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 — My only New Year’s resolution is to strum an automatic weapon like a guitar while wearing three watches and a string of pearls
There’s an art to making a trailer. It’s not as simple as slapping some clips together and putting a title at the end. You’ve got to take the viewer on a ride, titillate and tease with spoiling, get the anticipation and excitement bubbling without overselling, give them just enough that they must have more. And you have to do it all in about two minutes. It’s not as easy as it looks. A well-done trailer can be a magic trick. Godzilla vs. Kong was not an especially great movie but the trailer… buddy, that was a thing of beauty.
This brings us to the upcoming Hulu series Pam & Tommy, which focuses on the theft and subsequent release of the sex tape starring Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, and all the hoopla that surrounded it. The trailer dropped early this week and, with minimal hyperbole, it might be one of the best trailers for a television show I’ve ever seen. I’ll post the whole thing here but please meet me below for a spirited discussion about guns and mullets and prosthetics.
Right? Isn’t that freaking incredible? Tell me you don’t want to watch this show now. I don’t even know if it will be good. I’m not sure how they can string this all out over a bunch of episodes. And, right now, today, as I sit here typing this, I don’t care. I’m in. This sucker has everything.
Let’s start with the most important thing, even if it requires jumping around in the trailer a bit to do so. Look how much Lily James looks like Pamela Anderson…
… and look how much Sebastian Stan looks like Tommy Lee.
That’s not nothing. It’s a lot more than nothing. It’s important. It’s always good to have your characters look like the real people they’re portraying, I suppose, but it’s extra necessary here because Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee have such super-identifiable and specific looks. It could have derailed the whole thing if they didn’t pull that off. So that box is checked off. Which is good. Because now we can get to the important stuff.
Stuff like, for example…
Seth Rogen and Nick Offerman as the thieves who pilfered the tape. I shouted at my computer the instant I saw this shot. This is when I knew I was in. Look at them. Have you ever, in your entire life, seen two shadier-looking dudes? It’s perfect. Perfect casting, perfect hair and wardrobe, just perfect. I love that this is where Nick Offerman went after playing a walking apple dumpling-like Ron Swanson for a decade. I’m legitimately happy for him.
And I’m happy for Seth Rogen, too, because…
Every movie and show should feature a shot of Seth Rogen struggling to move a massive safe he has just stolen. Even the Pixar movies. The Muppets made a heist movie with Charles Grodin. We can do this.
This isn’t even the best shot of Seth Rogen in the trailer. That honor goes to…
Seth Rogen is:
- Wearing three watches and stolen pearls
- Strumming an automatic weapon like a guitar
- Rocking an impressive early 90s mullet
It’s beautiful. Hang it in the Louvre. Oh, hey, speaking of things that let you know this sucker is set in the early/mid-1990s…
It is wild to think this was all just 30 years ago. It feels like the Stone Age now. I don’t even remember what we did before high-speed internet. In my mind, we went straight from, like, cave drawings to Facebook. Maybe not an improvement.
Anyway, other highlights…
- Meat Loaf needle drop
- Andrew Dice Clay perfectly cast as a sleazy sex tape middleman
- Suitcases full of cash being cracked open
Again, flawless, beginning to end. We are definitely watching this show. I don’t know if it will live up to this trailer — or how it can — but I do know that my entire body is ready now. I might strap on three watches and pearls for the premiere. It’s only right.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — I think it’s safe to say I am taking this information with me to the grave
The Hollywood Reporter did another one of their actor’s roundtables this week. These can be a blast when there’s a fun group with good chemistry, or even when there’s just one person who says enough wild stuff to carry everyone else. It helps when things get loose, when people get way off topic and start vibing. It can be something as simple as two people realizing they have a shared experience or a shared passion and lighting up about it, or as nutty as, to choose the craziest hypothetical example I can think of, Nicolas Cage steering the conversation toward a grudge he holds against a horse named Rain Man that tried to kill him.
Something like that. Anyway, let’s see what this crew of thespians ended up discussi-…
CAGE Well, at least you had a nice horse. My horse on Butcher’s Crossing, named Rain Man, wanted to kill me.
God yes. Mother of God in heaven, yes. Yes. This is perfect. Nicolas Cage sitting around with other actors, in this case Jonathan Majors and Andrew Garfield, telling them about a horse named Rain Man that tried to murder him. This is the best day of my life.
Tell me more at once.
MAJORS Rain Man? Where’d you shoot that?
CAGE Montana. I was in Blackfoot Country. Rain Man kept trying to knock me off and would try to run my head into roofs, and then I’d get off and try to be nice to him, and he would headbutt me. It was not fun. I’ve always had good experiences with animals. I always had great experiences with horses, but Rain Man wanted to kill me.
