TV

The Rundown: The Final Season Of ‘Better Call Saul’ Is Giving The People What They Want (Cute Doggies)

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 — More shows should just plop cute little dogs into the action

Are you guys watching Better Call Saul? I hope so. It’s such a good show and it’s screaming toward the series finale that will smash it into the beginning of Breaking Bad and it’s all fun and exciting and sometimes they’ll just toss out callbacks to characters named Spooge for no reason other than to delight fans who pay attention or are good at googling. All in all, a treat to watch on a week-to-week basis.

It is also, increasingly so as we get to this timeline mashing, stressful. Lord in heaven, is it ever stressful. Nothing ends well for any of the characters we know from Breaking Bad, so their dooms and/or struggles are becoming real. And it’s even worse with the characters whose fates we don’t know, your Kim Wexlers and Lalo Salamancas, who have burst onto the scene and made us care about them — sometimes when we know they’re evil — and who we know are not around come Breaking Bad. It’s a problem.

Thankfully, Better Call Saul appears to have stumbled across a good way to cut this tension a bit in recent weeks. It’s a diabolical strategy, really. Just when everyone is on the edge of their seat with concern for various lawyers and/or violent cartel figures, blammo, time for a cute little doggy.

BCS
AMC

The adorable little guy in this scene is named Little Bear. He belongs to a sweet German lady whose husband was the mastermind of the superlab Gus Fring would eventually build. I love him very much. I was also, like most of the viewing audience, deeply concerned that he would bark at an inopportune time and meet his demise at the hands of Lalo Salamanca, which would have caused me more internal turmoil than I would like to admit. Like, could I put “puppy murdering” past Lalo, a charming sociopath whom we have seen murder something like a half dozen people? No. Would it have altered the calculus of my appreciation of Lalo? Probably. Am I glad I did not have to confront this in any substantial way? I think you know I am.

So, great. One cute little doggy plopped into the action, unharmed and happy and all of it. Awesome. Love it. More shows should plop little dogs into the action for little-to-no reason. Give Logan Roy a corgi next season on Succession. Give Paul Giamatti a chihuahua on Billions. I am not joking about any of this. The people need and deserve it.

And Better Call Saul is delivering. A lot. In this week’s episode, one week after we met Little Bear, Saul and Kim checked in with the crooked veterinarian who we’ll see many times later for various crooked reasons. At the beginning of the scene, he was treating real patients. Specifically, this patient, a little guy named Fernando who had a persistent tummy ache.

BCS
AMC

There is good news and bad news in all of this. The good news is that the show has found yet another way to slice through the tension of all the lingering doom, in addition to its various hijinks and shenanigans that sometimes involve spray tans and fake mustaches. The bad news is that I am now very concerned about Fernando’s digestive issues and would appreciate it if the show followed up with him at some point just so I know he’s okay.

It’s a reasonable request.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — I need to know more about this

tom
Getty Image

Tom Cruise is running around Cannes for the premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. This is exciting for a bunch of reasons, some of which are related to Top Gun: Maverick apparently being super good and me getting very excited that I will be able to see it soon, others of which are related to the thing where a bunch of wild stuff usually happens when Tom Cruise is promoting a new movie. That picture up there — one of my favorite pictures ever, for reasons I can’t fully explain — is from when he was promoting a Mission: Impossible movie. It’s one of his tamer moments. He might fly into a premiere with a jetpack someday. He might be 83 years old when it happens. Tom is a lot.

Which brings us to the first of two notes from Cannes. This comes from the terrific Rachel Handler at Vulture, who, while lamenting that he was mostly boring during his press conference, added this.

To give Cruise some credit, there were two, possibly three interesting moments during the chat. One was when Cruise referred to his ex-wife Nicole Kidman as “Nic” (!) while telling a story about how he and Stanley Kubrick and Kidman worked together to find the tone of Eyes Wide Shut. Another was when he admitted to being so obsessed by the theatrical experience that he goes out incognito to see every movie that comes out in theaters: “I put on my cap and I sit in the audience.” At one point, he claimed to “remember every take” he has ever done. “I remember everything,” he reiterated, terrifyingly. Later, when the interviewer asked Cruise about his dangerous stunt work — “Why do you do it?” — Cruise replied, “Nobody asks Gene Kelly, ‘Why do you dance?’”

