Author Topic: Roger Ebert  (Read 64103 times)

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Reinhold

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #225 on: April 25, 2008, 05:21:46 PM »
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his criticism of that film because it has no female characters is one of the dumbest things he's ever said.

agreed, but wrong thread.

i've never found his reviews to be enlightening, and rarely ever insightful. accessibility doesn't matter much to me if he's not really helping anybody access anything.  :yabbse-thumbdown:
Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #226 on: April 25, 2008, 07:16:13 PM »
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he's always been a candy critic, and his willingness to find the good in each film is one of the things i like about him. that's why i prefer his great movies reviews, cause more than once he has made me see a film i initially disliked in a different light. back in the day he may not have taken a lot of opposite stands against critical favorites, but he was good at choosing bad treated films for certain recognition. he championed jackie brown when everyone else was complainig about it being boring. and he's good at combeying what he thinks in an always respectful, smart, comprehensible for anyone way. now he champions crash and juno and his arguments to defend them are awful. when he trashed blue velvet, or even a clockwork orange, even in disagreement he could make a valid point. now he sounds like your grandpa being stubborn. independently of there will be blood's status as a good, bad, great, awful film, his criticism of that film because it has no female characters is one of the dumbest things he's ever said.

I think as a critic you need to have standards. One can say Ebert does have standards, but no critic has accepted every film movement. Every noteworthy critic has taken stands against one movement or another, but Ebert tries to find the good in every major trend. The fact he rarely picks any battles makes him to be more of a reporter of film movements than an actual critic. I also don't know if I found many of his essays in his Great Movies series to be that good. Some are OK, but a lot of them always were overly light comments on films that already have extensive comment. Of course any critic who tried what Ebert has would run into similar problems.

I have to give the man his credit. He was very influential to me when I was younger. A lot of films and filmmakers became first known to me because of him, but I never found him that trustworthy as a critic. But he is still the only film critic who has ever won a Pulitzer for their reviews.

Alexandro

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #227 on: April 26, 2008, 12:53:22 AM »
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reinhold, we have already discussed how wrong he is in his there will be blood criticisms in the there will be blood thread, i know. and i can bring that up here too because this is the roger ebert thread. so fuck it.

i wouldn't see the point of him taking a stand against some film movement if he doesn't feel like it. again, he probably has helped more to get people interested in film movements than any other critic precisely because of his enthusiasm. however, this is not a discussion worth having. the guy is not a film theorist, he's basically a reviewer whose main achievement i guess is communicate his love of movies to such a wide audience for whom his opinion matters.

Reinhold

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #228 on: April 27, 2008, 12:32:41 AM »
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reinhold, we have already discussed how wrong he is in his there will be blood criticisms in the there will be blood thread, i know. and i can bring that up here too because this is the roger ebert thread. so fuck it.

oh, i just meant the stupidest thing said about a movie thread.


Obviously what you are doing right now is called (in my upcoming book of psychology at least) validation. I think it's a normal thing to do. People will reply, say anything, and then you're gonna do what you were subconsciently thinking of doing all along.

Alexandro

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #229 on: April 27, 2008, 10:34:46 AM »
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i'm sure someone will bring it up there...

MacGuffin

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #230 on: July 21, 2008, 12:44:30 PM »
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Ebert and Roeper leaving popular movie review show

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert says he's cutting ties with the television show that he and the late Gene Siskel made famous.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday, Ebert said Disney-ABC Domestic Television had decided to take the show "in a new direction" and he won't be associated with it.

His announcement came a day after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper said he was leaving the nationally syndicated "At the Movies With Ebert & Roeper."

Roeper said in a statement Sunday that he had failed to agree on a contract extension with Disney-ABC Domestic Television so his last appearance on the show will air the weekend of Aug. 16-17.

"Several months ago, Disney offered to extend my contract, which expires at the conclusion of the 2007-08 season," Roeper said. "I opted to wait. Much transpired after that behind the scenes, but an agreement was never reached, and we are all moving on."

A message seeking comment was left for a spokeswoman for Disney-ABC Domestic Television early Monday.

Roeper said he intends to "proceed elsewhere ... as the co-host of a movie review show that honors the standards established by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert more than 30 years ago."

"I will be free to share the details on that program in the near future," he said.

He also said he wishes Disney "the best of luck with their new show, whatever form it may take."

Roeper joined Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert on the show in 2000, after Ebert's original co-host, Chicago Tribune film critic Gene Siskel, died of a brain tumor in 1999.

Siskel and Ebert had begun reviewing movies on television together in 1975 on Chicago public broadcasting's WTTW, which eventually took their program national. The pair jumped to commercial television through the Tribune Co.'s TV syndication wing in 1982, switching to Disney in 1986.

