April 5, 2013

"This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel."

"This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as barrels."

From "Roger Ebert's 20 Most Epic Movie Pans."

52 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

To balance these out someone needs to find all the turkeys he thought were boffo.

Revenant said...

Ebert was good writer, but (to me, anyway) useless as a predictor for whether or not I would like a film.

AprilApple said...

Where's "Spawn"?

oops, Roger liked that horrid thing.

edutcher said...

He got cranky very early in life.

A lot of his stuff was based on his politics, sad to say.

tim in vermont said...

He was totally right about that Tom Green movie, which was a shame, because Cabin Boy was pretty funny and I had hopes, despite the title, that it could be funny too.

rcocean said...

Ebert was such a party-pooper. If only he'd understood the greatness of Police Academy Part IV.

AllenS said...

A lot of you people don't know this, but I'm also a movie critic.

So, here goes: Most movies suck.

somefeller said...

Edutcher says: He got cranky very early in life. A lot of his stuff was based on his politics, sad to say.

In other words, he was kind of like you, only with talent and success.

RIP, Mr. Ebert. You'll be missed.

Revenant said...

A lot of his stuff was based on his politics, sad to say

This could lead to some accidentally hilarious claims, though, like "Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are right-wingers".

Although my favorite was his following up a claim (regarding Michael Moore's latest opus) that it was OK for documentaries to be one-sided... with a complaint that a documentary about the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attack didn't present the PLO's side of the story.

AprilApple said...

I'm happy to report I have not seen a single movie on Roger's I hate hate hate it list. I have seen a few that he suggested. Most of those were bad too. Roger E was a tad over-rated.
Then, so is Hollywood.

AllenS said...

Good point, Revenant. Those are some of the things that I remember about him, as well. We all will die. So big deal. He was no more important than anybody that comments on this blog.

AllenS said...

In other words, Ebert was nothing but a commenter, and as we all know, some commenters suck.

rcocean said...

"So, here goes: Most movies suck."

Lol. Sorry, you need to say this in at least 500 words or more to be an employed movie critic.

TWM said...

Never gave the guy one bit of thought until he turned into an angry liberal asshole. Then I just thought, "what an angry liberal asshole."

That said, I don't listen to any critic and people who do make movie (or dining or theater or whatever) choices on their opinions are missing out on a lot of good stuff.

Lauderdale Vet said...

"The movie is pokey and the jokes amble onscreen, squat down on their haunches and draw diagrams of themselves in the dust."

That was a great line.

YoungHegelian said...

Hey, if nothing else, Ebert co-wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with Russ Meyer.

Sadly, he came too late on the scene to assist Meyer with his true classics, such as the incomparable Mud Honey.

Saint Croix said...

Battle: Los Angeles was kinda fun!

Mark said...

He gave good snark.

creeley23 said...

"I would rather eat a golf ball than see this movie again."

That's my favorite from this list.

Considering how many movies he reviewed for how many decades, it's admirable how he could keep it fresh.

CEO-MMP said...

He hated Unforgiven. He hated A Clockwork Orange. Hated Full Metal Jacket and Dead Poet's Society. Apocalypse Now.

But yeah--he was a fucking genius.

Either that or a miserable old queen (with a late in life beard) that hated everyone and everything who didn't believe exactly what he did.

Harold said...

"He hated Unforgiven. He hated A Clockwork Orange. Hated Full Metal Jacket and Dead Poet's Society. Apocalypse Now. "

haven't seen the first. Really don't like any of the rest. Based on that, I won't ever bother watching the first. "Dead Poets Society" was boring and pretentious.

I generally watch action movies and comedies, and do rely on reviewers for those. If the reviewers all pan a comedy or action flick, I know I'll like it.

tiger said...

Battle: Los Angelos WAS kinda fun.

His fellating of every Michael Moore film made is well 'sad' doesn't do it justice.

While I think he knew that every movie isn't going to be 'Citizen Kane' too many times he seemed incapable of enjoying anything for it's own benefit.

