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 — I am correct on this
Every now and then, usually in the wee hours of the morning when you’re trying to sleep, a thought will careen into your brain. A thought so obvious and true that it staggers you. A thought so perfect that it almost upsets you that the rest of the world has not already come together and agreed on it. This has happened to me a few times. Once, it was when I realized that all spoons should be soup spoons because soup spoons are larger and deeper, allowing you to shovel more food into your face with less chance of spilling on your shirt. Most recently, it was when I realized that Tom Hardy must play a villain in the Paddington franchise. It doesn’t have to be in the next Paddington, whenever that is. But it has to happen eventually.
There is already a long and storied history of terrific Paddington villains, and by that I mean there have been two: Nicole Kidman as a diabolical taxidermist named Millicent Clyde who wants to kill and stuff Paddington and place his adorable corpse in a natural history museum; and Hugh Grant as the theatrically evil Phoenix Buchanan, a famous actor who has gone treasure-crazy and frames Paddington for burglary. Both of them are delightful, especially Hugh Grant, who gives the single most mustache-twirling performance ever committed to film by an actor who is technically clean-shaven. It’s incredible. He goes huge with every decision and it still works because you cannot possibly go too big for a role in which you frame a sweet-talking bear for a felony as part of your quest to acquire gold and/or jewels.
All of this is why Tom Hardy is a perfect Paddington villain. Tom Hardy loves going big. Huge, even. Go watch Venom and picture that guy tormenting a little CGI bear. Go watch him as a mumble mouthed bootlegger in Peaky Blinders and witness a man steal every scene he’s in with all the subtlety of a brick to the skull. Go watch The Dark Knight Rises again and picture Bane as a Paddington villain. In fact, picture that whole movie, but with Paddington instead of Batman. Picture the whole franchise like that while you’re at it. The Joker asking Paddington if he wants to know how he got his scars and Paddington listening with all the sincerity in the world as the Joker eventually breaks down and realizes the error of his ways. This is how I will spend my entire weekend.
But I’m getting off-topic. Tom Hardy. You can see it too now, right? It’s so mind-meltingly clear. There are other decent alternatives here, sure, and this is where I toss out names like Idris Elba and Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Colman and, hell yes, Jackie Daytona himself, Matt Berry from What We Do in the Shadows. But Tom Hardy first. He’s so intense, so maniacal in the choices he makes, so committed to doing The Thing He Is Doing that he makes the perfect foil for a fuzzy little hero who saves the day with nothing but a kind heart and marmalade sandwiches. The yin and yang, sweet and salty, two completely different things locking together to create one perfect thing. It has to happen. I’m going to get mad if doesn’t.
I’ll give them time. Again, it doesn’t have to be the next Paddington movie. If there’s any justice in the world, these movies will match the Fast & Furious franchise in size and longevity and maybe Paddington will go to outer space eventually, too. But let’s not screw around and get cute here. Let’s get it done. Let’s get Tom Hardy in a Paddington movie. He can do any accent he wants. He can do all of the accents if he wants. I do not care. Just make it happen. The people deserve it.
ITEM NUMBER TWO— What would you do if you were playing chess against Anya Taylor-Joy’s character in The Queen’s Gambit and she stared at you over the board like this?
Honestly, I would quit. I would quit on the spot. I might fake an illness or something in a feeble attempt to maintain the tiniest shred of dignity, but everyone would see right through it because I am bad at acting and because I just admitted I would try it earlier in this sentence. Poor planning on my part. Also, I am terrible at chess, so this would be a miserable experience on a number of levels. I barely know the names of the pieces. There’s the king, and the queen, and the pawns, and the… castle, and the… horsey…
Anyway. What I’m trying to say here is that Anya Taylor-Joy is a great actress and I enjoyed watching her cook all the dopes on this show and she is really just very good at staring lasers at and/or through people. Not everyone can do that. I’m not entirely sure one can learn to do it. You either have that kind of intensity in your glare or you don’t, and she extremely does. I want to bring her with me the next time I buy a car. I’ll excuse myself to take a call and leave her and the salesman alone in the office together and she can just burn holes through him in silence for 10-15 minutes and then when I come back in the car will be like $5,000 cheaper.
The Queen’s Gambit is a good show.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Well here’s a good excuse to post one of the best stories ever
It is the position of this column that politics is bad and makes otherwise sane people behave like lunatics, and for that reason, it will remain a politics-free zone. There are, however, occasionally, politics-adjacent things that cannot be avoided. These can fall into a number of categories including, but not limited to, “a dog gets elected mayor of a small town” and, as we are about to see “a very thin excuse to post a very funny story that has nothing to do with politics.” Let’s dive in. Let’s read about how actor and longtime vape enthusiast Leonardo DiCaprio spent his election night.