Roeper was chosen from among a large group of contenders to be the permanent replacement for Siskel after his death.

Ebert has been sidelined the last two years because of health issues that have robbed him of his voice.

"Over the last two seasons, as Roger has bravely coped with his medical issues, I've continued the show with a number of guest co-hosts," Roeper said. "It's never been the same without Roger, but I'm proud of the work we've done and I'm grateful to all the co-hosts who stepped in — and to the viewers that stayed loyal to the show."
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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #231 on: July 21, 2008, 09:18:51 PM »
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Everytime this thread gets posted in I'm scared to click because I don't want Ebert to be dead.
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hedwig

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #232 on: July 21, 2008, 11:36:02 PM »
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Everytime this thread gets posted in I'm scared to click because I don't want Ebert to be dead.
thats how i feel about the woody allen thread.  :(

MacGuffin

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #233 on: October 22, 2008, 05:14:15 PM »
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Roger Ebert gives a thumbs down to his own review

It's definitely been the media kerfuffle of the week: Roger Ebert's admission that he wrote an entire review of a new film after only watching eight minutes of the picture has inspired a storm of outrage. It turns out that everybody's a critic, especially when it comes to judging movie critics. Now a clearly chastened Ebert has acknowledged that he was wrong, posting a follow-up post to his original explanation admitting that he wishes he had never published the review (of a small indie film called "Tru Loved") in the first place. As he puts it:

"It sent the wrong message. If I had seen the entire film, a review, however negative, would have been appropriate. But in reviewing the first eight minutes, I was guilty of too much affection for my prose. I have learned a great deal from the intelligent, opinionated, useful comments from all those readers.... I will never, ever, again review a film I have not seen in its entirety. Never. Ever." He adds: "I must apologize to writer-director Stewart Wade, his actors and his crew. They did nothing to deserve this. For them, it must have been like a drive-by shooting.... I feel like a jerk. In even my negative reviews, I try to give some sense of why you might want to see a film even if I didn't admire it. Here, I failed."

Once you get past the fact that Ebert's abject apology sounds a lot like one of those blacklisted '50s Hollywood screenwriters telling HUAC that "I am deeply sorry for ever joining the Communist Party--I let my country down, I let my family down, I let my therapist down," basically saying anything to get his job back--you get the feeling that this is just another nail in the coffin for the credibility of film critics with the average moviegoer. If there were ever an act that indelibly painted critics as elitist snobs, it would be America's best-known critic reviewing a movie after only bothering to watch for eight minutes.

I remain a loyal fan of Ebert, who was a huge influence on me as a young writer and has sprung to my defense when I've been under attack. So I'm definitely not an objective observer. I also read critics religiously, looking to them for guidance and inspiration. But I am part of a vanishing breed. The average newspaper reader has less and less use for critical opinion, increasingly preferring to rely on aggregated critical judgment from websites like Rotten Tomatoes over individual critics--or solely relying on recommendations from friends. As one Ebert basher wrote: "After learning that Roger Ebert defends writing a full-column review based on a 8-minute scrap of film, I don't feel so bad about not reading movie reviews."   

Ebert's blunder, one of the few he's made in a four-decade-long career, will probably take on a life of its own, cited in future years in various broadsides against the critical establishment, probably in a sentence that reads something like: "After reading Kenny Turan's dismissal of 'Quantum of Solace,' one wonders whether Mr. Turan was dozing off during the film's breathtaking action sequences, or whether he simply walked out of the screening room after eight minutes, in emulation of Roger Ebert's rude dismissal of a movie earlier this year." All critics have is their credibility. I'd be lying if I told you I've never walked out of a film. At film festivals, I do it all the time. Like Roger, I am convinced that you can tell after 20 or 25 minutes, almost within the shadow of a doubt, that a movie has been directed by a clumsy amateur or a deluded auteur. At a festival, when you're trying to see 4 or 5 movies in a day, you are pretty ruthless about cutting your losses and moving on to the next film.

But I don't review movies. I see them looking for stories. If a movie is so bad that I walk out, I simply scratch it off my list. If you're a reviewer, you're held to a higher standard. Trust me, it's why critics often sound so cranky--they knew the film was a dog right away, but had to stay to the bitter end, just to make sure. But you have to stick it out. I guess it's a lot like being a sportswriter. You have to stay to the last out. It was just the other day that the Boston Red Sox were down 7-0 going into the seventh inning of a big playoff game, before storming back to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7. You wouldn't have wanted to leave in the middle of that game, right?

