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 — Seriously, please check it again
I know we are all busy. It’s the middle of summer, and we’re coming out of a hellish year of quarantine and isolation, and we’re all understandably itching a bit to get outside and away from the various screens we’ve been parked in front of the whole time. You can certainly be forgiven if you let a few things slide as you make up for lost time. Maybe the laundry is piling up, or the cupboards are going a little bare as you put off chores in favor of soaking up some sun and dining al fresco with friends. I get that. But please, at some point this weekend, remember to check your email to see if you have been cast in Knives Out 2.
I know, I know. I hear you. “But Brian, I didn’t even audition for a role in Knives Out 2. And I’m not an actor. This feels like a long shot.” Sure. Of course. But how will you know until you check? Look how big the cast is already? We’ve got Daniel Craig reprising his role from the first one, and it builds out from there: Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, and more. It seems like new names are getting added every day. Who knows, maybe the next one could be you?
Ah, but I hear you, again. “I mean, yeah, fine, maybe. But didn’t they already start filming? Don’t you think I would know by now if I’ve been cast in Knives Out 2?” This is fair. I get your point. Director Rian Johnson did just post this tweet earlier in the week.
Aaaaaaaand WE’RE OFF! Day one of filming on the next Benoit Blanc mystery. Thanks to all the lovely patient people here in Greece for letting us do all this murdering on their peaceful shores. pic.twitter.com/SUFptCpl3G
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) June 28, 2021
But consider this: A few days later, after filming had started, European paparazzi types snapped pictures that seem to imply Ethan Hawke and Jada Pinkett Smith are in this movie, too, despite the fact that their casting had not been announced previously. I see two possibilities that could explain this:
- The roles were intended to be a surprise but the paparazzi spoiled it by poking around with their big zoom lenses
- Ethan Hawke and Jada Pinkett Smith were cast weeks ago but just saw the emails and had to book last-minute flights to Greece to get to the set in time
Both equally likely. And a good reason why you should check your email right away. There’s still time. You can probably get a flight this weekend. It’ll be expensive and you might have to add a few connecting flights to make it work, but that’s better than the embarrassment of blowing your big break because you forgot to check your email, you know?
Check it again. Check the spam folder, too, just to be safe. Maybe the casting agency has some weird email address your inbox didn’t recognize. Check your old college email address, too. Maybe they have that one from all those credit cards you signed up for. Maybe turn on all your alerts. It could end up being nothing, and maybe all the dinging will drive you a little crazy for a while, but it’ll be worth it if you stumble across an email from a few weeks ago about you getting cast in Knives Out 2.
Maybe you’ll get to play the murderer! Check your email!
ITEM NUMBER TWO — It is time, once again, to talk about the darts scene
Lots of Ted Lasso chatter out there this week. That’s fine, always, because there’s never really a bad time for Ted Lasso chatter. But it was still a little weird, this time, because the Ted Lasso chatter kind of came out of nowhere. It wasn’t tied to another new trailer, or the fact that the show drops its second season in about three weeks, or any Apple-generated publicity push. It all started because some random lady watched it and tweeted about it and her thread of tweets went crazy-viral out of nowhere. The internet is relentlessly strange. I guess that’s the takeaway here. And that Ted Lasso is a good show. So, two takeaways, really. You can follow her journey through the show by clicking here and scrolling a lot. It’s a fun little ride.
after seeing so many people tweet about ted lasso i finally caved and looked up the show and it’s about……soccer???
— rebecca mix would die for ted lasso (@mixbecca) June 26, 2021
More importantly, for our purposes at least, it gives me a semi-legitimate excuse to discuss the darts scene again. This is terrific news, in part because the darts scene is awesome and in part because — unrelated to this thread, and predating it by about a week — I started watching the darts scene a lot. Like, multiple times. Almost every day. I’m not sure how it started or why but here we are. I feel okay about it.
Watch it again yourself. Right now. Click the link up there. It works in context — Ted is helping Rebecca by getting her dipshit billionaire ex to buzz off with his tail between his legs — and it works without context, too, mostly because any scene that includes a line like “I forgot I’m left-handed” will probably work. I love a good hustling scene. “Geoffrey, break out Lucille,” and so on and so forth.
But the reason I’ve been rewatching it so much lately is the speech. The one Ted gives as he’s tossing laser-guided bullets. This one.
You know, Rupert, guys have underestimated me my entire life. And for years, I never understood why. It used to really bother me. But then one day, I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this quote by Walt Whitman, and it was painted on the wall there. It said, “Be curious, not judgmental.” I like that.
So I get back in my car and I’m driving to work, and all of a sudden it hits me. All them fellas that used to belittle me, not a single one of them were curious. You know, they thought they had everything all figured out. So they judged everything, and they judged everyone. And I realized that their underestimating me… who I was had nothing to do with it. ‘Cause if they were curious, they would’ve asked questions. You know? Like, “Have you played a lot of darts, Ted?”
