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TV Wasteland: Oscar Blunders

Is the Academy set up for a fall?

By Rob Vaux     February 19, 2012


The Oscars are coming this Sunday, and further bile will be spent on it later in the week. For now though, let’s concentrate on the awards ceremony itself. Everyone is more or less braced for a disaster; the Academy tried to hip things up last year to disastrous effect, then doubled down this year by hiring legendary Hollywood asshole Brett Ratner to produce the ceremony. Ratner’s acted like an asshole – who knew? -- and they scrapped the idea… losing host Eddie Murphy in the bargain. Billy Crystal was promptly exhumed to save things – the first time in eight years he’s hosted the Oscars – which may have been their only remaining move.
Even so, it smacks of desperation. With the list of nominations as uninspiring as they’ve ever been and an institution now terrified of committing any further blunders, not even Crystal’s aging charms may be able to help them. In some ways, another bad ceremony may actually be a good thing: prompting the Academy to seriously rethink how they do this and perhaps bringing a real sense of entertainment back to the Oscar ceremony. Who knows, it might even prompt them to start giving awards to deserving efforts instead of the bloodless crap its out-of-touch membership actually thinks is important.
Good or bad, you can catch it this Sunday night on ABC, starting at 8:30 PM EST (5:30 PM Pacific).
Alcatraz (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
New details arise about Madison’s grandfather, even as the team hunts down a new killer on the loose.
The Book of Eli (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Let’s all just agree to stay the hell out of Denzel Washington’s way, okay?
Being Human (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Sally’s mother is dying, setting the stage for a most unique mother-daughter reunion.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
We cannot stress this enough: if you ever find yourself in a mystical land of wonder and enchantment, do not eat the food.
It's not strictly genre, but TCM is showing the classic thriller The Third Man at 10:00 PM EST. They just don't make movies any better.
The War of the Worlds (AMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
The 1953 version – and still the best – lands for an extended visit on AMC.
The Rite (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EST)
This isn’t the best of anything. It’s not even the best bad Anthony Hopkins performance ever.
Ghost Rider (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
For God's sake, haven't we been punished enough?
Knowing (Showtime, 6:55 PM EST)
Changing channels cannot save you from the Cage monster. Don't. Even. Try.
Hulk (Starz, 6:40 PM EST)
It’s not much, but considering the alternatives, you could do much worse.
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
A new season begins with an investigation into Peru’s Chavin ruins.
Face Off (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Effects guru Patrick Tatopoulos provides sketches that the remaining contests must turn into alien make-up effects. LeVar Burton serves as guest judge.
Underworld (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Who would have imagined how much worse this franchise could get?
2012 (FX, 7:00 PM EST)
Despite all evidence to the contrary, someone still thinks that giving Roland Emmerich money is a good idea…
Super (TMC, 8:00 PM EST)
This was a lot better when they called it Kick-Ass.
Strangers on a Train (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
Again, this isn’t strictly genre, but as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s true masterpieces, we’re not going to let it pass without urging everyone to see it.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Sheldon goes completely to pieces when his barber is taken ill and his carefully constructed routine falls to pieces.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Steven Spielberg’s box office triumph was spared the fate of the Star Wars films after those involved decided that the new revised version actually kind of sucked after all.
X2 (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EST)
Bryan Singer ups the ante with his terrific X-Men sequel, aided by a bevvy of strong performances and a solid storyline. (Alan Cumming’s Nightcrawler remains a personal favorite.)
X-Men (FMC, 9:00 PM EST)
You may need to use your DVR to catch both this and X2. It makes for a solid evening of programming however.
Babylon A.D. (FMC, 7:00 PM EST)
Vin Diesel doesn’t hate us, but after watching this awful afterbirth of a movie, it’s hard not to feel that way.
Sin City (IFC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
