Best TV Channel Tournament Primer: ABC

June 12, 2012 § 11 Comments

There was a time when ABC dominated my television watching and that time was called “TGIF” and I was just a stupid little kid.  Frankly, there’s no bigger insult to the quality of your programming than “Kids love it!!”

Kids are idiots. 

ABC is owned by Disney and therefore tries to remain as family-friendly as possible.  Since families spend a lot of money and consist of more than just one lonely loser watching TV on his bed while eating a Lunchables, ABC consistently remains near the top of the charts.  I’m going to present to you the shows on ABC and I am going to give a little bit of commentary but in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you that I hardly watch anything on ABC anymore.

Since I grew up and the Tanner family moved on, and since we found out that LOST was all a dream that Hurley had after he died and that John Locke was God while Jack was my 5th Grade Teacher Mrs. Lomax, I have also moved on from ABC.  There are a few shows that I like and I’ll praise the hell out of them, but I am certainly not ABC’s target audience.

Last time I looked at CBS, which I consider to be “The Old People’s Network,” so again, I’m not their demo.  Today we look at ABC, which I consider “Television for Women” like a network version of Lifetime.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not the demo and every network has their targeted demo except for the bi-polar NBC.  There’s good television and then there’s just television.

ABC: Just Television.

SITCOMS:

Modern Family

The Middle

Happy Endings

Last Man Standing

Suburgatory

Don’t Trust the B—– In Apartment 23

Evaluation:

It took me a little while to get on the bandwagon for Modern Family, but I’m fully entrenched now.  The show has taken some hits from the public since it became popular, many people saying that it’s not as good as it used to be, but I don’t really see a major difference.  And even if I did, I wouldn’t care as long as Phil remained one of the funniest characters on television.

You know what the major difference is between ABC sitcoms and CBS sitcoms is though?  I can give sitcoms on ABC my respect and a real chance because they don’t insult my intelligence with laugh tracks.  ABC has borrowed from both the family-oriented sitcom world and from the “hip and new age” sitcoms like The Office and created a mashup that’s enjoyable for both kids and adults.  I’m not a kid anymore, so don’t treat me like one.  When I want to hear a laugh track, I’ll watch Full House for the one millionth time way before I’d watch a new episode of The Big Bang Theory.

I’ve seen a few episodes of The Middle and I think it’s mostly stupid and cliche but I can watch it because it doesn’t have a laugh track.  Even despite the fact that the mom from Malcolm in the Middle looks like she’s always wearing a wig, I can watch it.  Even despite the fact that she’s in another show called “Middle”! (Hey I am an idiot, confusing Jane Kaczmarek for Patricia Heaton!  Thanks ihavekids for pointing that out.  Dumb error on my part.)  because it doesn’t have a laugh track.

I can even give James Van Der Beek another chance based on the fact that the sitcoms don’t immediately insult me with canned laughter.

I don’t think that ABC has the world’s best sitcoms.  Not even close.  But I give all of these shows a solid rating between 5 and 7 and probably an 8 or 9 for Modern Family.

DRAMAS:

Grey’s Anatomy

Private Practice

Castle

Rookie Blue

Body of Proof

Once Upon a Time

Revenge

Scandal

 Evaluation:

I can make this quick.  I have seen a few episodes of Grey’s.  I have heard from my friend that doesn’t watch a lot of television that it’s a good show.  I kind of assume it’s because they do something like ER, which is soap opera the shit out of you and leave a cliffhanger at the end of every episode, but I don’t know.  I couldn’t get over the fact that they were whining about drama like relationships while people were dying.  At least in the episode that I watched.

I have never seen an episode of any of these other shows.

I thought Jimmy Smits was in Castle?

NEW AND UPCOMING SHOWS:

Trust Us With Your Life: “an upcoming American improvisational comedy television series expected to premiere on July 10, 2012, on ABC.[1] It will be hosted by Fred Willard and star comedians Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie and Jonathan Mangum. Each week they will act out scenes in the life of guest celebrities.”

Read: I can get on board with that actually.  Seems really non-threatening and welcomes back some of that Whose Line stuff we’ve been missing.

Final Witness:  The seven-part series, which combines documentary and drama elements, will focus on a different real-life murder each week, narrated by the victim. Each episode will include interviews with the victim’s family and friends, real witnesses, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers, as well as scripted scenes with actors.

Read: I’m in.  ABC, you’re two for two so far!

