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 – LOOK AT THIS
I’ll tell you who is doing great right now: Margo Martindale. She’s doing so great. She’s been doing great for a while, to be fair, and you can go ahead and rewatch The Americans and her season of Justified and her appearances as herself (Character Actress Margo Martindale) on BoJack Horseman if you need that refreshed or just, like, want to watch her do battle with Timothy Olyphant in a Kentucky holler. You don’t even need an excuse to do that. You can stay up all night tonight and binge it if you want. You have that option.
But she’s just suuuuper killing it now. Start with the most pressing: she’s in Cocaine Bear, the movie about a bear that goes on a murderous rampage after eating a bunch of cocaine. That’s cool. She seems legitimately excited about it, too, which is also cool. Here’s what she said about it to EW:
“I never thought at age 70 I would be doing an action movie, but I guess I did!” Martindale tells EW, with great glee.
In director Elizabeth Banks’ movie, the actress plays a forest ranger named Liz whose day takes a very unexpected turn when she crosses paths with a bear who has ingested a large quantity of cocaine.
I guess I only needed the first paragraph of the blockquote. That second paragraph is pretty fun, though. Go up to a stranger this weekend and say it to their face. Feel free to replace “the actress” with her name if you want. Or don’t. Get as weird as you want out there. You deserve to have a little fun.
Speaking of things that are fun, guess what else Margo Martindale is going to be in this year? Did you say “a limited television series about the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist”? Because that would have been a really good guess. Because she’s going to be in that, too. It’s called The Sticky and I am already obsessed with it, in large part because I have been obsessed with the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist for many years now. But this does look good on paper.
“The Sticky revolves around Ruth Clarke (Martindale), a tough, supremely competent middle-aged Canadian maple syrup farmer who’s had it with being hemmed in by the polite, bureaucratic conventions native to her country’s identity. Especially now that that very bureaucracy is threatening to take away everything she loves: Her farm, her comatose husband, and her right to freedom. With the help of Remy Bouchard, a local blockhead and Mike Byrne (Chris Diamantopoulos), a low-level mobster, Ruth changes her fate—and transforms the future of her community with the theft of millions of dollars’ worth of maple syrup.”
So, we’ve got a movie about a murderous bear on a coke-fueled rampage and a television series about a multimillion-dollar theft of maple syrup. That’s a great start. And it gets even better. Because she’s also going to be in a show from Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof where Betty Gilpin plays a nun who does battle against computers.
Mrs. Davis is described as an exploration of faith versus technology — an epic battle of biblical and binary proportions. Gilpin will play a nun who goes to battle against an all-powerful Artificial Intelligence.
I don’t think I even know what that means but I kind of love it. It reads almost like “what if The Matrix starred a nun played by Betty Gilpin,” which, in hindsight, is something we should have gotten to long before 2023. I am both proud of and disappointed in all of us.
Well, not all of us. Again, Margo Martindale is doing pretty great. Bears on cocaine, large-scale thefts of breakfast condiments, nuns battling the algorithm, just an incredible run of projects. Any actor would be lucky to hit a fun trifecta like that at any point in their career, but it’s even more impressive because there just are not that many juicy roles out there for actresses over 70. The degree of difficulty here was off the charts. I am really happy for Margo Martindale.
I’m happy for me, too, because I get to watch all of these soon.
I am happy for me and Margo Martindale.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – Hey, let’s check in with the cast of Successi-… oh my
Background first, briefly: You remember that New Yorker profile of Succession star Jeremy Strong from a few years ago, right? The one where he talked about his devotion to Method acting and staying in character off-screen? The one that made a lot of people, including some of his co-stars, roll their eyes a little bit? Click on a bunch of those links if you don’t. It’s a ride.
Anyway, it’s all still going. Succession is back next month — for a… gulp… final season — and the stars are out talking to various publications about various things. Brian Cox, who plays Roy family patriarch Logan and has never once bitten his tongue about anything, was profiled by Town & Country magazine for some reason, and after describing the process of Method acting as “annoying,” there was… well, this paragraph.
