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 – The Fast & Furious franchise is so beautiful
It brings me a great deal of pleasure to inform all of you that Fast X co-stars Vin Diesel and Jason Momoa are feuding. Probably. Maybe. I don’t actually know if they are. But there was a report over at Radar this week that claimed they are, one riddled with anonymous sources and the kind of language that reads as “some guy I know heard from his kid’s friend’s mom that Vin Diesel’s gardener heard Vin’s other gardener on the phone with his brother and he said,” which is how all the best stories start. Let’s all agree to be reasonably intelligent adults about this and take it with a few grains of salt but press on anyway because it’s too fun not to.
Because, like, look at this anonymous quote.
“Vin is embarrassed Jason is being branded the only bright spot in the film and stealing his thunder in the franchise he built himself,” said a source.
And look at this sentence.
Insiders said the strongman has been telling friends Jason’s “overacting” and “scene-stealing” undermined his movie, which drew a wimpy 57 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes but still opened to a strong box office.
And this part, too.
“Jason knows he’s the flavor of the moment and Vin’s jealous of him,” said a source. “But he doesn’t appreciate Vin trying to poison the public against him. This has the potential to be Hollywood’s next biggest feud.”
Honestly, it’s beautiful. All of it, up to and including the thing where they described the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score as “wimpy” right after describing Vin Diesel as a “strongman.” Just a remarkable use of the English language.
And I would happily dismiss all of this as tabloid hooey if… I mean, we all remember Vin’s feud with The Rock, yes? The one that exploded a few years back after The Rock showed up as an antagonist to Dominic Toretto and kind of stole Vin’s thunder and culminated in The Rock logging into Instagram and airing out the whole thing in public like it was a high school kerfuffle over who did or did not get invited to Tyler’s skate party the weekend before? I hope you remember it. I will never forget it. Reasonable arguments can be made that it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
And now we might have another one. Maybe. For potentially similar and conflicting reasons. If these quotes are to be believed, Vin is mad at Jason Momoa for both stealing his spotlight by being a glittering ball of charisma and for ruining the entire movie, which is really pretty hilarious and also exactly something a true egomaniac and diva would think, which feels… let’s just say it’s not entirely out of line with the things people have said about Vin Diesel in the past. It makes me so happy. The big and silly franchise about street racing that has since been to outer space and blown up half of the Vatican is somehow bigger and more dramatic behind the scenes than it is in front.
I need this to be real. I need it to last forever. I need the next press tour to be littered with veiled attacks and lightly-coded social media firebombs back and forth. I need someone to ask Ludacris about it. I will do it myself if I have to.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – Hope none of you needed to paint anything pink
Did you have a baby girl recently? Or a gender reveal party to announce your upcoming baby girl? Well, congratulations, first of all. I hope you gave her a cool name, like maybe Natasha or Veronica. I’m sure whatever you picked is fine. But maybe you noticed something when you were preparing for her. Maybe you went to the store to buy some pink paint to splash around for the party and you got to the store and were informed that, whoops, no pink paint. And maybe you went to another store and they were out, too. And a third store. And then maybe you snapped and found yourself shouting “WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘JUST GET A RED AND A WHITE AND MIX IT’? I’M NOT PICASSO, SHARON” into your cell phone in the middle of an art supply store. You know, like a normal person.
Well, there’s an explanation for all of that. Turns out the upcoming Barbie movie wiped out the world’s supply of pink paint.
Everything also needed to be pink. “Maintaining the ‘kid-ness’ was paramount,” Gerwig says. “I wanted the pinks to be very bright, and everything to be almost too much.” In other words, she continues, she didn’t want to “forget what made me love Barbie when I was a little girl.” Construction, Greenwood notes, caused an international run on the fluorescent shade of Rosco paint. “The world,” she laughs, “ran out of pink.”
Well, that’s actually kind of lovely. And very funny. Just a great story to have in your back pocket for a conversation at dinner. Unfortunately, someone at the Los Angeles Times did research and went and provided context and ruined the whole thing.
However, Proud said it’s not that simple. During “Barbie’s” production in 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic was jamming the global supply chain on a host of products and goods, including Rosco’s paint.
The company was also still recovering from the deep freeze that blanketed Texas in early 2021 and damaged vital materials used to create the paint. In short, Rosco was already operating with less paint than it was used to.
“There was this shortage,” Proud said, “and then we gave them everything we could — I don’t know they can claim credit.”
This is what I meant about that Diesel-Momoa feud. We went and researched ourselves right out of a good time. And now I feel bad because I’m part of the problem by letting you know about it, too. I don’t feel great about my part in this either.
