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 – This is the only thing I care about
You know how sometimes you’ll see a link to a story online and you’ll click it and then you’ll start reading it and then all the information you read just latches on to various parts of your brain with little grappling hooks, refusing to leave or even budge a little for a week or so, in a way that sometimes prevents other thoughts from making their way around in there, even when they’re important, like how you’ll be in the grocery store trying to remember if the cousin coming for dinner is the one who is lactose intolerant and wouldn’t be able to have ice cream cake but all your brain is spitting out is “WHO STOLE THE SHREK SCULPTURE?”
I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me. This isn’t a random example, either. Somebody really did steal a Shrek scripture recently. In Massachusetts. It was on the news and I saw it and I kind of can’t stop thinking about it. The sculpture was 200 pounds. IT WAS A 200-POUND SHREK SCULPTURE. The police are looking for it and everything. This is important. To me. And the police. Kind of. They’re being a little glib about it, honestly. Look at their Facebook post about it.
This approximate 200lb cement SHREK SCULPTURE has gone MISSING from his home on MOUNTAIN RD. If you have any information of his current whereabouts please reach out to our department or return him in the condition you found him.
The dragon sculpture he lives with is frustrated and lonely.
I feel like a visual will help. I feel like you will grasp the severity of the situation if you see the Shrek sculpture. Please watch this brief video.
Do you get it now? Do you see my dilemma? I have things to do! I can’t be sitting here all day thinking about who stole a massive homemade Shrek sculpture and why they did it. I have ice cream cakes to either buy or not buy! I need closure on so many pieces of this story. I need to know who made the sculpture. I need to know why they made a 200-pound sculpture of Shrek. I need to know if they have made other sculptures. I need to know what those potential sculptures are. Are they all characters from popular animated movies? Is there a Nemo one? Are there cars from Cars? Are there other Shreks? Are there only Shreks? Are there only Shreks but then one of Joe Pesci from My Cousin Vinny, for reasons that remain unexplained to this day? I need to know. Help.
And that’s before we get into the actual theft. That’s somehow even more fascinating. Who steals a 200-pound Shrek sculpture? How does one steal a 200-pound Shrek sculpture? I have come up with three possibilities, which I will now present to you from least to most likely:
— It was masterminded by the world’s foremost Shrek collector, who lives in a castle in Europe and whose name is probably like Ludwig Von Drawbridge. It was a piece he had coveted for years. He offered the owner everything. Money, jewels, power, anything he could ever want. But the owner wouldn’t sell. Finally, Ludwig snapped. He hired a team of skilled thieves. They swooped in with a helicopter under the cloak of night and attached it to a grappling hook and flew away with it hanging 30 feet below them attached to a steel cable.
— Some billionaire stole it for kicks — just to see if he could, just for the rush — and plans on putting it back before the cops and the attractive insurance investigator figure it all out.
— Rascal teens with a pickup truck.
Either way, I need to know. I need daily updates. I need competing docuseries on rival streaming networks and I need at least one of them to be narrated by Pierce Brosnan. Make it the entire plot of the next Knives Out movie. Or a Muppet movie. Or both. I do not care. Just tell me everything about the Shrek heist every day until there is closure or something else comes along to distract me.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – Tell me more about the “car-fu”
The fourth John Wick movie comes out at the end of March, along with… everything else cool and good. That’s great. The end of March isn’t that far away. Which also means winter isn’t going to be around much longer either. That’s cool, too, because winter stinks. (More on this later.) We are all going to go see the new John Wick movie soon with little light spring jackets on. Maybe even a long-sleeve t-shirt if it’s sunny and we hit a matinee. That’s fun to think about.
And when we go see it, if the new issue of Total Film is to be believed (and I have no reason to question it), we will be treated to extended sequences of car-fu. And this is where you say, “What, exactly, is car-fu?” And then I get to tell you that car-fu is kind of like kung-fu but with cars. The use of a car as a deadly weapon. There was actually a whole special thing about it on the DVD extras for John Wick 2. They explained how everything worked in the scene up there. It’s a good time. I could watch Keanu drive around and wreck some ninjas all day long.
And again, it looks like I’ll get to because the next movie is giving me more of it. I love that. Keanu loves it, too, at least according to this quote from the director, Chad Stahelski, also in the Total Film piece.
