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 — All hail, Pete The Skinny
Well well well, look at that. It’s the first teaser trailer for the upcoming Breaking Bad movie. And it’s all Skinny Pete. Look at Skinny Pete, in the interrogation room, telling the cops to leave Jesse Pinkman alone. LEAVE JESSE ALONE. Yes, he’s technically a very wanted fugitive. Yes, he committed a great number of meth-related crimes. Yes, he, uh, murdered Gale. I guess we can’t just gloss over that part. You shouldn’t murder people. Jesse knows that. He’s sorry. He’s very sorry, all the time. It’s kind of his whole deal. And it’s not like he did it just to do it. He had been bullied and brainwashed and bamboozled by Walter White for years. In another life, in a different world, he could have been an accountant. Or maybe just a small-time drug dealer who didn’t murder Gale. I don’t know. The point here is that Walter ruined Jesse’s life. Jesse wasn’t on a great path before meeting him, I’ll give you that, but I don’t think it was a path that would have ended with him being kept in a cage by meth-crazed Nazis.
So good for Skinny Pete. Let Jesse live. That was actually my biggest worry when this movie was announced. The end of Breaking Bad, Jesse’s end, was a glimmer of hope. He was screaming off into the night, literally and figuratively, finally free of the Nazis and Walter and… everything. That was nice. But this all brings up some uncomfortable questions we didn’t have to deal with back then. Questions like “How long can Jesse run on his own with no money or allies?” and “Won’t every cop in the southwest be on the lookout for him?” and “Do you think maybe it would be nice if huge chunks of this movie are just him hanging out at a waterpark, bouncing around in a wave pool and sipping an umbrella drink in a lazy river?” That last one isn’t really uncomfortable, I guess. Unless you’re a real stickler for, like, plot and action and dramatic stakes.
But none of those was the question that jumped into my mind first after watching this teaser. The question that jumped into my mind was a different one, a simpler one. It was, to be specific, this one: What if the whole movie is Skinny Pete in the interrogation room?
What if that’s it? What if it’s just two hours of the cops asking Skinny Pete questions and Skinny Pete spinning a yarn, Usual Suspects-style, with cutaways to the action he’s describing, which may or may not be true? What if Skinny Pete comes out of this as the mastermind?
I would like this for a bunch of reasons. NUMBER ONE: I mean, good for Skinny Pete. NUMBER TWO: Just the chaos of it all, okie-doking an audience that expected one thing by giving them another. NUMBER THREE: I trust Vince Gilligan with my life at this point so I bet he could make it work.
But mostly, I like it because I don’t know if I can take two more hours of Jesse being put through hell. He’s been through enough. Let the guy live a little. Do you hear me, Gilligan? DO YOU HEAR ME? LEAVE JESSE ALONE. HE’S A GOOD BOY. HE NEVER HURT ANYONE.
Uh, besides Gale. But still!
ITEM NUMBER TWO — WELCOME TO POPE SEASON
Earlier this week, HBO released the first teaser trailer for The New Pope, its follow-up to the beautiful and unhinged series from a few years ago, The Young Pope. I vomited out 1000 words about this development when it happened so there’s not much use in rehashing it all when a link will suffice, but there are two points worth mentioning again. One, yes, this teaser does feature Jude Law strolling down the beach in a Speedo while women gawk at him and, in the case of one woman who appears to be some sort of Mary figure (Holy Mother or Magdalene), pass out from the sheer physical beauty and presence of a winking and sauntering pontiff. Two, according to series creator Paolo Sorrentino, this is the basic idea behind the new season.
The concept is simple. The basic idea is to latch on to the end of the first season. The pope, played by Jude Law, goes into a coma that, from a scientific standpoint, is considered irreversible and can only end up in death. So the church has to resort to a new pope, who is played by John Malkovich. But since we are in a territory where reason is overtaken by spiritual mysteries and by God, Jude Law’s coma may not be so irreversible. It may have some unexpected novelties, so that two popes can co-exist in the episodes that follow.
