TV

The Rundown: The ‘Justified’ Extended Universe Is Not Complete Until There Is A Wynn Duffy Show

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 — I am not joking about this

I have good news and interesting news. Good news first: The team behind Justified is getting the band back together. Showrunner Graham Yost and his crew are coming back to FX with a show called City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit, also based on an Elmore Leonard novel, which is great both because shows/movies based on Elmore Leonard novels are often terrific (Justified, Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, etc.) and because the people involved here had really nailed Leonard’s style and voice by the end of the show. Variety has the specifics.

The team behind “Justified” is reuniting to develop an FX series based on the Elmore Leonard novel “City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit,” with Timothy Olyphant potentially returning as Raylan Givens, Variety has learned exclusively.

According to sources, as the project is in the very early stages, nothing is set in stone as of yet, meaning Olyphant could star in the series or appear in a smaller role, but no deal has yet been made.

And you probably saw the interesting news in that blockquote: Timothy Olyphant may or may not be reprising his role from Justified in the series, in some way, ranging from guest star to series lead, depending on the negotiations, which are ongoing, and yes, I do find it a little funny that Variety reported it a) now and b) this way, because for all we know he’s just going to show up for five seconds in the pilot as a wink at the audience who is currently half-frothing at the mouth and shouting “RAYLAN BACK???” at the prospect of him leading another full series. As a lover of both shows where Timothy Olyphant wisecracks while wearing a cowboy hat and chaos in general, I support all of this very much.

But it does bring up another point. One of my favorites. One that I seem to be the only one making, which is fine, because everything needs to start somewhere and with someone, so it might as well be now and with me. And the point is this: If we are going to go about the business of extending the Justified universe, in any way, even as small as a brief Raylan Givens cameo in a new series set in Detroit, then we should really consider giving Wynn Duffy his own television show.

What a terrific television character Wynn Duffy was. Just layers on top of layers, many of them courtesy of the writers and many courtesy of Jere Burns, who portrayed him. He was a career criminal who played any angle that worked for him. He lived in a Winnebago — excuse me, a Wynnebago — with a muscular henchmen named Mikey who may or may not have been his lover. He had the whole thing outfitted with satellite television so he could watch women’s tennis. He was the person who Raylan threw a bullet at and said “Next one’s coming faster,” which remains just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. He, at multiple times in the series, ended up with another person’s brain splattered across his face, and yet he always escaped unharmed. He was a well-groomed cockroach in a bathrobe and I loved him very much.

FX

And here’s the best part, with a slew of Justified spoilers coming in quite hot: He got away. After all that he did, after well over a dozen interactions with Raylan Givens, a man who rarely met someone more than twice without shooting them, he got away clean. He’s maybe — I could be missing one here — the only bad guy on the show who did not end up dead or in jail. The last we saw of him, in a sendoff so perfect that I’m smiling again just thinking about it, he was fleeing Kentucky in a van for a (probably) fictional company called Down On All Fours Grooming whose slogan was “the experts of doggy style.”

While this is, again, just a beautiful goodbye to an unkillable charming sleazebag, it’s also… I mean… let’s put it this way: Have you ever, in your entire life, seen or heard of a better spinoff set-up than any of this? Wynn Duffy traveling the country doing crimes out of a dog grooming van, setting up roots in one location just long enough to make a score and then bolting, maybe finding another musclebound henchman/lover if he ever gets over the death of Mikey, which could take a while, because I still am not over it and I barely knew him. Why can’t that be a show? Why isn’t that a show already? Why isn’t it called All I Do Is Wynn and why aren’t there like four seasons on Hulu and why isn’t the main promo picture for it a closeup of his face with someone else’s blood on it? Maybe he’s sipping a cucumber water, too. I’m just spitballing here.

FX

It’s a good idea. It’s probably my best idea for a Justified spinoff, at least. Definitely top three, right up there with a prequel about Raylan and Boyd in high school together (starring Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins as teenagers, Pen15-style) and an alternate history where Boyd gets to live out his fantasy of getting out of crime and going legit as the owner of one or many Dairy Queen franchises. I really want to see Boyd as an ice cream magnate, especially after I got to ask Walton Goggins about it and he gave this answer.

