wasn’t sure at all where to start.” This is my third Leonard Western book. They have all been relatively short books with pretty simple plots. That’s part of Leonard’s genius. His writing is deceivingly simple. The plot of this book is quickly set up as a stagecoach (actually a mudcoach) leaves a town with our cast all thrown together as strangers. Along the way they are attacked and forced to get through the desert without water. The dialogue is the biggest strength and it hints at what he will do in his later crime novels. There are plot techniques that I see Stephen King use in regards to a narrator foreshadowing something bad about to happen. And the quick, disarmingly honest exchanges between characters is something that Tarantino has applied to all of his films. I enjoy Western films but I think that there might be even more potential with the Western books. I’m excited to pursue more of them. “You can look at something for a long time and not see it until it has moved or run off.”
- Chapelwaite – “The Prophet” (S.1 E.5) (2021) (EPIX): After four episodes of developing the setting and characters and giving some small glimpses into the weirdness happening, the horror of Jerusalem’s Lot is finally on full display. Charles (Adrien Brody) is drawn to Jerusalem’s Lot and gets the full rundown of the curse from Jakub. The developments with Loa (Charles’ daughter) hint at a synchronicity with events in the Salem’s Lot story. This is a series that was losing momentum for me after four episodes and I took a break. This is the key episode that kicks the story into gear. We have two vampire factions, a haunted book that brings madness to those who read it, and a cursed family caught in between it all.
- INXS – “Don’t Change” (1982) (from Shabooh Shoobah): “Resolution of happiness / Things have been dark for too long” Like most everyone who, like me, were in high school in 1982, this and “The One Thing” were my MTV introductions to INXS. The drums and that subtle bass give this an anthem feel. It’s one of their most “singable” tunes and it feels adjacent to the type of songs the U2 was doing in the early Eighties too. They went on to have bigger hits and more fame but I watch this video and get goosebumps from their sheer joy and the pleasure it gave me through high school. This was a set closer when I saw them in Ann Arbor in 1985. I only wish I could still see it live with a crowd today.
- DC’s Stargirl – “Summer School: Chapter Eight” (S.2 E.8) (2021) (CW): I loved the first season of this show but I’ve lost interest as the second season has progressed. I like Eclipso of the comics as a villain but this CW show doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. After making him a more run-of-the-mill villain for seven episodes, they switch it up this episode and make him closer to his menacing self of the books. The horror elements are ramped up quite a bit here. And it feels out of place. Yolanda is out as Wildcat, Beth and Rick face up separately to Eclipso, and Courtney and Pat (and “Cosmo”) head out to the forest to address a Solomon Grundy problem. The strong point of this episode is Beth’s journey from being a relatively annoying character (her dealing with her parents’ split) to gaining some inner strength and depth. The rest of the episode just felt like they are searching for their identity as a teen show/superhero show.
- Belle De Jour (1967) (Directed by Luis Bunuel): “Don’t ever turn down pleasure because you were afraid of what other people might say.” – Severine. There is a perfect convergence of Catherine Deneuve at her most beautiful and vulnerable and Luis Bunuel’s vision of society in the late Sixties. His camera always feels on the move, keeping us at just the right distance but giving us the voyeuristic view that we want in each scene. The story of demure Severine (Catherine Deneuve) who is married to a surgeon and secretly becomes a prostitute in the afternoons (out by 5:00pm!) She is the “belle de jour” (beauty of the day) for multiple men throughout the film. That gives Bunuel a method of telling multiple stories with each encounter. For a film without any actual sex scenes on screen, it is always remembered as one of the most erotic films ever. The fetishes are explored in a way that they are not oddities but reflective of upbringings and mores. They aren’t judged. Bunuel’s filmmaking of his youth was Surrealist. By the time he made this film, he was using similar techniques but within more traditional storytelling. This is a beautiful film on so many levels. The color palette alone is worth a viewing.
Best of the Rest
- I’m a few weeks behind on this exciting news. Wes Anderson is returning to Roald Dahl adaptations (his Fantastic Mr. Fox is a brilliant adaptation of the Dahl book of the same name) with The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. Reported to star Benedict Cumberbatch, Dev Patel, and Ralph Fiennes, I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with this story about a man sews his eyes shut and gains other abilities in doing so.
- Ever wondered why those video replays take so long during games? These Burger King France ads don’t need any further explanation. I don’t love the Burger King food but these ads tickle me.
- The banning of Maus caused a spike in sales of the book (as banning often does). I was disappointed to learn about Penguin Random House (the publisher) requesting it to be removed from online libraries. Essentially asking books to be removed from digital sites is the same as asking them to be removed from physical libraries. Seems like school boards aren’t the only one trying to restrict access to controversial books.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 10/1/2006, the temperatures were back into the 90s and I was watching quite a bit of television. I was excited for some reason about the new Sunday Night Football with football returning to NBC. That Seattle vs. Chicago game probably wasn’t as thrilling as I had hoped. Survivor: Cook Islands was ending the race experiment and Yul was my choice for winner. A new show, Friday Night Lights, was starting and I was considering at least starting it (little knowing it would end up as one of my favorite network dramas of the decade). There was a movie on Lifetime that I was going to watch but didn’t. Until this week.
- The Legend of Lucy Keyes (2005) (Lifetime) (Directed by John Stimpson): This is the work of a director that might be the most prolific for this channel. But this one isn’t what we’ve come to expect from a Lifetime genre film. Starring Julie Delpy (this was what caught my interest in 2006) and a young Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), this plays like a pretty solid 1970s horror film. Young couple with two daughters move from the city to a small New England town. And things are not as they seem. It’s competently filmed and the lead actors outshine what I expected. The plot is based on a true story of a haunted town but it pulls upon pretty familiar tropes. Is it something to seek out? No. But it’s a curious entry if you are a fan of either star of the film.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Coca-Cola: Starlight Zero Sugar
The other release under the Coca-Cola Creations is Starlight Zero (see last week’s FTCH for the regular release). The Zero Sugar release didn’t do too much to change my mind. The taste was a bit more of Dr. Pepper (as compared to the Faygo taste of the original release) with a dash of Coke mixed in. The only new flavor I am getting from this version is a bit of cinnamon. Once again, a great mixer addition to the Coke family.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Popcorn
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is probably a top three in snackable cereals. Popcorn is a top three in salty snacks. Combing the two would seem to be a natural on the surface. I was worried because of the mention of “cinnadust” on the label that it would be a messy snack. It’s not. It’s essentially a caramel corn. I didn’t get more than just the very tiniest hint of cinnamon. So, what you get is just a not too overwhelming caramel corn. Not bad, not great. Just an acceptable caramel corn for those wanting that.
Duncan Hines: Epic Fruity Pebbles Cake Kit
A leftover from last year’s big Fruity Pebbles anniversary celebration. The cake portion is a solid Duncan Hines confetti cake. The frosting does all the Fruity Pebbles work here. It really captures the taste of Fruity Pebbles in milk. I mean, amazingly well. But trust me, go easy on the frosting because it’s very sweet. It overwhelms the cake even on a cupcake. The Fruity Pebbles don’t age well on the cake so I’d either ditch them completely or add them with each serving to maintain the crunchy element of the Pebble.
“I found a love that I had lost
It was gone for too long
Hear no evil in all directions
Execution of bitterness
Message received loud and clear” – INXS