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 — Love these dudes
Few things in the world of television have brought me as much joy as the rise of Desus and Mero. Their story is so cool. They were a couple of dudes with regular day jobs who were funny on Twitter, and they turned that into a podcast, and they turned that podcast into television gigs, and they turned those television gigs into their own television show on Vice, and they turned that show into a big deal television show on Showtime. They interviewed Obama a little while ago. It is really wild to see two guys you started listening to on a podcast years ago getting roasted by a former president on a premium cable network. I love it.
I also love that they love it and seem committed to doing awesome and/or hilarious stuff with their big new platform. Their show is such a blast. Huge chunks of it are them just cracking jokes about the news and talking junk about people who deserve to have junk talked about them, and other chunks of the show are spent interviewing or doing stuff with celebrities. They’ve spoken to AOC. They took Anna Kendrick to the Bronx. They had Letterman on and he more or less anointed them as the next kings of late night. It rules. It’s exactly what you should do if you get a shot at fame after years of working a regular job. I hope they start popping up in movies as themselves all the time now, like how the guys from PTI play themselves in sports movies sometimes.
I say all of this now for two main reasons: One, because it is true and someone should say it; two, because they did something really cool this week, and talking about it gave me an excuse to write that two-paragraph intro about how good they are. Please take a few minutes at some point today or this weekend to watch this video. It is very funny and very sweet and just really cool.
The gist of it goes like this: Desus and Mero take over a fifth-grade class from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Harlem. They do it for the jokes, in part, because giving children a live microphone on television is almost always good for a laugh or two. But they also do it to highlight the work the teacher, David Robles, is doing during an impossible time to make school fun and interesting for kids who are stuck inside and attending school via Zoom from their living rooms.
Watch it all the way to the end. Watch the kids say some really nice things about their teacher. Feel your heart grow about two or three sizes when you see the difference this is making for kids who are just barely old enough to understand what is happening in the world but not old enough to do anything about it on their own yet. And then watch as one of the kids, after hearing that Desus and Mero are sending everyone a new pair of sneakers, shout out that he wants Yeezys. I like that kid. Shoot the shot when you’re open, you know?
Anyway, again, all of this is great. I’m glad they did it and I’m glad they’re very famous now and I’m glad I have a little space on the internet to ramble about it. The brand is strong, as always.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — June 25 is now the most important date on the 2021 movie calendar
Good news and bad news. Bad news first because I can put enough English on it to spin it straight into the good news: The ninth Fast & Furious movie, the one that was supposed to come out last year, the one that released its trailer over 13 months ago now, the one that revealed that Han — a character who died in the third movie but appeared in films 4-6 thanks to the franchise turning itself into a chronological pretzel — is either alive or has been replaced by a person/robot/hologram who looks exactly like Han, the one in which Charlize Theron has a bowl cut and a magnet plane, the one that apparently introduces John Cena as Vin Diesel’s evil secret brother and may or may not send its characters into outer space, has been delayed yet again.
F9, which was slated to debut over Memorial Day weekend, has pushed back its release date once again. But fear not, adrenaline junkies: the high-octane sequel hasn’t spun too far out; it’s still expected to open this summer on June 25.
So there’s that. It’s a bummer because I want to see this movie as soon as possible. I want to have seen it. I want it to be done with its theatrical run and airing on basic cable already. But I’ve waited this long, and if one more month increases the chance I can see it safely inside a movie theater, then fine. This brings us to the good news.
The sequel to Venom, the terrifically titled Venom: Let There Be Carnage, also comes out on June 25. Couple this information with the fact that there will apparently be enough vaccines available for every American adult by the end of May, and we are — if we can stay reasonably careful and vigilant about all of this a little longer — looking at a future where we can see both of these movies… in a theater… on the same weekend. We could even do it on the same day. Think about that. Think about going to a movie theater and buying all the candy and soda you can carry and seeing an F9/Venom double bill on a Saturday. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Well, it does to me. Stick me with all the vaccines you got and then shove images of Vin Diesel and Tom Hardy into my eyeballs. This is not a sentence I expected to type as recently as 13ish months ago, back when the F9 trailer dropped, but now it is all I want in the entire world.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Freakin’ heck yeah, Anthony Hopkins
This is a video of Anthony Hopkins — Sir Anthony Hopkins CBE, a man who has been knighted by the Queen and won an Academy Award for playing a genius murderer cannibal — doing a fun little dance from what looks like a luxury villa in some tropical location. He posted it on Twitter this week. Like, he just uploaded it and I saw it and I retweeted it so fast I almost hurt my finger.