As for list though he was dead-on(sorry!) for all of them. 'B:LA' excepted.

His replacement is Nick DiGillio on WGN radio.

I had to stop listening to him; movies that received excellent reviews from MANY others he pans and stuff that MANY others find fault with he raves about.

Plus he was positively jumping with joy after Obama got reelected.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

""I would rather eat a golf ball than see this movie again."

That's my favorite from this list."

Same here. Heh.

MadisonMan said...

A well-crafted insult is a thing of beauty. It's something to admire.

Synova said...

"Young men: If you attend this crap with friends who admire it, tactfully inform them they are idiots. Young women: If your date likes this movie, tell him you've been thinking it over, and you think you should consider spending some time apart."

I think that this was the point where I actually decided that I had an opinion about Ebert and it wasn't one to share with others in the event of his death.

Battle LA wasn't just a bad movie, ill done, according to him. He didn't like it because the military were portrayed as heroes. I liked it from the first scene because it portrayed a military that was recognizable to me, standing in line somewhere with the television on watching the news. I watched the Berlin wall come down that way. My husband saw the Challenger blow up.

Freeman Hunt said...

Synova, I didn't see anything in that review to indicate that reason for his not liking it. Did he say something like that elsewhere online or in an interview?

Synova said...

Freeman, I think he did. Sorry I don't have a real quote or anything.

CEO-MMP said...

Godfather 2. Dirty Harry. The Elephant Man. Tora Tora Tora.

Yeah. A genius.


Keep fluffing him, guys.

Freeman Hunt said...

Do you think those movies deserved more stars or fewer stars?

Freeman Hunt said...

Which way is it obvious?

SukieTawdry said...

I still recall seeing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls on a double date at the drive-in. Nobody knew who Roger Ebert was at the time. To the movie's credit, I remember it, but couldn't tell you the name of the feature we went there to see. On occasion even today, my girlfriend and I will turn to each other and do a breathy "Bentley. Bentley."

Synova said...

Maybe I'm confusing what he said and what other people who were hating on the movie at the time were saying about it. I just had in my head that he specifically didn't like that the movie might particularly appeal to young men. Others were saying it was a bad movie because it might encourage young men to enlist.

Freeman Hunt said...

Synova, I missed all media coverage of that movie, so I was unfamiliar with that take.

Alex said...

Always detested his reviews and his politics. Blegh.

Freeman Hunt said...

I bet I agreed with Ebert on almost nothing in politics, but I agreed with him on many, many things in art. I will miss his reviews.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whenever I'm in a hurry to pick a movie for the night and don't have time to look at several reviews, I just look at his. I don't always agree with him, but I agree with him more often than I agree with any other reviewer I know of. Plus, he's written so many that you can get to know his buttons--even if you don't agree with him, you might be able to tell whether or not you'll like a movie based on what he's written about it.

Synova said...

I can find one reference to Ebert "doubling down" on Twitter but I have no idea how a person would find Twitter posts from March or April 2011.


Some other reviews of the movie based on politics:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2011/03/14/Is-Ideology-Invading-Reviews-of-Pro-Troop--Pro-American-Battle-LA

I likely bundled Ebert in my mind with some of these.

William said...

The greatest WTF moment in movie reviews was Pauline Kael's description of Love Story as fascist....I admire Ebert's stubborn courage. I think his reviews will prove to be as ephemeral as the movies he reviewed..... I like special effects, large explosions and occasional nudity. Reviewers pay too much attention to character development, credibility, and intelligent dialogue. I get enough of that in real life. Tastes differ but Thor and Transformers were pretty good in my estimation.

wyo sis said...

I kind of get the feeling he hated "North". Just an inkling.

Freeman Hunt said...

Love Story is so awful. Or maybe you're supposed to be laughing through the end, hipster irony ahead of its time.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wyo sis, heh. It made me want to see North to find out why he hated it so much.