The Neighbors: The series, set in New Jersey, revolves around a gated townhouse community called “Hidden Hills.” This is where the Weavers, a normal average family, have decided to move to. But upon their relocation to this community they discover that this place is populated by residents who are actually from another planet, using names of sports athletes, where men can become pregnant, receive nourishment through their eyes and mind by reading books rather than eating, and cries out green goo from their ears.

Read: Well, ABC, it was a good run while it lasted.  You should be proud of yourself for adding two shows this summer that I’ll watch.  The Neighbors, which is created by the guy who wrote movies like Cars and Tangled, just sounds like… Well, I’ll be honest, it sounds like the dumbest thing you’ve done since Cavemen.

I could be wrong on this one but this sounds like a show that has gone too far with “creativity” when the best shows are much more simple than gimmicks.  The best alien show ever is obviously ALF and how long was that even on the air for?

Nashville: It’s a show about country music and I’m already out!

Last Resort: A bunch of dudes in the NAVY get shipwrecked, left for dead, and declared enemies of their own country.  They wind up on an island and try to figure out what happened and how to return home.  Sounds like A-Team but without solving mysteries and junk, so what’s the point?  The creator, Shawn Ryan, is best known for The Shield but my opinion is that if you’re going to make a drama-action show, don’t put it on a network.  Take it to cable.  Otherwise, you’re held back too much and for that reason… I’m out.

Malibu Country: There’s only one thing you need to know: the show stars Reba McEntire.  When I was a little kid and Tremors was my favorite movie, I actually really like Reba McEntire.  I thought she was this cool country lady and she could kill giant worms, so I was on board with her just like I’m on board with everyone that was in Tremors.  But that allegiance wears off when we start talking about TV shows.  Remember Reba?  Hey, remember two seconds ago when I told you that ABC had a show about a female country music star in a show called Nashville?  They’re really pushin’ it.

666 Park Avenue: An upscale Manhattan building complex is probably being controlled by the devil.  The most important thing to know about this show if you’re going to try and watch it is that Terry O’Quinn from LOST is the shows primary antagonist.  Which I assume means that John Locke is playing the devil.  That might (MIGHT!) be enough reason to watch for a little while.  Maybe.  One episode.

Midseason additions are scheduled as: How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest of Your Life), Red Widow, Zero Hour, and The Family Tools.  

Why do any networks insist on having a show with a name as long as that?  One word.  That’s all you need to identify a show.

Who Gets a Second Season Prediction: Trust Us With Your Life, Nashville, Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue.

AWARD SHOWS:

The American Music Awards, The Country Music Association Awards, The Billboard Music Awards, Miss America, The Academy Awards.

Well, they’ve got the Oscars which is the only one I consistently watch.  So that’s a plus for ABC.

GAME SHOWS: 

Coming from the network that had Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you’d think they would have more game shows but the only real game show I see is Wipeout.  Which by the way, is one of the best non-scripted shows on television.  Such a simple format: people get F’d up by lots of foam and water.  But it works so well.  I could literally watch Wipeout every night and be fine.  Turn off the brain and watch people wipe out.

TALK SHOW:

Jimmy Kimmel Live!  and The View.

I do not watch late night shows or daytime shows but I’ve seen plenty of both of these.  I mean, it’s whatever.  Kimmel is probably a lot better than it used to be, the clips I see on YouTube seem funny and he recently beat Jay Leno for the first time.  Or maybe it was Letterman.  But he’s come a very long way to niche himself into the market where ABC wasn’t before.  Good for him.  Seriously.

I can’t stand Barbara Walters.  Probably one of the least likable people I’ve ever seen on television.

NEWS:

20/20

I don’t really even know how to tell the difference anymore between 20/20 and Dateline.  I like them both.

REALITY:

Americas Funniest Home Videos

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette

Dancing With the Stars

Shark Tank

Bachelor Pad

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Secret Millionaire

Celebrity Wife Swap

Duets

The Glass House

Evaluation:

AFV is still on TV?!?!  Man.  Back in the day, Americas Funniest Home Videos was a revelation.  I mean, this was the pre-cursor to YouTube.  Seriously.  It was a really important show.  But man, time has passed you by AFV and that guy that hosts it that is not Bob Saget.  With YouTube and Tosh.O, you’re days are clearly over.  Your videos, from what I’ve seen, are tame and terrible.  It’s over.  Please stop embarrassing yourself.

The only other show here that I watch is Shark Tank and I’ve become obsessed with Shark Tank.  Since I stopped drinking, all I do on Friday nights is watch Shark Tank and What Would You Do? and I’m perfectly content and happy with that.