In the confessional scene, played out on a dusty Italian cul-de-sac, Kendall is a mess. Cox says he thinks Strong played the moment extremely well, but he was, again, surprised that he wouldn’t break out of character once it wrapped. “He’s still that guy, because he feels if he went somewhere else he’d lose it. But he won’t! Strong is talented. He’s fucking gifted. When you’ve got the gift, celebrate the gift. Go back to your trailer and have a hit of marijuana, you know?
This is great for a lot of reasons. It’s great because you can hear him saying it exactly like that in exactly his voice with very little effort. It’s great because I think he really thinks it was a compliment. But mostly it’s great because I don’t think anyone but Brian Cox and narcs from Saturday morning television shows in the 1990s have ever used the phrase “have a hit of marijuana.” I read it a few days ago and I just have not been able to get over it. “Have a hit of marijuana.” What are we doing here? Say it out loud right now. It doesn’t even feel like the words are supposed to go together.
Strong, for his part, seems to be taking this all in stride, or at least as much as one can take “your older and more cantankerous co-star thinks you need to chill out and is telling anyone with a microphone or notepad about it” in stride. Here’s what he said about the whole thing in his own profile this week.
“I also think Brian Cox, for example, he’s earned the right to say whatever the f**k he wants. There was no need to address that or do damage control… I feel a lot of love for my siblings and my father on the show. And it is like a family in the sense that — and I’m sure they would say this, too — you don’t always like the people that you love. I do always respect them.”
So… that set sounds like fun! I guess. I don’t know. I just hope my sweet boy Cousin Greg is happy. Yes, I know he is played by a real person with a real name. Maybe I’m a little Method in my process, too. Leave me alone.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – Here’s a good tweet about soup
Henry Winkler is a sweet man. Everyone knows this. It’s been the case forever. He was a sweet man when I talked to him a while ago and rambled at him about how I think he should do a fishing show. He does not have to be like this. He was The Fonz. He could be pompous or cranky or any number of things. But he’s not. He’s a delight. He’s that way on Twitter, too. Look at this freaking guy.
I personally love it https://t.co/QRCbZwyaIA
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 19, 2023
I love him so much. I can’t wait for him to go on his fishing trip this year. There’s really nothing quite like scrolling through mountains of negative and cynical tweets about the news of the day and then…
Good morning … 18 inches of fun . No pun intended pic.twitter.com/qecvtfeoJg
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) June 15, 2022
HENRY WINKLER HAS A FISH.
It is legitimately one of my favorite things on the internet. I hope he starts posting pictures of himself with soup next. I promise I am not joking.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – This is journalism to me
Here’s the short version: Ed Harris, the actor you know from about 100 different things but mostly for playing gruff military-types, appears to have had a quote misattributed to him by the New Jersey Hall of Fame. That’s already fun but it gets better when you see the quote, as discovered and investigated in thorough and delightful detail by Dan McQuade at Defector.
According to a quote that the New Jersey Hall of Fame attributed to Harris, which is printed on a pillar at the rest stop now named after Jon Bon Jovi, Harris says that acting is just like scoring a touchdown. I am not paraphrasing. The quote reads: “Acting is like scoring a touchdown.” The Parkway rest stop, formerly known as the Cheesequake Rest Area, is now one giant ad for the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and its members are celebrated on its walls. All of them have some sort of quote attributed to them. Harris’s is as simple as it is confounding.
Acting is like scoring a touchdown.
Read that again.
One more time.
Anyway, Dan figured out what happened. I really recommend you go read the whole thing. It turns out there are other misattributed and mangled quotes in there, too. You need to see the banners these quotes are printed on. It’s very, very funny. But yes, resolution.
