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Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

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Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Old 04-05-08, 01:35 PM
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Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Roger Ebert - official website

"I should be content with the abundance I have," - Roger Ebert (2008)


The thread title is rather self-explanatory. That being said, please give consideration to some broad parameters for posting in this thread.

1 - Roger Ebert's professional work - love it or hate it - is fair game for debate.
2 - Given Roger Ebert's recent health concerns, it is fair to say his professional and personal lives have become somewhat intertwined. For any major health updates, perhaps give thought to starting a new thread…that being said, good news on the health front is very welcome in this discussion.
3 - Attempts at humor are left to your discretion…again, showing a little compassion and restraint wouldn't be a bad thing.
4 - Put your best foot forward and do DVDTalk proud.

I now set aside my dictatorial manner…and, in closing, I wish Roger Ebert well.

Have at it…
Old 04-05-08, 02:31 PM
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I agreed with his review of the Usual Suspects, although there are other reasons why I loved that movie besides the horrifically convoluted plot and the twist ending:

Humor
Fantastic performances all around
Some real tense moments and great action set pieces

Other than that he had probably the most intelligent negative review of that movie.
Old 04-05-08, 08:51 PM
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I love Roger's writing. He's a perfect example of how you don't have to use "big words" or "fancy prose" to be a great writer. Short, consise, to the point...and freakin' brilliant.
Old 04-05-08, 09:22 PM
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Wait....does this mean he is dead?!?!?!?!?

J/k, about time the other thread got buried.
Old 04-05-08, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by movieking
Wait....does this mean he is dead?!?!?!?!?
he died April 1st.
Old 04-06-08, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Brack
he died April 1st.
Maybe I'm dense... but I thought he went back to writing on April 1st.
Old 04-06-08, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by CKMorpheus
Maybe I'm dense... but I thought he went back to writing on April 1st.
I'm sure he did.
Old 04-06-08, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Brack
I'm sure he did.
Wikipedia:

On April 1, 2008, on the 41st anniversary as film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert returned to writing. He said the January surgery had failed to restore his speech although his love of movies and writing remained intact. "I am still cancer-free, and not ready to think about more surgery at this time. I should be content with the abundance I have." His columns are scheduled to resume shortly after the April 23rd opening of his annual film festival at the University of Illinois.
Old 04-06-08, 12:28 AM
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I was making a joke, "he died APRIL 1ST."
Old 04-06-08, 07:33 AM
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[QUOTE=flixtime]

3 - Attempts at humor are left to your discretion…again, showing a little compassion and restraint wouldn't be a bad thing.
4 - Put your best foot forward and do DVDTalk proud.

QUOTE]

well, that didn't take too long...
Old 04-06-08, 09:00 AM
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nice quote tags there chief. you'd think MAYBE I'd have a link to the story about his death. just maybe.
Old 04-06-08, 10:03 AM
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There are movies that I've sought out and enjoyed just because his reviews in the Great Movies section of his website made them sound so interesting.
Old 04-06-08, 10:17 PM
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Hasn't he been writing film reviews for over a year now? I'm sure I've read some of his recent reviews.
Old 04-06-08, 10:25 PM
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RIP Roger Ebert. You will be missed.
Old 04-06-08, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Decker
Hasn't he been writing film reviews for over a year now? I'm sure I've read some of his recent reviews.
He's been doing reviews on a very limited basis for the past year or so. Basically, when a very popular or critically acclaimed film comes out, Ebert will have a review about a week behind everyone else. Which is usually fine by me as I like to read his review after I've seen a film as well as he can usually bring up something I glossed over.
Old 04-06-08, 10:27 PM
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I enjoy reading and hearing his point of view. But his tastes generally run to the mainstream...he's not exactly a critic on the same sophisticated level as a John Simon or even Pauline Kael. He raved about E.T., PURPLE RAIN, RETURN OF THE JEDI, JFK, KILL BILL and other popular entertainment at the expense of better, more mature films. He's still a hell of a lot better than 90% of the reviewers out there.
Old 04-06-08, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselsDen
I enjoy reading and hearing his point of view. But his tastes generally run to the mainstream...he's not exactly a critic on the same sophisticated level as a John Simon or even Pauline Kael. He raved about E.T., PURPLE RAIN, RETURN OF THE JEDI, JFK, KILL BILL and other popular entertainment at the expense of better, more mature films. He's still a hell of a lot better than 90% of the reviewers out there.
"at the expense?" you mean he ignored "better" movies that came out during those years?
Old 04-06-08, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Brack
"at the expense?" you mean he ignored "better" movies that came out during those years?
Yes. By putting PURPLE RAIN in his top ten of 1984 (don't get me wrong...I'm a huge Prince fan and I think that the movie is remarkable for what it is), he ignored more important and artistic movies, like SUPERGIRL.

Just kidding. What I meant is that his tastes ran rather middlebrow, and embraced a lot of trivial (though immensely popular) junk like a few of the titles I mentioned.
Old 04-06-08, 11:49 PM
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all those you mentioned are classics, fo' real.

besides, there are plenty of "unpopular" movies on his top ten lists since he's been important enough to make such lists.
Old 04-07-08, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DieselsDen
Yes. By putting PURPLE RAIN in his top ten of 1984 (don't get me wrong...I'm a huge Prince fan and I think that the movie is remarkable for what it is), he ignored more important and artistic movies, like SUPERGIRL.

