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 — Let’s all learn French by accident
There are not enough shows on television about fancy gentleman thieves who steal diamonds from The Louvre as part of decades-long revenge plots against evil tycoons. I’ve been saying this forever. At least once a week for the last five or six years, I have sighed deeply and said “I could really go for a show about a fancy gentleman thief who steals diamonds from The Louvre as part of a decades-long revenge plot against an evil tycoon.” That’s why I was so happy when Lupin premiered on Netflix earlier this year. Because Lupin is a show about a fancy gentleman thief who steals diamonds from The Louvre as part of a decades-long revenge plot against an evil tycoon. And now it’s back with the second part of its story.
This is good because Lupin is good. It’s got everything you could ask for in a fun binge-watch. It’s got the aforementioned fancy gentleman thief, played by Omar Sy, who dons disguises and uses makeup and charm and slick sleight-of-hand to further his plan. It’s got corrupt cops and by-the-book cops and one cop who gets in too deep and starts making crazy conspiracy walls with pictures connected by strings of red yarn. It’s got the evil tycoon, who looks and behaves kind of like if Logan Roy from Succession were French and more evil and less competent. It’s got a little doggy named J’accuse who barks whenever he hears the bad guy’s name. Find me another show that has all of that going on.
And when you don’t, please also note that, at one point in the first chunk of episodes, our fancy thief flew a drone through a building guarded by crisscrossing neon lasers.
It is so much fun and such a blast to rip through. At some point, you’ll stop noticing that the whole thing is in French. I suppose you could watch the English-dubbed version if you want, but I really do recommend sticking with the original French with English subtitles, both because it’s always weird to see lips not match up with sounds and because, hey, you never know, maybe you’ll start learning French by accident while watching a show about a charismatic burglar go about his craft. That would be a neat little twist to your summer, if you came out of it with a few French phrases courtesy of a show about a handsome man who steals diamonds. Better than Duolingo, in this reporter’s opinion.
(An additional note on this subject: The main character, Assane Diop, wears a lot of great sneakers, including a slew of Jordans. I went to Google to try and find a complete accounting of his sneakers last week and ended up here, which means I was reading an English translation of an Italian website’s comprehensive roundup of sneakers worn in a French television show. This is… cool. It’s just cool.)
Part two of the series picks up quite literally where part one left off: With Assane’s actions landing on the radar of both the French police and the evil tycoon he is attempting to ruin. There’s kidnapping and fire and car chases and more terrific disguises and the cute little doggy is back. Cops get taken off the case for getting in too deep and keep investigating anyway. There are flashbacks and teenage violin thefts and really just so much cool stuff. I feel like I’m pushing too hard now. Am I pushing too hard?
I’m sorry if I am. Kind of. I’m kind of sorry. The thing about it all is, like… there are so many shows. Everywhere. It can get overwhelming to figure out which ones are good. And some of the good ones are extremely bleak, and other good ones require at least an intermediate level of knowledge about plot-heavy movie franchises that date back over a decade and feature evil aliens with powerful bejeweled gloves. And that’s fine. It’s fine! But sometimes you just want to watch a fun and exciting show about a fancy gentleman thief who steals diamonds from The Louvre as part of a decades-long revenge plot against an evil tycoon, you know?
Well, guess what: That’s Lupin. And it’s back. And you might even learn some French in the process. Win-win.
ITEM NUMBER TWO — Oh look, movies for Brian
Just to be clear here, this GIF:
- Is from a new movie called Infinite
- Features Mark Wahlberg driving a motorcycle off of a cliff and onto the wing of a passing cargo plane
- Concludes with Mark Wahlberg stabbing a cargo plane with a samurai sword that was on his back while he was riding a motorcycle
It’s a good GIF. One of the best, actually. I made it as soon as I saw it happen in the trailer and I’ve watched it about 1000 times since. And I’m pleased to report that, based on this review of the film by my colleague Vince Mancini, it appears the movie maintains that energy throughout.
Wahlberg plays Evan McCauley, a schizophrenic ex-bouncer who’s having trouble finding work on account of the documented history of schizophrenia. What he lacks in a consistent paycheck he makes up for in the ability to forge razor-sharp samurai swords like a 15th century Japanese blacksmith. “Are there things that you can just do, and you don’t know why?” Wahlberg narrates out loud, while pounding red hot steel with a sledgehammer somewhere in New York City.
Is Mark Wahlberg playing a guy who can remember his past lives and is therefore wicked with samurai swords? Folks, he is. And I’m ecstatic about it. This strikes me as a perfect movie to watch on a sweaty summer weekend, possibly with a few beers and a pizza. I am not a complicated man. Give me Mark Wahlberg as a reincarnated samurai who does wild motorcycle tricks and leave me alone.
