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The Rundown: Release ‘Fast & Furious 9’ Now, For The People

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 — Listen to me

It is my opinion that Fast & Furious 9 should be released as soon as possible. This weekend. Today. Before I finish typing this sentence, if someone out there has the juice to get it done, which they apparently do not. But soon. For the people.

This is a tough time, man. We’ve all been mostly quarantined since March. Unemployment is through the roof. Our national leaders are bickering like children and taking part in performative stunts meant to whoop their supporters into a frenzy at the expense of the rest of the country. It stinks. It is, to use an official term coined by historians, puke city. The people need a break. The people need something to take their minds off of the multiple heavy situations weighing down on them every day when they wake up in the morning. The people need to see Charlize Theron with an unfortunate bowl cut flying a magnet plane and scooping an airborne car right out of the sky like a hawk capturing prey in its talons.


That GIF is from the trailer for the movie, which came out on January 31 of this year, in the Before Times, somehow only six months ago despite feeling like many lifetimes in the past. Back when the film was supposed to be released this April, before it was delayed an entire year until April 2021. That’s the frustrating thing about all of this. The movie is done. It’s finished. It’s sitting in a vault somewhere in Hollywood, ready, waiting, and yes, as I am typing this I am realizing that I would also watch a documentary about someone trying to steal this movie. I’ll do it if I have to, steal the movie or make the documentary. But it shouldn’t come to that. They should just release it now to soothe a troubled nation.

There are so many options, too. They could put it out as a VOD exclusive for like $25-30 a pop. We could create a massive government program to put people back to work building drive-in movie theaters all over America and then screen the movie for millions of delighted Americans who can watch from the socially distanced safety of their automobiles. We could hang massive projection screens from every Chinook helicopter in our military and have them fly around the country playing the movie for anyone who pays $25 to stream the audio that is synced up to the picture. We have options. That’s my point.

It’s madness, really, the fact that the movie is just sitting on ice as the world crumbles. The people need this. The people deserve it. You can just go around re-introducing Han — a character who has died in 25 percent of the eight films in the franchise to date, and whose body Dominic Toretto flew to Tokyo to collect for a funeral — and then make people wait 16 entire months for an explanation of how or why it happened.


That’s just cruel. You can’t do this. You can’t do this to me. It was unfair before when there was only a three month lag between tease and payoff. Now, with everything else happening, with multiple historic events taking place at once in a summer without blockbuster movies or sports and a dwindling number of television shows to help distract us for a brief moment here and there, well, it’s just mean. This is a solvable problem. We can heal the nation, at least temporarily, for the film’s stated runtime of 135 minutes. We can all sit back and watch the world get saved yet again by a diverse team of former street racers and DVD thieves who have inexplicably become part of a highly classified government organization that has an unlimited budget and no oversight. We can bring the country together, hand-in-very-sanitized-hand, one magnet plane at a time.

Do it.

Do it now.

Release Fast & Furious 9.

For the people.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Finally, at long last, a good idea

There is a very reasonable argument to be made that Dolly Parton is a top-five living American and top 25 all-time. All the woman has done is come from nothing, write stone-cold hits, and help people in need. You know about Dolly Parton’s charitable giving, right? How she has donated over 100 million children’s books to libraries all over the country? How she funds multiple scholarships through her Dollywood organization? How, after a fire devastated huge chunks of Tennessee and North Carolina, she set up a fund that gave anyone affected $1,000 a month for six months to help them through the aftermath? Well, if you didn’t, you do now. And she wrote “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” on the same day. That last thing isn’t charity, technically, but it’s still impressive.

So, yes, there should be statues of Dolly Parton. Everywhere. All over America. Thankfully, a petition is suggesting just that. Even better, it’s suggesting that the Dolly Parton statues replace the ones honoring Confederate generals. Find a single flaw in any of this.

