The Rundown: Please Take A Minute Today And Look At These Pictures Of Joe Pesci’s Beach House

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 could vary, as could 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 — This is important

Sometimes a headline will stop you dead in your tracks. You’ll just be clicking around on the internet, minding your business, scrolling through this or that, when suddenly, pow, a collection of words will filter through your eyes and shut your brain down for a second. It happens to me more than I’d like to admit. It happened just this week, in fact, when I saw this headline in the Los Angeles Times: Joe Pesci Sells Extremely 1980s New Jersey Mansion For $5 Million.

Yes. Yes, I will click on that. And I did. With such speed and force that I almost spilled coffee on my laptop. And it brings me great pleasure to inform all of you that the payoff does not disappoint in the slightest. Stop right now and get a good mental image of what you think “Joe Pesci’s extremely 1980s New Jersey mansion” looks like. Really try to wrap your head around that phrase. Close your eyes if it helps.

What did you see? I’ll be perfectly honest here: it doesn’t matter what you saw, because there is no way you could have topped the reality.

Look at Joe Pesci’s house.


It’s… perfect. It’s perfect. It is, as billed, extremely 1980s. Look at all that glass. Look at how the houses surrounding it are like regular beach houses and then it’s sitting there in the middle of it all like Pablo Escobar had his entire home airlifted in from Miami Beach on a whim some Saturday afternoon. The walls might be made of solid cocaine. It’s a lovely home. That’s my point. And it gets better.

From the LA Times article:

The cream-colored home flaunts a curvaceous exterior topped by a glass atrium. Inside, a sculptural staircase winds its way upstairs.

Other highlights include a rounded dining room under a gold lighting fixture, as well as a memorabilia-filled media room complete with a “Lethal Weapon” pinball machine. There’s also a gold-colored barbershop chair, a carousel horse, an elevator, an office, eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms — including a primary suite with a private balcony.

A few things stand out here. And we are going to get to them shortly because, in a terrific twist on this story, there is a whole gallery of pictures at that link. Like, over a dozen. Did you see the thing about the Lethal Weapon pinball machine? That was not a lie. But it was not the full story. It is a Lethal Weapon 3 pinball machine. Look at this room.


A few things here:

  • I love it
  • I wish I had been in the room when someone decided to commission a Lethal Weapon 3 pinball machine
  • I’m so proud of the realtor for leaving this room intact during the sale
  • Please picture Joe Pesci sitting in a chair in this room just taking it all in while smoking a cigar

In fact, go ahead and click through the entire gallery and picture Joe Pesci in every room of this house. Look at this one, for example.


I can’t stop looking at it. I can’t stop imagining Joe Pesci giving a tour to his houseguests and describing all the fixtures in each room. It has been making me so happy all week long and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you here. This is a great day.

But I know. I know you can’t focus right now. I know your brain has been stuck on the phrase “a carousel horse” since you saw it in the blockquote up there. Fine. Fine. I’ll show you the carousel horse. But please prepare yourself. It’s… a lot to take in.


Joe Pesci is the best. He has been the best for a long time. Think of all he’s done in his career, from Goodfellas to My Cousin Vinny to Home Alone. The man is an American treasure. He doesn’t deserve to have some bozo with a computer sitting around goofing on his New Jersey beach house. I know that. I know I’m probably in the wrong here. But I simply cannot stop thinking about some poor interior decorator setting up this room without telling him and Joe Pesci seeing it and saying, in the Joe Pesci voice, “What’s that friggin horse doin’ in there?”

Again, perfect. Lovely. My only tiny complaint is that this house sold before I had a chance to rent it out on AirBnB for a long weekend. Party at Brian and Joe Pesci’s house. All-night Lethal Weapon 3 pinball tournament.


