TV

The Rundown: Please Try To Chill Out A Little, For Your Own Sake


HBO

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 will vary, as will 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 — Please

I’m worried about you. Not you, specifically. You’re cool. You’re reading this column, which already establishes that you have good judgment. I mean you as in the general you. People. I’m worried about people. But I’m going to address it to “you” for effect. Stick with me.

I’m worried because you seem so tightly wound lately. You got so worked up about a cartoon hedgehog’s teeth that the studio had to go in and change it. You shouted at strangers about real or perceived spoilers for Avengers. You just seem very on edge lately. And now it’s getting really out of hand. Now there are petitions involved. Now there is this petition involved, titled “Remake Game of Thrones Season 8 with competent writers.”

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on.

This series deserves a final season that makes sense.

Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!

As of this writing, that petition is zeroing in on one million signatures. One million! That is a lot of signatures. Go try to find one million people who agree on anything. It would be impressive if it wasn’t so profoundly dispiriting. I’m sure a healthy chunk of the signers know that actually remaking the entire final season is impossible and that they’re using it more as a form of impotent protest. And I know that by bringing it up again here I’m only adding to its reach and getting it more publicity. I know all that. But still, you guys gotta chill out.

The final season of Game of Thrones hasn’t been everything everyone had wanted. I’m happy to concede that. Character arcs have been rushed or forgotten, the action has been too dark, there’s a very real chance that our last vision of sword-swinging warrior — now Knight! — Brienne of Tarth will be her crying in an overcoat about some dirtbag. That sucks. But maybe the time has come to learn from those lessons and temper your expectations a bit for the finale. Maybe it’s time to change the way you watch the show. Maybe you should think of the finale more like a — I hate this term because I often get plenty of joy out of shows I watch this way — hate-watch. You don’t have to. You can watch it however you want. I’m just trying to protect your poor brain. Make some memes. Make some jokes. Find a healthy outlet.

Think about it this way. Remember the Golden Company? The legendary warriors that Cersei had Euron bring back? The notorious sellswords who were supposedly going to even up the fight between Daenerys and the Lannister/Greyjoy forces? Remember what happened to them within three minutes of appearing on screen? Remember… this?

HBO
HBO
HBO

I’m sorry, but that is objectively hilarious, whether it was intentional or not. I don’t even want to know. I laughed out loud when I saw it. I laughed for what felt like 90 full seconds. They really brought these guys out after episodes — seasons! — of hyping them up and then they torched them all before the “fight” even started. If you can’t enjoy that, man, I don’t know what to tell you.

I guess my biggest note here is to try not to be like the superfans of Lost who are still angry about that show’s ending almost a decade later. That’s not healthy and it’s no way to live. Spend some time this weekend working on a plan. The finale could be bad (it could also be good), but you can’t let it turn you into some raging lunatic who creates petitions. You’re better than that. I know you are. And if it feels like you might be losing the battle, maybe just go outside for a minute. It’s May, it’s beautiful out there. Throw a frisbee, pet a dog, do something.

Just try to chill out, okay?

ITEM NUMBER TWO — BOBAN

Thunder Road

There are very few things in this world that I care about more than the Philadelphia 76ers and the John Wick film franchise. I can’t even think of anything off the top of my head that I care about more. Family, probably, and some friends, but that’s about it. I’m not necessarily proud of this. It’s not a super-healthy way to go through life, tying your personal well-being to movies about a depressed hitman and a basketball team that has not won a championship since 1983, and it’s especially not healthy when that basketball team loses a Game 7 on a buzzer beater that donks off the rim seven or eight times before falling through the net and ripping your entire heart out of your chest with it. I’m fine. I’m doing fine.

There is a silver lining in all of this, though. The third film in the John Wick franchise comes out this weekend and it features 7’3 Sixers reserve center Boban Marjanovic as a hitman. That’s him in the GIF at the top of this section kicking Keanu with his very large leg and then getting a book smashed into his throat. This is fabulous. Not the thing where Boban dies. I love Boban. No, just… all of it. All of it is fabulous. I would like to know more about it. I would like to know everything about it.

