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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

is anyone still watching ‘Ebert and Roeper’?

Anyway, both Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper are both leaving At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, according to the Associated Press. The AP goes on to say:

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday, Ebert said Disney-ABC Domestic Television had decided to take “At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper” “in a new direction” and he won’t be associated with it.

I assume part of that new direction is a name change for the show, which would seem to be required. Another definite change: the thumbs must go, because Ebert and Marlene Iglitzen, the widow of Gene Siskel, own the trademark to the phrase “Two thumbs up.”

I watched Siskel and Ebert’s review show (which later morphed into At the Movies after Siskel’s death) on PBS as a teenager, and I have no doubt that they greatly influenced my love of movies, and my criticial thinking toward them… or perhaps just the idea that you could think critically about movies. But I cannot remember the last time I saw the show. Of course, Ebert has not been a part of it for quite some time, because of his own illness. And there has been a sense for years now that while Ebert himself may live for many more long years, the vultures have been circling his career as a critic. The end of this show, particularly in an era of declining mainstream criticism of the arts on the whole, seemed inevitable.

I predict that whatever Disney-ABC tries to do with the show, it will look like a blog — or, rather, a corporation’s idea of what a blog is — and that it will be gone in a matter of weeks.

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  • I don’t know why anyone thinks you can replace the entire cast of a show, remove its trademarked catchphrase (“thumbs up”/”thumbs down”), and completely rework it and retitle it, and then consider it the same show.

    For those of you who like Ebert, I heartily recommend watching the DVD of Dark City and listening to Ebert’s commentary track. It really made me appreciate his skills as a critic more to hear his observations of all of those little things that make a movie great that most of us never really notice until someone points them out.

    And we’ll continue to forgive him for his writing of the abominable Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which demonstrated quite well the truth of the principle that those who can, do; those who can’t, criticize.

  • Aderack

    Oh come on now. BtVotD is one of the greatest movies ever, I say unironically. You just need to be able to appreciate good camp.

  • I had no idea the show was still on until I saw this story. I can’t imagine who is still watching it.

  • BVOTD is not a show – it was a late 1960s film
    classic piece of crap film.
    Which means it was so bad it was actually
    Get it? Anyway it is time for a changing of the critical guard thus you should visit http://www.criticalmassnyc.com

    Love your site Joanne! Very Professional
    and a good sense of humor.

    The Cosmic Blogger NYC123

  • Correction!

    Obviously I’m new at this!

    The Cosmic Blogger NYC 123

  • Oh God! I meant MaryAnne!

    Keep up the good work!

    The Cosmic Blogger

  • Obviously I’m new at this!

    Obviously. ;-)

  • MaryAnn

    BVOTD is not a show

    No one said it was.

    Anyway it is time for a changing of the critical guard thus you should visit http://www.criticalmassnyc.com

    Oh, try to be a bit more smooth, huh?

    Very Professional

    Yeah, well, I *am* a professional. Not everyone on the Web is just goofing around.

  • I’ve been a faithful viewer of Ebert and Roeper for the past decade. It’s no surprise that people haven’t kept up with it due to its odd showtimes – I get it after midnight in British Columbia. I still enjoy the earlier clips of Siskel and Ebert. I’m sorry to watch it go.

    I’m relieved that Ebert will continue writing about the movies on his website.

  • Jigsy Q.

    I’ve been watching a bunch of old S&E reviews on youtube lately. Turns out they both loved Breakin’ AND Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. I guess they got caught up in breakin fever like the rest of us. But shame on Siskel for putting Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure on his worst of 1985 list. Oh Gene!

    Back in my VCR and cable-less youth the main draw of their show was just being able to see clips of big movies. And my dad seemed to enjoy “watching the fat guy run up the stairs.”

  • Hdj

    They you go, theres a tv spot for you Mj , though your probably have to do reviews with the guy with the beard and glasses and hates every movie. I watched Roeper’s reveiws, there was a bald guy on the show that was cool but then he got replaced with beard guy. You and the bald guy would make for a good review show, good luck with that.

  • Hdj

    There you go* ! sorry,summer finals this week, not running on a full battery.

  • MaryAnn

    theres a tv spot for you Mj

    I have no desire to be on TV.

    Anyway, in a shocking and unlikely turn of events, Disney has picked two men to host the new show, one of whom is Jeffrey Lyon’s son.

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