Movies

The Rundown: Hey, Are We All, Like… Doing Okay?

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 — Just hear me out

Apologies to Daniel Radcliffe, but we are going to talk about The Slap again. Briefly. I promise this will be brief. The problem here is that I have a weekly roundup thing that posts on a Friday and The Slap happened on Sunday and everyone is so sick of it already but I still have things to say. It’s a real dilemma I have on my hands. Not as much of a dilemma as, say, getting slapped on live television by one of the most famous people in the world while both of you are wearing tuxedos, in front of God and Zendaya and everyone, but still. A dilemma.

The nice thing is that I’m not here to yell about, like, what it means for the children or whether Will Smith should have been arrested. If I’m being honest, I find the whole thing kind of funny, just from a purely chaotic standpoint. I mean, Jamie Lee Curtis walked onto the stage carrying an adorable little puppy named Mac & Cheese — FOR THE IN MEMORIAM — and no one is talking about it at all this week. That’s crazy to me. Think about how wild another event would have to be to top that. And then think about how this cleared that bar with remarkable ease.

No, I am here with a pretty simple question, which is as follows: Are we all, like… doing okay? I’m actually being semi-serious here. I don’t necessarily think this is how or why Will Smith snapped during the Oscars and marched up the steps and open-hand slapped Chris Rock in the face, but, man, we’ve kind of been through a lot in the last couple years and we really do not talk about it. Everyone is a little more fried than they’d like to let on, I think. We went through a whole damn pandemic. And we still are, a little. It’s a lot!

I know a person — an otherwise extremely rational and composed person who I would describe as strong in a number of ways — who had a mini-meltdown in the grocery store a few weeks ago because one particular item was out of stock. It wasn’t necessarily the item that was the problem. It was seeing the empty shelf and getting flooded with memories of the first stages of the pandemic, when everything was still super scary and no one knew what to do, and all that stress we were all carrying and trying to power through. That’s gonna mess us up for a while, I think, in ways we haven’t even started to confront yet. People who lived through the Great Depression kept cash stored around the house for the rest of their lives. We talk about the lasting physical symptoms of COVID a lot, but we were really in the house and afraid for a long time. There’s some level of trauma there. It could get really weird.

Again, I don’t think “because COVID” is enough to explain why it all happened, and I would have laughed out loud if Will tried to use that as the sole reason in his apology. I just think everyone is a little more cooked than we’re showing, and it might explain some of the general weirdness we’ve experienced lately, which has been almost normalized in a way that’s even weirder. I think that also explains some of the post-Slap takes. The Takes are always bad after something like this, but my heavens, they were something else this week. I read them all because I am legitimately unwell and love the anarchy, but… yeah.

Someone invoked 9/11. Multiple people shouted that Chris Rock could have died. The whole-ass New York Times trotted out its big brains for a Take Roundup. Some lady said “What if he had slapped Betty White instead?” which was especially funny to me, in part because Betty White passed away a few months ago, in part because it implies Will was so slap-crazy that he could have slapped anyone or anything indiscriminately, and in part because it’s maybe one or two steps away from saying “What if a dinosaur had shown up and eaten all the trophies and they had to cancel the ceremony and Denzel Washington had to perform emergency surgery to cut them out of its stomach for its own health?” I’m not linking to any of these on-purpose. You don’t need that. But they’re all very real, I promise.

In fact, the only good Takes in any of this, as usual, belonged to Cher, our nation’s greatest tweeter. Look at a master at work.

LOOK AT CHER GO.

There are a few takeaways here, which I will present in bullet form:

  • We should probably try to cut each other some slack, to whatever degree we can
  • It would have been extremely funny if the next presenter they introduced in the aftermath of The Slap was, like, Jennifer Coolidge
  • I am glad Cher got her Dr. Pepper

I will leave you with what I consider to be the funniest tweet about the whole situation by a factor of thousands.

Okay. Now let’s all move on.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Die Hard rules

Well, this is a bummer. Bruce Willis is going to step away from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, a brain disorder I was not familiar with until I Googled it this week after reading this Instagram post from Bruce’s ex-wife, Demi Moore. It does not sound fun. I wouldn’t wish on anyone, even people I don’t like. I would especially not wish it on Bruce Willis. This is where I am going to write about Die Hard for a minute. Yes, again.

People have been saying things like “Die Hard is a masterpiece” and “Die Hard is one of our greatest Christmas movies” for so long now that it’s easy to forget both things are true. Die Hard is so, so good, just an all-time classic of an action movie, perfectly paced from beginning to end, which is not nothing when you’re trying to weave comedic moments into a movie about a terrorist taking over a skyscraper and holding dozens of people hostage. The fact that it works at all is almost a magic trick. The fact that it works as well as it does is borderline sorcery.

And with all due respect to Alan Rickman, who delivers a Top 20 all-time villain performance here, the train keeps chugging because of Bruce Willis. He’s hungover and beat up and shoeless and bloody and the movie keeps insisting on adding to his collection of maladies as the plot develops. Cast a lesser actor, one with less natural charisma or one who doesn’t believably look like he was born with a five o’clock shadow, and the whole thing falls apart. Look at this guy.