Actually, no. Do not leave me alone just yet. First, I have to tell you about another movie. Please look at the description of the upcoming movie Paradise City.
True Detective star Stephen Dorff and The Edge of Seventeen‘s Blake Jenner have joined the Hawaiian production of Paradise City, which reps John Travolta and Bruce Willis’ first movie since 1994’s Pulp Fiction.
Willis plays renegade bounty hunter, Ryan Swan, who must carve his way through the Hawaiian crime world to wreak vengeance on the kingpin, played by Travolta, who murdered his father. I’m told the project is billed as being similar to Miami Vice but with bounty hunters instead of cops.
Miami Vice but with renegade bounty hunters, one of whom is Bruce Willis, going up against a Hawaiian crime boss played by John Travolta. I could not possibly be more excited about this movie. I can’t wait to see what Travolta thinks a Hawaiian crime boss looks like. This is approaching Money Plane levels of on-paper excitement. Movies are back, baby.
ITEM NUMBER THREE — Simone Biles rules
I do not often get a chance to discuss Olympic gymnastics in this column, which is probably good, because I do not understand much about gymnastics. One time in college I was at a party with a bunch of people from the gymnastics team and they started doing drunken backflips, and while that always struck me as pretty cool, it is basically all the gymnastics information I bring to the table. That said, I do know that Simone Biles rules extremely hard, so it gives me great pleasure to inform you that she did a floor routine to the music from Tokyo Drift, both because that is an undeniably cool thing to do and because LOOK AT HER. Imagine doing any of that, ever, even with a trampoline and a series of pulleys. It’s sorcery. She is probably a top-three American athlete right now and top-ten all-time.
It is my position, as of the instant I finished watching that video, that Simone Biles should be cast in the next Fast & Furious movie. Have her play Tyrese’s niece and have her leap off the hood of a screaming neon Honda and do 500 flips and spins through the air while defusing a suitcase nuke that is glued to the bottom of a blimp. I am not kidding even a little. If The Rock can jump from professional wrestling into this franchise, Simone Biles can play an explosives expert who does flips. Fair is fair.
And guess what: There’s more. Because Simone Biles and her dominance also made it to late-night television, and specifically to Late Night with Seth Meyers, where it was discussed by Amber Ruffin, who also rules.
Please watch that clip all the way to the end to see Amber Ruffin’s gymnastics performance. We are all Olympians in our own way. Kind of. Thank you to Simone Biles and Vin Diesel and Amber Ruffin for making this discussion possible.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Let’s give Owen Wilson the full McConaissance
Loki premiered this week. That’s great. I am admittedly bad at Marvel movies and keeping the various pieces of them in order in my brain, but it’s still great. The show is fun and weird and all of that, but it’s also cool because it gets Owen Wilson on my television every week. Owen Wilson is the best. Look at this answer he gave to a question about the complicated Marvel-y stuff he had to explain as his character. Try to read it without hearing his voice the whole time.
You’re describing this to me and I don’t really have much of a memory of it, so I don’t know if I blocked it out of my mind the way you would math class. Because it is complicated, and it’s hard sometimes if you feel you’re saddled with a lot of exposition. I don’t quite remember it being too burdensome. We must have found a nice flow for it, where it was able to naturally work its way in to the conversations with Tom. Because I don’t remember it being too, ‘Oh god, now we’ve got to lay this out.’
The best part is that this answer came after he admitted he really didn’t understand the Marvel universe or know any of the characters, saying, and I quote, “I was pretty much a blank slate, other than knowing, you know, certainly the Iron Man and the Hulk, and, you know, knowing the characters, and then Aquaman,” which is really quite funny because “the Iron Man” and even funnier because Aquaman is, in the most technical sense of things, a DC superhero and therefore not in any of the movies. I adore this. A lot of actors do the try-hard thing where they say they were big comics readers as kids and always had a personal attachment to whichever D-level obscure character they’re playing, but Owen is just like, “Hey, I got nothing. Who else could go for some onion rings?” It’s perfect.
And it gets better. Look at this tweet. Watch this video at once.
— Leah Marilla Thomas (@leahmarilla) June 7, 2021
If Matthew McConaughey is serious about getting into politics, if we really can’t talk him out of it, then I think we should let Owen Wilson be the new McConaughey. Give him the whole McConaissance. Give him an eye-opening dramatic role. Cast him in a Soderbergh movie. Let him do car commercials and narrate audiobooks and whatever else he wants. This should all just be the first step of whatever we end up calling this. Owenaissance doesn’t quite flow right. I would say we should ask him but I very much suspect he would not care at all. Which is part of his charm. Good for Owen Wilson.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Gimme
Well well well, look at that, it’s a preview for the second season of I Think You Should Leave, the basically perfect sketch show that all the cool people you know online quote and reference constantly. It comes with a premiere date, too: July 6. That is somehow so soon that it’s thrilling and so far away it’s infuriating. Like, it’s soon, in the grand scheme of things, but also, I want it NOWNOWNOWNOW. You can see the dilemma here.