“I’ll give you $5 for 100% of your company.”

Speaking of which, I don’t see What Would You Do listed on Wikipedia but it’s part of Primetime ABC News.  What Would You Do is an awesome show that I like to think of as “John Quinones Happy Fun Time Magic Hour” in which people are tricked into either doing the right thing or mocked for not doing anything to intervene.  Basically, actors interfere with people’s lives by loudly pronouncing the awful things that they are doing like a mom telling her daughter “YOU’RE GETTING LIPOSUCTION!” not very privately in a restaurant.

Look, it’s not even so much that you’re telling your 15-year-old daughter to get plastic surgery as much as it is that you’re ruining my ham and cheese sandwich.  Can’t you do this in the privacy of your own home?  Don’t bring into the 30 minutes I get away from work every day.  Just shut the heck up!

But it is entertaining television.

The Glass House is a new show that’s basically Big Brother and that’s why CBS is suing ABC in hopes of blocking the show from ever airing even if it costs 150 people their jobs and ABC loses the millions of dollars they invested into it.  Sounds like CBS is being whiny but look deeper and you’ll see that they hired away many staffers from Big Brother and even used a copied manual from the show.

Well, I like Big Brother so I might watch a ripoff of it too.

SPORTS:

NBA, College Football, The British Open, Wimbledon, IndyCar, Breeders Cup, NASCAR, WNBA, X Games.

I think that ABC used to be a leader in sports but even their partnership with ESPN under the Disney companies rule hasn’t helped them get back the NFL or better college football coverage.

OVERALL:

In the hands of the viewer, ABC may not be ahead of CBS all the time but even with shows that I will never watch like The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars, ABC at least has some programming that I would rather not do without like Shark Tank and Modern Family.

ABC is a shell of its former self after losing one of the best dramas that has ever aired on network television and they (as well as every other network) have tried and consistently failed to find the next LOST.  That won’t keep them from trying with shows like 666 Park Avenue, but that also won’t keep them from failing.  Here’s a tip: If you don’t have talent like JJ Abrams, it won’t matter.

Their sitcoms are far superior to CBS but the dramas on either channel aren’t worth watching for me.  I may not be the demo but when I heard that Desperate Housewives had it’s series finale recently, I had to wonder if I had traveled back in time five years and didn’t know it.  “That show is STILL on the air?!”

Which is probably what I’ll say about Grey’s Anatomy in five years, long after it’s been relevant in popular media.

ABC: Not Always Relevant, Not Always Bad.

Oscars in Retrospect: The 2004 (77th Annual) Academy Awards

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

As we sit here now (you’re sitting probably right now you internet-loving freak) we’re looking back at the winners and losers of the 2011 Academy Awards and judging them for how good or bad they are.  But is that really how it’s supposed to work?  Isn’t our opinion more relevant after we’ve let the dust settle and have had time to process what just happened?

Seriously, process it!  Maybe years from now you’ll chuckle at one of Billy Crystal’s opening lines.

The true test of a great film is how it holds up over time.  Avatar held up for about a day until you forgot what the 3D experience was really like and all you were left with was a live-action Pocahontas featuring hair and tail sex.  I’m all about sex scenes, but this one just felt wrong and it always will.

Will The Artist be worth a damn to any of us in five years or will we look back and see that it won simply because it was so much different than the other nominees and not because it was a great movie?  Did it win the award only because the other eight movies weren’t all that spectacular and was it rewarded just because it entertained the members of the Academy in such a surprising way that they were just like “Fuck it.”?

I don’t know the answer to that as of yet.  We won’t know the true answer to how it holds up over time until time has passed.  So, what can we do today?  Use passed time to look back at old entries of the Oscars and ask ourselves again, “Was that the right decision?”  Not only that, but it can be fun to look back at some of the winners and losers and see how it changed their lives, if it did at all.

Enough with the introductions though (Got that Billy?), let’s get on with the show, starting with 2003:

What Happened to the Best Live Action Short Directors?

I was asking myself this the other night… what the hell is going to happen to these people that got nominated for Live Action Short?  Does it change their lives?  Do they go onto an awesome career of making short movies that nobody will ever see?  Or are they given the opportunity to step their game up and try their hand at Live Action Features?

Winner – Andrea Arnold for Wasp

Arnold is a former British actress that decided to try her hand at directing.  Wasp was her third short and she won an Academy Award for it.  I still find it weird that we have short films.  After all, they’re really not made for anyone to watch.  I mean, sure, you want someone to watch them, but at their heart you know that only a handful of people ever will.  Yet, it’s a gateway and it’s the perfect way to practice your skills.  It’s a necessary part of becoming a director.