Thankfully, two articles dropped this week that give a little insight into how it came to be. First, via an EW interview with director Chad Stahelski:

So, I’m a big fan of the old James Bonds, like Moonraker, where you had the character Jaws, who was like seven feet, had the metal mouth. We wanted to do a little ode to that, so we were like, Okay, who do we find? And our producer, Basil Iwanyk, was like, ‘Hey, I know this guy in the NBA, he’s got the biggest hands in the NBA. So, we’re like, ‘F— it, we’ll call him up.’ And he was interested. We were like, ‘Do you want to come in, play a part?’ He’s never acted before, but he’d been in all these commercials in Serbia. And he was kind of funny!

Hell yeah, Boban is the new Jaws. I can dig that. I can dig it deeply, like down to the Earth’s core. And then, just the other day, WSJ did an even deeper dive on his role in the film. The full article is behind a paywall, but please know that it features many great quotes from Boban and a story about him trying to get Keanu Reeves to join Instagram. But more importantly, it provides background on the big kick in the GIF:

When it was time for action, Stahelski directed him to kick Spidell. “Boban, being a nice guy, said, ‘No, no, no, you don’t really want me to kick him,’” Stahelski said. No, no, no, they said. That was exactly what they wanted. Only when they assured him that it was Spidell’s job to get kicked in the chest was Marjanovic comfortable mangling his friend.

“We had calculated the stunt man was going to land about eight feet away,” Stahelski said. “He landed about 15 feet away.”

“At least it wasn’t a car?” Spidell said.

But the upside of getting hit by a car is that the car doesn’t apologize in the middle of the scene. Marjanovic felt so badly that he forgot he was acting and expressed his remorse on camera. Stahelski called for a cut and ordered Marjanovic to kick Spidell again.

Boban is a beautiful man. I would be fine with an entire series of prequels about his character in this movie, even though every indication we’ve been given suggests that he lives for maybe four minutes of this movie before dying. I do not care. I need this. I lied earlier. I am not fine about that Sixers loss. I will not be fine for a while. I know I just wrote a whole section about chilling out and this admission makes me a hypocrite. I’m sorry.

Please, let me have the Boban hitman movie.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Bobby is back

It was just a few weeks ago that Anjelica Huston roasted Robert De Niro and his recent career moves straight to hell in an interview with Vulture, saying, among other things:

Is this why we see Robert De Niro in terrible movies?
Although, how big can his nut be?* I guess he has maybe a couple of ex-wives, right? Not many, but what does this fellow spend his money on? He’s got Nobu. He’s got the Tribeca Film Festival — he’s not spending the film money on that.

Al Pacino’s done some unfortunate straight-to-video stuff too.
Pacino does some schlock. But in some way he’s forgiven, because he always goes out on a limb and does Salomé all by himself. Pacino is more experimental, I think. But Bobby, I don’t know the last thing that I’ve seen him in that I thought, Wow, he’s really cracking it.

Well, here you go, lady. You wanna see Bobby cracking it? Please enjoy the above advertisement for Warburtons Bagels, starring Robert De Niro as, somehow, himself and his characters from Goodfellas and Casino.

Can I be honest? Can I be really, truly honest with you? Like, in a judgment-free way? I’m going to trust you. Here we go.

I love this. I do. I giggled out loud at least twice, hardest when they introduced his crew. (“Slice-a pickle, slice-a pickle…”) I know it’s just a dumb commercial for bagels and I know it’s a cash grab by one of our country’s most famous and accomplished actors and I just don’t care. If that makes me a sucker and a fool, then so be it. Also, I am very hungry and would kill a stranger for a bagel sandwich right now. Maybe that has something to do with it. It probably does. But still. The point stands.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Thanks, Michael Caine

Getty Image

What a delightful man.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — TV is only for me now, thanks

FOX

I have good news and bad news, ladies and gentlemen. First, the bad, because we need to get it out of the way: I have fallen off of the 9-1-1 train. The show burned fast and bright and was filled with some of the craziest things I’ve ever seen on television but it hit a lull in its second season. Yes, there was still a shark attack on a highway, but it didn’t feel the same and the episodes started stacking up on my DVR and here we are. I’m sad. Nothing gold can stay.

But.

But!

