Mike’s Turn: “I Just Don’t Get This ‘Mad Men’ Thing”

March 27, 2012 Movie Smackdown

I saw the scene where Jessica Pare sang Zoo-be-zoo-be-do or whatever that song was in the Season Five two-hour that everybody’s talking about. Sure, she looked straight-up awesome cleaning Draper’s apartment in her little black panties, but is that enough to make people watch a show? (By the way, this is not sour grapes. I love Jonny Hamm, and he deserves all the action he gets, both onscreen and off. We former bartenders always stick together — which is why he even helped me get my SAG card, thank you, Hamm-bone, and CSI Miami!) […]

Dark Skies vs. Dark Skies

March 1, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Our “Dark Skies” has established itself in the minds of a significant number of science fiction fans as a gripping piece of conspiracy drama set in the world of UFOs and abductions. It anchored NBC’s Saturday night “Thrillogy” concept in the 1996 season premiere and starred Eric Close (“Nashville”) and the late film character actor J.T. Walsh (“Sling Blade”). Its main title design won the Emmy award and its pilot screenplay received a Writers Guild nomination. The Syfy Channel aired the entire series multiple times. Since 2010 there’s been a Facebook page where thousands of fans from many different countries push Sony for a TV revival. […]

The Way We See it: Joe Rassulo on the Oscars

February 8, 2012 Joe Rassulo

The Artist is this year’s most talked about and most overrated film. Yes, it’s charming and filled with lovely, touching performances and indelible moments of black and white reveries of movies and times past. It is a wonderful homage to an era long gone. Its obvious relevance to today is its theme of technology leaving many obsolete in its wake. There’s a familiar resonance to the despair many feel in today’s technological storm, which has left so many jobless and even homeless. But the film touches on that theme in a broad, superficial way. “Modern Times” it is not. It’s a singular, gimmicky, almost-silent film that works on every level except one of true substance. And, I believe, a best picture of the year should do more than charm. […]

The Oscar as the Ultimate Smackdown

January 30, 2012 Bryce Zabel

Despite the major studios’ insistence on making primarily mega-budget, tent-pole, comic-book, sequel-remake, monster-alien-scifi films as their bread-and-butter, challenging and compelling original films do get made every year through alternative means. And, despite the harping and complaining we all do, there always seems to be a great crop that bridge the divide and are worth saluting. Those are the kinds of films that the Academy Awards gravitate to as their nominees. […]

The Return of the Kings: Gervais-Crystal Smackdown

January 13, 2012 Bryce Zabel

In our Hollywood family, Billy Crystal, in contrast to Ricky Gervais, is the really funny older brother or family friend who tells great stories, knows a couple of magic tricks for the kids, can lead with “Happy Birthday” or “Hava Nagila” when called upon and, when the kids are out of earshot, is renowned for his annual telling of some off-color joke that is perfectly calibrated to shock but not really offend anyone. You know he won’t cross the line, really, because he’s a good guest — he’s come to the last eight dinners and each one was a warm memory, even if you can’t quite remember one from the other. They all kind of blend together but he’s so nice and, besides, he’ll show up even if you ask him late because that cute guy from the office can’t make it after all. He’s Jay Leno-safe, except that he can also sing and dance. […]

Hey, MTV: Stop Using Our Trademarked Name! Movie Smackdown®

December 30, 2011 Movie Smackdown

UPDATE – JANUARY 3, 2012

MTV has backed off its use of “Movie Smackdown” after we made it clear that it was our trademarked name through this post and by official means. They have changed the name of their tournament competition to “Movie Brawl.” Still not sure how they could have let this happen, but at least they’ve done the right thing when their mistake was pointed out to them. […]

Smacked Around Emmys

September 20, 2011 Bryce Zabel

An awards show is really the ultimate Smackdown, I guess, given that there are clearly established winners and losers. Except that it’s not politically correct to use those words anymore. Notice that the when the envelope is opened the phrase is “And the Emmy goes to…” and not “The winner is…” Oh, presenters still slip from time-to-time and admit the truth but they are discouraged from this, believe me.

As the former Chairman/CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (including the 9/11 Emmy postponements of 2001), my wife Jackie and I go to the Emmys every year. I could certainly “cover” them or “review” them like the hundreds of other news organizations but, really, I’m just a guy with a camera standing on the Red Carpet and if you put me up against the massive armies deployed by Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, The Insider, CNN, People, and everyone else, that’s not even a Smackdown, that’s a wipeout. […]

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