Practice vs Process: Respect The Odds

I always believed it was possible: this strange yet wonderful creative life.

Many will enter and few will win.

(During Jordan’s era how many great NBA players played their heart and their guts out to repeatedly taste setbacks? Making it to the NBA is a good accomplishment: those are long odds. Yet that’s a goal; not the goal. There’s way more to do after you arrive. So much more. Making it is great but it’s not the end and only goal.)

I know the odds though I do not respect the odds. Which I suppose makes me odd.

Be odd and ignore the odds.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#CouchWorthy: The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog (Anytime / Netflix) –I’m not a Jane Campion fan but I dig Benedict Cumberbatch so here we are all Once Upon a Time in the West. Cumberbatch is a City Slicker whose got Blazing Saddles for his brother’s new bride.

And I’m certain he’ll be Unforgiven as that sorta thing even in the 1920s; while it doesn’t go on a person’s Tombstone it is News of the World. So because they can’t be the Three Amigos it’s High Noon in this Westworld.

This is a Maverick movie from Cumberbatch as I doubt any of us expected to see him out on the Open Range.

As such I’m curious…let’s saddle up and see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of these characters in The Power of the Dog. Just another sad and dark chapter in America’s Wild Wild West.

#SetTheVCR | Netflix | December 1, 2021


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Welcome to Haddonfield, Illinois: Halloween

So yeah SiriusXM has this horror channel Scream Radio whose programming includes popular mainstream hits (Thriller!), beloved sound effects and of course scary score music like the iconic Halloween theme song.

I drop by the channel every so often because tis the season. Today though I caught the beginning of Carpenter’s Halloween theme song. At first I was like oh hell no and I reached out to the dial but I paused before switching away.

Then I pulled my hand away.

Partly to face my fears: tis the season right?

But really I was driving and I’ve never heard that song while driving. Driving defines a lot of popular music: there’s something about that action of getting in your car even if you’re just driving to the dentist that makes a song truly pop. Especially in the Summer…windows down system up.

Sometimes when I hear a brand new song I think it’s fun but I wanna hear it while I’m driving. Driving is like melted cheese. I dunno why but it just makes it taste better. And road trips are of course synonymous with playlists.

So feeling as dumb as the big breasted chick in a tight white tank top going down to investigate that strange sound from the basement I left the Halloween theme song on.

Only I was driving through suburban neighborhoods. Through 2 school zones which meant slowing down. This chilled wind sailed through the trees plucking Fall tinted leaves so they swirled in the air in large sweeping circles like a drunk Superman. A young lady was out for a walk with her dog…it was all normal and yet so eerie…cruising. Driving slowly through the hood.

It felt way too menacing.

Fun Fact? “John Carpenter showed Halloween to an executive before it was finished. He showed the movie without the music. The executive didn’t find it to be scary at all. After the film was released, and she saw it, she changed her mind, an indication of how much Carpenter’s score adds to the film’s atmosphere.”

Nah man that was unsettling like eating slightly spoiled Subway. I now understand why a tagline for the 78 original was: “everyone is entitled to one good scare.” Indeed. Never doing that again even if it’s tis the season.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

A Child’s Play With His Father…

Watching live TV: My Dad came across Chucky TV show commercials…he’s never been a fan of magic or ventriloquism or horror. He sighed.

So I RSVPed this opportunity to make him feel better: “Oh: it’s not ventriloquism! Chucky is a doll imbued with the maniacal soul of a serial killer.”

A beat.

As we go through life we all have moments where we say things out loud we wish we could take back. Sometimes even as we’re saying em. I misread the situation…this was clearly NOT a teaching moment.


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Will Venom’s Carnage be PG as in…Pretty Good?!

According to Film Ratings a movie called Venom: Let There Be Carnage is rated PG-13 and not hard R. How is that logical? How much Carnage can you pull off with PG?

Mainstreaming Venom like it’s the MCU is weird.

Venom is not gonna sell happy meals. Economics due to the budget perhaps?

Spider-Man can’t go R; understandably that makes sense but Venom? That’s a weird choice.

Butts in the seats? Perhaps. The first Venom was also PG-13 and hauled more than $854 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million. So economics says PG-13 is good business but the box office of Joker and Deadpool for example say otherwise.

(Considering the success of Deadpool and the failure of Suicide Squad I’d bet a hard Rated R for Right On Batman movie would work.

If Twilight-Sparkle Batman isn’t rated R then any talk is about being raw or dark or grim or violent is just cheap marketing talk. Buzzwords.)

Oh and The Suicide Squad. Though The Suicide Squad shoulda never been on HBO Max in the first case: such a bad call. Still what was a good call was dumping David Ayer’s wretched Suicide Squad what tragically was rated PG-13. DC went soft…again. No guts no glory.

So for James Gunn’s super dope The Suicide Squad they went hard R and it worked…the violence made sense; as did all the jokes. The movie benefitted from that R-freedom (“drug use, brief graphic nudity, language throughout, some sexual references, and strong violence and gore”); it’s lots of fun. (Not as much heart as Guardians of the Galaxy but that was expected; still excellent soundtrack as always.)

Or…Yo Joe!

If the studio was serious about making Snake Eyes more like a proper G.I. Joe movie and less like a Nicolas Cage/Brian De Palma remake aim for Rated R for Ruckus: ninjas, Storm Shadow, motorcycles, guns, Cobra: so much goodness to play with. Wouldn’t that make a better movie? And a better movie “brings all the boys to the yard.”

