TV

The Rundown: It Is Time For 2021 Pop Culture Resolutions

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 — Uhhhhh… Happy New Year?

It feels weird to sit here and discuss fun and hopeful plans for this new year when there’s still a global pandemic raging and the nation’s Capitol is in disarray. I know that. It’s not an ideal way to kick things off. But the point of a resolution is to focus on improvement, on making things better somehow, even in some small way. That’s what this is about, mostly. I’m going to run through some of my pop culture resolutions for 2021, a few of them serious and real, a few of them very stupid and silly, because, I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. My actual resolution is the same this year as every year (“try not to let the stupid stuff get in the way of the cool stuff whenever possible”), but these are important, too.

Kind of.

Step outside my comfort zone

There are so many shows and outlets available right now that it can be easy to silo yourself off inside your own favorites and never leave. This is comforting sometimes because there’s always something made just for you available in under five clicks. It’s also a bummer because the thing that is supposed to broaden your options can end up limiting them. I made this same resolution last year. I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be, in part because 2020 was stressful in a number of unprecedented ways and some nights it helped to just watch Knives Out for the 16th time. But it’s also how I watched shows like Betty and The Flight Attendant that I enjoyed as much as, if not more, than a lot of shows that were made specifically for me and my wheelhouse. It’s good to branch out a bit. There’s a whole world out there filled with lots of people with lots of different experiences and you can sample a surprising amount of it from your couch. You can still rewatch Justified if you want. Just maybe take a few minutes to peek at your other options, too.

Find out how and/or why Han is still alive in F9

Universal

This is maybe the 30th time I’ve mentioned this since the trailer for the ninth Fast & Furious movie dropped almost a year ago. I do not apologize for that. Han died in the third movie and then came back for the fourth through sixth thanks to the series becoming a chronological pretzel, then they revealed that he was actually killed by Jason Statham’s character, then Statham’s character became a good guy and valued team member in the eighth movie. Now Han is sauntering back into the equation and it has been killing me to know how any of it happened. Fake death? Cyborg? Secret twin brother? I must know, either by finally seeing the movie this year or by kidnapping Vin Diesel and forcing him to tell me. I’m just kidding. I won’t do that. Probably. Let’s see how things play out.

Get “Misbehavin’” out of my head

Okay, I just set myself back a few weeks by posting it again, so there’s that. And I do enjoy the song, so it’s not all bad. But I honestly don’t think I’ve gone more than two weeks without this song zipping into my head and it’s going to be a problem if I’m still humming it in public when we’re allowed to, like, be in public again. It’s fine now that I’m in the house all day. You can be as weird as you want in your house. But we’re all eventually going to have to remember how to behave in public and I don’t want to end up going viral for shouting about having a pickle in my mouth while I’m in Wegmans. Good to start the process now. Or at least after I watch it again real quick. So… soon.

Convince people that there is a real television show called Sunbathers

This has been a goal of mine for a while and it’s one I keep ruining by talking about it online, but still. I want to do it. I want the world to think there is a show called Sunbathers on some streaming service somewhere, and that it stars David Schwimmer as a man named Dale Sunbather, and maybe that there’s a spin-off called Sunbathers: Helsinki. You know how people are convinced that there was once a genie movie starring Sinbad even though there never was, not even once, not even a little? Kind of like that. But with Schwimmer as a beachfront crime boss. Named Dale Sunbather. Your help with this is appreciated.

Let the chaos of 911 and 911 Lonestar wash over me every Monday night

It is hilarious to me that Fox just said eff it and decided to start airing these two nutso programs back-to-back every Monday starting later this month. I hope the shows view it as a challenge, like to see who can get the weirdest. These are shows that have killed people on escalators mid-proposal and lopped off someone’s nose with a mistletoe-carrying drone and dealt with an explosion at a bull semen warehouse. The sky’s the limit here. I’m legitimately excited.

Finish writing the world’s first and only hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton

I know I can do it.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Let’s check in with Denmark

DR

Well guess what: There’s a Danish children’s cartoon about a man who has a giant mischievous penis with a mind of its own. I’m sorry for just blurting it out like that. I am. In a perfect world, I would have eased into it. But this isn’t a perfect world. It’s definitely a little better now that I know there’s a Danish children’s cartoon about a man who has a giant mischievous penis with a mind of its own, but it’s not perfect. This is where we are. We have to address this head-on.

