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 – One of the greats continues to thrive
One of the bigger issues I have with our society at large right now is that we do not spend enough time talking about how awesome Jennifer Coolidge is and has been for a few decades. All the woman does is crank out hits. She’s been running around in the Christopher Guest troop of goofballs forever, she was the character in American Pie who inspired the term MILF, she was perfectly cast in Legally Blonde, all of it. She doesn’t do a ton of things range-wise in most of these projects, but you don’t have to do anything else when you do one thing better than anyone else. Jennifer Coolidge is the best.
Luckily, for society and me, not necessarily in that order, this was a really great week for Jennifer Coolidge, good enough that I had a reasonable excuse to put her name in a headline and her face in a featured image at the top of this page. Which I did. You probably noticed that already. We’re all doing pretty great this week.
The big story was the release of the trailer for season two of The White Lotus, the HBO limited series that earned her a fancy trophy at the Primetime Emmys the first time around. The show is doing a kind of modified Knives Out maneuver, where she is the only part of the first run that is coming back for the second, with the action moving from Hawaii to Italy as her character, Tanya (perfect name for a Jennifer Coolidge character), takes a vacation at another hotel in the White Lotus chain of resorts. It looks great.
It is a little upsetting that it took us until the early 2020s to figure out that “send Jennifer Coolidge to swanky resorts around the globe and let her chill by the pool and do the Jennifer Coolidge thing while everything around her devolves into anarchy” was a viable genre of television, but the good news is that we’re here now. I want to see her character and Aubrey Plaza’s character have a conversation, maybe over brunch, mostly because those two possess very distinct and dissimilar vibes and I want to see what happens when you smush them together on one screen for a while.
There was also this earlier in the week, the trailer for the upcoming comedy Shotgun Wedding, which starts out looking like something straight out of about 2004 — a rom-com about Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel getting married, with Jennifer Coolidge as the mother of the groom — until right around the one-minute mark, where it takes a truly wonderful turn. Please, enjoy.
Just beautiful. I have no clue if the movie itself will be any good. I don’t know if the pairing of Lopez and Duhamel can carry a zany-ass comedy about pirates invading a destination wedding and the collected guests fighting back to stop them. I do appreciate the ambition of everyone involved, though, both for the wild plot and, again, the thing where they cast the thing like exactly the kind of movie it looks like the first half of the trailer is selling and then introduced madness. That’s cool.
Mostly, though, I’m just glad this movie exists because the trailer gave the world this image.
To recap: Two trailers were released this week for projects that feature Jennifer Coolidge at a luxury resort where everything goes sideways in dramatic fashion. At least one of them features her shouting “No one f*cks with my family” and then spraying a machine gun at a crew of pirates. I say “at least one” only because I am still holding out hope that The White Lotus will work that in somewhere too. Let me have this dream, at least for a few weeks. And put Jennifer Coolidge in a John Wick movie. Have her run one of the Continental assassin hotels in, oh, let’s say Bermuda. Just keep sending her to scenic resorts for various projects that may or may not involve her cussing and drinking champagne and maybe firing a crossbow at her enemies.
Let Jennifer Coolidge thrive. She’s earned it. And so have we.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – This will fascinate me for the rest of my days, I suspect
I can be prone to a bit of hyperbole. I know that. I get excited and declare things to be the best or the worst when they’re probably just, like, pretty good or pretty bad. It’s something I’m aware of and something I try to work on. With that said, this interview in Variety with Guy Fieri might be the single greatest piece of journalism I have ever seen.
Yes, fine, I’m having some fun with it all here, but seriously, read it. Read all of it. But especially read this paragraph. Read it twice, if you have the time, then meet me below the blockquote for a discussion about the specifics involved in this beautiful little collection of words.
When asked about the one celebrity he geeked out over, he casually recalls meeting one of his idols at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home. “I said, ‘If I’m coming over, I’ve gotta cook,’” Fieri shares. “He said, ‘No, no, no, we’ll order sandwiches.’ I said, ‘I’m not not cooking.’ So, I’m there cooking and Sylvester Stallone comes in — and then, in walks Al Pacino.” In telling this story, Fieri’s jaw is on the ground. “It was like the meeting of the titans,” he raves. “I said, ‘Al, can I make you something to eat?’” The “Godfather” actor asked for pasta, but not too spicy. “I’m terrified to ask him. I said, ‘Sir, how is it?’” After Pacino took a bite, he told Fieri he liked the dish; the chef had to step outside to get some fresh air, he was so excited.
Some notes here, in bullet form mostly because if I start typing paragraphs I might never stop:
- I can’t stop picturing this entire scene in my head
- Seriously, this is like four of the greatest and most distinctive voice-havers in the world together in one kitchen
- Think about Arnold saying “we’ll order sandwiches”
- Think about Al Pacino saying “pasta, not too spicy”
- Think about Stallone standing behind Guy Fieri maybe asking him if he’s using too much oregano
- It’s basically an SNL sketch but real
I have been thinking about it all pretty much three or four times every day since it was published last Friday and I don’t see any realistic scenario where that stops happening before the end of the year
There’s this, too:
Have you seen the TikTok fascination of you vibing at concerts?