It brings me great pleasure to report — exclusively, I believe — that Better Call Saul is coming back. Soon. Not, like, next week, but soon. This is wonderful news because Better Call Saul is so, so good. It’s one of those rare spinoffs that lives up to the original, and one of the very rare spinoffs that does that while also charting its own path. The degree of difficulty on this was staggering. It should not have worked, in theory, or practice. And yet, here we are, preparing for the final season with a real question lingering about whether it has or will surpass — in quality if not cultural penetration — its predecessor, Breaking Bad, one of the all-time great shows. It’s wild.

That’s the teaser for the new season up there. It is as vague as it is menacing, which is to say, “it is so vague and menacing.” It is also kind of funny, considering it says “mark your calendars” and then just straight-up does not include a date. What were we supposed to do here? Just block out every day through the end of the year? That’s not practical. I have a beach trip booked for July. You probably have plans, too. Specifics would be helpful.

Luckily, AMC went ahead and remedied the issue pretty quickly. A press release went out a few days later that told everyone exactly which dates to mark.

The 13-episode final season will roll out in two parts, with the first seven episodes launching April 18 and culminating with the series’ final six episodes starting July 11.

Two things are interesting here:

  • Splitting them up like actually make the show eligible for Emmys in two different years (the cutoff is May 31), which is a nice little hustle if everyone planned it that way
  • The premiere date, April 18, marks almost two years to the date since the last episode aired

There are good reasons for that second thing, to be fair. An ongoing global pandemic, for example. And the thing where the show’s star, Bob Odenkirk, had a heart attack on set last year. That was scary. Odenkirk opened up about it this week in a profile in the New York Times. And made it sound even scarier.

“I’d known since 2018 that I had this plaque buildup in my heart,” Odenkirk said. “I went to two heart doctors at Cedars-Sinai, and I had dye and an M.R.I. and all that stuff, and the doctors disagreed” on treatment, with one suggesting he start immediately on medication and the other telling him it could wait. He listened to doctor No. 2 and was fine — until this year, when “one of those pieces of plaque broke up,” Odenkirk said. “We were shooting a scene, we’d been shooting all day, and luckily I didn’t go back to my trailer.” Instead, he decamped to a space where he, Seehorn and Fabian liked to retreat during downtime: “I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike, and I just went down.” He added, “Rhea said I started turning bluish-gray right away.”

I am glad Bob Odenkirk is alive. Bob Odenkirk is the best. Go read that whole profile if you don’t believe me. It will give you a new appreciation for the dude, or at least continue your ongoing appreciation of him. And it also contains this paragraph, which is kind of fascinating to me.

Odenkirk shares a home in Albuquerque with Rhea Seehorn and another actor from the show, Patrick Fabian (who plays the manicured law partner Howard Hamlin). I arrived the next morning and found Odenkirk in the kitchen, wearing jeans and running sneakers, showing no signs of the all-nighter he pulled. The house was built in the 1940s, Odenkirk said, by a contractor who specialized in office buildings, which accounted for its slight resemblance, from the outside, to a dental clinic, down to a ribbon of ornamental glass bricks installed beside the front door.

The reasons for this are laid out in the piece (loneliness, missing his family and the human connection, not wanting to live out of a hotel for two ninths or more), but the main thing I take away from it is that I wish they had set up cameras throughout the house and made it a reality show. I suspect it would have been pretty boring, just because it’s three busy adults and not half a dozen raucous 20-somethings, but still. I want it. Give it to me.

Thankfully, the entertainment industry tried to make this up to me…

ITEM NUMBER THREE — It is always nice when Hollywood does things that appear to be for me, specifically


It brings me great pleasure to report — exclusively again, I think — that Documentary Now is coming back soon, too. That show is almost frighteningly tailored to my interests. It’s a bunch of fake documentaries that play off of real documentaries and it stars a bunch of comedy nerds (Hader, Armisen, Mulaney, etc.) Some of them are legitimately incredible. I say this every time I discuss the show but I’m going to say it again because it’s still true and important: the episode titled “Juan Likes Rice and Chicken” — the show’s take on Jiro Dreams of Sushi — is one of my favorite half-hours of television ever made. Again, good show.

