Tuesday, August 23, 2005

This is why I still read Ebert.

Although he slips up sometimes (giving Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead [the movie] zero stars because it did not do justice to the live performance of the play he saw, in London -- he basically said everything about the movie worked well, but he didn't feel it worked well as a movie...), Roger Ebert is definitely the man.

Don't think so? Check out his review of Chaos, then, the letter he received from the movie's makers, and his response (maybe even the review for Open Water that he links to there-- it's pretty cool, too), and finally the report from an L.A. opening of the movie (this link may change, since it's a blog page and I couldn't find the anchor for the specific entry).

I liked the part where he talked about Greek Tragedy aptly.

When I read that reader's contribution, I had to check out the site (which I won't link to because it really is dumb), and what do I see but this hyped-up warning:

Warning: You are about to enter the website of the most brutal film ever made. This website contains material from the motion picture CHAOS that is of a highly disturbing nature. Not reccomended for persons under 17 or the weak of heart.


I admire people who comb through enormous amounts of movies (or albums, or books) and relay information on the more important and less important works (although I have a growing concern for reading and writing music reviews which I might go into on another post) that are available; especially when they use a relative system, instead of an absolute one, which Ebert explains in his review for Shaolin Soccer.

And In response to a particular harsh reception of a three-star rating for The Longest Yard, Ebert comments

Those who consult only the stars have only themselves to blame. If stars were all that mattered, why would I go to the trouble of writing a review? Nor need stars be immutable. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is now in my Great Movies series, and "The Godfather, Part II" is headed there. That is a de facto upgrading to four stars.

Attentive reading of "The Longest Yard" review, especially its final sentence, will show that persisting with three stars was my way of punishing myself. Not everyone appreciated this attempt at irony, but I must say I enormously enjoyed writing that review. To cravenly cave in would not have been nearly as much fun.

And, wielding so much power in the media world, I'm sure he gets loads of stuff like this:

Q. When you wrote a review of the movie "Bewitched," you sir, were a liar and a charlatan. You stated you never saw the program when it was on television because you were reviewing hundreds of films per year, which did not leave you much time to watch the tube.

May I remind you that you did not write your first review until 1967 and by then "Bewitched" had been on for three years? Possibly you might like to rethink that line of reasoning and pursue another feeble excuse. All you had to do was look at one or two episodes and I suspect even you might be able to determine the present piece is nothing more than garbage that should not be considered in the same breath as the original series or movie.

Gil Effertz, Frazier Park, Calif.

A. My bad. I forgot when I started not watching it. (Source.)

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