TV

The Rundown: ‘Lodge 49’ Is Sleepy And Wild Like A Delightful Fever Dream


AMC

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 — Like Big Lebowski crossed with National Treasure, kind of

That’s how I described Lodge 49 to a friend of mine after I binged the first season this week. It’s an unfair comparison, I admit that. And it’s not entirely accurate. The show is so hard to pin down in one or two sentences, though. AMC says the show is “a modern fable about a disarmingly optimistic ex-surfer who is drifting after the death of his father and the collapse of the family business.” That’s fair. It is definitely that. But it’s also somehow and lot more complicated and a lot simpler. It’s lazy and relaxed and chill and then whooooaaaaa there are hidden rooms and outrageous physical comedy and a swirling mystery about alchemy and a fraternal organization that may or may not be hiding secrets. It’s got a little of that Mad Men vibe, where huge chunks of time will go by with nothing substantial happening, and then suddenly a) a dude will get his foot mangled by a lawnmower, and b) you’ll realize that what you thought was “nothing substantial” was actually the best part of the show.

See what I mean? That was actually a very good description. I really nailed it. And it still made no sense. The ex-surfer, Sean “Dud” Dudley (Wyatt Russell), is your Lebowski-type, a pleasant and kind slacker with a wound from a snake bite on his leg. He stumbles into a membership in the Order of the Lynx hoping to find answers about life. Things start getting weird around the third or fourth episode. There’s a thing with a live rat that had me gasping. And a mummy. And someone makes a really good point about people running around looking for unicorns when we already have rhinos right here. That one is going to stick with me.

I don’t want to scare you off, though. I feel like I might be scaring you off. The show is really very good. Yes, it’s strange and trippy in places, but it’s always pretty grounded. All of the characters in the show are searching for something, a way to fill a hole in their lives. Dud’s sister, Liz (Sonya Cassidy), is working at a Hooters-style restaurant called Shamroxx and self-destructs any time something potentially better comes along. His mentor at the lodge, Ernie (Brent Jennings), is alone and feeling stuck in a job he doesn’t particularly like, and being passed over by a younger employee everyone calls Beautiful Jeff. Maybe that’s actually the best way to describe the show: it’s about a bunch of broken people who are desperately searching for a way to become whole again. Less attention-grabbing than “like Big Lebowski crossed with National Treasure,” though.

The long and short of it all is that Lodge 49 is unlike anything else on television, in a really good way. It’s closest cousin is probably a show like Amazon’s Patriot, just odd and offbeat and sweet in places and sad in others and devastatingly funny in brief frantic bursts. Less murder than Patriot, though, but more shady real estate titans getting stabbed through the eyes with the horn of a narwhal. So there’s, you know, that.

I guess the simplest thing I could do is just say this: If you’re looking for a relaxed and goofy binge that might make you laugh and cry in the same hour, and you want to see Bruce Campbell drinking Bloody Marys in a kiddie pool, and you want to get into a cryptic mystery about like a B- version of the Freemasons, check out Lodge 49. The second season just started. It’s not a heavy lift at all. And maybe, when you do watch it, you can come over and try to help me put all of this into words. I’m supposed to be good at it and all I’ve really got so far is “I don’t know, watch it.” Not a sustainable situation.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Magic Johnson, do a film podcast

NBA Hall of Famer and world’s most earnest Twitter user Magic Johnson turned 60 this week and, to celebrate, he put out a bunch of lists of his 60 favorite things in various categories. They’re all pretty incredible. Our focus, however, will be his movie list. Please take a few seconds to peruse.

Some notes:

– The list is numbered, which implies a ranking, and features The Godfather at number one, which also implies a ranking, and then switches to alphabetical order at number two, which leads to the implication that Bad Boys is Magic Johnson’s third favorite movie ever.

– It’s not perfectly alphabetical, though. He’s got The Bourne Identity in between Iron Man and Jerry Maguire, which wouldn’t even be correct if he was going with the I in Identity. And he has Sparkle in before Ray. It’s truly fascinating and confounding.

– He has xXx on his list. And two Shafts. And Tombstone. I want to watch Tombstone with Magic Johnson. Today, if possible.

Now I want top 60 lists for every other member of the 1992 Dream Team. I bet Michael Jordan has Space Jam at number one and I bet he’ll refuse to talk to anyone who doesn’t put it at the top of their list.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Two great tastes together at last

I apologize. I really goofed up here. I have somehow managed to shoehorn John Travolta and his occasionally baffling career choices in this column almost every week and yet — AND YET — I managed to miss his appearance in Pitbull’s latest music video, “3 to Tango.” It came out two full weeks ago and I’m just getting to it now, thanks to this clip of Travolta discussing it on GMA. This is unacceptable. I’m angry at myself, mostly, but I’m also a little angry at all of you. How did none of you bring this to my attention? Come on. Come onnnnn. I’m doing the best I can out here. I don’t ask for much. He’s bald and dancing, for the love of God. You’re lucky I like you people.

Anyway, take it away, fellas.

It’s perfect. Not necessarily the song or even the video, I mean. Just, like, all of it. John Travolta is in a Pitbull video in 2019 because they’re friends. Pitbull was the one who convinced Travolta to shave his head. We’ve covered this before, possibly more than once, but I will continue to point it out every time it is relevant until it no longer fascinates me. It’s going to be a long ride, people. Look at this.

“I did a movie years ago called From Paris With Love where I shaved it, so I got used to it, and some people got used to it. So it wasn’t a total shock,” he said. “And I became friends with Pitbull…All us guys have to stick together that do this. He encouraged it, as well. And the family encouraged it.”