Let’s pretend the second half of this section never happened.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – I’m sorry but this is incredible
Okay, here’s the situation: Former Twins co-stars and Hollywood icons Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito sat down to chat with each other for a while and Interview Magazine recorded the whole thing, which feels like cheating for a magazine with “interview” right there in its name, but whatever. Not the point. The point is that their chat was kind of amazing. All of it. Go read it or watch it or listen to it. But definitely read this chunk of the transcript where two aging buddies have a little chat about life and death.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I said, “We don’t know what happens with the soul and all this spiritual stuff that I’m not an expert in, but I know that the body as we see each other now, we will never see each other again like that.”
DEVITO: We deteriorate.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Except in some fantasy. When people talk about, “I will see them again in heaven,” it sounds so good, but the reality is that we won’t see each other again after we’re gone. That’s the sad part. I know people feel comfortable with death, but I don’t.
SCHWARZENEGGER: Because I will fucking miss the shit out of everything. To sit with you here, that will one day be gone?
SCHWARZENEGGER: And to have fun and to go to the gym and to pump up, to ride my bike on the beach, to travel around, to see interesting things all over the world. What the fuck?
DEVITO: Life! It’s the best!
Three things here:
- You do not often see a conversation move from bleak to inspirational at this kind of breakneck speed, but I do appreciate it
- If you didn’t hear all of those words in the very distinct voices of the two men who said them in your head the first time you read through that, please go back and do that on a second read-through because it is maybe the most fun I’ve ever had reading anything, especially the thing where Arnold Schwarzenegger says “What the fuck?”
- Every audiobook should come with a “read by Danny DeVito” option
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – ITYSL things are happening
The third season of the brilliant and stupid and brilliantly stupid Netflix sketch series I Think You Should Leave dropped last week. You knew this. You’ve seen it all and read my rankings of the sketches and you probably yelled at me about it a little, if my Twitter mentions over the last couple days are any indication. That’s fine. We all love to have fun online. And on ziplines. It’s a good show.
But we’ve talked about all of that enough for now. What we haven’t talked about enough, on the other hand, is this profile of the show’s creator and star, Tim Robinson, over at the New York Times. It’s a fun read, and it opens with a really funny and very ITYSL story about spicy food, but my favorite part of the whole thing is tucked away in this paragraph a teeny bit later.
I had been warned that Robinson is deeply uncomfortable doing media. He dislikes, especially, being asked to analyze his comedy. That night, he and Kanin were exhausted. It was April, and they were nearing the end of the marathon process of finishing Season 3, basically living in the editing room, watching sketches over and over, trying to cut the material ruthlessly down to its essence. Their deadline was uncomfortably close; a writers’ strike was looming. They had no idea what day of the week it was. Netflix P.R. had very clearly forced them to meet with me against their will. (They agreed, after many weeks of pressure, to an 8 p.m. dinner at a restaurant that closed at 9.)
I… I think I love this. Scheduling a dreaded meeting over dinner that starts one hour before the restaurant closes is just so good. Because after 5-10 minutes of small talk (“nice place, love the tablecloths”) and 5-10 minutes of menu chat (“Hey, if I order some spring rolls as an appetizer, would you guys want a few?”) and time spent actually chewing and swallowing (gulpchompchompgulp), that leaves… what… maybe 20 minutes for the actual business of the meeting you didn’t want to have? And that’s not even factoring in 10 minutes of “How’s your chicken?” and “Have you guys ever eaten at McHouliguddies? Their fish and chips is outta this world…” food chat that usually accompanies a meal.
This is honestly so smart. I need to remember this trick. And while I’m on the subject of food-related ITYSL stuff I was amazed by this week, let’s go ahead and toss this in here, too.
Diners, Driving Crooner and Dives pic.twitter.com/DC9YP2WhzN
— Flavortown (@flavortown) June 7, 2023
I am so proud of everyone today. Tim Robinson, Guy Fieri, whoever runs Guy’s Twitter account, myself for writing all this down, you for reading it, everyone. Great work by all of us this week.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – This is kind of beautiful, actually
The cast of Cheers got back together for a nice little event this week where they yukked it up a bit and talked about the good old days for a while. Which is nice. Call up some of your old buddies you have seen in a while and have dinner together sometime. It’s fun. It’s wild how quickly you all settle back into your old rhythms again, even if it’s been years. Friends are cool. I recommend having some.
This brings me to the point of all of this: Their chat eventually worked its way to a story about noted vegan Woody Harrelson accidentally consuming pork, told by Cheers co-star George Wendt, which he has probably told 70000000000 times since it happened because, well, it’s a pretty good story. Here, look.
