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 — Explain yourself, Gustavo
I usually try to avoid spoiler-heavy discussions of recent episodes of television in the opening section of this column, but there's no way around it this week. There is an important issue that needs to be discussed. It happened on Monday's episode of Better Call Saul. I will attempt to explain it in a way that non-viewers will understand, but if you have yet to see the episode and plan to see it, go do that and then come back here.
Okay. For reasons relating to ongoing drug wars and subterfuge, Gus Fring — the ice-cold Chilean drug kingpin introduced in Breaking Bad who runs a chain of fried chicken restaurants as a cover — trashes and blows up one of his locations. The way he did it was wild and involved a kind of Rube Goldberg set-up with a frozen chicken on a sheet pan that was angled down toward a bubbling deep fryer in a kitchen that was filling up with gas rapidly. It was genius and kind of funny and until a few people reached out to me on Twitter about it, I did not see any issue.
Let's jump back to the first episode of this season when Gus was discussing the construction of an industrial refrigerator for his restaurants as a cover for the actual construction of a drug-making superlab. Someone makes the mistake of referring to it as “a freezer.” This offends Gus Fring deeply, for reasons explained in this screencap, which I am including as evidence.AMC
It will never not delight me that Gus takes such pride in the food at his restaurants even though their primary purpose is to give him cover to transport a massive amount of drugs through the American Southwest. He probably earns, what, five percent as much at these restaurants as he makes moving drugs for the cartel? Less? I am not joking when I tell you that I think about this as much as I think about, like, planning for my retirement.
Anyway, you see where this is going, right? Gus says his chickens are never frozen. And yet, when it came time to blow up his restaurant, he marched right into his cooler and pulled out a frosty bird. More evidence.AMC
There are, as far as I can tell, three possibilities at play here.Possibility Number One: Gus Fring is a damn liar. Possibility Number Two: Gus Fring is not a liar and he froze this chicken special and by itself for the sole purpose of blowing up his restaurant, which is backed up by the fact that there is clearly only one chicken on a cling-wrapped sheet pan on the...
A rumor cropped up online recently that Cats, Tom Hooper‘s huge flop featuring horny cat people introducing themselves for 110 minutes, originally had CGI buttholes on all the feline behinds. And even though Cats is already a fever-dream to begin with, we weren’t entirely sure how much credence to lend that story. Now, an intrepid journalist has done the legwork, and turned up the true story of the Cats butthole cut.
It’s official: the Cats butthole cut did, indeed, exist. The Daily Beast has the scoop, and let’s just say the true story is even wilder than we could’ve predicted. Per their report, Cats was halfway complete when someone finally noticed the buttholes. “We paused it,” a source who worked on the film’s visual effects said. “We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ It wasn’t prominent but you saw it… And you [were] just like, ‘What the hell is that?… There’s a fucking butthole in there.’ It wasn’t in your face—but at the same time, too, if you’re looking, you’ll see it.”
What the hell is that, indeed. The source goes on to state that no one flat-out ordered buttholes added to the digital cat people – it just sort of happened. They materialized organically – as buttholes do sometimes. Unfortunately, when the buttholes started to be noticed, it fell upon one visual effects artist to go through and erase every sphincter.
Beyond the story of the butthole cut, The Daily Beast story paints a portrait of a terrible behind-the-scenes process for the visual effects folks working on the film. One source even goes so far as to compare it to “slavery.” And director Tom Hooper only made things worse, primarily because he didn’t seem to understand how VFX even worked:
Before visual effects artists fully render sequences for animated films, they normally show directors playblasts—preview renderings that feature characters without color or texture. That allows the director to evaluate the motion before hours of work are done to flesh out things like color, texture, and lighting. Hooper, however, did not seem to grasp that process. Any time the visual effects team wanted to show the director any animatics, the source said, they had to fully render it. Otherwise, he’d say things like, “What’s this garbage?” and “I don’t understand— where’s the fur?”
Sources describe Hooper as “disrespectful,” “demeaning,” “condescending,” and “horrible,” and add that he talked to everyone like “garbage.” In short, the experience of working with Hooper does not seem like it was the cat’s pajamas. It wasn’t even the cat’s meow.