I think he would have been a very successful Dairy Queen franchise owner, very successful. And that episode in particular, it’s very … All of this shit is very personal to me. I’m a poor kid from Georgia. We’re divided on a lot of things in this country. The one thing that a lot of us aren’t divided on is poverty. And for me, Boyd Crowder was what I wanted to say about rural America and my version of it. And that for him, there was a glass ceiling, and he couldn’t break it. And all he ever wanted was that, was the ability to escape a life that he came from, and to be somebody, and to be respected in a different way, and not through fear and intimidation.

With my story, I participated in kind of all of it. And I said, “We got to say this, man.” Because there was a dude in my hometown whose dad had four Dairy Queen franchises, and he made it. He was a success. And so, to answer your question, as fastidious as Boyd Crowder was, and as great of a compartmentalizer as he was… yeah, I think you would have seen Dairy Queens popping up in places that you never anticipated.

I think about Justified a lot. I guess that’s the point I’m making here. That and the thing about the Wynn Duffy show. So those two points, really.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — It is really saying something when a movie is too bad for me

This is a clip from Me You Madness, a new film that was written and directed by (and stars) Louise Linton, wife of former Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. It is hilarious. There’s no getting around that. The whole brief clip is undeniably, almost perfectly hilarious, from the dialogue to the “party mode” to the selection of the Taylor Dayne song to the thing where her scene partner and co-star is Ed Westwick, best-known for a starring role in Gossip Girl and most recently seen being accused of sexual assault by multiple women, which goes a long way toward explaining how he went from Gossip Girl to this. He appears to full-on sneeze around the 0:30 second mark of the clip. Again, hilarious.

So, of course, I cleared out a couple of hours to watch Me You Madness. I love awful movies. They are one of my great passions in life. Which is why it brings me no pleasure at all to report the following: Me You Madness was so bad I turned it off after about 20 minutes. Do you understand? This movie was too bad for me. For me! The same person who, earlier this week, was quoted on the damn DVD cover of Money Plane calling it “the most important movie of the summer.” A movie being too bad for me is like a lake being too wet for a fish. It’s unheard of.

And yet!

The movie has nothing going for it. At all. It somehow manages to be completely boring despite being about a woman who murders and eats people and has nonsense solo dance parties on the roof. It’s almost impressive how little energy any of it has despite… all of those things happening. I didn’t like it or hate it. I just kind of nothing’d it. It was aggressively nothing.

Luckily, kind of, at least for me and you, Dan McQuade at Defector did watch and blog this movie. The whole thing. He came to many of the same conclusions.

The movie is a mess. There are innumerable dance scenes, both from Westwick and Linton, none of which are interesting. It is allegedly a comedy, but there are almost no attempts at jokes, even. There is one half-decent joke, and the movie immediately runs it into the ground. It features lots of fancy cars and furniture—rented, per the credits—but none of it is specific enough to be memorable. There is a ridiculous “happy ending” in which the two main characters, who appear not to have aged at all, suddenly have three children.

Again, I should have loved this movie. I should have gotten almost unending joy out of it. I probably should have, at some point, been blurbed on this DVD cover, too. It has everything I could ever ask for out of a trainwreck film experience: vanity project, insane plot, no budget, sneezes that were not edited out of the final cut because the director was, presumably, watching herself dance, etc. The fact that I — me, the person who also wrote a review of Speed Kills, a VOD movie in which John Travolta plays a speedboat racer who gets involved with the mob — could not finish it might be the most damning criticism anyone could offer. Just watch that clip a few times. Anything beyond that results in rapidly diminishing returns.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — I am really just very proud of everyone involved here

Universal

The key thing you need to know here is that Scott Frank was the creator and showrunner of The Queen’s Gambit, a show that became a megahit for Netflix despite the fact that it was about chess. That was some kind of trick right there. Watching people play chess is just about the most boring thing possible, especially if you, like me, are a huge chess dope. I could not believe how into that show I was. I assume I was not alone in this reaction. All of which explains why Scott Frank is now a very hot commodity in Hollywood.

