Previously on FTCH, we had a flamin’ hot time with Yellowstone, chocolate Oreos and we adored Prince at his best. This week was lots of time on the road between here and Houston to help out my daughter. It gave me time to work through this week’s entry. There’s sunshine, chili cheese kegs, and fudgy cream. There’s a visit from Maude, Macbeth, and Monsieur Rick. Remember, menthol-flavored FTCH is alive with pleasure.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Throne of Blood (1957) (Directed by Akira Kurosawa): “Will it never be gone? The blood. I wash and wash, yet the blood remains – and the smell! Will my hands never again be clean?” – Lady Asaji Washizu. This Kurosawa film isn’t just taking Macbeth and setting it in samurai-era Japan. It takes the themes of greed and betrayal and tells them through a lens of ancient Japanese culture that itself reflects the changing society of the 1950s. Samurai warriors Washizu (Toshiro Mifune) and Miki (Minoru Chiaki) are returning from battle through the forest when they meet up with a spirit that foretells their futures. The machinations of Washizu’s wife (Isuzu Yamada) to help bring the prophecy along faster are a thematic match to Macbeth. Her ghostly appearance is haunting. I love the way the film plays out with very little dialogue. The story is told with faces, action, and a wonderful score. It’s a stark contrast to the very wordy Shakespeare original. It’s definitely one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare ever.
- All in the Family- “Cousin Maude’s Visit” (S.2 E.12) (1971): “We didn’t know he was going to hang onto the job like the Pope.” – Archie talking about FDR. Archie, Mike and Gloria are all sick with the flu and Edith is running ragged. So they call in Edith’s cousin, Maude (Bea Arthur). And within seconds you realize that they have struck comedy gold. Maude is the Liberal Yin to the Archie Conservative Yang. She is up to the battle too. The extended argument over FDR is a rapid-fire battle of wits that showcases how timeless this show can be at times. It could easily be part of a script today as Archie argues about FDR being the first “creeping socialist”. This show rarely leaves the living room or kitchen and I can’t imagine a show today relying so much on the writing and acting skills of such a small cast.
- Prince – “Play In The Sunshine” (1987) (from Sign of the Times): “I’m feeling kinda lucky tonight / I’m gonna find my four-leaf clover.” I love the Feel Good genre of song writing. Prince last hit us with a truly Feel Good song with “1999″ giving us no other plans than just to party. We’ve enjoyed “Walking on Sunshine”, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, and the Pharrell’s “Happy.” Prince came out of the box with “Sign of the Times” to lead off the album of the same name. It’s as sad an outlook on life as almost any song he’s released up to 1987. That is followed directly by “Play In The Sunshine” as the second song on the album. It sets a happy mood and tells us to put away the negative things happening in that last song and let’s dance and play. There’s a great drum backbeat at the start and throughout. But what really brings me joy is the massive guitar riffs towards the end of the song that shows off a playful side of Prince that is best described as Hendrix-worthy.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 – “The Time Bubble Tour” (Live) (2021): For the first time, I was able to go see one of my favorite television shows of all-time as a live show in Dallas last week. Unlike previous tours that have included past stars, including Joel Hodgson, this tour introduces us to Emily Connor as our new riff host. Emily has appeared on the previous tour (originally hand picked by creator Joel Hodgson to take over the hosting job) and I found her extremely charming. She has the perfect combination of innocence and snark to riff these bad movies. The star of the show was Yvonne Freese as Mega-Synthia. The show works best when the “evil genius” controlling the feeds is way over the top and Freese captures it with a Broadway type of attraction to her performance. The show riffs on Roland Emmerich’s Making Contact (1985). It’s a terrible film that I can’t believe I hadn’t seen previously although I was familiar with the VHS cover. This show represents a wonderful evolution for the show as it gets ready to debut on their own app in the near future.
- Casablanca (1942) (Directed by Michael Curtiz): “We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.” – Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). I was able to catch this on the big screen for the 80th Anniversary showing. This is the second time I’ve seen it in the theaters and at least a dozen times that I’ve watched the movie. It deserves all the love that it gets. It borders on being the most perfectly written script I’ve ever seen make the screen. The story that many take away of the man sacrificing love for a greater good is certainly one of the main focuses of the plot. As I get older, I am able to pull out and examine lesser themes that still carry a weight. Rick’s story is very much about coming to terms with your past. Paris stands as a monolith at the start of the film. It represents a loss. Rick and Ilsa have a moment where we see that pain finally melt away for both of them. Paris is transformed to a celebration of their best moments without that same pain. This won’t be the last time I watch this film. The cast and the writing just keeps giving.