The show — per The Guardian, which broke this tremendous story — is about a man named John Dillermand who has “the world’s longest penis” and who “overcomes hardships and challenges with his record-breaking genitals.” Other important facts: Dillermand basically translates to penis; the show is aimed at children aged four to eight; and I love this all very much. The video at the top of this section has English subtitles. (UPDATE: The video has been pulled on a copyright claim. I have replaced it with a screencap.) I insist you watch it at once. (UPDATE: I’m sorry!) It is a short episode about John Dillermand’s mischievous penis stealing ice cream and almost causing a bloodbath at a zoo by releasing a lion and then getting more ice cream for solving the problem he and his penis caused.

Look at these screencaps. I promise all of them are real.

DR

DR
DR

And look at these quotes from the article in The Guardian. They talked to a clinical psychologist about the mischievous wiener cartoon. Look at what the clinical psychologist said.

Erla Heinesen Højsted, a clinical psychologist who works with families and children, said she believed the show’s opponents may be overthinking things. “John Dillermand talks to children and shares their way of thinking – and kids do find genitals funny,” she said.

“The show depicts a man who is impulsive and not always in control, who makes mistakes – like kids do, but crucially, Dillermand always makes it right. He takes responsibility for his actions. When a woman in the show tells him that he should keep his penis in his pants, for instance, he listens. Which is nice. He is accountable.”

Incredible. All of it. How low is the bar here that “he listens when someone tells him to keep his huge rascal pecker in his pants” is a lesson we’re applauding? I’m so proud of Denmark. This is my favorite show now. I might start recapping it. People in America lost about 80 percent of their minds because one of the Teletubbies might have been gay and meanwhile the Danes have a show about a monster dinger that steals ice cream. And if you’re wondering if the publicity has made the network behind the show, DR (kind of like the Danish BBC), rethink any of this, I am pleased to share this quote with you, too.

DR responded to the latest criticism by saying it could just as easily have made a programme “about a woman with no control over her vagina” and that the most important thing was that children enjoyed John Dillermand.

Denmark is a strong and powerful nation. I have always said this.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Finally, a movie for me

This is the trailer for Locked Down, an upcoming HBO Max movie that stars Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ojiofor. It was written by Stephen Knight, the brain behind my beloved Peaky Blinders, and it was directed by Doug Liman, and it has a fabulous summary: “A quarreling couple makes peace in order to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and pull off a jewelry heist at the department store Harrods.”

This is all I ask for. More movie descriptions should do this kind of hard pivot halfway through their only sentence, especially if they use the phrase “and pull off a jewelry heist at the department store Harrods.” All movies, if possible. It would have made, say, The Help much more interesting. I hope the Danish cartoon about the giant mischievous penis does an episode that has that line in its description. I am not joking.

The best part is that making a heist movie during a pandemic isn’t even Liman’s most ambitious current project. From a Variety story about the film:

His next gig won’t be any less complicated. Liman is headed on a historic mission with Cruise to film the first-ever movie in outer space, hitching a ride on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon. The director and star are scheduled to dock at the International Space Station this October, with a third unidentified guest in their party. Universal Pictures will distribute the film, which looks to captivate a global audience with its production spectacle.

Okay.

Just hear me out.

What if the space movie…

… also features…

… Tom Cruise…

… pulling off a jewelry heist at the department store Harrods?

Something to consider.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — In case any of you were wondering if Tara Reid saw the news about the chaos at the Capitol this week

The best is that this was sandwiched between two retweets from fans pushing for her to have a part in Wonder Woman 3. Social media is not always great, and can be extremely bad, but sometimes it does something as redeeming as this. Remember that.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Good for Ben Affleck

Warner Bros.

If you were online at all over the holidays, chances are pretty good that you saw the Ben Affleck Dunkin photos. If not, first of all, congratulations on living a lifestyle conducive to your mental health, but also please click this link at once. The pictures are magnificent. They are borderline art if we’re being honest about it all. The man is decked out in all-Boston clothing and balancing something like 100 ounces of iced coffee and looks — I must stress that you need to gaze into his eyes here — like a man who is wearing and doing exactly those things. Every time I look at the pictures I notice something new. It’s like a magic eye poster but in reverse, where everything is startlingly visible right away and becomes more confusing the longer you look at it. Stare at it for a good 90 seconds right now. It’s wondrous.

Also wondrous: This ode to the pictures by comedian and Desus & Mero producer Josh Gondelman. There’s a lot to love in the piece, but this is the paragraph I keep coming back to.