MAJORS Rain Man …
CAGE I’m so glad I got through that movie alive. The director’s name was Gabe [Polsky]. The last shot, it was just like, “Gabe, I’m not getting on a horse again.” Then one of the Native Americans said, “Oh, Nic’s just going to get off the horse. We’ll get on …” “OK, fine. I’ll do it.” So I got on the horse and literally, again, he kept trying to throw me off. I was like, “That’s it. That was my last shot, and you had to make it almost like a stunt. You did make it a stunt. You almost killed me on my last shot in the movie.” As you can tell, I’ve got post-traumatic stress disorder from Rain Man.
GARFIELD We can keep talking about Rain Man if you want.
CAGE I haven’t let go of it.
Three things here:
- I would pay hundreds of dollars to see the raw uncut footage of any of this
- I would watch a feature-length movie — documentary or loosely fictionalized — about Nicolas Cage attempting to befriend a horse that hates him
- I have so much respect for Andrew Garfield for playing instigator here
MAJORS Rain Man is in Montana with, I think, a man named Scotty.
CAGE Do you know Rain Man?
MAJORS I know Rain Man. I’ve ridden Rain Man.
GARFIELD Whoa. Whoa.
CAGE You’ve ridden Rain Man? So was he nice to you? Was Rain Man nice to you?
MAJORS I think he may have been a little older when I got him.
First of all, it’s hilarious that Nicolas Cage was like, “There’s a horse who wants to murder me,” and Jonathan Majors was like, “I know that horse.” That’s just incredible. I want to know everything about Rain Man now. Has he tried to kill other Hollywood stars? Is it just Nicolas Cage? Did Nicolas Cage, like, kill his brother? Do we have a John Wick situation on our hands?
But also, Majors has a point. Maybe Rain Man was just a young stallion who hadn’t settled in and matured yet. Maybe he’s cool now. Maybe it was all just attributed to youthful energy.
CAGE I just wrapped three weeks ago.
GARFIELD Isn’t it like horses can feel energy?
CAGE No, I’m good with animals. I mean, seriously, it was a clear decision on Rain Man’s part that he wanted to kill me. And they wouldn’t give me another horse. And then we were being chased by a herd of bison, and I’m on Rain Man, and I’m not sure he’s going to get me out of here. I don’t know. I’ll stop talking.
GARFIELD Please don’t. Please keep talking about Rain Man.
I did not foresee typing this next sentence when I started this week, or at all, ever, really, but here we go: Andrew Garfield understands me better than anyone else in Hollywood.
Give me a Rain Man documentary at once.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — What are we doing here, honestly?
I’ll be honest here: I don’t get NFTs. I don’t understand them and I don’t feel like I have the energy to learn. This could all change, of course. By July, I could be full-on NFT-crazy. Stranger things have happened. There was one year where I was really into the idea of getting a pet lizard. I never did and that’s probably for the best, but I say it here to make a point, which is that I’m kind of an idiot.
Anyway, Quentin Tarantino wants to sell an NFT of the Pulp Fiction script and it’s becoming a whole thing.
When Quentin Tarantino and the movie studio Miramax agreed on the rights to “Pulp Fiction” in the early 1990s, cryptocurrency didn’t exist. Now, Mr. Tarantino is courting controversy — with a crypto twist — over ownership of the cult movie’s script that could set a legal precedent for intellectual property rights.
This feels like an extremely Quentin Tarantino thing to do. Right? Like, if I told you, “Quentin Tarantino is in a legal battle over an NFT of a script,” you’d probably be like, “I can see that,” right? But more importantly, it is deeply, deeply funny to picture some like 88-year-old judge who passed the bar exam while Bill Gates was in kindergarten presiding over this lawsuit. That would make me so happy. Just a slew of lawyers thinking they’re making killer legal arguments and then the judge interrupts to ask if an NFT is “a Nintendo thing.” I would watch a live feed just to see their faces sink.
On Wednesday, the director announced auctions of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, associated with his original handwritten screenplay, despite a pending lawsuit by Miramax.
I repeat: An extremely Tarantino thing here. He’s going to make a movie about this soon. The plaintiff can be named, like, Guentin Paranpino. Best case scenario is that he releases the movie while the trial is still going on.
Mr. Tarantino has been thwarted before. In November, after he announced plans for an auction, Miramax sued, claiming breach of contract and various intellectual property violations. In December, the director’s lawyers denied the accusations, but the sales did not proceed.
I kind of ran out of things to say about this issue already but I wanted to include this paragraph anyway because it contains the word “thwarted.” That’s a good word. Let’s all try to use it a lot more going forward.
Hey, speaking of NFTs…
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Richard Karn gets it
This is, with zero hyperbole, one of the greatest tweets I’ve ever seen. Richard Karn, Al Borland himself, popping in on Twitter to update the world on his NFT stance, apparently from a table at a reasonably priced steakhouse. It’s perfect. Let’s go ahead and add it to the Tweet Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as this one…
… and this one…
… and this one…
… and this one.
