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 — Welcome to summer, everything is strange
It’s difficult to explain exactly what Holey Moley is, which is a problem because it’s what I need to do to make my point. I’ll try. Holey Moley is a new ABC summer game show. It’s a mini-golf competition that is presented by and occasionally features two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and is hosted by Rob Riggle and Monday Night Football announcer Joe Tessitore. It is also an extreme physical challenge competition along the lines of Wipeout. There is putting, yes, of course, but there’s also, well, this…
If you’re looking at those two GIFs and thinking “Wow, it sure looks like that woman got wrecked by the same windmill twice while trying to run through it on a network television golf show hosted by Steph Curry,” I am sad to report that you are incorrect. This woman got wrecked by two separate windmills while trying to run through them on a network television golf show hosted by Steph Curry. That’s a little incredible. My favorite is the second. It doesn’t even look like the windmill got her. She was just so freaked out by the first time that she ran straight into the support. It gets worse, too, because there’s an insult added to these injuries. She was assessed a penalty stroke for each crash, which resulted in her losing and getting eliminated by a DJ in a unicorn onesie. That’s a rough day.
Other things of note about Holey Moley:
– The holes are all very extreme. There are ramps and ziplines and trap doors, there are polar bears and large pools of chlorinated water and, on one occasion so far, world-famous saxophone aficionado Kenny G, who appeared out of thin air to distract contestants who were trying to putt.
– There is also a golf robot. The golf robot is set up 55 yards away from one of the holes, with a large body of water between, and contestants have to choose between having the robot knock the ball up there or having Steph Curry do it. At this point, it is worth mentioning that Steph Curry is a very good golfer. Too good, some would say, including me, a very petty person who gets unreasonably upset when people who are already good at one thing are also good at golf. I almost flipped a table over when I found out Justin Timberlake shoots in the 70s. It’s fine. I’m fine.
– Sometimes contestants show up in costume, or at least weird clothes. A dude in the first episode wore a lumberjack outfit for no clear reason. One guy just started eating a banana. The whole thing is so weird that I still can’t fully decide if it’s partially scripted or if people are so used to the idea of wacky extreme network game shows that they’re coming in as fully formed characters.
It’s all very dumb and surprisingly fun. For the most part. There’s a debt owed here to a range of Japanese game shows that became cult hits in America years later, like Takeshi’s Castle. This is more self-aware and maybe a little too cute in places, and I do recommend watching with your finger on the fast-forward button if you give it a shot. You’re very busy. This can drag a little. It’s about time management. You can always back it up if someone is suddenly paddling in the water or jumping up and down.
Short version: I would like to sit here and tell you I’m above all of this but that would be a lie. I made those GIFs for this column, sure. But I would have made them to send to my friends anyway, even if it wasn’t my job. It’s summer, after all. We deserve some cheap thrills.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — What the heck is any of this?
Bryan Cranston logged into his Twitter account this week and posted this picture. Had that been the end of this story, it would have been perplexing and a little hilarious. It was not the end of the story, though, because his former Breaking Bad co-star logged into his Twitter account at the same time and posted this.
As far as I can tell, there are two possibilities here. Number one, this is some sort of tease for the upcoming Breaking Bad movie. This is the more likely option. The movie is coming soon-ish, especially in the grand cosmic sense of time, and this is exactly the kind of cryptic teaser that a couple of rascals like Cranston and Paul would use to get people talking. If this is the case, it clearly worked. This paragraph is proof enough of that. So, that’s one option.
The only other possibility, as far as I can tell, is that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are preparing to hike down into the Grand Canyon, together, as friends, for their summer vacation, and they’re both so excited about it that they went online at the exact same time and posted a picture of the noble steeds that will be assisting them in their journey. This one is admittedly a long shot but, man, would it ever be funny. People would be so confused and mad. I would laugh for hours.
Being a celebrity has to be wild. You can just toss out a strange tweet or cryptic picture and people will go nuts about it. What does it mean? What are they trying to say? It’s an odd power to have and one that is probably tempting to abuse at times. Like, imagine if, two months before Endgame premiered, Chris Evans had posted a picture of his Captain America shield in a dumpster. No words to accompany it, no context. Just the shield in a dumpster, maybe covered in mustard. The content this would have generated… my god. Theories, speculation, theories about the speculation. I would’ve hated it until I realized it was really nonsense trolling and then I would have loved it.
Please consider doing this, celebrities, even if it’s only for me. Use your power for chaos.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — More like The Great Liar, in my opinion
Here is a trailer for an upcoming movie titled The Good Liar. The film stars Ian McKellan as a con man and Helen Mirren as a rich lady he is trying to scam. That’s all I need. That sentence right there. I love movies about con men and I love movies that seem to imply there could be a twist wherein Helen Mirren might get the drop on a con man. It’s all got a very “What if Dirty Rotten Scoundrels had been much darker?” vibe to it, at least based on this short clip. I support this premise completely, both because it seems like a fun idea for a movie that is not a sequel or one based on existing comic book intellectual property, and because now I want to watch Dirty Rotten Scoundrels again this weekend.
That’s all it takes, folks. That’s all it takes to get your movie mentioned in this prestigious column. Give me a con man, Helen Mirren, and enough information to make me think of another movie I like. Bingo bango.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — I apologize for not mentioning it until now but I would like to talk about the necklace thing
This happened early in the second episode of this season of Big Little Lies. The context is barely important. Meryl Streep’s character was doing the thing she does where she passive-aggressively grills another character — Reese Witherspoon’s, in this case — about the death of her son. The bigger thing to focus on is look at what Meryl Streep did with her necklace.
