The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items will vary, as will the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE — Good night, sweet prince
The Jeremy Renner App debuted two years ago, in March of 2017. That’s the first thing you should know. It had been floating out there in the ether — or, like, the App Store — for something like 30 full months, providing hardcore Jeremy Renner fans access to his thoughts and and music, chances to win contests, and opportunities to give Jeremy Renner money through in-app purchases, before its demise earlier this week. This was not some comet streaking across the sky. This was more like a soda can that some troublemaker had heaved into a campfire. It just sat there unnoticed for a while, the pressure slowly building, no one the wiser, and then… well, kaboom.
There’s a good chance you know the story by now, but let’s hit the highlights anyway because it’s really just a lot of fun. About a week ago, noted Twitter rascal Stefan Heck realized that the Jeremy Renner App’s alerts made it seem like every reply to every comment was coming from Jeremy Renner himself. (The app would send a push notification that said “Jeremy Renner: No YOU’RE the Mayor of Fartville, HawkeyeSucks42069” or whatever.) This led to anarchy. Soon the app was flooded with people who had registered accounts as Fake Jeremy Renners and Casey Anthony and falsely accused Olympic bomber Richard Jewell and, my personal favorite, Dennis Franz. This stew bubbled and simmered for a few days until Jeremy Renner himself logged in on Wednesday — on Rennsday, even — and posted the above note to kill the beast and say goodbye.
We could get into the particulars here. We could point out how funny it is that Jeremy Renner said his app had jumped the shark “literally,” and how much fun it would be to see a giant cell phone with the Jeremy Renner App on its screen put on water skis and jump over a shark. We could comment on how this really has been a wild summer for Jeremy Renner, from Hawkeye’s arc in Endgame to his completely baffling Jeep commercials to his “What if Imagine Dragons were fronted by the guy who almost took over the Bourne franchise” music career. We could point out that the app went through a round of controversy back in 2017 — as noted by The Ringer’s Kate Knibbs, who was on this beat before anyone — when Renner stans started tearing each other (and their hero) to pieces over claims of censorship and rigged contests. We could easily do all of that.
But also… why? This whole thing played out like an almost perfect comic experiment. There’s very little need to dig beneath the surface on this one. Even the ending was the digital equivalent of a chef’s kiss. This could have dragged on for months, with more and more people flooding the app with more and more tired and derivative bits. It could have suffered the fate of other once-cool online destinations, like how Facebook started out as a place college students planned parties and morphed into a place where your uncles fight with each other over a fake story about something the Constitution doesn’t say. Although I guess it would be fun to see Jeremy Renner hauled in front of Congress to testify about his app’s effect on the 2032 election or something. So maybe there’s at least one missed opportunity.
But no. He shut it down at its peak of cultural relevance. It won’t be sullied by time and a slowly degraded experience. It won’t sputter out and hang on like MySpace. It will always be pure and beautiful and perfect and that can never be taken away from us. By going out at its bottom, the Jeremy Renner App went out at the top. Rest in peace, king.
Easily the most underrated part of RennerApp was the splash screen. I lost untold hours to opening and closing it just to spend a little more time with this: pic.twitter.com/bN7JykUUSH
— Mark Lisanti (@marklisanti) September 5, 2019
ITEM NUMBER TWO — Help, I can’t stop laughing
This is the first trailer for the upcoming Between Two Ferns movie, but that’s not the point. The movie is based on the long-running Funny or Die short that stars Zach Galifianakis as the worst interviewer you’ve ever seen, but that’s not the point either. The trailer opens with Matthew McConaughey almost drowning in a ridiculous sprinkler mishap and at one point features Galifianakis calling Benedict Cumberbatch “Benefit Lumberjacks,” which is really quite incredible, but also, somehow, still not the point.
The point is that the trailer contains this joke and it has been seared into my brain since the moment I heard it.
It’s so stupid. It is so, so stupid. Also, I love it. My lord in heaven, do I ever love it. It exists right on that line between being the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and the most brilliant. There’s no reason it should be in a feature-length movie let alone the trailer for that movie but it makes me so insanely happy that it is. I do mean insane, by the way, as it made me cackle like a supervillain when I first heard and it’s now altered my brain chemistry in an irreversible way. I’m so happy it exists.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Make Batman goofy again
Batman and the various properties that spin off from his existence — like, for example, the upcoming Joker movie that stars Joaquin Phoenix and the upcoming Batman movie that stars Robert Pattinson (which are separate movies but would be a truly wild single movie), or the upcoming television show about Alfred being a huge badass — has been very serious and intense for over a decade now. Starting with Batman Begins, the first movie in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, and extending up through whatever exactly Ben Affleck was doing in Batman v. Superman, the franchise has been dark and bleak and brooding and, in this reporter’s opinion, has gotten to be both a bit much and a bit of a snooze, somehow.
A correction must be made. A change of course. We need to start spinning the wheel furiously to get this boat moving in a different direction. We need to make Batman goofy again.
Maybe not forever, or even for multiple films. It could just be a one-off. The LEGO Batman Movie showed us it can be done, at least in cartoon form. It’s time for a goofy live-action version, though. Bruce Wayne is a ridiculous person, a billionaire who uses his fortune and free time to dress up like a bat and solve crimes. He drives a car called the Batmobile. His secret hideout is called the Batcave. He throws tiny bat-shaped projectiles at criminals to stop them. That’s funny. That’s objectively funny.