Jude Law and John Malkovich as dueling popes in the second season of a show that once depicted the Pope praying someone to death in a truck stop and featured a duplicitous advisor who sported a gigantic fake mole on his cheek and snuck around the Vatican with a photographer to try to catch his boss in some less-than-papal shenanigans. Come on. That’s television, baby.
And guess what: We got more popes a-comin’!
Two Popes! Tell me more about the popes!
Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.
This one is admittedly a little less… what’s the word I’m looking for here. Hmm. Let’s go with “fanciful.” It’s based on the real-life transition of power from Benedict to Francis and, to my knowledge, neither of them gave the other a live kangaroo as a gift or frolicked on the beach in a very small bathing suit to the delight of female onlookers. But it is worth noting the following things:
– There are now two upcoming Pope-related project
-These two projects feature a total of four popes
– The popes will be played by Jude Law, John Malkovich, Anthony Hopkins, and Jonathan Pryce
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Pope Season.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Talk your shit, Joel Schumacher
It is the official stance of The Rundown that the best interviews are ones conducted with aging celebrities who no longer care about choosing their words diplomatically. These people have stories. Loads of them. And a lot of the stories are shrouded in mystery because they’re from a time before cell phone cameras and social media, when celebrities still had secrets. Just turn on the recorder and let them go. It’s almost always fascinating. Not everyone can be Quincy Jones saying Marlon Brando would have had sex with a mailbox or calling the Beatles “a bunch of no-playing motherfuckers,” but hey. There’s gold in the hills. You just have to dig.
This brings us to the recent Vulture interview with director Joel Schumacher, who has been around forever and is probably best known by the culture at large for directing Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. I really do insist you read the whole thing. It goes to… places. So many places. I can’t possibly explain it all in a short blurb so, instead, allow to me to paste in a few context-free quotes as a guide. Hang on tight.
No, I said Tommy Lee Jones was an asshole in People magazine.
Not bad. I think we can improve on it a bit, though.
I didn’t say Val [Kilmer] was difficult to work with on Batman Forever. I said he was psychotic.
There it is.
Listen, I mean, if I say this I’m gonna be killed — there are very seductive children. I was one of them. I was very seductive at a very young age. That doesn’t mean that anybody who was older should’ve said yes or just complied, but I feel in my lifetime I’ve always been a very results-oriented person.
That paragraph should come with a seatbelt. Sheesh. In fact… you know what? No. I’m not gonna touch this one. Moving on!
There was a summer towards the end of my intravenous-speed run. I was so stoned I wore a Speedo through the whole summer. I was so stoned all the time on speed, I’m lucky to be here.
You know, I had never even considered spending a whole summer in a Speedo, but between this and The New Pope teaser…
Nah, it’s too late now. It’s already August. But let’s all consider this come next June.
Siskel and Ebert were so outraged by St. Elmo’s Fire they did it two Sundays in a row. I was watching it, and I think I was getting dressed to go out or something, and I thought it was hilarious. They were in such umbrage about the behavior of these young people. And then they went into, “Well, we both were in college, and nothing like this ever happened in college.” And I screamed at the TV, “This movie’s about people who got laid, okay?”
God, this is good. Give me a podcast where older celebrities crack open a bottle of wine and just let rip. The Jack Nicholson episode could be four hours long for all I care. I don’t ask for much.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — I stan a sarcastic icon
The Simpsons is legendary for a lot of reasons, one of which is its world-building. There are so many minor characters floating around in Springfield and almost all of them are perfectly developed little creations. We could discuss it for hours. We won’t because it’s the Friday before Labor Day and we’re all a little spent, but we could.
