Thursday, July 24, 2008
Rule of Thumb
Like a lot of other middle Americans of my generation, Siskel and Ebert intoduced me to an entire world of movies that weren't likely to ever appear in my local shopping mall. This being the days before Blockbuster Video, I never even expected to be able to see many of the films they discussed, but it sure was fun to hear about things like Gal Young'Un or Heartland.
Siskel died in 1999, and Ebert has been off the latest iteration the show for two years because of his health problems, but the final nail in the coffin came when Richard Roeper, Ebert's current cohost, just announced that he was leaving the show. This led Roger to pen this heartfelt essay for the Chicago Sun-Times, his home paper. There was an opening for a TV critic at the Sun-Times a few years ago, and according to a friend of mine who works there, they were flooded with applicants, most of them saying their biggest reason for wanting the job was the opportunity to work with Roger. When you read his humble, funny remembrance of At the Movies (and its various other titles), you understand why.
I can still remember Gene and Roger talking about Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo back when it first came out, in 1983. Thanks to the miracle of DVD, I was finally able to see it for the first time a weeks ago. It was as good as they said it was.