It’s overrated to begin with and the constant barrage of commercials won’t make it any better.
Planet Terror (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Wouldn't it make more sense to pair this with Death Proof... and just call the whole thing Grindhouse like you should?
Dawn of the Dead (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Someday they’re going to show the George A. Romero version instead of this one. Someday…
TCM is showing Bridge on the River Kwai at 8:00 PM EST. They are officially cooking with gas this week.
The Vampire Diaries is a rerun. The Secret Circle is off.
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
The team has to up their game when an escalating series of events puts all of creation at risk.
Grimm (NBC, 9:00 PM EST)
Apparently, the creatures of fairy tale land have a fight club to help them unwind. Watch those horns fellas!
Spartacus: Vengeance (Starz, 10:00 PM EST)
Crixus is in Roman hands and it’s up to Spartacus to bust him out. Let the not-at-all-gay bromance bonding commence!
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
A mysterious illness defies Merlin’s healing abilities, prompting him to search for alternate causes.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EST)
The longstanding throwdown between Count Dooku and Ventress finally explodes. Bring your popcorn because this fight looks to be awesome!
Christine (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
John Carpenter threw some of the baby out with the bathwater in his version of the famous Stephen King novel. There’s some good parts, but the overall mixture is too uneven to be called truly great.
The Chronicles of Riddick (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Okay, I admit it: I freaking love this movie. Don’t judge me.
Predators (Cinemax, 9:10 PM EST)
I love this one too, but I’m not out on a limb quite as much…
Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III (Spike, 7:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Basic cable's disturbing trend of ignoring the Part Twos continues.
Men in Black (Starz, 8:20 PM EST)
No matter how bad Part 3 is, it can never diminish the smart-alecky fun of Part 1.
I Am Number Four (TMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Man that Timothy Olyphant is a lean one, isn't he?
Nikita and Supernatural are both reruns this week.
Being Human (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Take note: this is the season four premiere of the British series, not season two of the American series.
The People Under the Stairs (Cinemax, 9:15 PM EST)
Wes Craven more or less scores with a could-be-worse horror movie from about the middle of his run. Excited yet?
TRON: Legacy (Starz, 6:50 PM EST)
I’ve talked this one to death for years now, so I won’t push it any further. Just watch it.
Black Forest (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Fairy tale creatures menace a group of tourists who get lost in their forest. They didn’t quite have the guts to call it Troll 3, but the title would have been apt.
Witchslayer Gretl (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Hansel and Gretel are all grown up, and have become witchhunters in their spare time. Shannon Doherty stars… fairly warned thee be, says I.
The Frankenstein Syndrome (TMC, 10:30 PM EST)
Don’t let the title fool you; there’s nothing in common with Frankenstein except a few mad scientists.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards (ABC, 8:30 PM EST)
I'm pulling for Gary Oldman and copious entertaining gaffes. See the top of the article for more. 
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Rick and Shane find themselves at loggerheads when a new figure enters their circle.
Comic Book Men (AMC, 10:00 PM EST)
The Stash debates shooting a commercial, while a new customer brings in a most unique item.
Gladiator (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
It’s not Best Picture material, but it’s a lot of fun regardless
Zombieland (FX, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Zombies take over the world… and all things considered it’s not so bad in this well-regarded horror film parody.
The Good, The Bad, the Weird (IFC, 5:45 PM EST)
IFC finds a minor treasure in a Korean film about a group of fortune hunters searching for an ancient treasure. The title alone should be enough to get you to check it out.
From Dusk till Dawn (IFC, 8:45 PM EST)
George Clooney was not nominated for an Oscar here. Funny; he’s basically playing the same guy…
Resident Evil and Resident Evil Apocalypse (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
When all else fails, just throw Mila Jovovich and a bunch of zombies onscreen. Something interesting is bound to happen.
Whatever Happened to baby Jane? (TCM, 9:45 PM EST)
Robert Aldritch's poison pen letter to celebrity makes a fitting tonic to the Oscars.