I will spoil it: Ed Harris did not actually say, “Acting is like scoring a touchdown.” His publicist was incredibly helpful with my silly inquiry, and while Harris had been out of town, she got in touch with him. He confirmed that the quote was a mangling of his words.
“I said at one point, when I was deciding what to do with my life, having realized my athletic career was over with,” Harris told Defector via email, “and having seen a wonderful actor at the [Oklahoma University] summer theater and the people applauding and cheering for his performance, I thought to myself: ‘Maybe I could do that… acting—and have people applaud like when I scored touchdowns.’”
In a way, when something like this happens, for me at least, blogging is like scoring a touchdown, too. I just spiked my mouse.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Congrats to the collection of maniacs who paraded through Mardi Gras dressed like Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus
This is Mardi Gras week in New Orleans. Other places, too, I guess, but who cares? We focus on the important things here. Sometimes. Whatever. I just wanted to tell you about the collection of maniacs who dressed up as Jennifer Coolidge’s character from The White Lotus and then paraded around the French Quarter. My colleague Mike Redmond wrote up a blog about the local news story and I really must insist you keep clicking through until you see the video. But Mike explained it pretty well, too.
“We love Jennifer Coolidge and we know she’s like a local celebrity and we wanted to pay homage to our great success over the past few years,” a member of the Krewe told Robin. “This is just our way of saying, ‘We love you, Jennifer, and we wish you were out here with us.’ Happy Mardi Gras!”
“We just walk down to Bourbon Street and everyone loves the costumes and we just have a good time,” another Krewe member explained. “It’s Coolidge all the way.” From there, the interview was mostly lots of hooting, hollering, and uh, jiggling. These folks were having a good time, okay.
Okay, fine, I will link to a TikTok of these maniacs.
This is just really very good. No notes from me. Moving along.
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.
I saw your tweet about the Oscars “crisis team” and I need your opinion on two things right away.
One: Do you think Dominic Toretto and the Family could have stopped Will Smith from slapping Chris Rock?
Two: Oscar Crisis… good fake name?
Okay, a little context. The Oscars announced this week that they’ve put a “crisis team” in place for this year’s ceremony, which is really just like a public relations unit they put in place to put out fires even if it sounds like they’re training mercenaries in a warehouse with lots of ropes and weapons. And I, because I am an idiot, quote-tweeted the announcement with a picture of Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Tyrese from F9. We have fun.
Anyway, to answer these…
ONE: I do not think they would have been able to stop him but I do know — based on the history of the franchise and the fact that the picture I posted contains both Statham’s character and Vin Diesel’s character at a barbecue two movies after Statham tried to shoot Vin’s flying car out of the air with a bazooka — that this year’s ceremony would have opened with Chris Rock and Will Smith drinking Coronas with everyone in a backyard somewhere.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
For decades, wild pigs have been antagonizing flora and fauna in the US: gobbling up crops, spreading disease and even killing deer and elk.
Excited to see where this one is going.
Now, as fears over the potential of the pig impact in the US grow, North America is also facing a new swine-related threat, as a Canadian “super pig”, a giant, “incredibly intelligent, highly elusive” beast capable of surviving cold climates by tunneling under snow, is poised to infiltrate the north of the country.
“Wild pigs are easily the worst invasive large mammal on the planet,” said Ryan Brook.
I know this is serious and farmers in the northern states are going to have their hands full with it all. I get that it’s a real problem. But you can’t just give me a phrase like “Canadian super pig” and expect me to move right along. I’m going to need some time. To make jokes. And type with caps lock on. I’m only so strong.
“They’re incredibly intelligent. They’re highly elusive, and also when there’s any pressure on them, especially if people start hunting them, they become almost completely nocturnal, and they become very elusive – hiding in heavy forest cover, and they disappear into wetlands and they can be very hard to locate.”
If they’re nocturnal…
Does that mean…
VAMPIRE CANADIAN SUPER PIG?????
Let it fight the cocaine bear, Godzilla vs. Kong-style. I’ll pay $50 for a ticket.