HELL is tweeting into a an a abysmal black hole ….
— Sylvester Stallone (@TheSlyStallone) September 10, 2010
Congrats to Richard Karn. And all of us, really.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — This is the energy I’m bringing to 2022
I’m of two minds about Cobra Kai, which returned for a fourth season last week and continued its streak of karate teens doing massive amounts of damage to private property in Southern California, to the degree that insurance companies should start offering coverage for it like it’s a flood or a hurricane.
On one hand, I’m still pretty annoyed about the thing last season where they gave one character a spinal cord injury and had him unconscious in the hospital in a halo brace and then just up and healed him over the course of like three episodes with nothing but good vibes and gumption, so miraculously that he now engages in karate combat every episode again like nothing happened. That stunk.
(To be fair, I have a horse in this. I have a spinal cord injury and was in a halo and know it does not work like that even in the best-case scenario. Stuff like this creates a crappy representative for the injury on television for other people who aren’t as familiar with it all, especially for younger viewers who might face the same thing someday in their lives and wonder why they don’t just magically start walking after a real good pep talk from their sensei. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter all that much but it matters a little to me because it’s my thing. Sometimes that’s just how it works. If they wanted to have him overcome something in a couple of weeks, they could have just, like, given him a concussion or a broken leg. I’m cranky.)
On the other hand, this season opened with a man who has flowing blond hair and a luxurious silk robe sitting at a piano, facing out the window of his mansion toward the ocean, pounding away on it like a supervillain. It was breathtaking. I started giggling a little before I even realized who it was. It’s really just incredible energy to bring into the world. I aspire to be this powerful someday.
Anyway, guess if he decides to throw this perfect life away to help an evil old friend ruin a group of rival karate teens. Cobra Kai is rarely anything less than 100 percent Cobra Kai.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at [email protected] (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.
I feel like you might be the only other person who gets this so here goes.
The Christmas truck commercial with the puppy and the truck is driving me insane. You’ve seen it. I know you’ve seen it. It’s been on 100 times every NFL Sunday since Thanksgiving. It’s the one where a guy and his blond wife (girlfriend? mistress?) are walking through the snow covered woods. He whistles and an adorable little puppy comes running toward her. She whistles and a brand new truck comes barreling towards him. Merry Christmas.
But… I mean…
Where was the dog the whole time leading up to this? Was it shivering alone in the frozen woods the whole time? And who is driving the truck? How good of a friend do you have to be to sit in the woods in a new truck for god knows how long until a woman you know whistles at you so you can surprise her husband? Did they all ride home together in the truck? How did they get out to the woods in the first place? WAS THE DOG OKAY OUT THERE?
I have questions.
Greg, thank you. Yes, this commercial has also been driving me nuts. Yes, for many of the same reasons. Let’s go ahead and post it here so the people can feel our rage.
I have two other questions to add:
- Do you think she was upset at all when she realized he got her a puppy and she spent like $40,000 on a brand new vehicle for him?
- Did anyone else think for like two seconds that the lady in this commercial was Reese Witherspoon?
No? Just me and my inferior vision/comprehension? Hmm. Okay. That’s fine. It’s fine.
Anyway, thank you, Greg. This was a good email that I’m glad you sent because it saved me from typing 1000 of my own unhinged words about it and worrying my friends and family. They don’t need that stress.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Ontario police are investigating the alleged theft of two truckloads of butter worth an estimated $200,000.
CANADIAN BUTTER HEIST
$200,000 CANADIAN BUTTER HEIST
$200,000 CANADIAN BUTTER HEIST… ON CHRISTMAS DAY
The force’s Quinte West detachment alleges that four suspects broke into the facility on Christmas Day and used the trucks to steal two trailers that each contained approximately 20,000 kilograms of butter
Couple of notes here:
- I say this every time there’s a weirdo massive heist of an odd item but, like, I kind of just want to see what $200,000 worth of butter looks like
- Between this and the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist from a few years ago, we are now just one large-scale pancake heist away from a delightful black market breakfast
Police say the transport trucks and trailers were found in Toronto on Dec. 27 without their contents, including the butter believed to have “a combined retail value of about $200,000.”
Imagine being a police officer in Canada and having to spend your entire Christmas weekend hunting down stolen butter trucks. I can’t decide if this would be annoying or thrilling. I hope there was a whole task force. A butter task force. I hope when they found the trucks they did the thing from movies where they surround it with guns drawn and send a little robot in to open the doors in case it was booby-trapped.
And then, when they saw the trucks were empty, I hope the chief took his cigar out of his mouth and sighed and said “The butter is in the wind, boys…”
I haven’t been thinking about this a lot. Nope. Not a lot at all.