Speed Reads


John Oliver is bothered about the 1997 film Air Bud and its selective flouting of the rules, maybe

Last Week Tonight is "off this week, but I wanted to briefly come back to talk to you about something important, and that is rules," John Oliver said Sunday night. Specifically, "I want to talk about rules as they apply to 1997's Air Bud, a movie that is quietly about grief but is loudly about a dog playing basketball."

If you are unfamiliar with the Disney movie, do not worry — Oliver has you covered, from the plot basics to, very briefly, the increasingly absurd franchise it spawned over the years: "Point A is a movie where a dog is kind of okay at basketball; Point Z is a movie where that same dog's children are The Avengers, but dogs. Now, we don't actually have time to get into the Zendaya vehicle Super Buddies," he added, because the topic, after all, is "rules" and the original Air Bud

And what really seems to bother Oliver, he explained, is that Air Bud is founded on a "central conceit," that "there isn't a rule preventing the dog from playing basketball," but then throws the rest of society's rules out the window with abandon. "Here is what I'm really trying to say here: Rules either matter, or they don't," he said. It isn't ultimately clear if that is what Oliver is really trying to say, or if he just wants to talk about Air Bud for nearly 15 minutes. But if you're interested in either topic, he delivers.