“I remember everything.”

This is somehow both deeply fascinating to me and something I do not doubt, even a little, not for a second. I bet Tom Cruise could tell you what he had for lunch on any day in the last 20 years. I bet he could recite entire paragraphs from books he read in high school. I bet he could describe own birth, in broad strokes at least.

The second thing is less about Tom Cruise being an enthusiastic maniac than it is about the audience at Cannes being, well, also enthusiastic maniacs. From a report from Variety about the premiere.

The festival crowd joyously interacted with the film during the screening, cheering and gasping at stunts. An overwhelming response came when Val Kilmer, who starred as Cruise nemesis Iceman in the original film, appeared in a scene with Cruise. The screening ended with a five-minute standing ovation from the crowd.

The first time I read that I kind of glossed over “a five-minute standing ovation.” But then I stopped and thought about it and… five minutes is so long to be just standing and clapping. For anything, but especially for a movie. Start clapping right now and see how long it takes for it to feel weird. If you get to 45 seconds I’d be shocked. Five minutes! That’s so long. Set a timer and see how long that is. This is the behavior of people who are unwell. Clapping for five straight minutes. It’s madness.

My working theory is that everyone was bored after one minute but they were all waiting for someone else to start wrapping it up. One big game of chicken. I bet Tom Cruise could give something a five-minute standing ovation. Anything, up to and including the chef at a hibachi restaurant. You could see that. Be honest.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Good for you, Margot Robbie

margot robbie barbie
warner bros.

Hey, let’s check in with Margot Robbie, one of the most talented and interesting people in Hollyw-… aaaaaaand, yup, she’s going to star in some sort of Ocean’s Eleven prequel thingy.

Robbie will star and produce a new Ocean’s movie that will be helmed by Jay Roach, who directed the actress to a best supporting actress Oscar nomination with 2019’s drama, Bombshell.

Details on the script by Carrie Solomon are being kept in the vault but it is known to be an original Ocean’s Eleven that is set in Europe in the 1960s.

I’ll just say it: This is cool. Just the idea of Margot Robbie cruising around Europe in an old convertible with her scarf blowing in the wind while she and her crew — which, let’s say, for fun, includes like Walton Goggins and Edi Patterson — on their way to rob a casino in Monte Carlo. Just that sentence. That’s already one of my six or eight favorite movies ever. This is good. I like it. It would also be okay if someone made an original heist movie with all of those things, but hey, reboot the Ocean’s franchise every 15 years for all I care. I’m not a complicated man.

In additional Margot Robbie news (a fun phrase to type), Kyle Buchanan from The New York Times has some piping hot gossip about the upcoming Barbie movie that is being directed by Greta Gerwig and will star Margot Robbie as… uh, Barbie. Obviously. Anyway, look.

Uproxx’s Matt Prigge had a few very good questions about all of this, which I will block quote here before we go any further.

Details about the plot are being kept secret, but this news opens up even more questions. Questions like, what’s going on here? And what does this mean about other cast members, like Kate McKinnon, Will Ferrell, and Rhea Perlman? Will the entire cast be made of alternate versions of Barbie and Ken? Will this be a multiverse deal, only more Everything Everywhere All at Once and less Doctor Strange 2?

We find ourselves in yet another Two Things True At Once situation, as we do almost every week at this point. The true things here are:

  • Too many things are multiverses now and it all gets confusing if you miss a tiny piece somewhere and find yourself sitting in a theater one day like… “But why are there so many Spider-men in this?”
  • This movie sounds awesome

The lesson here is that Greta Gerwig can do what she wants. And so can Margot Robbie. And maybe the two of them should make a heist movie. Starring Margot Robbie as Barbie. Let Barbie rob a casino. I am not crazy.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Let me host Celebrity Jeopardy

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ABC

Well, guess what: Celebrity Jeopardy is coming back. Again. Soon. Which is fine. People get really excited about it because it gives them a good excuse to post quotes from the old SNL Celebrity Jeopardy sketches. Which is also fine. I get excited about it because I have a good excuse to post that screencap of Andy Richter sending CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer straight to hell via trivia contest. We all have our things.