A press release announcing the show went out this week. It contained three of the episode summaries. Read this.

-Paying homage to fashion documentaries 3 Salons at the Seaside and The September Issue, Two Hairdressers in Bagglyport is a fly-on-the-wall portrait of a hair salon owner and her staff in the small coastal village of Bagglyport as they prepare their yearly stylebook.

-In the vein of When We Were Kings and other great explorations of sport, How They Threw Rocks chronicles the Welsh sport of Craig Maes, also known as “Field Rock,” and the iconic 1974 bout dubbed “The Melon vs. The Felon.”

-Drawing inspiration from My Octopus Teacher, My Monkey Grifter follows a filmmaker who forms a deep, emotional, and financially taxing relationship with a monkey who may have ulterior motives.

I must see “The Monkey Grifter” at once. I also hope they do one on McMillions. I need to see, I don’t know, let’s say special guest star Channing Tatum as Agent Doug. That would be great. For me.

That wasn’t the only Extremely Brian News that dropped this week. There was also this, which is important to me for completely different reasons.

Tara Reid is set to play an MI6 agent in upcoming espionage thriller “Cold Sun,” Variety can exclusively reveal.

Reid will play an inexperienced British spy called Marsha Ravencourt in the film, which has been billed as “Cagney and Lacey with a difference.”

To recap:

  • Tara Reid
  • As a British spy
  • Named Marsha Ravencourt

This might be my favorite show now.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — An incomplete list of things I will do if I purchase the film rights to Lord of the Rings

New Line Cinema

Facts first: The film and gaming rights to The Lord of the Rings are going up for auction. There are a bunch of technical and boring legal reasons for this but the important things to know are that the rights are expected to fetch multiple billions of dollars and that it is kind of tied to the new Amazon show that’s coming out soon.

From Variety:

The timing of the sale process is not accidental. Amazon is set to premiere its long-awaited, mega-budgeted TV series rendition of the enduring “Lord of the Rings” saga, “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” on Sept. 2. Amazon is at the top of the list of prime candidates to pursue the additional rights now held by Zaentz.

Cool. Great. Neat.

And if you’re wondering if it’s all already getting messy in a way that is making a bunch of lawyers a whole bunch of money, buddy, I’ll tell you what: It sure is.

But it’s understood that in the Zaentz Co.’s view, substantial live-action film rights reverted back to them last year in part because Warner Bros. had not been actively developing new “LOTR” and related content. That development, plus the anticipation for the new Amazon series, was enough to convince Zaentz Co. that the time was ripe for a sale. Warner Bros. declined to comment but it is believed that the studio and Zaentz Co. are already at odds over who controls what when it comes to “LOTR” and “Hobbit” rights, which have been the subject of extensive litigation over the years.

Anyway, my point here is that I need one of you to loan me a few billion dollars — I’m good for it, I swear — so I can outbid Bezos and make the following changes in the next LOTR film: Frodo is named Detective Sonny Montecarlo now.

That’s it.

Everything else stays exactly the same. We might even just do the whole trilogy as a shot-for-shot remake. But now Frodo goes by “Detective Sonny Montecarlo.” And he wears a trenchcoat. And smokes a cigar. And plays by his own rules. But he gets results.

On second thought, do not give me those billions of dollars. Put them to better use. I can’t be trusted on this one.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — I must once again remind you that Abbott Elementary is a good show


Abbott Elementary is the rare network sitcom — On Television! Once A Week! — that has punctured through the discourse here in 2022 to become, like, a thing. Can you even remember the last show that really, truly pulled that off? Was it The Good Place? It might be The Good Place. It’s crazy to think about, if you take a few minutes to think about it. Do that sometime.