That is such a wild choice. It wasn’t in the script. I’m sure of it. It’s not like there was a note in there that said “Mary Louise picks up her necklace and pulls it tight over her chin and strokes its tiny cross as she considers all the information in front of her.” Meryl decided to do that. And… it worked? It worked. It’s one of those nervous tics that people do all the time without thinking. I’ve seen people do almost this exact same thing, or something like it. I have a bad habit of chewing on the drawstrings of my hoodies. It’s not something you’ll often see an actor choose to do, though. It’s a big movement that could be distracting and weird in the hands of a lesser performer.
The tricky part of it all is that just about everyone is a lesser performer than Meryl Streep. So… maybe just leave this kind of stuff alone? Unless you’re Meryl Streep. Are you Meryl Streep? You are? Wow. Hi, Meryl. Great work out there. With all of it. I’m getting nervous now. Oh god. Oh no. Meryl, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask you to stop reading. This is too much pressure. I’m about to write a section about Sharknado of all things and I won’t be able to do it if I know you’re reading. Please close the tab.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — The boys are back in town
The great Sharknado saga ended a number of flying sharks ago. It stretched on too long. I think most of us can agree on that. I worry that it’s tainted the pure lunatic joy we all experienced from the first one. You remember how much fun that was, right? Don’t deny it. You were way into it in the moment. It was so weird and so tongue-in-cheek and so perfect for mindless summer entertainment. The many sequels can’t take that away from you and you shouldn’t let them. It was a movie about shark-filled tornadoes and it ended with people throwing dynamite into the tornadoes to stop them. Ian Ziering cut himself out of a shark with a chainsaw. Neither of those was the wildest thing that happened. Sharknado ruled.
I bring this up because the band is getting back together.
Ziering will star in and produce Zombie Tidal Wave, the first in what the NBCUniversal-owned cable net hopes will become a new genre-movie franchise. The film, which reunites several members of the Sharknado creative team, is set to premiere Aug. 17 as part of a shark-themed weekend of Syfy original movies.
The former Beverly Hills, 90210 star’s I.Man Productions and Darby Parker’s Stronghold Entertainment are producing the movie under a deal between the two companies. Ziering will play Hunter Shaw, a veteran sailor who helps locals band together after a tsunami brings hordes of the undead to the shores of his island community.
Fair enough! My strong suspicion is that I will not watch this movie but I support their desire to keep the ball rolling.
People tired of sharks in tornadoes? How about zombies in a tsunami? No? Okay. An earthquake that releases dragons from inside the earth’s core? You still like dragons, right? You’re tired of dragons? Okay. Okay. Let’s go back to the ocean. Squid in a whirlpool? Jellyfish in the undertow? Just tell me. Tell me what you want. We’ll make it, we swear. Just tell us!
I would watch that movie about jellyfish in the undertow. Jellyfish are quietly terrifying. Why do we need stinging blobs of goo that float in shallow water? We didn’t have to have those. Make them zombies if you need to for the purposes of selling the movie. I know how Hollywood gets.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or, like, whatever you want, shoot them to me at email@example.com and 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.
Is it driving you crazy that everyone is fawning over Keanu Reeves right now after you’ve been posting that wine picture of him for years? It feels like the world is encroaching on your territory. What’s next? The Summer of Statham? Paul Giamatti becoming a meme? An Air Bud cinematic resurgence?
Chris, I appreciate the sentiment but I assure you that nothing has made me happier than Keanu shining in the sun lately. I’m not sure Keanu is loving it, though. He seems like a very chill and private person and I imagine zillions of people tweeting about him could be making him squirm a bit. It would make me squirm. I do not think I would enjoy being famous. Luckily, I am not the star of the universally beloved John Wick franchise so it’s not really an issue.
I made this point before, I think, but my preference on the fame/rich scale goes something like this:
1. Rich but not famous
2. Rich and famous
3. Not rich and not famous
4. Famous but not rich
I could even flip two and three, depending on the day and what I’m trying to buy. Admittedly, this has taken us way off topic but it was a conversation we needed to have.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Malaysia authorities have arrested four Indians and seized more than 14 kilograms of drugs and over 5,000 turtles from their luggage at the Kuala Lumpur airport.
The swerve in the back half of this sentence almost threw me out of my chair. I was with them on the drugs. I understand drug smuggling. I’ve seen many movies about it and grasp the financial motivations involved. The second part, though, the part about the turtles… that I grasp less. Please explain.
Senior customs official Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusof said Wednesday that agents found a total 5,255 red-ear slider baby turtles kept in small baskets from the luggage of two Indian nationals who flew in from Guangzhou, China on an AirAsia flight on June 20.
Let’s do a little thought exercise. I think that will help. First, I want you to picture what 5,255 turtles looks like. Really wrap your head around it. It’s so many turtles, especially since, prior to reading this story, I would have considered 25 turtles to be a lot of turtles. Five thousand turtles. Think about how you’d react to seeing that. Think about how you’d react if you were an airport employee who did not expect to discover 5,255 turtles while checking luggage. It’s fascinating to consider. What would you even do? There’s got to be at least 30 seconds of frozen confusion involved. I would pay decent money to see how people react to 5,255 surprise turtles. Maybe that can be the next summer game show. We’ll have to work the physical violence in later.
The second part of this exercise is even more fun. Picture the employee who had to count each one of the turtles to get the 5,255 figure. Get a good visual of one person counting them one at a time. (“One baby turtle… two baby turtles… three baby turtles…”) I like to imagine he lost count somewhere in the 3000s and had to start all over. I also like to imagine his boss bursting into the room multiple times, like “Dammit, Mike, you still don’t have a count on these turtles?”
Poor Mike. He’s doing the best he can. It’s really a lot of turtles, though.
(Ed. Note: The Rundown will be taking a hiatus next week for the 4th of July holiday. It will return on Friday, July 12th.)