Ebert, on the Record

I miss them both, actuallyOver at his blog — which is more like an ever-expanding collection of thoughtful essays than the daily splattering of passing observations than we mere mortals play at on our piddly little sites — Roger Ebert has finally weighed in on the turmoil that ensued behind the scenes (and in front of the cameras) at his “At the Movies” syndicated television show a couple of years back, when health issues forced his exit from the program.

In addition to being a very entertaining read — particularly in the sections discussing one of the replacement critics, idiot king Ben Lyons, who’s since been turfed in favor of people who actually know what they’re talking about — it’s a thoughtful meditation on the way TV film criticism has changed in the quarter-century since Siskel and Ebert first went to the movies, and on Ebert’s recent confrontation with his own mortality.

You should check it out. I would give it two thumbs up, but of course the thumbs are trademarked … and besides, the show doesn’t do the thumbs thing any more.

Oh, and “New Moon” is still topping the box office, which either tells us that critics no longer matter … or that we need good ones now more than ever.

Stick around, Roger. We read you.

3 thoughts on “Ebert, on the Record”

  1. That was a discouraging read about what used to be one of my favorite TV shows back when Siskel was still alive. The interplay between Siskel and Ebert was always worth tuning in for, and they were both intelligent, thoughtful critics. I gave up watching shortly after they settled on Roeper as Siskel’s replacement. I know nothing about his credentials, but he was as unworthy a successor as the person who “replaced” (and I use that term very loosely) you at Starweek. Since then I’ve followed Ebert’s reviews online, as well as his enormously interesting musings on a variety of topics. While you, Norm, are my favorite reviewer (based both on appreciation for your writing style and considerable overlap in movies we both like), Ebert has always been the only other reviewer I consistently read, and as with you, as much for his writing as his opinion. He and Siskel have a place in movie history, and TV history, and it sounds like everything could have been much better handled in recent years. That Disney didn’t cooperate with their set being in the Smithsonian is surprising and shabby.

  2. Norm, you let Ebert off too easily. He’s the one who was instrumental in the hiring of Richard Roeper, who destroyed the quality of film criticism even more egregiously than Ben Lyons did… because Lyons wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Roeper. And since Ebert picked him, he should bear the responsibility for whatever came afterwards.

  3. Sorry Norm. Roger Ebert nay just be the most inexplicably overrated film critic of all time. Aside from liking almost anything that comes out, he writes on a level that is barely of high school calibre. I don’t get him at all. But I do miss Gene Siskel. He seemed to put some genuine thought into his reviewing and seemed to be a nice guy besides.

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