Wasp ran 26 minutes long and was apparently about a woman going out on a date.  I don’t freaking know, I have obviously never seen it.  But the Oscar was a catapult into Arnold directing the feature film Red Road which opened the door for the well-acclaimed Fish Tank and her latest feature, Wuthering Heights.  She is basically a full-time working director that probably won’t have to worry about starving any time soon.

Gary McKendry was nominated for the short Everything in This Country Must.  He had no other credits on his resume until 2011 when he directed the action film Killer Elite.  I don’t know what causes a seven year gap between an Oscar nomination and your first feature, especially a feature starring Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro, but McKendry seems to have caught his break.  He’s working next on a trilogy called Joseph and the Girl.

Ashvin Kumar was nominated for Little Terrorist.  He is currently a critically-acclaimed documentary filmmaker in India, trying to get past the countries censorship laws.

Since his own nomination in 2004 for 7:35 in the Morning, Nacho Vigalondo made several more shorts until writing and directing the very good Spanish film Timecrimes.

Finally, Taika Waititi of New Zealand was nominated for Two Cars, One Night and is turning in a very diverse and prolific career.  He directed Eagle vs Shark, several episodes of The Flight of the Conchords (and now his buddy Bret McKenzie has an Oscar), and he directed the pilot episode of the new MTV show The Inbetweeners, the US version of the British series.  His film Boy was a New Zealand smash hit, and he even had an acting part in the film The Green Lantern.

Best Documentary Feature

This was the year that Michael Moore famously stated that he wanted Farenheit 9/11 to be considered for Best Picture and not Best Documentary.  It was not nominated for Best Picture, so it was not nominated.

This was also the year that Morgan Spurlock ate a shitload of McDonalds, which made him famous.  It only made me fat.  What the fuck?

The winner, and probably deservedly so, was Zana Briski for Born Into Brothels.  Today, Briski is doing a bunch of charity work to make sure more kids are born into nurseries and shit, which is a good thing.  It is her ONLY credit.

Best Actor – Jamie Foxx for Ray

2004 was kind of the year that Foxx went from “Maybe this guy can be a funny leading man” to ” maybe this guy can be a serious actor.”  He had sort of started the jump with roles in Ali and Any Given Sunday, but his previous starring credits were in Bait and Breakin’ All the Rules.  Bait got him no nominations, but in 2004 he starred in Ray and co-starred in Collateral with Tom Cruise, both were great performances and he was double-nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

Did it solidify him as a serious leading actor?

Well, he made the not-so-wise decision of co-starring in the terrible Stealth in 2005, had a small part in Jarhead, then co-starred in the forgettable Miami Vice.  He was actually much more successful as a singer in 2005 when he released Unpredictable, which debuted at number two on the charts.

His next “This is an Oscar movie kinda movie!” was The Soloist, and it was weird and sad more than good or Oscar-worthy.  Followed up with more forgettable parts (Law Abiding Citizen, Valentine’s Day, Due Date, Horrible Bosses) and it doesn’t seem like his Oscar win really vaulted him into Tom Hanks territory.

However, he’s starring in the title role of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained this year as a slave that becomes unchained.  I’m looking forward to it and maybe it’s an acting decision that finally steps in the right direction again.

Best Supporting Actor Nomination - Thomas Haden Church

Lowell is back!! Lowell is back!!

I admit that I was really excited to see THC make a comeback when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Sideways.  It’s always nice to see a surprise story or a comeback story, especially from someone you enjoyed watching so much on television as a kid.  As Lowell Mather on Wings, THC was a treat to watch play the dimwit alongside all those other dimwits.  But he was the dimwittiest!

(If you watch the first episode of Wings and the final episode of Wings back-to-back, it’s like a mini-movie.  Except that Lowell turns into Antonio, played by Mr. Monk, Tony Shalhoub.  Available on Netflix Instant so you can do it tonight!)

When he left Wings in 1995, Church sort of fell out of the view of most of the public’s eye.  But he was still working consistently on TV and Film, just not in any major parts and not in many major movies.  Until Alexander Payne hired him for Sideways and he played a womanizing fun guy that’s about to get married and go on a wine trip with his depressing, sad-sack buddy.

