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TV Wasteland: And the Oscar Goes to...
Nothing genre-related, I'll tell you that much.
By Rob Vaux
February 18, 2013
The Oscars arrive this Sunday and with it come the usual spate of horse-race predictions. (Safer than actually arguing about the quality of each film, which often leads to tears and hurt feelings.) Things are looking good for Argo, while former front-runner Lincoln might have to be satisfied with Best Actor and Best Director. My beloved Les Mis will likely walk away with Anne Hathaway and nothing else, and I’m actually at peace with that. A few major boners aside (Silver Linings Playbook, we’re looking at you), the favorites look pretty respectable, and I’d say that at least five of the nine Best Picture nominees are worthy of the award. (Five and change if you add the two-thirds of Django that was pure awesome.) Of course, there’s still the question of the unused tenth Best Picture slot… a question that made me so cranky, I penned an entire screed about it. Look for that in the next couple of days.
In the meantime, pick your horse and grab your popcorn. They may be desiccated and out of date, but as Hollywood bloodsports go, you can’t do better than the Oscars. The festivities start at 8:30 PM EST this Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.
The Following (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
Claire picks up a lead that might get her son back, while Carroll contacts an old lawyer he used to know. That last one is probably a BIG mistake.
Continuum (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
Liber8 attempts to freshen up their image, even as Kiera tries to save a chemical executive for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.
Being Human (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Sally bumps into someone from her past and looks to Donna to help make the resulting wackiness okay. In other news, Aidan can’t seem to get Bishop out of his head.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Bo’s getting an intervention! Just what she always wanted, I’m sure.
Poltergeist (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
Tobe Hooper’s iconic 80s ghost story is now officially a “classic.” I don’t know whether to cheer with all my heart or weep uncontrollably.
Big Trouble in Little China (Sundance, 8:15 PM EST)
While it may not rank among people’s choices for the best films John Carpenter ever made, it really, really should. It repeats on Friday at 10:00 PM EST)
Superman II (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EST)
All together now: who will we kneel before?
The Green Mile (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s a long film to begin with and Spike’s shameless commercials don’t make it go any faster. Pack a lunch. (The movie runs again on Tuesday at 5:30 PM EST.)
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
With a title like that, was anyone ever going to take this movie seriously?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Dear Brad Pitt: if we promise to respect your work as an actor, will you promise to never put us through a movie like this again?
Punisher: War Zone (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
It’s not high art, but considering the alternatives…
Face Off (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The contestants use abstract images as the basis for oogie bug make up. Sounds like a hoot!
Virtuosity (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
There was a period in the mid-1990s when a series of incredibly goofy sci-fi movies produced some outstanding soundtracks. Case in point: this bit of ridiculous future shock pitting ex-cop Denzel Washington against sentient computer program Russell Crowe. You can’t take it seriously for a minute, but man, those songs…
The Princes and the Frog (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Disney charms the socks off of us with a return to traditional princess stories that just looks better and better as the years roll on.
Batman (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
It swooped down in 1989 and took all our money with it. In retrospect, we probably should have given all that cash to Nolan. On the other hand, without this one, Nolan would never have gotten a chance.
Dee Snider’s Strangeland (IFC, 10:45 PM EST)
The former Twisted Sister front man tries his hand at making horror movies, with less-than-memorable results.
Click (Starz, 7:10 PM EST)
And people wonder what I’m talking about when I say that Adam Sandler movies bug me…
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
This repeats at other times throughout the week, but I’m not going to say when. I don’t want to encourage anyone…
Kill Bill: Vol 1 (Starz, 10:40 PM EST)
Tarantino’s walking off with another Best Screenplay award this year. Just sayin’.
Arrow (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Oliver celebrates the show getting renewed by taking down a cunning jewel thief. (And really, is there any other kind?)
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Sam and Dean check out a cop who dreams about murders that start coming true in real life.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
The team checks out the Nathan Hale Homestead in Connecticut.
Anaconda (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
The original doesn’t fare much better than the sequels, but it’s hard to look away when J. Lo throws down against a skunky CGI snake.
Catwoman (AMC, 10:00 PM EST)
Apparently, AMC wants everyone to stay as far away from it as possible tonight.
Iron Man 2 (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
The well-meaning sequel to the blockbuster original starts out strong, then seriously peters out towards the end. The unquestionable low point of Marvel’s Phase One. It repeats on Sunday night at 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST.
Toy Story (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Pixar had been around for over a decade when they created their first feature film. It instantly shot them into the upper echelons of animation elite.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
This didn’t shoot anyone anywhere, and is best forgotten as quickly as possible.
Dream House (HBO, 7:15 PM EST)
When he’s not playing James Bond, Daniel Craig really struggles to find good scripts. Come on buddy, you can do better than this!
Batman & Robin (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Immortality belongs to this film… just for all the wrong reasons.
Gladiator (TNT, 7:00 PM EST)
Russell Crowe would like to know, in all seriousness, if you are not entertained.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
After a bad date, Raj swears that he will never leave his apartment again. Frankly, I can kind of see the appeal.
Elementary (CBS, 10:00 PM EST)
A rich man tells Holmes that someone deliberately infected him with a fatal disease. No word yet on whether Holmes buys it or not.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Elena may be losing it while Damon has to break some tough news to Rebekah. I have no idea if there will be any bloodsucking in there or not.
Beauty and the Beast (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Cat tries to set Vincent up with Heather; complications may or may not ensue.
Zero Hour (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Man do I regret talking up this goofy POS last week. This week, Hank and Beck head for India to uncover some damn secret or another.