In this triptych of candid images, Affleck, standing in front of his home, attempts to corral a sizable Dunkin’ order—three or four large iced coffees and a box of munchkins. In one photo, he clutches his breakfast to his chest, his face a familiar tableau of oh no what have I done. His T-shirt reads BELIEVE IN BOSTON (emphasis, the shirt’s own) and his sneakers bear the insignia of Massachusetts-based New Balance. His arms appear strong and vascular, like Bruce Wayne’s are for some reason despite having an office job. The images are so thoroughly Affleckian that for a moment I doubted they were real and believed them to be the work of a body-swapping extraterrestrial who had assumed the actor’s corporeal form and was laying it on a litttttttle thick in an effort to prove he is not an impostor.

Two notes in closing:

  • The day before these pictures appeared online, I had a hoagie from Wawa delivered and answered my door in a Sixers hoodie, so I’m very aware that any jokes I make about this are at least as hypocritical as they are funny
  • The pictures also give me a great excuse to post the SNL sketch about Dunkin starring Ben’s brother, Casey, which somehow makes me laugh every time I watch it

The pictures also give me a great excuse to post the SNL sketch about Dunkin starring Ben’s brother, Casey, which somehow makes me laugh every time I watch it

So let’s do that.

Good for Ben. Good for Dunkin. Good for me. Now someone please get cracking on a sequel to The Accountant.

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 Mark:

I recently read this logline for an actual movie called “Archenemy:”

Max Fist (Joe Manganiello) is a local drunk who claims to be a superhero from the planet Chromium. He tells anyone who will listen that he was pulled into a wormhole, falling through time and space, and dropped to earth without any of his powers. No one pays any attention to Max except a teenager named Hamster (Skylan Brooks) who can’t get enough of Max’s stories. When Hamster and his sister (Zolee Griggs) get in trouble with a vicious drug syndicate led by The Manager (Glenn Howerton), Max takes to the streets as a brutal vigilante hellbent on proving himself as the hero no one believes him to be.

To me, this is the Platonic ideal of a movie synopsis. (An alien assuming the alias of a Regular Human Drunk named Max Fist is every bit as good of a name as Jackie Daytona. Plus a teen named Hamster). I thought, “Where could we ever find a way to top this?” And then I realized the answer: the brain of Brian Grubb.

So I am asking (nay, begging) you to write loglines (including character names and casting) for the following movies:

· A Hallmark Christmas movie

· A heist movie

· Fast and Furious XX

I know you really want to take on this challenge, after all, you and I—we’re not that different.

I accept this challenge. I want to see that movie, too. That’s an issue for another day, though. Possibly as soon as this weekend, when I watch it. But for now, again, challenge accepted. In order of Mark’s requests:

— Big city defense attorney Teddy Pronto (Ludacris) has too much champagne after getting a mob boss acquitted and crashes his firm’s private airplane in a field near a small community in Iowa called Mistletown. A local mechanic, Becky Pistons (Lacey Chabert), finds him and uses her knowledge of car engines to get to work on his plane. He stops by the shop every day to see if she’s done yet and starts falling for her. He learns that maybe money and the thirst for victory at all costs isn’t what life is about, and has that put to the test when the mob boss, Tony “Big Tony” Italy (any actor who was in The Sopranos for any amount of time), calls on Christmas Eve to say his son has been arrested. What does Teddy do, fly home in the just-repaired plane or stay with Becky for the holidays?

— International jewel thief and playboy Mitch Casino (Ludacris) has been doublecrossed by his former mentor Polly Montreal (Dame Judi Dench). Now, to protect his reputation and keep Interpol off his tail, he must break into her heavily guarded chateau in the French Riviera to steal back the thing she framed him for taking: the Queen of England’s favorite corgi. To pull it off, he enlists the help of his most-hated rival, Natasha Montecarlo (Lacey Chabert), and hopes that he can trust her.

— Something something Tej (Ludacris) something something time machine something something Dominic Toretto’s great-great-great-great-great grandmother Dolores Toretto (Lacey Chabert) something something Statham in a red coat with a musket something something use the electricity from Benjamin Franklin’s kite to supercharge a carriage and send it rocketing over the Delaware River during the American Revolution something something independence.

That last one is somehow both the laziest and best paragraph I’ve ever typed.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Manhattan!

Tiffany & Co.’s latest work is enough to make everyone’s inner Holly Golightly swoon.

The heritage American jeweler needs something truly spectacular to mark the reopening of its Fifth Avenue flagship in 2022, which is currently undergoing extensive renovation. The solution? Mining the archives to find a design worthy of the occasion. The new creation will be based on a necklace the firm created for the 1939 World’s Fair, but, to take things up a notch, the original model’s aquamarine stone is being replaced with an 80-carat diamond.

“The new necklace perfectly reflects our brand heritage as a New York luxury jeweler, whose founder was known as the ‘King of Diamonds,” Victoria Reynolds, the company’s chief gemologist, said in a statement.

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