Per Wikipedia:

During the audition, Church stripped naked to read the audition scene, later saying “To me it was painfully obvious… I was reading the scene where Jack comes in naked and there has to be in-born vulnerability in the scene.”[6] (He later found that he was the only actor to strip down for the audition).[7] Sideways earned acclaim for Church, for which he won an IFP Independent Spirit Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He didn’t win the award (That went to Morgan Freeman for Million Dollar Baby) but it should have given him enough cred to show that he’s “not Lowell Mather” anymore.  Did it?  Sorta!

Church is working way more consistently in film and even in a lot of high-profile movies.  Most of them aren’t very good (Spiderman 3, Easy A, All About Steve) but work is work!  He’s co-starring in John Carter, which I’ve been told is the “first blockbuster of the year!”

I’d like to see him get some work that’s actually really good, but it’s good to see THC back where he belongs.

Best Picture – Million Dollar Baby

This is the most important question of all: did The Best Picture hold up better than the other nominees over time?  Baby was up against The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Ray, and Sideways.

Full disclosure; I watched most of Finding Neverland and didn’t care that much for it.  Okay, you’re not Peter Pan but you’re about the writing of Peter Pan.  I get it.  That’s cool.  I’m sure it has it’s fans (a lot of them) but not in a million years would I have named remembered this as a Best Picture nominee.

Ray.  Neat movie.  Watchable.  I watched it a couple of times.  Jamie Foxx is good in it.  It’s the one about Ray Charles, right?  Yeah, I remember when he goes blind and his mom is like “oh no!” and he’s like living in the South in 1920 and there’s a trough and his brother dies or something, right?  That was sad.  Then he becomes a famous musician and then a drug addict.  And it stars Joaquin Phoenix.  Right?  Oh, that’s another movie?  But it’s very similar?  My bad.  Ehh… Biopics.  They are what they are.

Sideways.  What a good little movie.

The Aviator.  I think a lot of people look back at The Aviator and say it was really underrated.  I’ve heard a lot of people say they like it.  I seem to remember back then, a lot of people said that they didn’t like it.  I think it has improved with age.  It actually has the lowest score on IMDb (7.5) of any of the Best Picture nominees.

Million Dollar Baby still has the highest score at 8.2.  I guess against these four movies, it could still hold up as the Best Picture.  That’s why it is a damn shame that the Best Picture of the Year wasn’t nominated for Best Picture of the Year.

Kill Bill: Vol 2 was not only better than Kill Bill (which is GREAT) but it holds up on it’s own as a film and is actually a much different film than the first.  Did you know that only three people die in KB V. 2?  It’s not that violent.  It’s artsy.  It tells an amazing story that’s spread out over years.  It’s perhaps the best thing that Tarantino has ever done.  But unfortunately, a lot of people hate on Quentin Tarantino.

I am obviously not one of them.

He’s very polarizing, so it’s not often that he’ll get nominated for Best Picture or Best Director, at least not often enough.  Personally, I think he’s shown such a wide range of directing style that he’s one of the best living directors today.  He’s much more like Martin Scorsese than he is as “some guy that always does the same movie, over and over again.”

How does Inglorious Basterds look like anything else he’s ever done?  How does Kill Bill 1 even compare that much to volume 2?  Is Death Proof anything like Reservoir Dogs?  Yeah, they’ve all got “Tarantino dialogue” but stylistically they’re all very different.

At the very least, it should have been nominated for much, much more.   In fact, it was nominated for zero awards at the Oscars.  David Carradine rightfully got a Golden Globe nomination, as did Uma Thurman.

Follow me on Twitter or something, whateva, whateva, #dudesweat

Oscars in Review: There Were Reasons to Love and Reasons to Hate

February 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

I have been a fan of the Academy Awards since I was a little kid, rooting for those that I wanted to win and against the pretentious ones that I wanted to lose.  I held the Oscars in high regard and figured that this was the only way that they would get the recognition that they deserved.

And then I grew up.

The older I get, the more jaded I get towards the ceremony and the easier it is to recognize how smug and awful most of the night is.  For one actor to stand on stage and to praise other actors by describing their work as “breath-taking” or “heroic” is a slap in the face of the english language.  Did you really watch The Help and gasp and go “Oh my GOD!  This acting is AMAZING!” as you tried to regain the ability to breathe?

I’m not taking anything away from the fact that there are good actors and bad actors.  That there are good actors and great actors.  And that there are people that are so on top of the game, that I watch certain movies just for the acting.  But the same can be said about any field.  There are amazing doctors.  Amazing dentists.  Hell, there are people out there that can manage the shit out of a TGI Fridays but we don’t go around acting like they re-shaped the wheel into a more efficient design.