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wrrlykam 2/19/2012 12:41:06 PM

Oh 2012. The only film I've seen that made check for where the decorators had missed patches in the paintwork on the theatre walls entertaining.

Roqueja 2/19/2012 2:26:55 PM

I'm kinda missing the Walking Dead reviews now that the second half is up and running.  Any chance we'll see more?

Alcatraz might be able to keep a review blog going as well, although it hasn't fleshed out enough of the underlying secrets of the island just yet.

Wiseguy 2/19/2012 4:23:57 PM

I was alone in the house the whole weekend and didn't do anything or go anywhere but sit in front of my computer watching 2 seasons of The Wire. Yeah my ass is numb right now

Loved seasons 1 and 3. 2 was ok but didn't like the way it ended. McNulty is an a-hole with a huge ego. I like the guy at times but hate him others.

I have to say that the show may be the best crime/drama ever, very real. But the Brother Mouzone and Omar thing was almost a bit too much. I understand it's tv and all but the keeping it real is what makes these shows intriguing and they made these 2 cats out to be boogeymen almost. Still not enough to make any real dents on the show.

WeeBey was my man. I wish they had used him more before locking his ass up.

String and Avon backstabbing each other was just poetic.

Can't wait to start on season 4 and see where Marlo goes from here and who if anyone takes the reins of the Barksdale empire

karas1 2/19/2012 4:25:26 PM

CBS sucks.  No, I mean it.  They really suck. 

I love The Amazing Race, it's a guilty pleasure.  During football season the games frequently run over which bumps back 60 Minutes which bumps back The Amazing Race.  During the last season of TAR I think two episodes started on time.  The rest were delayed for between 15 minutes and an hour and a half depending on how long the game ran over.  When TAR runs over it disrupts the whole rest of the evening's viewing.

A new season of TAR starts tonight.  And hey, look, no football!  The program will start on time.  Or so I thought.  There may be no football but sports STILL manages to ruin my evening.  60 Minutes should be on but it isn't.  Because the GOLF is running over time!!!  F$%^#ing golf is on and it's running over time. 

I HATE it when the football runs over but I understand it.  Folks want to see the end of the game.  But GOLF???

CBS has no respect for their viewers.  We're supposed to accept any damn disruption in our schedules because sports, any sports, runs over.  They really suck.

hanso 2/19/2012 5:51:35 PM

Wise, you sir are about to set eyes to perfection.  The Wire: Season 4 is THE BEST season of The Wire. Fact. One of the best seasons ever created in the history of television.  Fact!  I almost envy you that you get to watch it again for the first time.  If perfection could be made into a TV season it would take the form of Season 4.  FACT!

hanso 2/19/2012 5:56:45 PM

 Hey Kara, Alcatraz keeps doing worse in viewership and with House ending this year, there might be hope for your Terra Nova afterall.

Wiseguy 2/19/2012 6:04:20 PM

Damn hanso you're getting my expectations way up. If it's that juicy I may wait til next Sunday and run through it in 1 sitting....nah I'll start on it tomorrow even if I have to pull myself away to get some work done

jppintar326 2/19/2012 6:32:36 PM

The Oscars will never change.  Between the historical epics and pretentious, self indulgent independent films, we're never going to be satisfied with the Academy nominates.  I personally don't care about the founding of Facebook, a guy who takes 90 minutes of screen time to cut his arm off, the 2002 Oakland A's (Did they win the World Series that year?  NO) and so on.  Did 9 films really deserve to be nominated Best Picture this year?  I couldn't name five that I really loved this year.

shac2846 2/19/2012 8:23:49 PM

 Wise, welcome to the club my friend. I have watched the Wire all the way through from first episode to last 3 times. I love it. Probably one of the best pieces of filmed television or entertainment out there. Hope you enjoy. Didn't know you were into it. Like Hanso I envy you getting to watch it for the first time, seriously. 

I thought Social Network was excellent jppintar326, and the Academy has always nominated genre just not as much as fans think they should (star wars, jaws, ET, the lord of the rings trilogy, Raiders) In 2009 they nominated some really good stuff (Avatar, Inglorious Basterds, District 9, Up, Hurt Locker) I think that's one of the reason's they went back to the more "serious" stuff. 2012 just wasn't a good year for movies it happens. Yeah, they could have nominated the last Harry Potter but like Chris Rock said when he hosted it you let the public pick the nominees you'd get Aliens vs. Predator and White Chicks. 

isgrimner 2/19/2012 9:59:20 PM

 I watched the Wire all at once, as did a couple friends of mine.  All of us found that we thought there was a big drop off in quality with season 5 (the last season). A couple other people we know, who watched them as they originally aired, didn't notice as big a gap.  

I'm also kind of dissapointed with Sparticus, and it's not the casting changes, but the writing and pacing. Seems like a lot of nothing is happening.

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