It’s so beautiful I could cry.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Oh, I get it

This is the trailer for the upcoming holiday film Last Christmas. It stars Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones and Henry Golding from Crazy Rich Asians and it prominently features the music of George Michael, including the song the movie gets its title from. That is all you’re getting out of me by way of critical analysis because I want to discuss something substantially more funny: All of my Twitter timeline slowly coming to the realization that this could all be very, very literal. It went something like this.

“Hey, a Christmas movie with Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, cool.”

“Wait, what is the deal with his character?”

“He seems mysterious and too perfect and he only seems to show up on his terms…”

“Is he… dead?”

“Is that what’s happening here?”

“IS THIS A GHOST CHRISTMAS MOVIE?”

“WAIT.”

“WHAT IS THIS BIG OMINOUS THING SHE KEEPS REFERENCING?”

“NO.”

“WHAT IF HE WAS AN ORGAN DONOR AND SHE GOT HIS HEART?”

“LIKE THE SONG.”

“LAST CHRISTMAS, I GAVE YOU MY HEART!”

“IS THAT WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?”

“IS IT?????”

I can’t decide which reality I want more, one in which this is true and everyone sniffed out the holiday film’s big twist from the trailer it dropped in the middle of summer, or one in which everyone’s brain is so broken that we all saw a preview for a nice holiday movie and incorrectly jumped to “HE’S DEAD AND SHE HAS HIS HEART.” Both are potentially delightful to me, a person who enjoys Christmas movies and revels in absolute chaos. I hope there’s a second twist. I hope everyone was right about the heart thing but then about 90 minutes into the movie we find out that he’s following her around because he wants his heart back. Full-on action movie swerve, last half-hour littered with car chases and property damage as she attempts to send a ghost back to hell. Do it all, I say.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Hell yeah, it’s Olivia Colman time, baby

Well well well, look at that. It’s our first very teaser-y teaser trailer for the upcoming third season of The Crown. It is so teaser-y, oh my god. There’s nothing to it but a partially open door followed by the reveal of Olivia Colman in full-on royal regalia. And guess what, reader: I still whooped a little. Olivia Colman is awesome. She’s awesome in the projects she acts in, yes, of course, as her recent Oscar win for The Favourite confirms. But she’s also pretty awesome, in general, as her acceptance speech at that Oscar ceremony confirmed.

What a character. I love it. I can’t wait to see her frown and occasionally play with corgis on this show. That’s not even sarcasm. I’m serious. I’m genuinely looking forward to it. No offense to Claire Foy, who is also pretty great and did an admirable job of playing the younger version of the queen in the first two seasons, but again, I did whoop a little here. The whoops reveal the truth in your heart. I forget who said that. I think it was Plato. Either him or me, just now, in this paragraph. One or the other.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or, like, 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.

Greg:

I was watching John Wick for what felt like the 60th time last week when a thought popped into my head. Have I seen John Wick more times than any other movies? I’m sure it’s close now that it’s on basic cable four or five times a week. I wish there was a way to go back and keep stats on this. I’d love to see my top ten.

What about you? What movie do you think you’ve seen the most. The Accountant is in the top ten, right?

Greg, this is a terrific question. I think you hit the nail on the head, too. Not with the thing about The Accountant being in my top ten, although it’s probably closer than I’d like to admit. I mean as far as movies that run on basic cable constantly. That’s how the stats really get juiced. The bar for viewing is so much lower when it’s already running on like TNT or AMC than it is when you have to actively make a decision to start something on a streaming service. We actually covered a bunch of this in an earlier mailbag question about the “best” basic cable movie. But that’s the key here, I think.

So, what do we got? There’s The Fugitive, obviously, because it’s been around forever and I can’t turn it off once I start it. I’ve seen the last 45 minutes of A Few Good Men something like 100 times. The Sandlot, Speed, and The Italian Job are probably in there. Wayne’s World, too. And Magic Johnson’s third favorite movie, Bad Boys. You’re right, I would love to see the hard data on this. It would be illuminating. Maybe a little horrifying, too. I imagine there’s an existential reckoning that comes along with the realization that you’ve seen, like, Armageddon 17 times. That’s a lot of hours of your life that could have been spent doing almost anything else. And now they’re just gone. Forever.

You know what? I take it back. I would not want to see the hard data on this. And screw you for making me think about it, Greg.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Arkansas!

Fayetteville police are still baffled after what seems like a heist straight out of a movie took place at a local Best Buy store.

The burglary suspects cut a hole in the roof of the Best Buy on Joyce Blvd., rappelled down from the ceiling and escaped with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

Two things worth noting here:

– This is not the first crime like this that has taken place recently. It’s part of a whole crime wave. People are cutting jokes into the ceilings of Best Buys and rappelling down into the store and making off with thousands in electronics. I love this so much. Just the sheer brazen unnecessary audacity. They’re robbing a series of Best Buys using tactics you usually see only in movies about diamond thieves. I hope they have a helicopter.

– Wait until you see this next quote.

Ready?

The unusual case occurred on August 8. Murphy says that Best Buy employees knew immediately that something wasn’t right when they got to work that morning.

“Once they were inside they noticed some things were out of place and there was a hole cut in the ceiling,” Murphy said.

“Hey, Alice…”

“Yeah, Frank?”

“Do some things look at out of place to you?”

“Yeah. It’s weird.”

“It’s almost like we were robbed.”

“Yeah, but how.”

“I don’t know. But between this and that big perfect circle hole in the roof, it sure is a weird morning.”

“Definitely weird.”

“Oh well.”

“Yup, back to work.”

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