They’re just actors.  They’re given a script and direction and they’re told what to say, and some of them say it perfectly and so we nominate them for awards.  Which is all fine and good, but can’t we just say “Hey, Meryl.  Nice work.  That was pretty cool what you did there.  I didn’t see it, but from that 30-second clip, I’d say you probably did pretty good.  It didn’t change anyone’s life, but you were asked to do a job and you got paid for it and now you might even get an award.  Congrats.”

If we’re praising anyone for making a movie, then let’s do the honorable thing at least and rank directors and writers ahead of actors.  Let’s also give props to the editors and special effects and sound people that make an actors performance worth watching in the first place.

With that, this years ceremony did have some highlights that made me happy to watch the Oscars this year.  Surprises (and I don’t mean Meryl) that make me think that there’s hope for the awards show in the future.

And then there was a whole lot of shitty ass-kissing.  Here’s what I liked and what I didn’t:

Loved – Nat Faxon and Jim Rash win Best Adapted Screenplay (with Alexander Payne)

Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw “the guy from Beerfest and Club Dread” not only on the Oscars telecast, but walking up to accept an award!  What the fuck?  I didn’t know he was a writer!

Then when standing on stage, I look over to the right and HOLY SHIT IT’S DEAN PELTON!

I didn’t know he was a writer either!

A little digging shows that Faxon and Rash previously co-wrote the 2005 TV movie “Adopted” and then six years later they team up with Payne to co-write and adapt the novel for The Descendants into an Academy Award-winning screenplay.

That’s the kind of story that makes all aspiring writers hopeful that work hard can eventually have a happy ending.

Now stop threatening to cancel Community, NBC.

Hated – The opening 10 minutes

It’s very hard for any comedian to be funny and edgy and on the forefront of “what’s funny” very late into his or her life.  Billy Crystal is no exception.  If you wanted “funny” during the Oscars or an example of someone who has been funny for 30 years, you should have followed @normmacdonald during the telecast.

Hey, let’s have a kiss between Clooney and Crystal!  Hey, let’s throw in Justin Bieber!  YEAH, BIEBER FEVER, LOL!  How about Crystal in black face doing his Sammy impression?!  Yeah, that’s still gonna be good!

No, no.  None of it was good.  Then Billy came out, told a couple “jokes”, did a regrettable music number because “it was expected of him!” and then we could finally start giving out awards.  Everyone wake up, we’re giving out the awards now, we promise!

Which awards?

Not the good ones.

Oh, okay.  :(

Loved – Bret McKenzie, It’s Hard Out Here for a Conchord

Okay, the category of Best Song is so outdated that they only had two nominees but it’s still cool to see half of Flight of the Conchords win an Oscar.  A few years ago they were known to nobody in America.  And then they were known to a few people.  Now, Bret’s got an actual Oscar.

With Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy nominated for awards, McKenzie, Rash and Faxon as winners, there’s more and more hope that comedies will get more proper due at the Oscars.

Worst Presenter Skit of the Night – Robert Downey Jr in “The Presenter” documentary.

Every time something good happened, it seemed like producer Brian Grazer wanted something awkward to happen.

Hey, let’s take a cocky actor and have him be over-the-top cocky as a guy that’s documenting his life as a famous presenter and then have a camera crew film him going up to the mic to present an award for best documentary and mock the whole idea of making a documentary in the first place!

And throw in Gwyneth Paltrow because as an actress with little comedic background she’ll know exactly how to play off of it.  It won’t be awkward at all!

Best Presenter Skit of the Night – Zach Galifinakis and Will Ferrell

There wasn’t much to choose from.  Chris Rock was great, too.

Loved to See Win – Ehhh

I actually thought it was neat that Streep won for the first time in 30 years.  I thought it was cool that Christopher Plummer became the oldest winner.  Though is it fair that Plummer can win for playing a gay man but Tom Cruise gets nothing for always playing a straight man?

I had almost no rooting interest in anything this year.  Drive wasn’t nominated.  The rest of the movies were whatever.  I have not seen many of them and have no interest in seeing most of them.

It was a bad year for “Oscar” movies in 2011, and we can only hope that we’ve got some better choices for next years Oscars.

And a host that’s been funny in this century.

Hated – “Go to the Movies!”