Sources exclusively told Page Six that the “Wolf of Wall Street” star set up a wide-screen TV on his outdoor basketball court for a group of close pals such as Vincent Laresca.
DiCaprio — who’s known to own numerous properties around Los Angeles — combined two homes, including one he bought from Madonna, into one mansion back in the ’90s, and installed the basketball court in 2004. We hear he reserves this place for entertaining guests.
This is a very important story. Not because it matters to me in any way that Leonardo DiCaprio and his friends watched election coverage like this. Or that he bought a mansion from Madonna and then combined it with a second mansion, although that really is something. No, the reason this is an important story is because it contains both the name “Leonardo DiCaprio” and the word “basketball,” which means I have no choice but to post George Clooney’s basketball story again. It’s out of my hands. I would apologize but I could not possibly be less sorry. It is one of my favorite stories.
There are three things you need to know before diving in:
- The story is from this Esquire profile of Clooney, which is a good read
- George Clooney said all of this, on the record, to a journalist
- We pick the story up after Clooney and DiCaprio bumped into each other in Cabo months earlier and discussed their shared love of basketball and their desire to play sometime
Okay. Here we go.
They played at a neighborhood court. “You know, I can play,” Clooney says in his living room. “I’m not great, by any means, but I played high school basketball, and I know I can play. I also know that you don’t talk shit unless you can play. And the thing about playing Leo is you have all these guys talking shit. We get there, and there’s this guy, Danny A I think his name is. Danny A is this club kid from New York. And he comes up to me and says, ‘We played once at Chelsea Piers. I kicked your ass.’ I said, ‘I’ve only played at Chelsea Piers once in my life and ran the table. So if we played, you didn’t kick anybody’s ass.’ And so then we’re watching them warm up, and they’re doing this weave around the court, and one of the guys I play with says, ‘You know we’re going to kill these guys, right?’ Because they can’t play at all. We’re all like fifty years old, and we beat them three straight: 11–0, 11–0, 11–0. And the discrepancy between their game and how they talked about their game made me think of how important it is to have someone in your life to tell you what’s what. I’m not sure if Leo has someone like that.”
Just a lovely story on so many levels, from calling out some doofus club kid hanger-on by name, to the majestic pettiness of the way he recounted the score, to the way it all turned into a pretty wise meditation on fame and living in a bubble of your own design. And it’s really funny. I would pay at least $99 for video of this game. More if it only existed on a dusty VHS cassette shot from a terrible angle like the legendary Dream Team scrimmage tape. I am not kidding.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Congrats to Emily Blunt on all the cussing
There was a report a few weeks back about which actor has said the most cusses in film history. It was one of those things where, like, I can’t verify it, or at least I very much did not want to watch every movie ever made to verify it, so I was willing to accept the findings as presented if they seemed reasonable enough, which they did. Point being: Congratulations to Jonah Hill, King of Cussing. Additional point being: The same crew that did that report, Buzz Bingo (a website but also a great fake name), put together the same list for actresses this week, and it comes with good news and bad news.
Good news first: A sincere congratulations to Emily Blunt, who, on the back of her profanity-filled role in The Girl on the Train, edged out Jennifer Lawrence, Leslie Mann, and Frances McDormand to claim the top spot on the list. But then the bad news: Blunt only has a total of 81 cusses, which is less than one-quarter of Jonah Hill’s total, and not even enough to crack her into the top 30 overall.
Bullet points via Buzz Bingo:
- More than three quarters of swearing in film is performed by male actors (75.6%).
- When analysing the profanity of all actors (both male and female), every actor in the top 10 are male. In fact, the most profane actress (Emily Blunt) only ranks 34 overall with Bel Powley ranking as low as 72.
- When comparing Blunt to the most profane actor overall, Jonah Hill, he has uttered more than four times as many profane words in his career with 376 swears.
This stinks. I hate it. I hate it a lot. Let the women cuss, Hollywood! Come on!
Luckily, the solution here is simple. So simple I almost don’t even need to say it. But I will. Because I want to put it into the universe, in writing, just in case that makes it more likely to happen. I’m even going to start a new paragraph to do it.
A new R-rated film franchise starring Rosie Perez as a foul-mouthed former assassin who is out for blood after a group of crooked cops… did… something. Listen, we can figure that part out. The important stuff is all in there already: Rosie Perez, swear words, Rosie Perez saying upwards of 400 cuss words with her voice over a violent and stylish film franchise, etc. Some of you might be reading this and thinking “Uhhhh Brian, isn’t this kind of just John Wick but with Rosie Perez and a ton of profanity?”