To which I would’ve answered, “Yes, sir. Every Sunday afternoon at a sports bar with my father, from age 10 until I was 16 when he passed away.”
God, that’s good. From the setup at the beginning to the killer “Have you played a lot of darts, Ted?” payoff to the sneaky devastating end. It’s basically the entire essence of the show wrapped up in a tight little ball, the sweet and touching and funny and all of it. I’ve watched it twice since I started writing this section. I’m about to go back in for number three. I feel great about that, too. Barbecue sauce.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Terrific news about Europe’s finest television program
As far as ideas for television shows go, you could do a lot worse than “take charming British actors and have them travel to the most beautiful places in Europe to drink and learn about wine,” which is probably why The Wine Show works as well as it does. It’s a blast, just a kicked-open fire hydrant of good vibes. I wrote about the first season — featuring Matthews Goode and Rhys, the latter of whom revealed himself to be a huge silly goofball in contrast to his perpetually frowny character on The Americans — a few years ago, and I stand by every word of it today.
The show aired a second season that mostly replaced Rhys with James Purefoy, which was fine if not ideal, and now it is back for a third season on the Sundance Now streaming network. And it looks magnificent. I’m just going to go ahead and blockquote the entire damn press release.
Matthew Goode, Matthew Rhys and James Purefoy are joined this lively season by a new member of the team – Dominic West (The Hour, The Wire), who presides with James at the season’s headquarters: the Quinta do Noval in the stunning Douro Valley in Portugal. Goode and Purefoy trek across Portugal to discover the country’s best wines, while star sommelier Charlotte Wilde travels to The Azores and answers the question: who really invented sparkling wine, including champagne? Resident wine experts hit the road as Amelia Singer heads across the US (including a look at how urban winemaking and hip hop have found a voice in wine in California and New York) and Fattorini visits Thailand and Germany. In one segment, Fattorini stops in Hungary, a country rich with stories about the health-giving properties of its wines, covering everything from beauty cream to body building. Finally, Rhys and Fattorini lunch at restaurants throughout NYC, to pair wine with varied international cuisines which together represent the city’s ethnic diversity.
This is great. Just keep adding a new charming actor from the United Kingdom every season. Do Hugh Grant next. And Helen Mirren. And Phoebe Waller-Bridge. And Jason Statham. And maybe Liam Gallagher. But not Noel Gallagher. We can get a committee together and figure it out.
But none of that is the point here. The point here is LOOK AT THIS SCREENCAP OF DOMINIC WEST IN THE TRAILER.
My new goal in life, replacing “do not throw up again, ever,” is to achieve at least 60 percent of the vibes pictured here, just once, just for a second. I won’t get there. None of us will. Unless we’re Dominic West in sunglasses on a boat that is cruising around beautiful waterfront towns in search of wine. Which most of us aren’t. But you know, shoot for the moon, land among the stars, etc. etc. etc.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Well, here’s some perfect casting
An uncomfortable truth I’ve been coming to terms with lately is that I’m a huge pathetic sucker. I talk a big game but then I roll over and show the world my soft underbelly in the hopes of some soothing tummy scratches. It happened again this week. I had been holding strong against the idea of the A League of Their Own television show, even after I knew it was being created by Broad City’s Abbi Jacobsen. “This is a crass attempt at exploiting memorable intellectual property,” I mumbled to myself like a real crank.
And then the show went ahead and cast Nick Offerman as the coach, in a kind of Tom Hanks adjacent role that sounds awesome, starting with name — Casey “Dove” Porter — and moving to, well, this.
Dove is described as a former Cubs pitcher who is brought in to coach the Rockford Peaches. The character is most famous because his forkball killed a dove in mid-air in the middle of a game. Inspiring and charismatic, Dove was thought to be the next big Major League Baseball star, but blew his arm out after three years. Now he’s looking to make his comeback by making the Peaches into champions.
Yup, it turns out “Nick Offerman as a version of Tom Hanks crossed with Randy Johnson” is all it takes to make me roll right over. I’m in now. I don’t know. If they cast, like, Anna Kendrick as a foul-mouthed second baseman next I might just declare it my favorite show before it even airs. I have a feeling all of this surprises me more than any of you.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — What an incredible week for Ray Liotta
The trailer for the Sopranos prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, dropped this week. It’s a big deal for a bunch of reasons — James Gandolfini’s son playing young Tony, the music at the end, other Sopranos-y things — that you are welcome to talk about at your leisure, because we are, instead, going to talk about Ray Liotta. Look at Ray Liotta in this sucker.
The biggest surprise here is that Ray Liotta was not already in The Sopranos. How did that not happen? It seems like it could have happened even by accident, like if he showed up on set one day under the assumption he had been cast and everyone just rolled with it because, like, he’s Ray Liotta. Why wouldn’t he be in The Sopranos? This is all, in a way, a historical wrong being righted.