This is all earned, though. Abbott Elementary is a blast. Smart and sweet and funny and kind and, no, I’m not saying all of this just because it’s set in Philadelphia and it has given me the opportunity to explain Philly slang like “jawn” to multiple people since it premiered earlier this year. Watch it. Watch it with anyone. It’s good.

Creator and star Quinta Brunson sat down for an interview this week to discuss the show’s success. You should read it. She’s great. And she makes some really great points. Like, for example, these points.

“Network television, if I’m being honest, was just getting super formulaic, and I think that’s what made it not feel cool anymore,” she says. “Then streaming came out… and then all the comedies started getting super dark — because that became cool, for the comedies to get dark and pretty. Which is fine! But they’re dark. You can’t watch ’em with the whole family…. It’s not going to give you the same laughs as a network comedy.”

Abbott is a firmly family-friendly show, designed to tap into every audience quadrant. (“It’s not prestige television,” Brunson adds. “It’s TV for everybody.“)

This is good. I like it. There are 400,000 shows on 5,000 networks and streaming services. There’s room for all of it. We can have our heavier and more prestige-y comedies like a BoJack Horseman or a Righteous Gemstones. We can have straight-up silly stuff like The Afterparty or MacGruber. And we can have nice shows we can watch with our friends and family and end up feeling good after the credits roll. Any one of those can be good in their own way, and for you, or not for you. Like I said, there are enough options out there that it costs you very little to skip out on a show completely.

It’s cool when one works, though, however it happens, but especially when it unlocks something that conventional wisdom thought was lost to time. The lesson here is that execution is more important than style or genre. And that more shows should be set in Philadelphia. So two lessons, really.


If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at (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.

From Amanda:

You strike me as someone who has practiced acceptance speeches for awards you’re not even nominated for. I don’t mean that as an insult. I do it, too. I was doing it again this week after the Oscar nominations were announced. I pictured sitting in the crowd in my fancy outfit and the presenter saying “and the Oscar goes to” and then saying my name. I would strut up there pointing and waving at my fellow nominees to show I’m playful and humble.

I would start off with a “wow” or two and then I would get into it. Thanking my family and coworkers, maybe shouting out a childhood friend or two to give them a little thrill, etc. I have a pathetically large section of it all worked out. Tell me you do too. Don’t lie to me, Brian. Don’t lie!

Look, you don’t know me. You don’t know everything about me. I’m very complex and unique and mysterious. It is mighty presumptuous of you to assume I sit around practicing my acceptance speeches — while driving around, maybe from the doctor’s office to Wawa to get a smoothie on a weird 55-degree day in Pennsylvania, with a whole section in the middle about how surprisingly heavy the trophy is (“this sucker is dense”), just to pick an example completely at random and definitely not because I just did it on Wednesday — like a crazy person.

Leave me out of it.


To Pennsylvania!

The Giant Company has put out an alert to other beekeepers in the region after the recent theft of three beehives and their colonies from their corporate headquarters.






The hives contained colonies of approximately 60,000 bees, and were taken from the company’s headquarters on the Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle some time between Jan. 28 and Jan. 30.

The first question I have here is why and also how? That’s two questions, I guess. But still. Stealing bees does not seem like something I would like to do or be around while it is happening. Especially 60,000 of them. That seems like a lot of bees. Too many bees, to be honest. But I would describe, like, five bees as too many bees. So take that with a grain of salt, I guess.

I have this image in my head of one dude in an old Honda Civic with 60,000 bees in his backseat, just praying he does not hit a speed bump and agitate them. It seems like a really stressful situation. I do not plan on stealing any bees.

The theft comes at a time when bee populations are dropping nationwide, causing serious concern among the nation’s agricultural industry and environmentalists. Roughly one-third of the country’s food supply depends on insects such as honeybees to pollinate plants.

Well… crap.

Now I feel bad about making all those terrible puns earlier.

Kind of.

I feel kind of bad.

Not bad enough to delete them.

But a little bad.