This brings us to the good news. This week, Fox announced a new 9-1-1 spinoff titled Lonestar. It will star Rob Lowe. Please read this blurb about the show, via THR:

The series follows a sophisticated New York firefighter (Lowe) who, along with his son, relocate to Austin and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life. It’s unclear if any members of the original series will join the spinoff, which Lowe also co-exec produces.

Oh, I am back, baby. A city slicker moves to Texas to save lives with his adult son? In a spinoff of a show that once lopped off a waitress’s nose with a hovering mistletoe drone? Yes, this will do just fine. And it’s a nice reminder that, between shows like this and Blood & Treasure (the upcoming CBS series about an antiquities expert and an art thief teaming up to thwart a terrorist who funds violent acts with proceeds from stolen treasure, which we discussed last week and I still cannot believe is real), television apparently exists solely to cater to my insane whims. We’ll know for if some network greenlights a show about a talking dog who is a Major League Baseball umpire by day and notorious computer hacker by night. How does he even type with his paws? Tune in to find out!

READER MAIL

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

Jim:

I watched John Wick with my wife, who has not seen it previously, but also does not live in a cave.

A few minutes in, after Daisy arrives but before Theon brutally murders her, my wife asks “what does John Wick do for a living?” Now that I think about it, she asked this during the glorious, but seemingly random, scene of John Wick doing drift maneuvers at Teterboro Airport.

I digress. I didn’t know what to say. But I bit my lip with “we’ll find out.”

This is a fun anecdote, for sure, but the bigger takeaway in all of it is that I am so jealous of your wife, Jim. Can you imagine — can you even fathom — going into the first John Wick movie totally blind? I’m just now realizing it’s a possibility and I’m trying to figure out how to wipe my brain so I can do it. Even just seeing the trailer and reading a review or two gave away the basics: dog, hitman, everyone must die, etc.

But to go in knowing none of that? To see a happy Keanu become a sad Keanu? To see Theon Greyjoy stomp out his puppy? To see him smash his floor with that sledgehammer and hear high-ranking Russian mobsters discuss him in hushed tones as you slowly realize “Oh snap, Keanu is going to kill everyone, isn’t he?” To see this scene play out?

My God. That would be thrilling. I hope your wife enjoyed it even 10 percent as much as I would have. And if you or anyone has tips on brain-wiping — like, specific brain-wiping, maybe just this and that buzzer beater — please pass them along.

And by the way, John Wick restores old, leather-bound books (of course), as Keanu himself told our Mike Ryan recently.

“In the first script they had John Wick described as working with old leather-bound books and book restoration…we filmed it. It’s not in the movie, but we filmed it,” Reeves said, adding, “That’s what he did. Best case, yes, his wife had passed, and that’s what he had decided to do once he got out after the impossible task, that was his vocation.”

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Newport Beach!

A Newport Beach yoga studio claims former NBA star Dennis Rodman entered the business twice in two days this week and helped other people, including a former employee of the studio, steal more than $3,500 in merchandise, including a 400-pound amethyst crystal.

Well, that’s a heck of a sentence, isn’t it? So many twists and turns. I mean, it’s got Dennis Rodman and a yoga studio and the theft of a 400-pound amethyst crystal. There’s a lot going on in there. I’m already beyond fascinated. Yes, I must know more. Tell me more.

Rodman “asked me to show him the studio,” the employee said, which led her away from the front desk for about a minute. Rodman had never visited the studio before, according to Vibes.

Meanwhile, Shah said, one of the women was stuffing merchandise into her purse and even took items into the restroom to remove hangers.

The other man in the group tried to move the massive geode onto a hand truck and dropped it, causing it to shatter, the employee said.

Consider all of this peppered with the necessary allegedlies, but Dennis Rodman trying to steal a 400-pound crystal might be the least subtle heist ever. Even if you don’t know who Dennis Rodman is, even if you didn’t follow NBA basketball in the 1990s or recent diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea, Dennis Rodman is still one of the most recognizable people on the planet just on account of being a 6’8 dude who has a nose ring and is covered in tattoos. Picture a police lineup with him and just like five other regular-looking dudes. This was not thought through very well.

In any event, I am very much here for members of the Bad Boys era Detroit Pistons attempting to pull off hilarious crimes. I hope Rick Mahorn steals the Mona Lisa next.

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