It’s basically a perfect movie. We’ve been trying to replicate it for like 35 years now and the closest we’ve come so far is probably Die Hard 2 or Die Hard With a Vengeance, two sequels that hold up against the original much better than they have any right to. Which, again, credit to Bruce Willis, probably the best actor we’ve ever had at playing a hero who looks just constantly inconvenienced by his own heroism.

Yes, sure, fine, the last few years of his acting career have not exactly been a parade of glory and triumph, but also, like, who cares? Bruce Willis was in Die Hard. That’s enough. You could go your entire career and never reach that peak. You could add up your entire career and never reach it. Die Hard is great. Bruce Willis is a legend. Let’s all wish him nothing but the best.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — There’s no easy transition from issues like mental health and brain conditions so let’s just say it: It is once again time to discuss the ding dongs

tommy dick
HULU

Great news. Two bits of great news, actually. The first is that I had another excuse to post the screencap of Tommy Lee having a conversation with his own penis — VOICED BY JASON MANTZOUKAS — from Pam & Tommy, which is great because I really like that screencap. The second is that The Guardian tracked down and interviewed Hollywood’s Premier Purveyor of Prosthetic Penises. Also, his name is Matthew Mungle, which is… cool. It’s cool. It feels like that’s what the name of a prolific penis producer should be, you know? So, I guess there were three pieces of great news here.

Anyway, let’s go ahead and jump into this interview because there are some absolute gems contained within. Like… this.

“When I get an email or phone call from a producer or director saying they need a penis,” Mungle tells me, “my first questions are: is it cut or not cut, what’s the length and girth, how large are the testicles, and how long are the pubic hairs?” It sounds like a dating profile, I say. Mungle throws back his head in a great laugh. “You have to think about that stuff!”

I love very much that this is a job and I love even more that this guy has it. He’s been so busy lately, too, what with all the phallic shenanigans going on lately in film and television. He’s made wieners for everyone from Chris Hemsworth — who allegedly keeps his next to his replica of Thor’s Hammer — to, yes, Sebastian Stan and his talking dinger from Pam & Tommy. But the man is not just a shaft maestro. He’s going to give you the full package.

As well as matching the colour of the actor’s skin, Mungle has to consider movement – and not just of the member. “The testicles I made for Step Brothers were quite specific,” he recalls, “because he pulled them out of his trousers and rubbed them on a drum kit.” You didn’t see the meat, just the two veg. “They had to move like free-floating testicles, rather than rigid miniature space hoppers. So I decided that we’d make actual testes that we put into a sack, which was very thin.”

I could read quotes from this guy all day, just talking about prosthetic genitalia like your neighbor would talk to you about making a birdhouse. I want him to start a podcast. I want him to become a TikTok influencer. I want him to be happy, mostly, but I simply cannot live without more anecdotes like this.

This, I presume, is where most actors will be keen to point out that a prosthetic is needed. Mungle details how he transformed these flaccid members into erections off screen. “We worked a wire into each very small penis. When the time came, I had to go in, get down on my knees, take the little penis wire, pull it up then walk away.” He pauses. “I think there’s actually some video of me doing that.”

If you love your job 30 percent as much as Matthew Munger seems to love his, you are going to have a wonderful career. Congratulations to a true king.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Nobody worry, I figured it out

abbott
ABC

Let’s start with some true statements:

  • Abbott Elementary is a good/fun show
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph is so good on Abbott Elementary
  • Her delivery of that line up there from this week’s episode has taken up permanent residency in brain

So that’s cool. I love cool things. I also love that mentioning all of this gives me an excuse to tell you that I finally figured out where I recognize Sheryl Lee Ralph from. That’s important to me. It’s been tearing me apart. She’s had a long career and has been in a lot of stuff and I’ve seen her before in some of it, but none of it that I saw in the Television section of her filmography jumped out at me. Like, yeah, I remember it, but it’s not it, you know?

Well, I scanned the Movies section of her filmography this week, and I went way back, and blammo, there it was.

rita
DISNEY

She voiced a dog named Rita in the 1988 animated film Oliver & Company, a twist on… uh, Oliver Twist (sorry) that featured talking dogs and cats singing and dancing around New York City. I watched it maybe 400 times as a little guy. That’s where I know her from. That and Moesha.

I am glad we settled this.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — I want this hovercraft

We move away from the world of film and television to bring you important hovercraft news from Japan. This is maybe the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, especially when you go to Shinjo’s Wiki page and learn his nickname.

Tsuyoshi Shinjo, also known as BIGBOSS, is a former Japanese professional baseball outfielder and current manager for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. Born in January 28, 1972, Shinjo is the second Japanese-born position player to play a Major League Baseball (and the first in the National League) game and was the first Japanese-born player to appear in the World Series.

This is exactly something a dude named BIGBOSS should do. I am so jealous I might spit on the floor. Both of the hovercraft and the fact that his nickname is BIGBOSS. But let’s focus on the hovercraft, if only because I think it’s substantially more likely that I could one day have $700,000 of disposable income to burn on a hover device than it is that I could convince even one person to start calling me BIGBOSS.