Best of the Rest
- My favorite network isn’t a mystery. It’s Turner Classic Movies. TCM has often had a problem finding a niche in their advertising because they aren’t just B&W movies from the 1930s. They are a destination for people who love films and filmmaking. You get anything from silent classics through art house pictures from the ’80s. I like the new slogan “When Then Meets Now” and there are two ads that bring films to our modern world. The first is a fun Wizard of Oz mash-up with a dog stealing the ruby slippers. But this When Harry Met Sally as an old couple in a Chinese restaurant makes me giggle.
- The Super Bowl is about two things — advertisements and dips. I’ve done wings, pizza, hot dogs, etc. for the Big Game but there’s something special about having some chips (tortilla and potato) and a selection of dips to last the three plus hours of the game and halftime show. Hormel Chili is leaning into chili cheese dip by offering a full keg of the stuff. Chili and cheese are a great combination for your Super Bowl fries, nachos, or baked potatoes. Go, Team!
- In this week’s frog news . . . Frogs Regrow Amputated Legs. I didn’t know if this was a scientific breakthrough or a French restaurant breakthrough. I have that famous National Lampoon album cover in my head as I read about these cute African Clawed frogs.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/26/2006, I was coming off a super busy week at the UNT Bookstore for the start of that fall term. I declared Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” as the Song of the Summer of 2006. Further down the list was “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley and “Snap Yo’ Fingers” by Lil’ Jon. On television, there was another week (a year later) of Hurricane Katrina documentaries and where-are-they-now? type of shows. What caught my attention was a show on ABC called Last Days on Earth. I watched it to see what we were thinking in 2006.
- 20/20: Last Days on Earth (ABC) This special documentary presentation is hosted by Elizabeth Vargas who was a host of 20/20 at the time. The countdown of the top seven ways our world might end. There are appearances by some of the most well spoken scientists including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, and Michio Kaku. The super volcanoes and black hole options are fun. But what is fascinating is the top two. The top choice is Climate Change and it’s sad how much hasn’t changed in the past 16 years. In the year of the Bird Flu when this aired, Pandemic was the number two way our planet might kill us. It’s spooky and kind of amazing how they actually nailed exactly how a Pandemic would start (with a debate that it starts naturally or in a lab), how it would spread (that we would be shutting down travel and air travel too late), and that by the time we got a vaccine in six to nine months, it will be too late to contain the spread. Sixteen years ago. It’s spooky how accurate scientists can be when given the chance to talk.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Cheerios Strawberry Banana
While that strawberry and banana combination makes a good smoothie, I wasn’t sure how it would combine with these heart-shaped oats. The two colors of Cherrios are supposed to represent Strawberries (we already had a decent release of Strawberry Cheerios last year) and the other color should be Banana. The strawberry flavor is well executed but the banana leaves much to be desired. If you want the banana flavor, you will need to bring your own fruit. Odd trivia from the back of the box: bananas are technically berries and strawberries are not berries.
International Delight Wonka Fudgy Caramel
This release comes just as my most favorite Sugar Cookie creamer disappears off of shelves for the next nine months. Int’l Delight already has a Hershey’s branded chocolate and caramel creamer. This doesn’t push that boundary much further. Is this supposed to tie into the chocolate river in the film? This isn’t a daily creamer for me but I do enjoy the chocolate flavors when I’m reading the paper or comments on a certain FTCH blog on a Sunday.
Lay’s Layers Sour Cream & Onion
The biggest outrage is that these are sold in the potato chips section. As you can see, these are Munchos knock-offs. They should at least be at the other end of the aisle with the Pringles family. These are “crispy layered potato bites” and they are awful. The flavor isn’t terrible. The crunch is comparable to a Bugle or Muncho. The presentation, look, and overall experience is lacking. I can’t imagine a scenario when I would pick these over Sour Cream & Onion chips or a tube of Pringles. Like the 3-D Doritos, just unnecessary.
“I want to meet you (meet you), and kiss you (kiss you),
Love you (love you), and miss you (miss you)
Do it all over again, do it all over again” – Prince