The same goes with movies. Maybe the plot kicks into gear, maybe an actor shows up, delivering a graceful performance, maybe (at the very least) the story takes us to the South of France and we get to see some beautiful scenery. If a movie has a hidden surprise, you want to be around to see it. Yogi Berra probably never read Pauline Kael, but he knew this much about being a critic: "It ain't over 'til it's over." 
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JG

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #234 on: November 06, 2008, 04:21:05 PM »
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have you guys been keeping up on ebert lately, both his blog and his reviews? for better or for worse, his writing has certainly gotten more interesting within the past few months. he also keeps making references to suttree, so he certainly earns brownie points from me.

MacGuffin

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #235 on: December 27, 2008, 12:11:46 AM »
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Critic Ben Lyons gets many thumbs down
The new 'At the Movies' reviewer's detractors find him a celeb-loving shill for film marketers.
By Chris Lee; Los Angeles Times

Is Ben Lyons the most hated film critic in America?

In the four months since the fresh-faced 27-year-old "movie dude" for the E! Entertainment Network was installed to co-host a revamped version of the venerable movie review program "At the Movies," he has gotten a resounding thumbs down from an angry mob of film bloggers, columnists, professional movie critics and fans of the show. Consensus is that Lyons, the son of New York film critic Jeffrey Lyons, is unworthy of the balcony seats once occupied by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel on the TV mainstay that has rallied audiences into theaters for more than three decades.

"His integrity's out the window. He has no taste," said Erik Childress, vice president of the Chicago Film Critics Assn. "Everyone thinks he's a joke."

Lyons became infamous in film circles for calling Will Smith's 2007 zombie-vampire movie "I Am Legend" "one of the greatest movies ever made." That appraisal became a key part of the movie's print advertising campaign.

"One of the 'greatest movies ever made'?" said Childress, who's also a movie reviewer for eFilmCritic.com. "Next to 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Citizen Kane'? The only way you can say that with a straight face is if you've only seen 50 movies in your life. Or you're trying to give quotes to appease someone who can do you a favor later."

Lyons declined to be interviewed for this story. But among the accusations flung his way: that he landed his job through nepotism, is unknowledgeable about movies, sucks up to celebrities and, most damaging, is a "quote whore" -- a shill for movie marketers whose all-too-frequent raves are repurposed as gushy pull quotes on movie ads, usually accompanied by several exclamation points.

Which would be of hardly any consequence were it not for the drastic transformation of film criticism. Long gone are the times when a vaunted single critic such as the New Yorker's Pauline Kael could inject a film into the national consciousness with a single positive review. These days, moviegoers are just as apt to check a movie's rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the popular movie-review aggregating website, as to read an actual review from a major news organization.

Worse, with readership plummeting, newspapers and magazines have had to drastically thin their ranks of critics. In recent months, the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, Newsweek, Newsday, the Village Voice and The Times, among other outlets, have let critics go. Meanwhile, movie marketing has never been more pervasive, and many studio summer blockbusters are now described as "critic proof," meaning that negative reviews do nothing to affect the box office.

In this light, Lyons' ascension to the "throne" of televised film criticism has come to represent something more than just the changing of the guard -- many view it as yet another example of the dumbing down of media and of celebrity triumphing over substance.

With his meat-and-potatoes good looks, frat-boy bonhomie and straight-down-the-pike delivery -- more reminiscent of a "SportsCenter" commentator than an erudite cultural arbiter -- Lyons is certainly not your father's movie reviewer. But it's his way of shrinking a sweeping critical pronouncement down to glossy sound-bite size that seems to most affront Lyons' detractors. Especially when held up to his predecessors' standards.

"It crystallizes everything that's wrong with American pop culture right now," said Scott Johnson, the blogger behind the website StopBenLyons.com. "I don't expect to agree with a critic all the time. But his approach is to throw out blurbs just so he can get on a poster."

S.T. VanAirsdale, senior editor of the entertainment-industry-skewering blog Defamer, framed the debate around the so-called "Ben Lyons Hate Storm" in more direct terms. "It's a pretty microcosmic phenomenon, when you look at who hates him," VanAirsdale said. "But for people who take film criticism seriously, he's an imposition. If he's established himself as the benchmark for where popular criticism is headed, we're all kind of [in trouble]."

Setting a standard

Regime change has always been hard for fans of the show, many of whom began watching in the mid-'70s when it was hosted by Siskel and Ebert and known as "Sneak Previews." By 1979, it had become the highest-rated weekly entertainment series in the history of public broadcasting. Evolving into "At the Movies" in 1981 -- Jeffrey Lyons was hired to appear on "Sneak Previews" when Siskel and Ebert left over a contractual dispute -- it set the standard for subsequent movie review talk shows and remains the only such program to both brand itself in the American mind and change the face of film criticism -- some might say grossly oversimplifying it -- with its patented "thumbs up, thumbs down" rating system.