An online petition asking the Tennessee governor and legislators to erect statues of the trailblazing singer-songwriter in place of Confederate soldiers has gathered more than 14,000 signatures and the enthusiastic backing of Parton scholars.

“Tennessee is littered with statues memorializing Confederate officers,” the petition on says. “History should not be forgotten, but we need not glamorize those who do not deserve our praise. Instead, let us honor a true Tennessee hero, Dolly Parton.”

This is the best idea I’ve seen or heard in weeks. Dolly Parton rules. Listen to “9 to 5” again if you haven’t recently. Listen to the lyrics. Dolly has always been for the people. It’s time for the people to reciprocate.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Look at this, another great idea


I’ve kind of backed myself into a weird spot here by going from “let’s honor a great American” straight into “a soap opera is using blow-up dolls for love scenes to prevent the spread of Covid-19 on set,” but a good idea is a good idea, regardless of where it comes from. This one came from the producers of The Bold and the Beautiful, and buddy, you really have to read the full story at Forbes to get a handle on what’s going on here. This seems like a very silly story. This seems like a joke. This seems like maybe it’s a fake story that was floated by some rascal and got legs on social media.

No. It is none of those things. It is a very real story about ingenuity and overcoming adversity and facing down a crisis with creative solutions. It is also filled with quotes that will twist your brain into a lumpy soft pretzel. Like, for example, this one.

“We have some life-like blow up dolls that have been sitting around here for the past 15 years, that we’ve used for various other stories — (like) when people were presumed dead,” says [executive producer Bradley] Bell. “We’re dusting off the dolls and putting new wigs and make-up on them and they’ll be featured in love scenes.”

You can’t possibly imagine how much I love this. I don’t think I’ve wrapped my own head around it. I have never watched a single second of The Bold and the Beautiful that wasn’t featured in a clip on The Soup, but you have lost your entire mind if you think I won’t check in at least once to see what this looks like, just to satisfy my own curiosity. I work from home. Watching television is technically my job. I almost have to do it, really.

Also, and this is mostly beside the point but still worth noting, I will pay up to $25 for a recording of the Zoom meeting where this idea was first floated. I want to see the faces of the other people on the call. I want to see everyone roll from laughter to disgust to dismissal to acceptance. I’m picturing like nine people all doing the Alonzo Mourning GIF in unison in their little Zoom squares.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — What I imagine the new SVU spinoff will look like now that NBC has promised noted hothead detective Elliot Stabler will “adapt” to the current “reckoning” in the justice system


[Detective Elliot Stabler and his team pull up to a house and beginning fanning out to surround the premises]

STABLER: [kicks down door] All right, listen up! Has anyone in this house ever had their rights infringed upon by a systemically oppressive judicial system?!

RESIDENT: Uh, what?

STABLER: Don’t play dumb with me, punk! Has anyone in this house ever felt threatened or targeted by a police officer who is acting outside the range of acceptable behavior? Answer me!

RESIDENT: I mean, you just broke my door…

STABLER: [puts fist through wall] This punk is stonewalling me!

RESIDENT: Hey, my wall!

STABLER: So help me God, you’re going to tell me whether a police officer has attempted to intimidate you through force or manipulation, even if I have to haul you down to the station and pry it out of you with my bare hands.

RESIDENT: But you…

STABLER’S NEW PARTNER: Step outside and cool off, Elliot. He’s not worth it.

STABLER: [kicks chair, spits on rug] Remember, chump. I’m watching you. I’m always watching.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Credit where credit is due


Spike Lee’s new Netflix movie, Da 5 Bloods, is really good. Delroy Lindo is really, really good in it. So is everyone else, especially Isaiah Whitlock Jr., who can still draw out a “sheeeeeeeeee-it” better than anyone living or dead. You should check it out when this weekend. That’s not the point of this section, though. Not the only point, at least. The main thing I’m getting at involved the GIF up there and this tweet from ESPN’s JA Adande.