Just kidding. What I meant is that his tastes ran rather middlebrow, and embraced a lot of trivial (though immensely popular) junk like a few of the titles I mentioned.
Roger also dissed DePalma's THE UNTOUCHABLES, while giving the epic COP AND 1/2 three stars. Nobody's perfect.
Old 04-07-08, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Roger also dissed DePalma's THE UNTOUCHABLES, while giving the epic COP AND 1/2 three stars. Nobody's perfect.
They even showed a clip with Siskel mocking him for Cop and a Half this weekend on Ebert & Roeper.
Old 04-07-08, 09:20 AM
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His review of "Full Metal Jacket" really made me a fan. I know a lot of people enjoyed it, and it got quite a bit of praise from critics, but I agree with Roger in that it's just a lot of the same thing and "Platoon" was the superior Vietnam War film. I completely agree with him that it wasn't a bad movie by any means, but after they went to 'Nam; it just felt like the same thing we've seen before. Vincent D'Onofrio was brilliant in his role, but his character was gone early in the movie.
Old 04-07-08, 02:21 PM
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Why I love Roger Ebert

He has such a way with words and of explaining things well; I have collected some of my favorites over the years....

Ebertisms:

on Sports: ...my own childhood memories of Little League, which I hated; it was a meritocracy in which good players were heroes and I was pointed toward right field with the hope that I would just keep on walking. Well, of course it was a meritocracy. Sports involves winning, and winning involves skills. What I could never figure out was how some kids had always been good at sports and others would never be any good, no matter how hard they tried: Kids like me, so nearsighted that the approach of a ball had to be described to me by teammates.

on Love #1: One of the things you cannot do in this life is impose conditions on love. Another impossibility is to expect another's heart to accommodate your own desires and needs. You may think that cleverness, power or money will work on your behalf, but eventually you will end up feeling the way you really feel, and so will the other person, and there is no argument more useless than the one that begins with the words "But I thought we had an agreement."

on Love #2: The thing about real love is, if you lose it, you can also lose your ability to believe in it, and that hurts even more. Especially in a town where real love may be the only world-class thing that ever happens.

on Human Nature #1: Prostitution is a calling with many hazards, sadness and tragedy, but it accepts human nature. It knows what some people need, and perhaps that is why every society has found a way to accommodate it.

on Human Nature #2:Bunuel (1900-1983), one of the greatest of all directors, was almost contemptuous of stylistic polish. A surrealist as a young man, a collaborator with Salvador Dali on the famous "Un Chien Andalou'' (1928), he was deeply cynical about human nature, but with amusement, not scorn. He was fascinated by the way in which deep emotional programming may be more important than free will in leading us to our decisions. Many of his films involve situations in which the characters seem free to act, but are not. He believed that many people are hard-wired at an early age into lifelong sexual patterns.
Severine (Belle Du Jour) is such a person. "I can't help myself,'' she says at one point. "I am lost.'' She has a kind of resignation late in the film. She knows she has betrayed Pierre (her husband). For that matter, she knows she has used Marcel (her lover) shamefully, even though that's what he thought he was doing to her. In the words of Woody Allen, which contain as much despair as defiance, the heart wants what the heart wants.

on Mad Scientists: The asylum is not one of your modern and enlightened asylums. Edgar Allan Poe would raise his eyebrows. It's run by Dr. Becker (Kris Kristofferson), whose theories are a cover for his sadism, or maybe it's the other way around. He believes that locking cold and wet patients in morgue drawers for long hours will help them, I dunno, get in touch with their feelings, or remember why they're there. Who knows.

on Time Travel: as so many time travel movies do, [they become] an exercise in early entrances, late exits, futile regrets. If there is anything worse than time creeping in its petty pace from day to day, it would be if time jumped around. Better to die at the end, don't you think, than randomly, from time to time?

on Life: The idea, I think, is that life is like this movie [Last Year at Marienbad (1961)]: No matter how many theories you apply to it, life presses on indifferently toward its own inscrutable ends. The fun is in asking questions. Answers are a form of defeat. (It is possible, I realize, to grow impatient with "Last Year at Marienbad.'' To find it affected and insufferable. It doesn't hurtle through its story like today's hits--it's not a narrative pinball machine. It is a deliberate, artificial artistic construction. I watched it with a pleasure so intense I was surprised. I knew to begin with there would be no solution. That the three characters would move forever through their dance of desire and denial, and that their clothing and the elegant architecture of the chateau was as real as the bedroom at the end of "2001''--in other words, simply a setting in which human behavior could be observed.)


He is insightful and articulate. Kudos.
Old 04-07-08, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
Roger also dissed DePalma's THE UNTOUCHABLES, while giving the epic COP AND 1/2 three stars. Nobody's perfect.
I think there's the danger in comparing a crime drama to a comedy, or any opposing genres. Ebert rates his movies based on the genre. Just because he gives one movie a better star rating doesn't necessarily mean he thinks it's a better movie, just that one movie succeeds better in one genre than another movie does another.

I can't believe he thought Napolean Dynamite was a terrible comedy. He's a bit hard on some comedies, but other than that he's usually spot on.
Old 04-07-08, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Brack

I can't believe he thought Napolean Dynamite was a terrible comedy. He's a bit hard on some comedies, but other than that he's usually spot on.

He also called PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE one of the worst of the year, but it's a cult classic today (and deservedly so).

However, I think that his late, great sparring partner Gene Siskel, expressed his opinion better and was less prone to accepting junk entertainment before he became ill.

Incidentally, Ebert's televised tribute to Siskel following his death was one of the most moving and sincere shows I've ever witnessed. It really made me appreciate Ebert's talents.

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