From Reuters, which has some helpful background.

A Japanese startup backed by soccer player Keisuke Honda hopes to persuade wealthy consumers to swap their supercar for a 77.7 million yen ($680,000) hoverbike which went on sale on Tuesday.

More. Tell me more.

The “XTurismo Limited Edition” from Tokyo-based drone startup A.L.I. Technologies is equipped with a conventional engine and four battery-powered motors and promises to fly for 40 minutes at up to 100 kph (62 mph).

MORE

I MUST KNOW MORE

GIVE ME SOME DELIGHTFULLY GRANDIOSE STATEMENT FROM THE CEO

NOW

GIMME

“Until now the choice has been to move on the ground or at scale in the sky. We hope to offer a new method of movement,” Chief Executive Daisuke Katano told Reuters.

God yes. This is fantastic. I don’t think any of you realize how much time I’ve spent this week reading about this hovercraft. Look at this video.

LOOK AT IT

Here’s the best part: This hovercraft entrance that Shinjo used was only just barely the most elaborate entrance he made this season. Because he also did this.

A few notes, once again via bullet point:

  • I love him
  • All relief pitchers should come into the game using one of these two methods
  • I was chatting with the Uproxx Sports dudes about all this and suggested that Charlie Manuel would have been the funniest manager to watch ride in on a hovercraft, and our Robby Kalland countered with Jim Leyland, which was such a good answer that I’m still kind of mad about it today

It’s fine. I’m fine.

READER MAIL

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

From Paul:

Be honest, did you shout a little when the Top Gun trailer cut to the shot of Admiral Iceman? I thought of you immediately. I hope there’s a scene where Val Kilmer is yelling at Tom Cruise over some hot shot shenanigans and Tom Cruise shouts back “I’M DOING THE BEST I CAN, ICEMAN.” Just for you.

Okay, this one will require a little explanation. First, let’s go ahead and post the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick, a movie that was supposed to come something like eight years ago (ballpark) but got delayed about a million times. Jon Hamm plays a hardass military guy who I sincerely hope tells Maverick that they’re not so different by the end of the movie.

Also, yes, of course, Iceman is an admiral now, which we see via photograph hanging on the wall, and is honestly a more interesting movie to me than whatever is going on here. Show me that story. Show me Iceman’s rise. Show me him meeting with a president. I need and deserve this.

iceman
PARAMOUNT

Regarding the Kilmer of it all, and the thing at the end of Paul’s email about doing the best you can… this is so stupid. Way back in 2013, when Val Kilmer used to tweet a lot (miss u, Val), he posted one that said “Make more art,” to which I — an idiot, through and through — responded thusly…

… and then proceeded to send Val Kilmer a bunch of awful MS Paint drawings I made. You can see them if you open that tweet and scroll through the replies. Val and I had a little moment. (I was still using a galactically stupid pseudonym back then.) I am so happy to see him and his character thriving all these years later.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Texas!

A flamingo that flew away from a Kansas zoo nearly 17 years ago and has been on the run ever since was glimpsed in Texas earlier this month.

Hmm

Okay, yes, this is a perfect news story. I don’t see how it could get any bett-…

A video posted by the Coastal Fisheries Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shows the bird, named Pink Floyd, on March 10 wading into Cox Bay near Port Lavaca, about 120 miles southwest of Houston.

THE FUGITIVE FLAMINGO IS NAMED PINK FLOYD

ARE YOU KIDDING ME

COME ON

LIKE HIS OFFICIAL NAME IS “492,” WHICH IS ALSO COOL, BUT STILL

I LIKE TO PICTURE HIM WITH SUNGLASSES ON

SORRY FOR STILL TYPING IN ALL-CAPS

I GET EXCITED

When he and other flamingos arrived at the zoo from Tanzania a few years earlier, staffers decided it would be unethical to amputate part of the birds’ wings to prevent them from flying since they were already adults, the newspaper reported.

Instead, the zoo clipped the flamingos’ feathers, what one staff member described as similar to getting a haircut. But in 2005, staff missed signs that their feathers needed to be clipped again, and nos. 492 and 347 flew the coop.

This is incredible. My guy did a full-on jailbreak. Good for him. I hope he goes back and frees other ones. I hope he rides a motorcycle. I hope he stays in one town for a few weeks and then skips out under the cover of night before anyone catches on. I hope he’s left a string of broken hearts across the south. I hope there’s one cop — also a flamingo — who has been tracking him this whole time and has a map up in his office with thumbtacks pressed into it where Floyd has been spotted and strings of yarn between them that plot his movements.

I would watch this movie tonight.

Pink Floyd has been spotted along the Texas coast for several years, officials said. There have been other reported sightings of the bird in Arkansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin, according to the BBC.

There is nothing in this entire world — not one thing — that would make me happier than Pink Floyd the Fugitive Flamingo showing up in Vegas and running out of a casino with a bag filled with $500 chips.

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