“[One night] we had catered Chinese food, and Woody found out after about 20 minutes that he was eating pork,” Wendt said. “And he decided to go purge. So I told him, ‘Out of solidarity, I will purge with you.’ And Ted said, ‘I’ll purge, too.’ There were only three stalls in the Stage 25 men’s room, and I’ll tell you this: You don’t want to laugh while puking.”
The first and most important thing here is that it’s nice to have the type of friends in your life who are willing to puke with you in solidarity. Puking stinks. It’s uncomfortable and embarrassing and I would happily never do it again, if possible. I imagine a couple of buddies showing support by doing it with you makes it a little better, more tolerable, maybe even a little fun.
But the other thing here is good, too. And that’s the thing where I now have a mental image of some production assistant opening the door to the bathroom to squeeze in a quick pee break between tasks and barging in on A-list television stars Woody Harrelson, Ted Danson, and George Wendt puking their guts out into toilets in adjoining stalls and laughing like maniacs about it.
I imagine he has also told that story a lot over the years. I bet no one believed him. I bet he saw this story this week, too, and immediately emailed it to all of his friends with a subject line like “SEE?!”
Good for him.
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.
It seems unfair that we have to go from the highs of the final seasons of Succession, Barry, and Ted Lasso, and the NBA Playoffs, and a new season of Yellowjackets to… basically nothing, all in a span of about two weeks. What am I supposed to do here? Scroll through my streaming apps mindlessly for an hour and then go to bed? Talk to my family? Watch baseball? Help me out here, man. Help me fill this void. What are we watching?
WHAT ARE WE WATCHING?!
Kevin, I do feel you on this, even though I’m a sicko who legitimately enjoys watching baseball. (Go Phillies.) Things got dire real fast. ITYSL was nice but that’s about 90 minutes of runtime total, which I can and did rip through in two sittings between work and the start of some Phillies games. It’s almost worse knowing there are 6000 things to choose from. It is somehow harder than when you just had, like, three options. Which is weird.
Here’s what I’ll tell you…
First of all, we put out a weekly watch guide that hits a lot of new and recurring stuff to choose from, so that’s a decent place to start
Second, this is a great opportunity to catch up on stuff you missed earlier in the year when things were crazy. I’ve been working my way through Mrs. Davis on Peacock this week, finally, after a few false starts last month. It’s a blast. Full-on wild Lindelof, like a Watchmen or a Leftovers, but about a nun doing battle with an all-knowing AI creation and trying to destroy the Holy Grail. It’s nuts. This happens early on…
… and gets explained later with a twist so powerfully stupid and fun that I started gasping at my laptop. And then, in an episode I just watched earlier this week, this happens…
… which you know I love.
It’s totally nuts. I adore it. Maybe it’s not your cup of tea, though. That’s fine. Double back and catch up on something else. Maybe you missed Severance or Shrinking or The Resort. Those are great, too. But I’m sticking with my nuns for now. At least until Justified comes back.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
To New Jersey!
A Monmouth County homeowner says he was shocked to discover that two Sea-Doos that were in his driveway were stolen in the middle of the night.
JET SKI HEIST
WE HAVE A JET SKI HEIST
A MIDNIGHT JET SKI HEIST
Surveillance video shows two men walking onto the property and approaching the trailer that the water vehicles were sitting on top of. They were wearing black. They are seen moving two garbage cans, removing the blocks keeping the wheels of the trailer from moving, and then are seen lifting the trailer by hand and rolling it away.
I can’t decide if this is a letdown or if it’s perfect. Like, on one hand, I really wanted this to involve tuxedos and lasers and the whole Entrapment/Ocean’s shebang. But, on the other hand, it feels kind of… right that the New Jersey jet ski heist was perpetrated by two idiots who moved trash cans to do it.
I’ll keep thinking about it while we press on.
“I woke up around 6 a.m. to get ready for work. I look at my Ring notifications and I noticed that I saw my truck and it looked weird. I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and I realized the Jet Skis were gone,” Cambria says.
It’s really funny to picture this in your mind but, when you get to the part where he notices the jet skis are gone, then you picture a tight zoom on his stunned face and add in a needle drop of the song “Extreme Ways” by Moby. The one from the Jason Bourne movies. This one.
This makes me really happy.
Cambria also says that just before noon he got a call from the police stating that the trailer was found in Edison. The were no signs of the water vehicles. Cambria says he hopes someone may have seen the men driving away.
Okay, here’s what I need you to do. Hit play on “Extreme Ways” again. Get that image in your head of this poor schmuck realizing his jet skis are gone…
Picture a smash cut to Matt Damon…
In character as Jason Bourne…
Riding one of the stolen jet skis.
Like stone-faced, zero emotion.
Song still playing.
David Strathairn is on the other one.
They’re zig-zagging through the waves on the Jersey Shore.
You are very welcome.