Yes, I know the last time Batman was a little goofy was in Batman & Robin and that didn’t really work out for anyone. But that was over 20 years ago. We’ve all grown from then. We’ve all learned important life lessons. We’re different people, wiser, more prepared, with the battle scars to prove it. We can make Batman goofy without ruining everything. I have faith in us.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Explain Gary Oldman’s voice to me
Here’s the trailer for The Laundromat, an upcoming Netflix movie that stars Meryl Streep and was directed by Steven Soderbergh and whaaaaaat is that voice Gary Oldman is doing? I’m sorry. The Laundromat. It’s a movie about the Panama Papers but told in a kind of tongue-in-cheek way and nooooope I still can’t get over that voice he’s doing in here.
You hear it, right? It sounds almost like he’s doing a Christoph Waltz impression, which, fine, Christoph Waltz is the best and his voice and mannerisms are one of the best things to happen to movies in the last 10-15 years. I’ve never seen anyone be so terrifying while smiling and laughing. I’d love to see him in a really silly comedy, just to see if it ends up playing like a horror movie. Hold on. I’m having… yes, I’m having an idea.
CAST CHRISTOPH WALTZ AS GOOFY BATMAN.
OR JUST REGULAR BATMAN.
HE WOULD BE GOOD.
I WOULD LIKE IT.
GET ROBERT PATTINSON OUT OF THERE.
WHAT HAS HE EVER DONE, ANYWAY?
CAST CHRISTOPH WALTZ AS BATMAN.
LET BATMAN HAVE AN AUSTRIAN ACCENT.
Anyway, The Laundromat looks pretty good.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — “Hello, my name is Joey Coco”
There’s a really cool article in The New Yorker this week about Prince’s plans to write a memoir. The whole thing is worth reading for a lot of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Prince was the best
- I would read a Prince memoir
- His notes for it were all written exactly how you’d expect Prince to write, with 2 instead of “to” and u instead of “you” and eye instead of “I”
The article is written in the first-person by a writer Prince had enlisted to help with the project, Dan Piepenbring. At one point in there, Piepenbring discusses meeting Prince at a nearby hotel. That’s when this happens.
I arrived on Tuesday, February 16th, the day of his first show, at the State Theatre. His bodyguard, Kirk Johnson, was staying in the room next to mine at the Crown Towers hotel. Johnson told me I could expect a call from Peter Bravestrong—Prince’s preferred pseudonym for travelling. I liked how obviously, almost defiantly, fictitious the name sounded. Its comic-book gaudiness was in keeping with some of his past alter egos: Jamie Starr, Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco.
HOTEL DESK CLERK: Hello and welcome to the Four Seasons. How can I be of assist-… [looks up and realizing he’s talking to Prince]… ance.
PRINCE: [dressed exactly like Prince] Yes, hello. I have a reservation. The name is Joey Coco.
HOTEL DESK CLERK: [absolutely spiraling but attempting to remain calm] Yes, of course, Mr. … Coco.
PRINCE: [just looking and acting so much like Prince that it’s almost like someone is playing a prank] It could be under Joseph.
HOTEL DESK CLERK: [wishing he hadn’t done so much LSD in college] Ah, yes. Here it is. One room for… Joey Coco.
PRINCE: [holding a guitar suddenly] Fantastic. Please send up 100,000 rose petals.
HOTEL DESK CLERK: [has no idea where or how to acquire 100,000 rose petals but is entirely too flabbergasted to articulate any of this to anyone] Of course, sir. Enjoy your stay.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.
The trailer for the new season of Always Sunny got me thinking. The show premiered in 2005. It’s been on TV for 14 years. That’s not Simpsons or South Park territory but consider this: in 2005…
– NYPD Blue and The West Wing were still on TV
– My Name Is Earl, The Office, Bones, and How I Met Your Mother premiered
– Monk, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Boston Legal were the big winners at the Emmys
It’s been on TV a long time. I can’t believe it’s still so good.
This is a good and true email. Everything Mark says is correct. There is a teeny tiny caveat here if we want to be insufferable know-it-alls about it all, though (and what’s the point of having a weekly column if you can’t be an insufferable know-it-all): Always Sunny’s seasons have run 10-13 episodes, which brings the total count down to 144 over those 14 years. To contrast, Grey’s Anatomy debuted in 2005, too, and is currently at 342 episodes and counting thanks to its broadcast schedule. So there’s that.
But also, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, who cares? Keeping a television show on the air for 14 seasons is damn near impossible. Keeping it good for 14 years is impossible. The most recent seasons of Always Sunny were right up there with their best ever. The show is a gift and has been since the freaking George W. Bush administration and we should all take a little time now and then to recognize that. Thank you, Mark.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
The Union County Sheriff’s Office in Union County, Ohio is looking for help in identifying a vehicle that was used to steal a roller coaster ride last week.
You cannot possibly imagine how much joy it brings me to type the following phrase: ROLLER COASTER HEIST.
Should I point out here that the roller coaster in question was one of those small ones people bring to local fairs and not a giant amusement park roller coaster with a 150-foot drop and multiple loops? Yes, I should. I’m a journalist first. Does this decrease my enjoyment of the whole thing? I mean, a little, sure, if only because the idea of stealing an entire steel roller coaster from a theme park in the middle of the night is currently the funniest thing in the world to me and I wish it had happened or will happen very soon. Just the logistics of pulling it off. And what would you even do with it? Imagine if one day you woke up your neighbor had Space Mountain just set up in his yard.
“Hey, Larry. Is that Space Mountain in your yard?”
ROLLER COASTER HEIST.
A Go-Gator carnival ride was reported stolen on Aug. 28 from the Union County Fairgrounds in Marysville. The coaster was on a purple and green trailer and has alligator-designed train cars, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office. The roller coaster’s trailer had a rear license plate, 22-1246A and is registered in Maine.
I like that they gave out the license plate number. You know, just to be sure people don’t waste the cops’ time with calls about all the other alligator-themed roller coasters barreling down the highway. Can’t be too careful.