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?
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
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.