Mash It Up, Mash It All. Snake Eyes was rated PG-13 and still bombed: it rolled the dice and came up Snake Eyes: the economics play or butts in the seats didn’t work out.

Just something to contemplate as you consume your Venom Happy Meal, right? “Oh…I got Carnage! What did you get?”


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

#CouchWorthy: Helter Skelter: An American Myth

Helter Skelter: An American Myth (Anytime / Hollywood Suite) – We’re going dark so get ready: it’s gonna be like exploring a black hole as if it was a cave.

Helter Skelter: An American Myth is like The Last Dance but like for Charles Manson. And I know it’s a terrible comparison but it’s accurate: it is a sociological and anthropological dig. It is archeology to understand sociology.

Think about it: it’s been 4 years since we visited Charles Manson in prison in Fincher’s Mindhunter. And it’s been 2 years since we witnessed the twisted Tinsel Town Terror of the Manson Family in Tarantino’s fairy tale Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. And it’s been less than a year when Epix (in America) broadcast Helter Skelter: An American Myth on July 26, 2020.

That date was selected as it recognized it’s been 50 years since the grisly murder of Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, and several others.

The 6 episode docuseries chronicles the Manson Family history, with the classic never-before-accessed interviews from former family members and journalists coupled with archival footage and newly-unearthed images. It’s stunning.

You know Lesley Chilcott as the producer on such documentaries as An Inconvenient Truth and it’s sequel as well as Waiting for Superman and It Might Get Loud: all fantastic work. This time for Helter Skelter she’s the executive producer and director behind this dramatic docuseries.

All this prompts the obvious question: this is past tense right? Something this dark couldn’t happen today right? That’s how my conversation with Lesley Chilcott started when she visited My Summer Lair.

187_Lesley Chilcott_QUOTE(1).jpg

?Past tense vs future tense is the first issue. The other is present tense…or really being tense in the present.

Often when celebrities or famous folks like a former President or say MLK pass away we eagerly participate in this ritual of reduction. We sand off the gruff edges, gloss over their sins and we reduce or even dilute their value and impact. MLK is down to greeting card soundbites when his movement and his legacy and his life is so much more. It’s so much bigger.

Oddly and every so often we expand a famous folk’s life: we’ve done this with Charles Manson. We’ve expanded his life and his legacy when we should have reduced it. His life has become a pop culture prism from which we see a colourful spectrum of positions,  conspiracy theories, and true crime fun facts, a classic complicated American saga.

I vaguely knew about the Mason Murders; I obviously knew who Charles Manson was but I had no historical handle to properly pick up the story. Lesley Chilcott’s Helter Skelter is a fantastic historical handle if you can…handle it. It is the unsettling contextual reckoning of a dark moment in the so called Summer of Love.

It is like staring at an eclipse because it’s not something that happens often. At least you hope it doesn’t happen often. Accidents suck.

We accept they’re part of the cost for flights and self-driving cars because they make the experiences better and safer. You need to have accidents so you can understand what went wrong and make the necessary safety adjustments. Because of car accidents we’ve added airbags and windshield wipers and even seatbelts. These valuable items we take for granted were not part of original car designs.

We’ve adjusted and learned from our mistakes. Even though those lessons tragically cost a lot of lives.

When Lesley says in our conversation: “It’s easy to say when you don’t know the story those are just crazy people and then you see how day by day they were just driven further and further and further.” She’s right. It is so easy to dismiss these people as crazy: that reduces the tragedy.

This is a fascinating docuseries: I highly recommend it. Must See TV. I’m not a fan of holding a strong opinion when you haven’t done the homework: there’s no need to read the room if the room isn’t well read right?

So this is a great starting point for understanding who Charles Manson was, who his family was and grappling with the horrific and devastating ripples that murder so often creates. The case isn’t closed just because the cops caught the bad guy and put him in jail. That’s the law but that’s not justice.

In Canada Helter Skelter premiered on February 11, 2021 on Hollywood Suite. Check the On Demand channel. Highly Recommended Viewing.

Make a strong tea and check out this docuseries. Reach out to me and tell me what your takeaway is: What stood out to you? What surprised you?

Hollywood Suite (On Demand) | February 11, 2021

Epix (On Demand) | July 26, 2020


Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.

Rick Rubin Is So Not Stay Puft

Wow! Found Ghostbusters the good one…the original 84 on a movie channel (almost right at the start!!).

And I just noticed that the comedy/vibe of this movie mirrors the Beastie Boys Sabotage video with a dash of Intergalactic’s uniforms.

The vibe/style overlap:

Mike D is Bill Murray/Venkman

Ad-Rock is Dan Aykroyd/Stantz

Adam Yauch is Harold Ramis/Spengler.


If you wanna toss in Kate Schellenbach you got Sigourney Weaver. (I am not in any way suggesting Rick Rubin is Stay Puft though he has been a giant in music.)

It’s the same humour; same sarcasm, same foolishness…Ghostbusters is a 2 hour Beastie Boys video. Yo! Think about this and get back to me.


Metrocenter Faces The Music

Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, Arizona is closing as another coronavirus casualty. (Kinda…the mall was already dying.

This is one of the few shopping malls we’ve all visited: it’s where Bill and Ted took all the historical figures for an Excellent Adventure.

?No word if the Circle K is still there or not (hopefully it is…strange things will be happening again when Bill and Ted 3 opens in August.)

After 47 years in business the mall closes on June 30. That’s not…excellent.


Trailer Alert: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

More like a Sneak Peek than a proper “Coming Soon” trailer…

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#CouchWorthy: 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

I never clued in that Rocky wasn’t a gifted fighter.

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