To which I reply: Yes. Yes, it is.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Do you ever catch yourself sitting around and thinking about how the song “Pop! Goes My Heart” from the opening credits of the 2007 film Music & Lyrics is legitimately better and catchier than like 85 percent of the Wham-like 80s music it is allegedly parodying?
I do. I also recognize that this brings us to two of five sections this week that reference Hugh Grant in roles where he sings and dances. Do not tempt me to go back in the last section and add him into the hypothetical Rosie Perez: Cussing Assassin movie I just pitched. I’ll do it. I’m crazy.
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 finally watched Inside Man, and I was pleasantly surprised how many people were in it that just make me feel like a movie is in good hands- Denzel, Chiwetel, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Wilhelm Dafoe- regardless of movie quality, they’re going to elevate what they’ve been given.
This raises my question: what movie (outside of giant ensemble things like Love Actually and crossovers like Endgame) has the most “I’m in good hands” cast? It’s not really a “best cast” thing, but just a bunch of high floor people.
My knee jerk reaction is Knives Out, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Brandon, this is a fantastic email, in part because it raises an excellent point and in part because it mentions two of my favorite movies. The only problem I have with it is that I don’t know how I can be expected to answer it now that I’m thinking about these movies and how much I love them again. Inside Man rules, as we’ve discussed. Knives Out also rules, which we will probably end up discussing at some point in the near-ish future just based on the staggering number of times I have watched it over the last couple of months. Do you think it’s a coincidence that Christopher Plummer plays a rich guy with secrets in both of these movies, or do you think that’s just the secret to a good movie? It’s a lot to think about. I’m leaning toward the latter but I can be swayed.
To answer your question, in a surprise to no one who has spent any amount of time with or around me in the last few years, I’ll add The Accountant. The Accountant has everyone in it. Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons, John Lithgow, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Tambor, Jon Bernthal, Alison Wright. It’s is just incredibly stacked for a movie that isn’t part of a franchise or based on a beloved piece of literature or directed by, like, Tarantino. And it has a montage where Ben Affleck, the accountant in The Accountant, does accounting. I don’t know what else anyone could possibly ask for.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
In one of the more unusual crime capers of recent weeks, an enterprising crew of thieves with impeccable taste in fine wines tunneled into a secure high-end cellar in Nottingham, England, and stole as much as $65,000 worth of classic vintages and whiskey.
Looking for more proof that politics is bad and ruins everything? Because if you are, you could do a lot worse than “criminals tunneled into a wine cellar in Nottingham and stole $65,000 worth of booze and barely anyone discussed it this week.” It’s a little upsetting to me. And it would be more than a little upsetting if the story didn’t include a handful of fun details that I can share with you, now, in an attempt to right this historical wrong. Details like this.
A senior manager at Vintage Wines Ltd. in Nottingham told The Daily Beast they were “embarrassed” by the theft and were now in the process of contacting celebrities and ordinary people who use the company’s storage vault for their high-price bottles. Many of the clients “were distraught.”
The main celebrity they are talking about here is the estate of Whitney Houston, which stores the late singer’s collection here, but one assumes there are others who did not wish to be identified. I’m more tickled by the use of the phrase “ordinary people.” Like, yes, the celebs, but also… [gestures dismissively in the direction of the unwashed masses].
I’ve been thinking about it since I read this story and if the high-end cellar where I stored my expensive bottles of wine called to tell me my collection had been stolen by a group of criminals who tunneled into the facility… I mean, don’t think I’d be mad. It would be worth it just for the story. I would tell everyone, all the time, repeatedly. Someone would be like “Should we have wine with dinner?” and I’d launch into my story about the criminals who stole my wine by tunneling into a high-end cellar and everyone would groan because they’ve heard it 100 times. It would be great.
They are thought to have dug into the cellar via derelict buildings surrounding the business to access the store’s vaults, which contain hundreds of bottles of high-value wine, whiskey, and port belonging to collectors.
One thing we need more of going forward, and I have always said this, is news stories about elaborate wine heists that include the phrase “derelict buildings.”
The real question here is how these guys got caught after all this planning. It seems like they thought of everyth-…
They were caught when a female member of the staff went down to the cellar to replace a high-value bottle that had been stolen in the store, only to find the thieves swigging vintage Champagne as they rifled through some of the best wines in the world.
Look, if you’re going to get arrested, if there’s absolutely no way around it, you might as well be drunk on champagne. I think that’s the biggest takeaway here.