Two additional notes:
- Sam Richardson, who appears in this clip and co-starred with creator Tim Richardson in Detroiters and played Richard Splett on Veep, should be a much bigger star and I’m mad at all of you that he is not
- This is one of those shows that is super-super popular with all my internet friends but has almost zero traction with the civilians I know, which is always a weird dynamic and makes for a strange moment in a conversation when I’m like “You probably love your mother-in-law” and they’re like, “She’s okay, yeah”
Do I still shout “Oh my God, he admit it!” even though it’s clear my reference did not land even a little? I think you know I do. This one is on them, not me.
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.
Do you think it’s weird that Vin Diesel has never been in a sports movie? He’s been in sports-adjacent movies (xXx, the Fast and the Furious), but never in a true sports movie. I have a way to change that, but it requires a time machine. We go back to the late 90s and cast Vin as Jon Moxon in Varsity Blues. But wait, isn’t Jon Moxon a Faulker-reading, future Brown attendee who can’t wait to get out of Texas? He is and I want to see how Vin pulls that off and how he looks as the QB forced to save West Canaan’s season. I also need to see Vin’s interpretation of the “I DON’T WANT YOUR LIFE” line because it feels like it would have a lot more anger and a lot less teenage angst. Plus, I think Vin does a great job with the halftime speech after they rebel against Bud Kilmer.
There is one change we do have to make, and it involves Vin and Paul Walker being in the F&F series together. We make Varsity Blues a F&F prequel by changing Jon Moxon to Dominic Torretto and Brian O’Conner to Lance Harbor. Now, the police putting Walker on the case in the first place and Dom trusting him very quickly all makes a lot more sense, because they’re old friends. And the ending carries more weight, since like Raylon and Boyd digging coal, Dom and Lance once played football together in Texas.
I really do not have anything to add here beyond saying that this is exactly the kind of email I will publish in this column and that I love any idea that includes a preliminary “but it requires a time machine.” That’s how you know the idea is going to be a good one.
Thank you, Joe.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Cincinnati police said a cicada is responsible for a single-car crash in the city’s East End neighborhood Monday evening. While the driver sustained only minor injuries, the cicada was not as fortunate, and was found dead on the car’s floorboard.
This is how it starts. It came for us and we killed it and now millions of its brothers and sisters will be out for revenge.
The cicada flew through an open window and hit the driver’s face, causing them to crash into a utility pole and total the car, according to a tweet by the Cincinnati Police Department.
The only saving grace here was that it was just one car and one minor accident. Think about what they could do if they worked together and went after larger forms of transportation. A bus, or a train, or maybe…
To Washington D.C.!
The plane set to carry dozens of journalists to Europe to cover President Biden’s first trip abroad was on the runway, ready to take off.
The cicadas had other ideas.
Do you see???
The cicadas are waging a war.
They waited for 17 years, plotting, planning, and now they’re here and they want to take us out.
To make us burrow and hide away.
To make us fear them.
Somehow, the flying insects had filled the plane’s engines, grounding it and forcing Mr. Biden’s aides to scramble for another way to ferry the reporters overseas. What was supposed to be a 9 p.m. departure was delayed until 11. And then until 2:15 a.m.
First, it was one car in Ohio. Then it was a plane filled with journalists. Where does it go next? Where does it end? What is their plan? Because, if I didn’t know any better, I would think this is still just Phase One. They’ve got to have something bigger planned. Something like…
Oh dear God…
Maybe you think I’m overreacting here. Maybe you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “Wow, Brian has finally lost it. It was one thing when he kept forcing ‘all spoons should be soup spoons’ into posts about television shows, but now he’s seeing a worldwide insect revolution based on three unrelated and explainable events. I knew it would happen eventually, I suppose. He had a good run.”
Well, to that I say this: You probably have not seen the CBS television show Zoo. That show was all about animals around the world mutating and staging a revolution against humans. Lions attacked people, dogs attacked people, an octopus and a shrieking hellsloth attacked people. And, in one episode, I swear to God, millions of electrically charged ants banded together and tried to short out the Hadron Collider and wipe Switzerland off the map. Here, look at this.
As far as I can tell, there are only two possibilities here: One, the cicadas are the first wave of animal soldiers in a battle humans will have to start fighting for survival; or two, I just really miss Zoo and wanted to find a way to talk about it again. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Too soon to make a call either way.