I have seen that…. yeah, no. [Laughing] There were some TikToks that my kids sent to me when I was at Rage… but are there some?
There are many. People just love watching you vibe.
I’ve been waiting for 20 years to see Rage play live… I said [to my son], “I’m going off.” I was going to go in the pit, but then I got shut down. But that would have made social media.
Okay. Again. Imagine you’re at a Rage Against the Machine concert and you’re in the pit and you get absolutely rocked from your blindside and you look up from the ground to see who just sent you tumbling into a sea of arms and legs and this is what is looking down at you…
You would have to provide video evidence of this or none of your friends would ever believe you. It would be a double whammy that way. I do not think I would like to get trucked by Guy Fieri in a mosh pit.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – A real cosmic gumbo here
This is the trailer for the upcoming Christmas film Violent Night, which I am already planning to slot into my Top 10 Movies of the Year based on its title alone. I am so proud of whoever put that title on top of the script and so proud of the various executives who resisted their urge to meddle with it. That alone is a monumental feat. Then you get to the actual action in there and, I mean… it’s really kind of beautiful. Santa Claus is armed to the teeth now and he’s played by David Harbour. That’s just great work by everyone. Please watch the trailer if you haven’t. Keep watching it through the weekend if you want. Businesses are going to put up Christmas stuff as soon as spooky season winds down. You’re allowed to get excited a little early, too.
I clicked on something like 400 links about this movie throughout the week, but the most straightforward description I saw came from Rotten Tomatoes. This is exactly what I am looking for in a movie.
When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus (David Harbour) is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint.
My favorite thing about all of this, coming in slightly ahead of Santa saying the line “Time for some season’s beatings” and the part where the whole trailer is set to the objectively great holiday song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love and the thing where Edi Patterson from The Righteous Gemstones is in the movie according to the cast list, is that it kind of reminded me of the Crashmore sketch from I Think You Should Leave, the one where Santa Claus takes a role in an action movie as a loose cannon cop named Crashmore.
This is where I post the fictional trailer for that movie.
The takeaway here, if I were to narrow everything down to a single point, is that I am definitely going to see this movie. And that we should probably let Tim Robinson write and direct a Christmas movie. And that Sam Richardson should play Santa in that movie. And Edi Patterson should be in it, too. I realize I have now listed four takeaways when I said I was going to list one. If we’re all being honest with ourselves here, that number is still actually on the low end for what I was expecting. They made Die Hard with Santa. I’m only so strong.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – It is really wild that the Community movie is actually happening
I can’t think of many shows that have had a wilder ride than Community over the last decade or so. It started as a semi-straightforward single-camera comedy about a fast-talking lawyer who has to go back to community college when it’s discovered his original college degree is fraudulent. Then it became a genre-bending examination of the sitcom format itself. Then Chevy Chase said some wild stuff and got fired. Then the showrunner, Dan Harmon, clashed with people and got fired. Then they brought him back. Then it got canceled. Then it came back on — and I’m going to blockquote a paragraph from Variety in a second that elaborates on this, just because I’m still not entirely sure it wasn’t all a hallucination I had — a streaming service called Yahoo! Screen. Then it got canceled again. Then Donald Glover went on to become a celebrated television auteur on his own with Atlanta. And Dan Harmon moved on to Rick & Morty and almost broke the worldwide Mcdonald’s supply chain over a joke about the Szechuan sauce. Again, wild.
Anyway, there’s going to be a Community movie now, next year, years after all of that stuff happened, fulfilling the show’s running meta joke about six seasons and a movie. It’s going to be on Peacock, which is another thing I kind of wonder if I’m hallucinating sometimes, too. Here’s the blockquote I was talking about earlier.
Still, after years of dancing around cancellation, NBC finally pulled the plug on “Community” at the end of its fifth season. But that wasn’t the end of the line. Sony pitched a Season 6 to its then-sister ad-supported streamer Crackle, as well as Hulu, which held the show’s streaming rights. But none of those outlets could make it work financially. Then came Yahoo! Screen, which pledged 13 episodes at the show’s previous $2 million an episode price tag.
It was good for “Community” — but not so much for Yahoo!, which realized its investment far exceeded any revenue coming out of the show. By the end of Season 6 (and after a total of 110 episodes), “Community” had wrapped for good — as had Yahoo! Screen.
My position on all of this is that it is fine and good and I will probably watch it out of a mix of curiosity and nostalgia and the thing where the first three seasons of Community were some of the coolest and most creative television I’ve ever seen. That Thursday night lineup on NBC was something else. It went from Community to Parks and Recreation to The Office to 30 Rock. That’s four all-timer comedies operating in their primes in one two-hour block, on network television. That’s… crazy.