There are a few ways you can go when you get a little heat like this. You can use it to make a big passion project, something you’ve wanted to make forever but never got anyone to sign off on. You could double-down on your success by making a sequel-type project for a massive pay raise. Or, if you’re smart, like Scott Frank apparently is, you could create a new show and set in the South of France and plan to film it on-location there for a few months.

The series is called Monsieur Spade and will star Clive Owen as famous Maltese Falcon detective Sam Spade and, honestly, I’m just very proud of everyone involved in this production. Via Deadline:

The predominantly French language series will be produced by French production company Haut et Court (The Returned, The Young Pope) and will be shot entirely on location in France. It is being eyed as an international co-production with a premium cable network or streamer.

Co-written by Frank and Fontana and to be directed by Frank, Monsieur Spade centers around writer Dashiell Hammett’s great detective, Sam Spade, played by Owen, who has been quietly living out his golden years in the small town of Bozuls in the South of France. It’s 1963, the Algerian War has just ended, and in a very short time, so, too, will Spade’s tranquility.

Good for them. Good for all of them. Good for Scott Frank for figuring out how to live in the South of France on someone else’s dime for a significant chunk of time. Good for Clive Owen, who will also play Bill Clinton in the upcoming Lewinsky-themed season of American Crime Story and probably will need to play a detective who lives in France after all of that. Good for Dashiell Hammett’s estate for cashing this check. But most importantly, good for me, because I found an excuse to post that GIF of Clive Owen doing some excellent sunglasses business in Duplicity.

No losers in any of this, really.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — A heartfelt congratulations to Glenn Close

Getty Image

Something incredible happened this week. I promise this is not just me getting carried away with a strange fact and going too far with my excitement. It might be a little bit me getting carried away with a strange fact and running too far with my excitement, but it’s not, like, just that. I am not overselling this. It is really, truly wild. I did not think it was even possible.

Here’s what happened: The nominations for the 2021 Oscars were announced on Monday. And then the nominations for the 2021 Razzies were announced. And after they were both announced, after the honors for the best and worst of the past year of film were official, after the dust had settled, Glenn Close had been nominated for an Oscar and a Razzie for the same role.

Close was nominated for best actress in a supporting role, along with Maria Bakalova in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Olivia Colman in The Father, Amanda Seyfried in Mank and Yuh-Jung Youn in Minari. Monday marked Close’s eighth Oscar nomination. She has yet to win.

As far as the Razzies, the actress was nominated for worst supporting actress along with Lucy Hale and Maggie Q in Fantasy Island, Kristen Wiig in Wonder Woman 1984 and Maddie Ziegler in Music.

Do you see what I mean now? About this being incredible? Other actors have been nominated for an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year, with the most notable example being Sandra Bullock. But no one has ever been nominated for both for the same role. We are in uncharted territory here. One group of people saw her performance in Hillbilly Elegy and said, “Well, this is one of the best acting displays I have seen this year,” another group of people saw it and said, presumably, “More like Hillbilly Smell-egy.” The same performance! I am fascinated by this. Not fascinated enough to, say, watch Hillbilly Elegy at any point in my life, but still, pretty fascinated.

To be very clear, though: None of this is intended as a dig at Glenn Close. Glenn Close is great. Always has been. I want her to win an Oscar someday, in large part because this is now her eighth nomination and she hasn’t won yet. Now that I think about it, it would be kind of great if she wins both the Oscar and the Razzie this year. I want it to happen. Lots of people have Oscars. Fewer people get to make history.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — This is cool

This is a video of Tiffany Haddish learning that she won the Grammy for Outstanding Comedy Album while filming an episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things. It’s great. Watch it right now. Watch it again if you watched it earlier in the week. Send it to everyone in your phone. See if you can watch her get emotional about it without getting a little emotional yourself. It’s impossible.

I think my favorite part is the thing where she starts to explain the historical significance of a Black woman winning the award and one of the little girls on the set is like “Yeah, I already knew that.” She said it nicer than that, and it’s all very sweet, but it’s a good reminder that you should always try — using reasonable means — to have a child around you when you get good news. You never know what those guys are going to say. It’ll either make the experience so much more rich and pure or it will yoink you back to Earth immediately because kids are honest. Like, there was an equal chance here that one of the girls could have said “Beyoncé has lots of Grammys.” Which would have been great, too. Kids really do say the darndest things. Someone should make a show about it.

