“Django Unchained” (Tarantino) Meets “Lincoln” (Spielberg)

December 18, 2012 Movie Smackdown

The body count in Django Unchained — given that it’s a Quentin Tarantino film — is way, way high. The film hits theaters on Christmas Day so we can consider “Peace on Earth” while amping up on slave-era violence. It will likely pack the theaters, Rotten Tomatoes has it with 100% fresh reviews as we write this. We wish we were smart enough to figure out what all of this means about violence in America and what should be done. We are devastated, like everyone else, by what happened in Connecticut, but doubt that a red carpet arrival for Tarantino’s spaghetti-western ultra-violence-fest has much bearing on it. […]

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!) […]

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. […]