This is another one of those things that seems like it might be a joke. Like it might be something someone tweeted for a laugh. That would have been more likely if it had been tweeted by someone other than a journalist who works for a major mainstream organization, but still. I wanted verification. I wanted to see this for myself. I checked the credits after reading the tweet and, yup, sure enough, two dap consultants.


This is awesome. I agree. There needs to be some way we can recognize this. Let’s all write letters to the Academy about it. If there aren’t enough candidates to fill out an entire category, let’s just give the trophy to whoever we have. Have the presenters try to recreate the handshakes on stage. Do it all, I say. Make a montage at the very least. Greatness should be recognized in all of its forms.

ITEM NUMBER SIX — Warrior Nun!

I love it when a show tells you exactly what is right there in the title. Gilligan’s Island was about a dude named Gilligan who was on an island. Dog With a Blog was about a blogging dog. The Young Pope and The New Pope were about a young Pope and the Pope who replaced him, respectively, as the show made very clear in actual lines of dialogue in addition to the title.


And so, I am pleased to present to you the trailer for Warrior Nun, an upcoming Netflix series about a nun who is a warrior. It looks cool as heck. I can’t figure out much of anything that’s going on, but who cares? We have a nun and she’s a warrior and that’s enough for me.

Warrior Nun.



If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at (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 Brandon:

With the release of Artemis Fowl and subsequent dunking on it from all directions, I have a theory: the word Artemis associated with a movie is cursed.

1) Artemis Fowl- popular YA series spends a decade in development, finally gets made, never goes to theaters because of a worldwide pandemic, gets terrible reviews, sets up a sequel that will absolutely never happen, would be the worst thing to happen to Judy Dench if Cats hadn’t existed.

2) Hotel Artemis- a great cast, Drew Pearce’s directorial debut, mixed reviews, doesn’t make back it’s budget, reaction seems to be a collective “eh”

3) Wild Wild West- Kevin Kline is “Artemus” (close enough), Will Smith summer movies are guaranteed money at this point… movie bombs, reviews are terrible, and South Park completely ruined the ability to take a Will Smith tie-in song seriously on any level.

I love this email for two main reasons:

  • It is a fun theory that ties together multiple pieces of pop culture with a similar theme in a way that doesn’t necessarily seem obvious until you read it, at which point it becomes undeniable
  • It is so thorough and comprehensive that I don’t have to do anything but post it in this column and look smart by pure association

Thank you, Brandon.


To “Española “!

Diego, a libidinous giant tortoise credited with saving his species, has finally retired to an uninhabited island off the coast of Ecuador after decades of service in a breeding program.

Let me tell you something, and I swear this is true: I don’t know if I’ve ever been more intrigued by a lede to a news story than I was upon reading “Diego, a libidinous giant tortoise credited with saving his species…” There’s a lot going on there and all of it is fascinating. I have two notes already:

  • It’s fun to picture a scientist flying back out to this island next year and telling Diego he has to come back and produce more offspring, and then Diego saying “Why me? I’m retired,” and then the scientist saying “Because you’re the best there ever was”
  • Make this R-rated Pixar movie at once

Yes, I will continue reading this article. Please, go on.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also marked the occasion, posting on Twitter on Monday that Diego had returned home to his “natural environment” in the Galapagos Islands.

“The giant tortoise is over 100 years old and produced around 800 offspring,” the UNEP added.

I’m no science man and I’m notoriously bad at math but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that 800 children is a lot. Can you even picture 800 turtles? Really. Stop what you’re doing right now and try to get a mental image of what 800 turtles looks like. It is so many turtles. Turtles as far as the eye can see. All Diego’s offspring. Our very horny champion.

His unstoppable libido was credited as a major reason for the survival of his fellow giant tortoises on Española.

When he arrived there were just two males and 12 females of his species alive on the island, but Diego helped to boost the population to over 2,000.

Happy Father’s Day, Diego. No man or beast alive has earned this holiday more.