Throughout the night, the ongoing theme was “Isn’t it great to go to the movies?” with montages of famous people talking about what inspired them to become actors or directors and there experiences of going to the movies and being inspired by the magic of film.  It continued throughout, including Tom Cruise presenting the award for Best Picture by again explaining how great it is to see a movie in the theater with a crowd of people and enjoying each and every frame of picture and sound.

Sure, some movies have to be seen in the theater.  If you saw Avatar in a 2D television, then you saw a really shitty movie.  If you saw Avatar on the big screen in 3D, then you saw a really shitty movie that had some amazing special effects.  However, I’m remiss to think of how that compares to seeing Moneyball on the big screen or enjoying The Help with a hundreds of strangers.

No, seeing those at home is just as good if not better and a hell of a whole lot cheaper.

Look, we get it.  You’ve just bought a Jacuzzi for your dog and installed it on the roof of your summer home in the Hamptons, and now you’re worried that your latest movie will only make $75 million.  So, Hollyweird bands together on Oscar night and tells millions of people that they need to go see your latest 3D remake or Queen Elizabeth (your dog) won’t have a place to relax when your cokin’ it up with your fellow millionaire actors this July.

But you aren’t really making it worth it to me, and your plea is falling on deaf ears.

Here’s a deal: Make better movies and make better deals with theaters so that it doesn’t cost me $40 dollars to take a date to go see Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and I’ll go see more movies.  For now, I’ll stick to Netflix and On Demand.

Oh, and when you do make a great movie, let’s say… Drive… then nominate the shit out of that bitch.  Otherwise, I’ll stop watching the telecast that begs me to go see more movies, too.  And hire Louis C.K. or Steve Carrell to host.

Follow me on Twitter @Casetines

2012 Oscar Predictions for the Best Pictures I Haven’t Seen

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been a fan of the Oscars since I was a little kid.  I don’t know why, but I just became obsessed with winners and people getting recognition for their work.  Must have been the occasional nipple slip.

I was such a fan that my mom bought me a book that covered the entire year-by-year history of all of the winners of every category.  I mean, this shit was complete and I read every page of it.  My ability to retain more than 25% of that information is lost somewhere between my 83rd and 215th hit of weed but I know my fair share.

Because of that, I’m the fucking shit at predicting the winners.  And by that I mean, the eight categories that anyone gives a shit about: Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting ones, Director, and the Screenplays.  On average, I’ll hit on about 7 of those.

Now they had to increase the number of Best Pictures and completely fuck my mojo up.  I’m still pretty confident I can do it though.

Normally, I would watch every nominee before the Oscars so that I had ammunition for rage when I know that the Oscars get it wrong.  Because I have been called a “pirate” and felt bad about it though, I will not see every Best Picture nominee before the awards show.  I have only seen one: Moneyball.

It was okay, but truthfully I don’t need to watch all nine nominees to have ammunition for rage.  I already have it: DRIVE WAS THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR AND GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, here are my Best Picture predictions:

Moneyball:

"Money, I Balled the Kids"

Pros – It’s the The Social Network of 2011.  A true success story that a lot of people knew about and that nobody thought would work as a movie and then surprised everyone when they thought “Hey, that worked!”

Cons – Director Bennett Miller was not nominated for Best Director, which is a deathkill for Best Picture noms.  It would be only the third movie to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination.  Also, The Social Network didn’t win Best Picture and if a movie co-starring Jonah Hill can win Best Picture, then where was the love for Superbad?

The Artist

"........" - Dialogue from The Artist

Pros – Oh how pretentious and awesome could the Academy say they are if they give a silent, black and white movie the Best Picture award in 2012?  Forget the fact that none of them have seen it, you’ll look like a real genius with a taste for the finer things in life if you put “The Artist” on your ballot.

Cons – Despite what you overheard at the coffee shop, not a lot of people have seen this movie.  Sure, you might decide to comment on this article saying “Oh, I saw it and it was awesome!  You wouldn’t understand!” but that’s only something someone would say about a movie like The Artist so they feel awesome about themselves.  Tell me that you’ve seen Mac and Me and I’ll be impressed.  I’ll see The Artist but I’ll wait until it’s at my local moving picture theatre.

Midnight in Paris

Finally. A sequel to Wedding Crashers.

Pros – Woody Allen has been nominated for sixteen Oscars in his amazing career as one of the greatest screenwriters of any generation.  He’s a genius and at 76 years old, maybe it’s time to honor him with one more award, as he’s only won two in his career.  It would also keep Owen Wilson happy.  Must keep Owen Wilson happy.

Cons – Did you see what I just said?  2 out of 16!  Woody Allen makes nice movies, but he rarely makes the best picture of the year.