READER MAIL

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

From Paul:

As a fan of prestige television shows and NBA basketball, how excited are you about this new show about the 1980s Lakers? I’ve got to imagine you’re through the roof. I’m expecting 2,500 word recaps of each episode. I hope it spawns an entire new genre of television shows about famous historical basketball teams. Which team would be the most interesting for this kind of show and who plays Allen Iverson, because I assume your answer is the 2000-01 Philadelphia 76ers?

Here’s the best part about this email: Paul sent it last week, before the news dropped that Adrien Brody would be playing Pat Riley in this series. I was already excited. Now, I’m basically in outer space. Adrien Brody makes… let’s call them “choices.” He popped up in the most recent season of Peaky Blinders as a Sicilian mob boss and his performance was kind of like “what if Adrien Brody did an impression of Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in The Godfather?” It was mesmerizing. It gives this new Lakers show very strong American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson vibes, which I could not be happier about.

Which brings me to Paul’s question. Surprisingly, my answer has nothing to do with my beloved Sixers, although I did type the phrase “we should let Allen Iverson be the next James Bond” into a Slack room earlier this week, and I stand by that. No, my answer is much more obvious than that. I need a multi-season series about the 1990s Chicago Bulls. Basically just everything from The Last Dance but dramatized and spread out over 30-40 hour-long episodes. I want to see Jordan gambling at 2 a.m. with a game the next day. I want entire episodes about Rodman. I want Jerry Krause and Jerry Reinsdorf to both be played by Paul Giamatti in different makeup and I want it on my television as soon as possible. None of this is unreasonable.

Thank you.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Texas!

A pair of River Oaks museum intruders are still on the run after they were chased by police Tuesday night as they boarded a boat on Buffalo Bayou and disappeared into the city’s storm drain system.

Yes, hello, hi. This article now has my full attention. I turned off the television and wiped everything else off my desk if one dramatic whoosh. My floor is a mess. It’s worth it. I can’t have any distractions. I must know everything about this at once.

When police responded to the museum, they spotted the pair running out of the building.

Police say the suspects appeared to have a motor boat waiting for them in Buffalo Bayou, which borders the museum.

They took off down the bayou, but when they spotted officers on the Shepherd Drive bridge, the suspects turned around and went in the opposite direction, according to Lt. Larry Crowson.

They fled the museum…

… AND HOPPED IN A MOTORBOAT…

… AND THEN WERE INVOLVED IN A MOTORBOAT CHASE.

KIND OF.

I GUESS THE COPS JUST SAW THEM FROM DRY LAND AND THEN THEY TURNED AROUND.

WHATEVER.

LET ME HAVE THIS ONE.

When the HPD dive team spotted the two suspects with the boat in the culvert, the pair jumped down a storm drain and ran off, according to police.

Officers followed them in, but ultimately couldn’t find the suspects.

During the storm drain search, HPD lost cell phone and radio connection with a couple of officers, who were then considered missing. The officers were eventually located unharmed.

PROSECUTOR: … and with all that said, do you think you can be a fair and impartial juror on this case?

POTENTIAL JUROR: So they stole some art and fled in a speedboat and then lost the cops in the drainage system?

PROSECUTOR: That is what they are accused of.

POTENTIAL JUROR: Then I cannot be impartial.

PROSECUTOR: May I ask why?

POTENTIAL JUROR: Because I love them.

According to MFAH, no works of art were damaged and nothing was removed from the premises. They are examining camera footage and are in contact with the police.

Wait.

Hold on.

They didn’t even steal anything?

They just snooped around and then fled in a speedboat.

That doesn’t make any sense.

Unless…

Dear Lord…

WHAT IF IT WAS A DISTRACTION?

What if the whole point was to get written up in the news and discussed in this column?

What if someone is reading these sentences right now and not paying attention to their job?

What if it’s a security guard at the Louvre?

SOMEONE CHECK ON THE MONA LISA.

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