"Two thumbs up conveyed a seal of approval," said Jason E. Squire, instructor of cinema practice at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor of "The Movie Business Book." "It was so powerful, the expression became part of the general lexicon." Added Bill Mechanic, former chairman and chief executive of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment: "For marketing purposes, a 'two thumbs up' was great to have." (Ebert, who stopped appearing in "At the Movies" after medical issues robbed him of his voice in 2006, exercises the sole right to use his thumb for rating purposes; Siskel died in 1999. Richard Roeper joined the show in 2000, and hosted with revolving guest critics in Ebert's absence.)

Last summer, producer Disney-ABC Domestic Television decided to take the syndicated show "in a new direction," prompting Ebert and Roeper to announce that they were severing ties with the program. In their places, "At the Movies" executives hired Ben Mankiewicz, a host on Turner Classic Movies who is the grandson of famed screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz ("Citizen Kane") and nephew of Oscar-winning director Joseph Mankiewicz ("All About Eve"), and Lyons, a New York native whose academic pedigree consists of a few semesters at the University of Michigan and whose first professional critic gig was talking film on his father's movie review program "Reel Talk." The younger Lyons also reviews movies and interviews celebrities for E! Online, "E! News," "The Daily 10" and "Smash Time Saturday's" and hosts the game show "My Family's Got Guts" on Nickelodeon.

Viewers haven't been quite so rankled by Mankiewicz, 41, who comes off a bit more measured when giving his critical appraisals. ("You put anyone next to Ben Lyons and they're going to look bulletproof," notes VanAirsdale.) But Lyons' installation released a torrent of negative blowback, most of it online. "I don't like Lyons," blogger Jeffrey Wells wrote on hollywood-elsewhere.com, "because you can tell right off the bat he's too much of a glider and a glad-hander." Variety.com's deputy editor and columnist Anne Thompson also derided Lyons, describing "At the Movies" as "a train wreck," complaining that discourse between Mankiewicz and Lyons is "dismayingly shallow."

"It's like Johnny Carson being replaced by Dane Cook," said Childress, who also writes a feature called "Ben Lyons Quote of the Week" on eFilmCritic.com that deconstructs and ridicules Lyons' critiques. "It's going from the top echelon in the profession to the absolute lowest."

Then there's StopBenLyons.com. Established in September by Oakland computer programmer-turned-blogger Scott Johnson, the blog is largely devoted to highlighting Lyons' perceived critical trespasses and advocating his dismissal. A die-hard fan of the show, Johnson was motivated to create the site by what he views as righteous indignation.

"If [Lyons] wants to sit in Siskel's or Ebert's seat, he's got to prove he's worthy of our attention," Johnson explained. "What Ben says about movies, it's not worthwhile. He seems to be doing the show more because he wants to be on TV than because he has something to say about the movies."

Some of Lyons' pronouncements certainly seem to show a certain lack of seasoning. While recently reviewing " Quantum of Solace," he proclaimed that "GoldenEye" was his favorite James Bond film, eschewing many of the franchise's most heralded installments. His rationale? "It was the first one for Pierce Brosnan," Lyons said. "And that was also. . . when the first-person action video game Bond franchise was launched, which I wasted many hours of my childhood playing."

A show's ratings

It's unlikely that Lyons will be mentioned in the same breath as heavyweight critics such as Ebert, who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern, The Times' Kenneth Turan, or the New York Times' Manohla Dargis any time soon. But then again, you don't see any of those critics posing for snapshots with many of the same celebrities they write about, as you do on Lyons' blog The Lyons Den -- a professional habit that has given the reviewer a reputation for kissing the hand that feeds. (See the accompanying article.)

But critical standards aren't the only issues being debated when it comes to "At the Movies." Some industry observers think that the show's relevancy may have gone with the dawn of the Information Age. "I . . . wonder if the era of sitting passively in front of a TV screen and listening to a couple of guys trade opinions about movies has the same vitality that it had when Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel started 'Sneak Previews' on PBS in 1977," Wells wrote on the Hollywood-Elsewhere blog. ". . . Audiences these days like to talk back and argue and engage interactively."

The show's numbers are far below what they used to be. Ratings for the new "At the Movies" are at 1.8 million total viewers, down 21% compared with the same period last year, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. Comparative viewership also dropped by double digits in every key demographic except for males 18 to 34, for whom it's down only 4%. A spokeswoman for ABC Media Productions, which oversees "At the Movies," pointed out the revamped program has shown improvement among total viewers since its September premiere.