But how could I not? It’s so strange. And cool. Good for him. Good for Anthony Hopkins. The man is 83 years old and appears to be having more fun than anyone I know. Imagine being in such a good mood that you decide, on a Tuesday in March, to go online and post a video where you do a little tropical dance. I’ve watched this video maybe 20 times this week and, after I got past the thing where Hannibal Lecter is doing a little two-step from what appears to be a Sandals resort, I can’t help but think he has something about life figured out. Teach me your ways, Anthony Hopkins.
While we’re on the subject of Anthony Hopkins, here’s a fun story: He used to date Martha Stewart and, according to Martha, she broke it off with him because she couldn’t get the image of Hannibal Lecter out of her head. From a 2006 interview with Howard Stern:
Stewart appeared on shock jock Howard Stern‘s radio show last week and admitted she had second thoughts about romancing the Welsh-born star after watching The Silence of the Lambs while they were dating.
She said, “Oh, I loved him, but he was… scary. I was going to invite him up to Maine; I have this beautiful home in Maine… but then I reconsidered because I saw that movie again.
“Do you want someone eating your brain while you are sitting in your beautiful dining room in Maine?”
Do I think there’s a chance Martha is playing things a little loose with the facts in the name of doing good radio? Yes, I do, in part because this is too good and in part because Martha Stewart is a professional entertainer who would see the fun in it. But… it’s not entirely impossible, right? You could see Martha Stewart doing this, couldn’t you? I don’t know. I almost like not knowing. Let me believe this is true. If I can’t do a fun little dance in the Caribbean, at least let me have this.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Meanwhile, on the 9-1-1 Chaos Block
It’s been a while since we checked in with the Fox Monday Night Chaos Block, 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lonestar, so let’s do that. The screencap at the top of this section is from the original flavor. What we have here is two neighbors arguing over a giant wooden boat-shaped playhouse that one of them built for his kids. Turns out it may or may not have been too close to the property line, which a) upset the older gentleman in the screencap, and b) is exactly the kind of trivial argument that people have on these shows before something truly nutso happens. Let’s skip ahead a bit.
Oh, baby. Oh, this is a promising development. It seems to imply something is happening in the sky that will affect the situation on the ground. The best part is that it could be anything. I mean that. Anything. This show has had tsunamis and earthquakes and babies flushed down toilets that were rescued from the apartment building’s plumbing. I am so excited to see what ends up happ-…
A damn Hummer fell out of the sky and crushed this guy under a giant wooden boat-shaped playhouse. And he survived. And it wasn’t even the most elaborate lunacy that happened in the episode This hour opened with an all-mom punk rock band bleeding from the eyes after smoking a joint laced with rat poison, and ended with a Rear Window situation where Angela Bassett’s characters ex-husband uncovered an illegal bootleg surgery operation being run out of a luxury apartment across the street.
And that was only the first hour. I wasn’t exactly sure how 9-1-1: Lonestar could go about topping all of it, but if I know anything about these shows, it’s th-…
Oh God no.
They’re not going to drop something else out of the sky.
Not in both hours.
Not at a funeral.
They wouldn’t do th-…
THEY DID IT.
THEY DROPPED SOMETHING OUT OF THE SKY IN BOTH EPISODES THIS WEEK.
THAT’S WHAT I SAID.
To be very clear, this is a dead body that fell off an airplane and crashed into another dead body in a casket during a funeral. And later in the episode, a medical transport guy got stuck butt-first to the monster magnet in the hospital’s MRI room and Rob Lowe and the other firefighters had to strip down to their metal-free underpants to go in and save him. These are good shows. It’s incredible they are on network television, back-to-back, every Monday night.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — This trailer is extremely important for two reasons
This is the trailer for the upcoming HBO Max dark comedy Made for Love. As I said in the section heading, I bring it to your attention here for two main reasons. The first is that it stars Cristin Milioti and sounds weird as all hell, and as we know from her performance in Palm Springs, Cristin Milioti thrives in comedies that are weird as all hell. Look at the description of this sucker.
