Thursday, April 4, 2013

Remembering Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel

Image: Movie critics Roger Ebert, right, and Gene Siskel.

Roger Ebert was a very gifted writer; loved his work at the Chicago Sun Times and his movie review show, "Siskel and Ebert."

I just heard that Ebert has died.Very sad. I knew he had been in declining health, but nevertheless, I'm saddened.

Both Ebert and Siskel, (who passed in 1999), had a unique relationship. It showed.

They were good because they came across as regular guys. When their movie -review show debuted on PBS in the 80's, it was straight-forward, no-nonsense content. Just a couple of men who were film critics that provided viewers no-frills viewing, with just the right amount of visual popcorn.

When the duo morphed over to syndicated TV, they, and the show, got even better. I liked it when they disagreed and began a mild argument. Sometimes when they were passionate about what movie was good and what was bad, the contentious back-and-forth made for engaging television.

Siskel and Ebert didn't have to resort to any form of gimmicks. OK, the thumbs-up/thumbs down was just a smidgen of shtick but so what, it worked. It worked too because the pair earned the trust of their legion of fans. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Another American cultural phenomenon has disappeared. Too bad. And sympathies to the family of Roger Ebert.

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  1. When George Lucas' the Phantom Menace was released in 1999, Roger Ebert said he took Gene Siskel's son to see the movie because of a promise he made to Gene before he died. With a Star Wars sequel in the works, it is strange to know that neither Gene Siskel nor Roger Ebert will be around to review it. How sad.

  2. So Ebert won a Pulitzer? I didn't know that. That may explain to some degree why he felt so driven to write until virtually his last hour. That may explain why he felt the need or presumed obligation to his public that he stay in the conversation of everyday life, and not be so easily forgotten. I do know that as time went on, Ebert became more shrill in his liberalism, and more Michael Moore-ish in his eagerness to use character destruction as a tool to oppose any openly conservative public figure.

    The Pulitzer may explain his profound vanity at insisting he be photographed in all physical conditions, i.e. with his bottom jaws missing due to the effects of cancer. I'm sure his wife accepted long ago that Ebert could not be talked out of running in front of the cameras every chance he got.

    1. For your information, you hateful little person, Roger Ebert wanted to be photographed with his condition because he didn't believe a disability or disfigurement was something to be ashamed of. And you have a lot of nerve calling *him* shrill after a post like that. You have all the compassion of Ann Coulter. I'll take his "liberalism" any day.

    2. Right on, 6:40! What a disgusting post by 2:38. Jackass.

    3. I agree with you,6:40 and 7:54. I think 2:38 is truly a miserable excuse for a human. (Wendy)

    4. Sadly, "The balcony is now closed," as Roger would close the show. Rest in peace, Mr. Ebert. The movie world you now look upon with your friend Gene Siskel is a darker one without your charm, courage and cinematic expertise.

      Goodnight, Roger.

  3. Loved those guys! True movie buffs who's opinions we valued highly because they really studied and understood and appreciated the art of film. Their likes will not be around again!