Instead, today, I’d like to highlight this character, the sarcastic guy who has worked everywhere from a gun range to a pet store. I love him. Watch the clip all the way through. You probably remember Homer at the gun shop but the clip it closes with, where Lisa buys a fuzzy rodent, is just a perfectly constructed joke. “This one writes mysteries.” Good show, The Simpsons, even if I’m the only one with the courage to say it.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — The Cheetos movie looks good, you jerks
Everyone had their yucks earlier this week when headlines like “Eva Longoria to direct movies about Hot Cheetos” hit their social media timelines. Oh, did they ever have jokes. It’s hard to blame them, I suppose, because that is a wild sentence to read without additional context.
There was additional context! You just had to click and do maybe 15 seconds of reading! Look!
Longoria reportedly beat out multiple directors for the job after impressing Franklin and Fox with her authentic approach to portraying the inspiring story of Richard and Judy Montanez. Richard rose from humble beginnings to achieve the American Dream: The son of a Mexican immigrant, Richard was a janitor at Frito-Lay when he came up with the idea for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. His creation, inspired by the flavors of his community, revitalized the company and disrupted the food industry, creating a pop culture phenomenon that continues today.
That… that is a pretty cool story. One that should be made into a movie. Will the movie be good? Buddy, I assure you that I do not know. All I know here is that maybe we should all try to be a little better about getting even a baseline of information before we launch into a cavalcade of public mockery and that the song I posted at the top of this section — written and performed by middle school students as part of a class a few years back — still slaps very hard. Listen to it twice.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or, like, whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at email@example.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.
@briancgrubb I present you this challenge. You are in charge of assembling a comedic heist film using supporting characters from any tv show or film. Who is in Grubb's Eleven and what are they stealing? I feel Skinny Pete and Cousin Greg are locks.
— gishgali (@gishgali) August 25, 2019
Well, this is a terrific question. I’ve been thinking about it ever since I received it. There are so many ways I can go. In fact, because there are so many ways I could go, I’m actually going to place a “No superheroes” restriction on myself, if only because that would be too easy. I’d just take Blade and Spider-man and leave the other nine slots empty. I’m also going to use TV characters only. Increase the degree of difficulty.
Here we go, my heist team, presented with zero explanation.
Wynn Duffy, Justified
Jason Mendoza, The Good Place
Calamity Jane, Deadwood
Guy Fieri, Food Network
Joan Holloway, Mad Men
Tormund, Game of Thrones
Perd Hapley, Parks and Recreation
Mike Ehrmantraut, Breaking Bad
Nikki Swango, Fargo
Try to stop us.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Las Vegas Police arrested Paul S. Trujillo, 31, of Las Vegas, on Aug. 12. According to an arrest affidavit filed in San Miguel Magistrate Court, police identified Trujillo as one of two men who entered a walk-in freezer at a Dairy Queen and stole 22 boxes of Dilly Bars — an ice cream treat on a stick made with soft-serve ice cream coated in a flavored shell. Police have not identified the second man.
– I like very much that the article explains what exactly a Dilly Bar is. That’s just good journalism.
– My guys really stole ice cream bars in August in New Mexico. I hope they had a plan. Or at least a freezer big enough to store the boxes while they thought of a plan.
Also: How did they even get the bars home without them melting all over the cars? What was the endgame here? Were they going to try to re-sell them? Is New Mexico currently flooded with BLACK MARKET DILLY BARS?
I could ask questions about this for days.
According to the warrant, police interviewed employees and viewed video surveillance footage which showed Trujillo walk up to the freezer, check the building’s back door to make sure no one was watching, then enter the freezer.
He exited with several boxes of Dilly Bars and took them to a white car.
This answers none of my questions. It just raises more. I wish I could have been in the interrogation. It would help me sleep better if I knew more of the whys and hows. Because now, with this many unknowns flying around, there’s a decent chance I wake up at 3 a.m. this weekend and shout “WHAT IF THERE’S AN INTERNATIONAL ILLEGAL ICE CREAM RING?”
It’s just not going to work. Help me out here.