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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.