‘Made for Love’ follows Hazel Green (Milioti), a thirtysomething woman on the run after 10 years in a suffocating marriage to Byron Gogol, an unstable, needy, possibly sociopathic tech billionaire. Soon she discovers that her husband has implanted a revolutionary monitoring device – the Made for Love chip – in her brain, allowing him to track her, watch her and know her thoughts and feelings as she tries to stay alive. Also, there are dolphins. The chip allows Byron unprecedented access to Hazel’s brain as she flees to her desert hometown to take refuge with her aging widower father and, alarmingly, his sex doll.
That is… a lot. Maybe too much. I don’t know if it will work, but I do know that I will support Milioti for reasons including but not limited to scenes like this…
… so here we are.
The second reason I’m sharing the trailer with you is that, as you know by now if you clicked play already, it features Ray Romano doing a spoken-word voiceover rendition of “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé, and that is something we all need in our lives desperately even if we didn’t know we needed it until this very moment. The best things in life usually work that way. Yes, I am implying that Ray Romano doing a spoken-word performance of “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé is “one of the best things in life.” Listen to it now. Listen to it again. It’s beautiful. Life is beautiful. Things are going to be okay, guys.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or 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.
My wife and I have been doing so many grown-up things during the pandemic. We re-financed our mortgage, got life insurance, and are finalizing our wills. The only part that has made these things tolerable is that the lawyer we are using for our wills is named C. Robinson. I have never once thought about the lawyer’s name without pronouncing it in my head as Nandor from What We Do In The Shadows speaking about Colin Robinson.
So two questions:
What is something weird that helps you take care of boring, adult responsibilities?
And, related, what names or references from somewhat obscure TV shows keep you from 100% functioning like a responsible adult?
Oh, David. Oh, buddy. Welcome to my universe. What you just described is how almost every day of my life goes. It’s great most of the time, but sometimes it results in me veering across two lanes of traffic so I can pull into a parking lot and take a picture of a sign because the words on it would make a good fake name. A sign like this, for example.
It’s fine. I’m fine. And I think that’s the answer to your first question. I was out running errands when that happened. I was probably going to buy, like, antacids or something, because my adult stomach does not always handle foods that are spicy and/or fried too well anymore.
As far as the second question, I’ll say this: In the fourth season of Justified, there was an episode called “Money Trap.” It aired in 2013, over nine years ago. It featured a character who never appeared in another episode before or after, a female college student who hustled and grifted chumps on card tables and riverboats all over the South. Her name was Jackie Nevada. I suspect I’ve thought about this once a month since it happened. Again, it’s fine. I’m fine. You and I are having fun, David. That’s what’s important here.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
A council is reviewing CCTV footage after reports that a large section of pavement was stolen from a village in West Sussex.
Folks, I need to clarify something, just so nothing gets lost in the English-to-English translation: What we have here is a sidewalk heist. Someone, or a group of someones, stole a damn sidewalk. Click on the link and go look at it. It’s a chunk of cement-like material between parking spaces and a residential property. Call it pavement if you want, if it makes you feel better. But these maniacs stole a freaking sidewalk.
I am filled to the brim with questions about this. Why did they do it? What was their endgame? Did they show up at a local pawn shop with like eight feet of sidewalk and begin bargaining? Is this just step one in a much larger plan, like how Danny and the boys stole the big science gizmo in Ocean’s 11 so they could use it to rob Terry Benedict’s casino? Is there some impossibly British quote about all of this from a witness? I need to know.
Storrington resident Alan Stainer said whoever had taken the slabs had “made a right old mess”.
Well, at least I got one answer. What a beautiful collection of words that is. Bunch of rascals stole a sidewalk and this guy is out here being more British about it than Michael Caine. It’s a good story.
Horsham District Council said it believed that “the paving slabs may have been stolen overnight,” adding that it was taking steps to make “the area safe for car park users”.
Perfect. Wonderful. I’ve got to believe this is the silliest news story to come out of England this week. I don’t see how anything could top it. There would have to be, like, to choose an example at random, a commuter train delayed at rush hour because a cat was sitting on top of it and refused to get down.
In the UK right now a train is delayed as a cat is sitting on the roof and refusing to come down. pic.twitter.com/I4WAC681Te
— RS Archer (@archer_rs) March 3, 2021
Okay, this one’s on me. I spoke this one into existence. My apologies to the people of England.