Darrell said...

Movie reviews mean a lot less today when you can see films for free or just a nominal cost. Most movies have something in them that you might find interesting--if only the people in them. Sometimes the plot is wholly original but the production values are low. Sometimes the whole thing is crap but somehow they manage to generate a few original visuals that stay with you forever. Today I am most interested in plot summaries, just to choose something that I'm interested in seeing at this particular moment. With Netflix and their $8/mo streaming fee, you can give up on a movie and cut your loss (of time) and move on to another. Did you ever like a film that mostly everyone else hated? I'm sure you did. So why pay so much attention to what any reviewer says?

creeley23 said...

Movie reviews mean a lot less today when you can see films for free or just a nominal cost.

Probably so. Plus you can read far more reviews than you need for free on the internet.

Ebert may be the last major movie reviewer.

Freeman Hunt said...

There aren't many reviewer's with an artist's eye. Ebert was one.

Darrell said...

There aren't many reviewer's with an artist's eye.

Disagree. We all are artists in our own way, even if we can't prove it (produce it). Ebert is dead and death is always sad. But life can and will go on.

creeley23 said...

I don't always agree with him, but I agree with him more often than I agree with any other reviewer I know of.

That's where I land.

I also loved his rules of thumb about movies, such as:

Fallacy of the Talking Killer: The villain wants to kill the hero. He has him cornered at gunpoint. All he has to do is pull the trigger. But he always talks first. He explains the hero's mistakes to him. Jeers. Laughs. And gives the hero time to think his way out of the situation, or be rescued by his buddy.

Stanton-Walsh Rule: No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.


Ebert was a clever, observant guy.

Darrell said...

Before Siskel and Ebert, most movie reviewers had become shills for the studios/industry. The more postive reviews were given, the more access they were given to the players and the lifestyle. Siskel and Ebert both worked at (separate) Chicago newspapers and they were both assigned to deliver movie reviews and they use the writing skills they had honed doing at the paper to just give honest reviews of the movies they had seen. Studios didn't care very much because their work would only been seen locally. My guess is that gift baskets along with the movie press kits was all the swag they would receive. Their local PBS show didn't get much attention from Hollywood, either, until other PBS stations across the country started to purchase it. But all of that is just history now and irrelevent.

The internet has given every person using it a chance to do the same thing. And surprisingly, I have found that there are hundreds of very creative and clever writers out there. The best examples are for television shows. Some of those clever and snarky reviews are better than the episode reviewed. And the best thing about the internet? It's free or it's not seen. And you can read dozens of good reviews in the time it took to find the continuation of Ebert's review in the Sun Times.


LoafingOaf said...

I can totally understand someone hating Freddy Got Fingered that much, and it's a pretty bizarre and surreal shock comedy. I saw people walking out when I saw it. But I laughed my ass off. I even got it on DVD. *shrug*

I'm happy to report I have not seen a single movie on Roger's I hate hate hate it list. I have seen a few that he suggested. Most of those were bad too.

Way back in the day, when Ebert had a forum CompuServe, he explained that he intended his 3 star reviews as recommendations if you like the genre. The 4 star reviews were the movies he was recommending for everybody regardless of genre. And I guess the 3.5 star movies were in between. The Thumbs Up thing was good for his show and marketing but he really wanted people to read his full length reviews.

tim in vermont said...

Don't miss Unforgiven because Ebert didn't like it. If you like action movies, it was a great one. Ebert probably didn't like it because Hackman's character beat up English Bob for insulting America on the 4th of July. Too pro American. Seriously, it is a great movie and shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Dead Poet's Society.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Wolcott Gibbs is dead?

Astro said...

Ebert beat that "insult to..." cliche to death.
His use of it became an insult to "insult to..." users everywhere.
It just seems to me that he was really scraping the bottom of the cliche barrel every time he used it.
I bet if you looked up "insult to... cliche user" in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of Roger Ebert.