And it’s not the only big Ray Liotta news this week. He’s also in No Sudden Move, the new Soderbergh heist movie that drops on HBO Max this weekend. And, in the biggest news of all, to me, which is what’s important here, he’s also been cast in Cocaine Bear. We have talked about Cocaine Bear before. We will assuredly talk about it again later. But we are definitely going to talk about it now. Or at least blockquote it. Like this.
Keri Russell, Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson are set to star in the Universal project, which is inspired by events that took place in Kentucky during 1985.
The true story, as reported in 1985 by The New York Times, was that a 175-pound black bear consumed the contents of a duffle bag filled with more than 70 pounds of cocaine that was dropped from an airplane by a local drug smuggler, Andrew Thornton. The bear was later found dead of an apparent drug overdose.
Every time anyone posts a summary of this movie, it says the bear died of an “apparent” overdose, and every time it cracks me up. What was your first clue, doc? The bear consuming 40 percent of its body weight in cocaine? Excellent work. Let’s all go out for quesadillas.
Anyway, the only movies I am officially excited about now are as follows: Knives Out 2 (check your email again), Fast 10, John Wick 4, and Cocaine Bear. I hope it’s a huge hit and gets as many sequels as the others. I will absolutely see Cocaine Bear 6: Tootin’ In The Woods in stunning IMAX on opening weekend. I hope they cast Judith Light next, if only so I have many more excuses to post my favorite GIF ever.
Good for Ray Liotta. Good for the Cocaine Bear. But most importantly, good for Brian.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at email@example.com (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.
I do not know how I’m supposed to get anything done this week after reading that quote about James Cameron writing T2 while high on ecstasy and listening to Sting. Because now I’m thinking about what drugs he was on and what music he was listening to when he came up with Avatar. Peyote and Enya?
This is a wonderful email but it will require some context. Earlier this week, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of T2, the great Alan Siegel at The Ringer put together an oral history of the film. It’s all quite good and worth a read over the weekend, but you’ll need to prepare yourself, because at one point James Cameron says, well, this.
Cameron: I remember sitting there once, high on E, writing notes for Terminator, and I was struck by Sting’s song, that “I hope the Russians love their children too.” And I thought, “You know what? The idea of a nuclear war is just so antithetical to life itself.” That’s where the kid came from.
I’m with you, Derek. I can’t get over it either. I have this image in my head of James Cameron sweating profusely and grinding his teeth into dust and bursting out of his office to shout like, “HELEN, WRITE THIS DOWN: WAR IS BAD,” and this poor sweet secretary being like, “Yes, of course, sir,” while handing him a sleeve of freeze pops without looking up from her typing.
We have fun. Not as much as James Cameron, apparently, but still.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen nine years ago during a heist at a Greek gallery has been recovered.
GREEK PICASSO HEIST.
We can skate over some of the details here. A 49-year-old builder was arrested for stealing a painting called Head of a Woman and another painting by a Dutch artist. The heist took place about a decade ago and was highly organized, taking about seven minutes to complete. It’s all very Thomas Crown Affair.
Until, of course, we get to the toilet part.
A third work in pen and ink by Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia, from the 16th Century, was also seized but police said the suspect told them it had been damaged and he had flushed it down the toilet.
I love that this guy thought of everything and planned it out to the second and then one thing went sideways and he was like “FLUSH IT DOWN THE TOILET.” A nice little touch on this one. Almost like he did it specifically for me.
And he did really plan it out meticulously. Look at the work this dude put into it all
During the Tuesday press conference, police alleged that the 49-year-old suspect had confessed to the theft and explained how he planned the raid for six months in advance.
Almost every day he would monitor the movements of security guards and other staff, they said, noting the times the guards took cigarette breaks. On 9 January 2012, the suspect set off a false alarm in another part of the building and broke into the ground floor of the museum, police explained.
Which makes this next part so confusing.
Police said the builder, described as a decorator, had hidden the paintings at his home for years and had no intention of selling them. Recently, however, he had moved them, wrapped in plastic sheets, to a dried up riverbed in Keratea, outside Athens, where they were eventually found in good condition.
Imagine you’re out fishing and you’re walking back after an unsuccessful run of it and you trip and fall and whooooops there’s a priceless stolen Picasso buried in the mud. That’s a story you can dine out on for years. And it’s a real good hammer to drop if one of your dumb friends starts bragging about a huge fish he caught.
YOUR STUPID FRIEND LARRY: … and I swear to God, this thing was as big as your leg. Swear to God.
YOU: Oh, wow. How much was it worth?
YOUR STUPID FRIEND LARRY: Ah, come on. No one wants to hear the Picasso story aga-
YOU: BECAUSE ONE TIME I CAUGHT A PRICELESS PICASSO PAINTING.
Insufferable. Everyone will hate you so much. But it’ll be worth it.