Let’s all watch “Modern Warfare” again this weekend. You have 25 minutes. Don’t lie to me.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Movies used to be good
LIVE WIRE (1992) has a scene where Pierce Brosnan has to get rid of an exploding clown at a kid's party and it's amazing. pic.twitter.com/HtvQX0KKCa
— Colin Cunningham (@Sgtzima) October 4, 2022
The tweet above explains everything pretty well. I’m not sure any words I type here will or even can add any value to it. I’m going to try anyway, but if you watch that and don’t want to risk anything, feel free to skip this section.
Okay, still with me? Cool. This clip is indeed from a movie titled Live Wire that came out three years before Pierce Brosnan landed the role of James Bond. And it does feature a soaking-wet Pierce Brosnan loading a clown into a wheelchair and rushing him out of a crowd of people and pushing him into some sort of carnival stand that then turns to rubble when the clown explodes. Which is kind of awesome. And if you are anything like me, you immediately Googled “live wire pierce brosnan” to find out everything about this movie.
Here is the official description of the 1992 movie Live Wire.
After a politician dies, seemingly of spontaneous combustion, explosives expert Danny O’Neill (Pierce Brosnan) is called in to investigate. O’Neill and his team have to work under Sen. Frank Traveres (Ron Silver), but the two have a troubled history since the government official is sleeping with the agent’s estranged wife. Soon Traveres becomes a target of the mysterious assassins, and O’Neill discovers that they are using an ingested liquid explosive to kill their victims.
I did not know this movie existed as recently as last week and now I am *thisclose* to renting out an entire movie theater and screening it for anyone who wants to come hang out and watch it. I’ll sit by myself in an otherwise empty theater and watch it if none of you show up. That would be fine with me, too. But I really do need to see this movie now. I am not joking. It’s a borderline personality flaw I have. I feel okay about it.
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.
What’s a line of dialogue from a TV show that is still stuck in your head today years later? I have a bunch. Most of them are Nick Miller quotes from New Girl. . “I know this isn’t gonna end well, but the middle part is gonna be awesome.” “The sky’s too fickle. It’s a play-place for butterflies.” “You can go to my funeral but you can’t talk. My funeral is my time to shine.” “You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol.” There are so many. I’ve got to assume you have at least one good one. Maybe even another Nick Miller quote.
Well, this email sent me back down a Nick Miller rabbit hole for about an hour, which was lovely. What a beautiful soul. An unshaven philosophical giant. I would go to a seminar he ran if I thought for one second he could actually organize a seminar.
I’m going to throw a curve here, though, in part because you already took my favorite Nick Miller (the middle part one) and in part because it’s been in my head a lot lately. We go to another rugged philosopher, Kentucky lawman Raylan Givens from Justified, who said, “You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”
I’ve mentioned this quote before, a few times, at least once or twice in this very Friday-based column. There’s a simple reason for that: I really like it. It’s a good way to check yourself after a tough day, or even in the middle of one if you can muster the self-awareness. “Was everyone being a jerk to me or I was just putting out crappy vibes they were responding to?” is a solid thing to ask yourself sometimes. Raylan didn’t always get things right. I would not recommend shooting at people as often as he did, or at all, ever, if possible. But on this one, the man definitely had a point.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
The prestigious global body that governs Irish dancing has been rocked by allegations of competition fixing and cheating.
Shoot it straight into my veins.
An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG) is dealing with its largest ever alleged cheating scandal, which has seen some of the most successful and well regarded Irish dance teachers and schools accused of fixing competitions for their own students.
For those keeping score, we now have active cheating scandals in:
I’m in heaven. I hope darts is next. Or bowling. Or Ultimate Frisbee. Any of the non-traditional sports, really. Just so this keeps going. Show me a cornhole controversy that goes all the way to city hall. This is, in a nutshell, exactly what I am about.
It is understood that screenshots of text conversations showing 12 Irish dance teachers either asking for, or offering to, fix competitions were handed over to the CLRG in July.
Separately the Irish Independent has seen more screenshots, which have not yet been shared with the CLRG, which appear to implicate at least another six teachers.
THAT’S WHAT TWELVE PLUS SIX IS, RIGHT?
THAT IS SO MANY IRISH DANCE TEACHERS
I DON’T EVEN KNOW ONE IRISH DANCE TEACHER
The CLRG said that due to the “potential extent” of the allegations, it had hired a former Court of Appeal judge “to oversee and supervise the immediate investigation into these matters. They will have full and open access to the resources and records of CLRG”.
I love that they brought in a real retired judge to handle this. The man went to law school. He probably presided over murder trials. He’s probably had to send people to prison even though he didn’t want to and then try to go to sleep at night. And now he’s being called in because the Irish dance community couldn’t police itself. What a life. Make a television show about this entire thing and let Liam Neeson play the judge. Get the mob involved somehow. Let the Dropkick Murphys do the theme song.
These are good ideas.