“I dare you to find anybody, any cast member in Hollywood — and I’m including all the big names — that can drive better than [Reeves]. I’ll throw down the gauntlet! You know the other names I’m throwing it down to, and I bet Keanu can out-drive them all. That’s how much time we put in. No skydiving or base-jumping; I can’t throw that gauntlet for sure. But in a vehicle, he’s amazing. And he puts in the time not just on set — he puts in the pre-lap time.”
- Car-fu is a thing
- I am so excited to see this movie
- I think the director of the John Wick movies is trying to start a feud between Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise?
Nothing wrong with anything here. Good for all of us. Especially me. This is all really great for me.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – I found a new kind of guy
I watched The Pez Outlaw on Netflix this week. It was a blast. It’s a whole documentary about this wild bearded collector who got a little obsessed with Pez dispensers. Maybe a lot obsessed. He started flying to Europe a lot to go to an actual Pez factory to get prototypes and rare variations and then he kind of smuggled them back into America to sell them at various shows. I love stuff like this. Very McMillions-y, which I say as the highway compliment I know how to give.
Like McMillions, this sucker featured some characters. Real people, yes, sure, but people with big enough personalities to be called characters. The big one in McMillions was my beloved Agent Doug, the FBI agent who loved his job so much but only when he got to investigate the fun stuff. Here, the big one for me was The Cool Pez Man, a fellow super collector who literally has branded himself as The Cool Pez Man. Those are his words. I did not make it up. That’s him up there in the screencap, wearing a hat that says Cool Pez Man. I love him very much.
Here’s the best part: Moments after we meet him (like seconds, not minutes) he says this, which is both one of the most incredible sentences I’ve ever heard and almost certainly the first time these words have been said in this exact order, unless the Cool Pez Man has used them to pick up Cute Pez Ladies at the Pez conventions.
You should have seen me when I saw this live. I gasped a little. I started smiling and I don’t think I stopped for an hour. I went into the kitchen and stopped a person from doing dishes to make them come see. I’m pretty sure the words I used were “Get over here and look at the Cool Pez Man!,” which is almost certainly not the first time those words have been said in that order. I bet people say that a lot.
With good reason. I mean… look at the Cool Pez Man.
LOOK AT HIM.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – This video goes a little viral every year around this time but I’m gonna post it again because no one has ever been more right about anything
What we have here is a video from 2016 that features a guy named Kevin Killeen from KMOX in St. Louis. There’s a decent chance you’ve seen it at some point because it usually goes viral somewhere around this time of year. There are two main reasons for this:
- It is about how much the entire month of February stinks
- He’s correct from beginning to end
Watch it now. Right now. Go click play before you finish reading this sentence. It’s so good. February does stink, a lot. The whole way through. Almost a decade ago, at this very website, I ranked the months of the year and said this while ranking February dead last. I stand by just about all of it.
February is everything January is but worse. It’s the Pluto of months, in that it is ice-cold and smaller than the others and no one would miss it if we chose to do away with it altogether. You know what? Let’s do that. From now on January is 59 days long and we just hibernate through the entire thing like bears. Black History gets a full-length month, like May, with 31 days and cookout-appropriate weather. Valentine’s Day is now optional and sometime in April. Groundhog Day is eliminated entirely, because it is a pointless holiday that consists of disturbed individuals in formal wear assaulting a confused rodent to have it do a job literally any cinder block could do, and the second an intelligent life form from the cosmos sees this charade and realizes what a silly civilization we’ve created, it will rightly assume we deserve to be dominated and show up to enslave us all in futuristic space shackles. Too risky, I say. February’s gotta go.
I say “just about all of it” instead of “all of it” only because Groundhog Day kind of redeemed itself this year. The Canadian version at least. I’m sorry that I find this funny because it’s so dark but… like… come on.
Not sure what this predicts but Quebec’s groundhog Fred la Marmotte has died.
It was somewhat of a surprise – they had a whole event leading up to his prediction only for his death to be announced. pic.twitter.com/u9XSNgse3Z
— Sarah Leavitt (@sarahleavittcbc) February 2, 2023
I have to assume this means winter will never end now. I feel bad for Canada but this is incredible content.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Give Joe Pera money to help you sleep
Terrific news for insomniacs and fans of soothing but offbeat comedy: Joe Pera is starting a sleep podcast. I should probably explain both parts of that, just so you understand why I — someone who sleeps poorly and likes Joe Pera — am so excited about this.