Details, in their rawest form, are as follows:

ABC has ordered new “Jeopardy!” primetime spinoff series “Celebrity Jeopardy!” The show is set to premiere as part of the Disney-owned broadcaster’s fall slate, airing alongside “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune” on Sundays.

Notably included in the announcement for “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” which came alongside ABC’s reveal of its fall 2022-2023 schedule on Tuesday, was this line: “A host will be announced at a later date.”

Hmm.

Hmmmmmm.

No host yet?

Eh?

So the job is open?

Hmm.

Hmmmmmm.

Let me do it.

Let me host Celebrity Jeopardy.

I will do a good job.

I promise.

I won’t be weird.

I might be a little weird.

It’ll be fine.

Probably.

Think about it.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — This is a real problem… to me

I do not know how basketball players can concentrate on the game when famous people have courtside seats. Imagine you are spotted up in the corner for a three and you catch a glimpse of, like, Beyoncé out of the corner of your eye. Just sitting there about eight feet away. Looking exactly like Beyoncé. It’s a miracle more people don’t get distracted and get hit in the face with the ball sometimes.

I bring this up now for three reasons:

  • Guy Fieri sat courtside for the Warriors playoff game this week
  • I could not concentrate on even just watching the game on television because he was just sitting there — again, looking exactly like Guy Fieri — at the top of the screen while everyone on the court was playing basketball like any of it was normal
  • It would be really funny if a dude did get hit in the face with the ball one time and they asked him about it after the game and he was like “Yeah, I looked over and saw Guy Fieri in the front row and I kind of blinked out for a second”

I think that’s all I have on this one.

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 up.

From Kelly:

Brian

BRIAN

I need to be sure you’ve seen this. I thought you might have been the one to make it at first. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something on the internet scream BRIAN quite like this. I’m so happy for you.

This is what Kelly sent me.

Yup, I love it. A perfect piece of internet content. I’m impressed at how well it all matches up. And a little mad I didn’t think to make it first. But mostly impressed. And a little mad. There are a lot of things happening here.

The main thing I want you to know is that I had people send this tweet to me five different ways in one six-hour period this week: email (thank you, Kelly), tweet, DM, text, and Slack message. This was really kind of delightful. It cracks me up that I’ve curated my stupid brand in such a way that a bunch of people saw it and were like “I gotta send this sucker to Brian.” The internet is weird and bad sometimes but other times it can be pretty cool. This is one of those times. I’m so proud of all of us.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Texas!

A crash in Dallas left a highway scattered with raw eggs after the driver of an 18-wheeler struck a bridge Monday morning.

Wow, I guess the cleanup crews really had to scramble to clean this up.

I assume this job was pretty hard and not just some sort of boring and over-easy task for everyone.

I hope they had en-oeuf people to handle it all.

I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.

(I’m not sorry.)

(I might not stop.)

The big rig was hauling nearly 30,000 pounds of eggs on Interstate 30 near downtown Dallas, according to Metro Video, when the driver struck the overpass. The force of the crash split the trailer’s roof open and jostled the eggs out of their containers, sending hundreds spilling to the concrete below as the truck careened to a stop. The driver was uninjured in the collision.

I know this is serious and there is damaged property and a traffic nightmare and real human inconvenience in all of this but…

… like…

… I would pay something like $30 for a ticket to sit on the overpass and watch this truck get ripped open like a tuna can and send 30,000 pounds of eggs flying through the air. I know this can be construed as a personality flaw. I know it’s childish. But I feel okay about it.

Workers with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Dallas division also assessed the bridge for any damage. As the sun came up, workers were using heavy equipment — including a front-loader and flatbed trailer — to clean up the dozens of boxes and other material strewn across the lanes.

WFAA reporter Susanne Brunner, tweeting from the scene, said the eggs appeared to be Eggland’s Best brand, which the company estimates was valued at $90,000 worth of eggs.

Honestly, big shoutout to Susanne here. Imagine getting this call and being like, “Sorry honey, you’ll have to grab dinner on your own tonight, there’s a massive egg spill on the highway and I need to be on the scene.” That’s kind of cool. Some of her colleagues are out there reporting on house fires and murders. She’s tweeting from the scene of an egg fiasco. This is journalism to me. Good for Susanne. Good for all of us. I’m glad we could find the sunny-side in all of this.

I’M SORRY.

(I am still not sorry.)

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