War Horse

If only this were a romantic comedy of a boy and his horse.

Pros – Fewer nominations than Woody Allen, but achievements with Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and the underrated Munich, make Steven Spielberg a literal Academy boner.

Cons – Can we stop pretending like anyone really gives a shit about hero horses?  Secretariat, Seabiscuit, and now War?  This movie was sooooo an “academy” movie, that it’s going to fall flat on Oscars night as all of the “soooooo Oscar” movies usually do.

The Descendants

I can't tell if it's George Clooney if I can't see the lip twitch.

Pros – George Clooney doesn’t thank the Academy.  The Academy thanks George Clooney.  Director Alexander Payne has hung around as a “Oh God, I looooove that guy” director for awhile but doesn’t direct often.  His last feature film was Oscar darling Sideways.  He won a writing Oscar for that movie, but missed out on the directing trophy.  He could win three awards with The Descendants this year.

Cons – Is it too loved?  Darlings are always hot up until Oscar night and then fall flat.  But will that be The Artist or The Descendants?  They should have teamed up for The Artists Descendants and made it in black and green with people being able to talk, but only like the Swedish Chef.

The Tree of Life

"One day I want to run the Oakland A's"

Pros – Oh Terrence Malick, you crazy bitch.  He hardly ever works but now all of a sudden he’s working like mad.  Did you know that Imdb currently has Malick directing four features either in post-production or pre-production right now?  He’s directed four in the last 23 years.  People seem to either fucking love or hate this movie, but a lot of people love it.

Cons – But a lot of people hate it.  Or at least don’t care for it.  Or wouldn’t even give it the award for “Best Terrence Malick Picture of the Year” instead deciding to give that award to a picture that Malick took of a koala bear at the zoo.  No matter how much some people may love your movie, it won’t help if enough people hate that shit.

The Help

A nice white person. Let's give her an award. No, really.

Pros – White person interacts with black people at a time when that was considered being a hero.  It worked for Driving Miss Daisy.

Cons – If The Help wins Best Picture, it will be the first winner of the award since Chicago to be a movie I’ll never fucking see.  If they were going to give Best Picture to a movie co-starring Emma Stone, it should have been Superbad.

Hugo

Hugo teaches the kids about the birds and the bees.

Pros –  1930s Paris.  Imagination.  Ben Kingsley.  Kids.  Martin Scorsese.  The Academy took a shit on Scorsese for years until finally giving him his just rewards in 2007 with The Departed.  They still need to make up for Raging Bull and Goodfellas and you can go to hell if you don’t think Gangs of New York was a great movie.  It has the most nominations this year (11) and good reviews all around.

Cons – Maybe they still want to shit on Scorsese.  It’s a proven track record that I can’t argue with.  Hugo was a box office bomb with a reported budget of $170 million but only $83 million worldwide in receipts.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"Son, we don't belong here."

Pros – It is nominated.

Cons – Holy shit, really?  REALLY?!  Look, I may find out that this is a hidden gem, but this has been called by some as the worst Best Picture nomination of all time.  And the Academy didn’t even have to do this.  They only needed to nominate between 5 and 10 pictures this year.  They could have stopped at eight.  This movie has a 6.3 on Imdb and a 47% on the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer.  Fuck no.  FUUUCK NO.  I know you like Tom Hanks but seriously, what happened here?  Did you really miss him?  I’m sure he would have came anyway.

 

Conclusion: 

Based on all of the hard evidence I have compiled while only watching one of nine of these films, I believe we have found a winner.

No fucking way – Extremely Dumb & Incredibly Stupid, Bore Horse, You Need Help, Moneys Ball, Wedding Crashers 2.

Fucking maybe - The Descendants and Tree of Life.  I would put The Descendants as a good half-mile ahead of Tree of Life, but ToL is not a zero% chance.  It’s got a slight chance.  Descendants is in third place.

Sure – The Artist.  So fucking artsy are we?  This movie is the odds-on favorite for most, but it’s a bit too fartsy for me to think it will win.  So…

Winner – Hugo.  Despite a disappointing run in the theaters, Hugo will find a second life on DVD and Blu-ray and Megauplo.. oh never mind.  But it will regain some of it’s money after Scorsese takes home his second Best Picture trophy.

I don’t need to see these fucking things to have a general idea of what’s going to happen, but I see Hugo as the winner and an after-theater-run sleeper hit.

By the ways, I am on twitter if you never look to the left of the page.

 

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