Joe Pera is a comedian who used to have a little Adult Swim show called Joe Pera Talks With You that I adored until it was canceled after three seasons. It was cool and unlike anything else I’ve seen on television before or since. There was one episode about how much fun it is to go to the grocery store. There was a season-long arc about him growing a bean arch in his backyard. There was the episode I embedded above in full where he straight-up talks the viewer to sleep. It was delightful and nice and… yeah, soothing.
This brings us to his new podcast, which he is distributing through Patreon.
Finally doing a Sleep Podcast. First ep out Sunday: pic.twitter.com/GtSRyToYKE
— Joe Pera (@JosephPera) February 1, 2023
Let’s let Joe explain this himself.
Drifting Off with Joe Pera is an evening comedy podcast from comedian Joe Pera and composer Ryan Dann. With low-key jokes, immersive soundscapes, and relaxing phone conversations, Joe’s narration and Ryan’s sound design will help you unwind and perhaps even fall asleep.
Featuring guest composers and interviews with interesting folks, the podcast will be released on the first Sunday of every month. Sorry, it’s not more often but this is the fastest we can do thoughtful, quality work.
Yup. I’m in. I subscribed so fast, in part because I like to support the people whose work I appreciate and in part because I suspect it will be pretty useful for me, a person who, again, rarely sleeps well straight through the night. It would be kind of like if one of your favorite comedians made a podcast about how to build a deck right around when you decided to try to build your own deck. But more useful. You don’t want to be swinging around a hammer and nails if you haven’t been sleeping. That’s a good way to end up in the hospital. Which would probably be more expensive than a monthly subscription to a podcast that helps you sleep.
It’s almost saving you money, if you think about it.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at email@example.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.
I loved your article about movies where Ben Affleck runs a Dunkin. But your last pitch missed a great opportunity: instead of Affleck in Paris competing in a romcom, he sets up in London across from a cozy marmalade cafe operated by one Paddington Bear. Think about it, Paddington is running the cafe, earning a good living, cooking up lots of marmalade sandwiches, and in comes Ben with his fancy coffee and donuts. Give me Affleck yelling at Paddington after the bear takes a dip in the iced coffee dispenser. Or Paddington getting mad when Affleck tells him marmalade is disgusting and they aren’t putting it in a jelly donut. Eventually, I don’t know, Matt Damon shows up and smooths everything over. The ending doesn’t matter, give me 2 hours of Paddington and Affleck at each other’s throats.
There are two things I like about this email:
- It allows me to link back to the thing I wrote that Joe mentioned
- It is completely insane in the best possible way
The only thing I don’t like about it all is that the idea wasn’t mine. Make this movie. Put Paddington in a sequel to The Accountant. Give me everything I want and give it to me now. Thank you.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
Two emperor tamarin monkeys were apparently taken from the Dallas Zoo, officials said on Monday, the latest in a series of bizarre episodes that have included the escape and death of other animals this month.
The habitat for the monkeys was found to have been “intentionally compromised,” and the breach was reported to the Dallas Police Department on Monday morning after members of the zoo’s animal care team discovered they were gone, said Kari Streiber, a zoo spokeswoman, in a statement.
See, here’s the problem. I was all excited about this. I was going to run around doing the all-caps MONKEY HEIST thing and get into who would steal some monkeys and why. I might have even plopped in a picture of Pierce Brosnan in a tuxedo, as I will sometimes do. But then I saw this…
On Monday morning (January 30), Dallas Zoo alerted the Dallas Police Department after the animal care team discovered two of our emperor tamarin monkeys were missing. It was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised. pic.twitter.com/NzBhIh7xS3
— Dallas Zoo (@DallasZoo) January 30, 2023
… and it suddenly became so important to me that we find these monkeys. I need them returned safely. At once. Look at that little face. This is not a joke anymore. This is serious. I am serious.
Which is why it brings me great pleasure to bring you this follow-up report from later in the week.
Dallas Police said that they found the two emperor tamarin monkeys, named Bella and Finn, after getting a tip. Police said they then went to an empty home in Lancaster, located just south of Dallas, and found the monkeys safe in a closet.
“We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found,” zoo officials said in a statement. “DPD located the animals early this evening and called our team to come secure and transport the tamarins back to the zoo. They will be evaluated by our veterinarians this evening.”
Good. Great. This is terrific news. I’m glad this is all settled and all the monkeys are safe and we can put all of this behin-…
Twelve squirrel monkeys have been stolen from a zoo in Louisiana after their facility was broken into over the weekend https://t.co/X5PkUeEC0d
— CNN (@CNN) February 1, 2023
WHAT THE HELL?!?!