King of the Nerds (TBS, 10:00 PM EST)
It’s a dance-off in Nerdvana! Run for your lives!
The Chronicles of Riddick (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Vin Diesel dusts off his Pitch Black bad ass for a curtain call that holds up exceptionally well.
Toy Story 2 (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Sequels? Yeah Pixar knew how to rock those too.
Death Race (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
I really, really shouldn’t love this sleazy exploitation update of the Roger Corman drive-in classic. But I do. GOD HELP ME, I LOVE IT SO!!!
Battleship (HBO, 7:45 PM EST)
Leave it to this expensive misfire to shoot my good feelings dead.
Batman Returns (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Tim Burton takes a second stab and the Caped Crusader, with interesting but supremely problematic results. Kind of like a lot of his films.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Ask yourself if the benefits of seeing Angelina Jolie in a wetsuit outweigh the stigma of having to pronounce that title.
Freddy vs. Jason (Starz, 7:15 PM EST)
This monster mash pitting slasher-dom’s two greatest monsters against each other isn’t what anyone would call a masterpiece, but there’s no point in condemning it. It really couldn’t care less.
The Omen (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
Syfy uncorks John Moore’s totally unnecessary updating of the already silly horror classic. Fairly warned thee be, says I.
My Soul to Take (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Wes Craven crashes and burns spectacularly with a teen horror film that doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sundance, 10:00 PM EST)
Just to note, this is the Scandinavian original, not the David Fincher remake. So it’s, you know, less murky.
Double Indemnity (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
Not strictly genre, but I don’t care: it’s one of the greatest crime films ever put to screen, as evil housewife Barbara Stanwyck convinces shady insurance agent Fred MacMurray to murder her husband.
Touch (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
Guillermo is still hunting Martin, who rolls the dice on Jake’s future.
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Nikita has to spring Sean after Amanda frames him for murdering the director of the CIA. Same old, same old.
Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Crassus has to discipline his troops while Spartacus deals with a possible infiltrator in his ranks.
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Merlin joins forces with a druid on a quest taking them far from the walls of Camelot.
The Cave (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Aliens rip-off? You’re soaking in it!
The Princess Bride (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Twu wuv prevails again!
Die Hard with a Vengeance (Cinemax, 7:50 PM EST)
Those disappointed in John McClane’s latest outing can take solace in his generally well-regarded third entry.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (FX, 7:00 PM EST and 9:30 PM EST)
The best of the lot, to be sure, but then again, what does that mean?
X-Men: First Class (HBO, 7:45 PM EST)
This prequel/reboot is exactly, precisely what the foundering franchise needed. First in class indeed.
Fight Club (IFC, 7:00 PM EST)
I’m not going to talk about it, as per The First Rule of Fight Club.
RED (Showtime, 7:30 PM EST)
Not as good as people think, and certainly nowhere near enough to support a proper sequel.
Underworld (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
Kate Beckinsale sports the moves. Pity the movie can’t keep up with her.
300 (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
It always comes back to bellowing Greeks, doesn’t it?
Meteor Storm (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Russia just had one of those in real life. What do we need Syfy’s make-believe one for?
End of the World (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
I’m guessing it doesn’t actually end, but what do I know?
The Shawshank Redemption (AMC, 6:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
Frank Darabont nails this adaptation of the Stephen King novella, one of the greatest onscreen versions of the oft-filmed author’s work.
Robots (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
Man it looks good. The story, on the other hand…
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Cinemax, 6:50 PM EST)
Opportunities don’t come any more wasted than this slapped-together follow-up to the truly brilliant original.
Shrek: Forever After (FMC, 7:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
This is probably the best you’re going to do for a curtain call, big guy.
TRON: Legacy (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
Two generations of Flynns take on a rogue program in the brilliant sequel that never quite got its due.
Transporter 3 (IFC, 7:45 PM EST)
I’ll do a lot for Jason Statham, but sit through this again? Not likely.
Die Another Day (Showtime, 6:45 PM EST)
Pierce Brosnan’s limp finale as James Bond really doesn’t deserve the kind of air time it’s getting lately.
The Expendables (Spike, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
The sequel is much better, but this will do in a pinch.
Finding Nemo (Starz, 7:15 PM EST)
Pixar climbs to new heights with its gorgeous fish-out-of-water tale.
Arthur Christmas (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Aardman scores a real charmer in the story of the family who runs the North Pole, and what happens when one of their beloved holiday packages doesn’t reach its destination.
War of the Worlds (TNT, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
Spielberg’s been better, and his adaptation of the science fiction masterpiece has some serious problems. That said, there are powerful moments here that shouldn’t be missed for all the world.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards (ABC, 8:30 PM EST)
Hey, look at all the genre films that didn’t get nominated for jack squat! See the top of the article for more.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EST)
I could insert a bad joke about the mindset of Academy members here. Instead, I’ll just note that Rick probably needs a hug while the Governor will likely go even crazier than usual.
Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST
This three-hour special features the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, taking on the Cybermen.
The Lion King (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
The TV Guide listing calls the animation “dazzling,” but it’s actually rather crude, with a lot of color mistakes and inconsistent continuity.
Jaws (Cinemax, 7:50 PM EST)
Please tell me you don’t need any admonishing to tune in.
Avatar (FMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Many love it. I do not. But it’s running nonetheless, and FMC usually treats its movies right.
Clash of the Titans (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
We love you Sam Worthington, but some of your movies are pretty stinky. And a whole evening of them?
Terminator Salvation (TNT, 10:15 PM EST)
And… the franchise is over. Nice run guys. Thanks for playing.
Once Upon a Time is off for the Oscars.