Disney-ABC Television Group's Brian Frons, who heads up the creation, production and delivery of shows for ABC Media Productions, voices unqualified support for Lyons.

"This is a guy who, if you sit and talk with him, he really does have an enormous love and knowledge base of movies," Frons said. "Did he spend 20 years as critic for a major newspaper? No. He's very much of the TV generation who don't spend time reading newspapers. I think we have a guy who is giving the information that audiences want to hear about film to make decisions about what to see."
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pete

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #236 on: December 28, 2008, 01:43:49 PM »
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ok ok, sometimes the shitty gossip nature of the LA Times articles are great.
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Stefen

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #237 on: December 28, 2008, 03:49:32 PM »
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Alison Bailes is the hottest critic ever.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #238 on: August 06, 2009, 12:49:32 AM »
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Somewhat related to the thread...

'At the Movies' swats away its flyweight critics
Source: Los Angeles Times

NBC only had to take a gander at the ratings for one episode of its much-ballyhooed "Quarterlife" series before the network gave the show the old heave-ho last year. It took ABC nearly a year before it realized that Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz -- the fresh-faced "At the Movies" hosts who had replaced Richard Roeper and the one-and-only Roger Ebert -- were an embarrassment to all, meaning the previous hosts, the network and the critical profession in general.

 So I can't say I'm shocked to read the news that ABC has dumped Lyons and Mankiewicz and hired a new pair of critical heavyweights, the New York Times' A.O. (Tony) Scott and the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, to anchor the long-running syndicated series. I've rubbed shoulders with both guys on the film festival circuit and happily endorse the appointment. Scott and Phillips are lively, intelligent writers with a keen grasp of what makes films work, which in itself makes them a huge improvement over the previous duo, who were critical bantamweights, especially Lyons, who had a bright smile but about as much gravitas as an Alabama beauty show contestant.

To be fair, Mankiewicz, the scion of a fabled Hollywood family who hosts Turner Classic Movies presentations, was clearly more knowledgeable than his counterpart. As my colleague Chris Lee reported last December, Lyons, son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons, was held in such low esteem in the critical fraternity that others in the profession were lining up, happy to be quoted by name ridiculing his work, with Chicago-based film critic Erik Childress saying of Lyons: "He has no taste. Everyone thinks he's a joke."

Well, everyone except for Disney-owned ABC TV. The network clearly believed that the venerable TV show, which traced its roots to the mid-1970s, when the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ebert and his Chicago newspaper pal, the late Gene Siskel, launched the first nationally known TV film critic program, needed a re-branding to appeal to younger audiences and boost its ratings. Of course, the opposite happened. As ABC reported on its own website, the show's ratings dropped sharply, slipping from 2.1 million to 1.7 million after Lyons and Mankiewicz took over.

The network made one simple miscalculation: It thought that by hiring younger, more effervescent critics that it could get a younger audience to watch a cobwebby network TV format. That's never going to happen. Just ask the great minds at CBS, who hired Katie Couric, thinking that a younger, more effervescent newscaster could get a younger audience to watch a cobwebby network TV format. Film critics are in the same boat as evening news anchors -- their core audience is people 50 and over, and getting older by the day. You could hire Jessica Alba to read the evening news -- or review "G.I. Joe" for that matter -- and younger audiences still wouldn't care.

Don't get me wrong: I grew up reading film critics -- it's what helped me understand the history and meaning of film, not to mention how to appreciate such exciting filmmakers as Nicholas Ray, Howard Hawks, Sam Fuller and Hal Ashby. But expecting Phillips and Scott to deliver network-sized ratings in an era where hardly anyone under 40 pays attention to critics is a fool's errand.

Despite their intellectual heft and engaging personalities -- when you have dinner with Michael Phillips, you are sure to enjoy a sparkling evening of good conversation -- they are being asked to revive a format that is as moribund as a black-and-white detective series. 

The best thing ABC could do is keep improving the show's presence on the Web, where expectations are lower and where fans -- like myself -- could sample the new critics' take on specific films on demand. One of the cult hits on the Web last year was Reel Geezers, where Lorenzo Semple and Marcia Nasatir, two eightysomething old film pros, fussed and bickered on YouTube over various recently released films. Film criticism remains an honorable trade, but it's now a niche business, which is why it feels especially wrong-headed for ABC to cast two wonderfully gifted critics in a role where they are doomed to fail if the network's only priority is bringing more eyeballs to TV screens.
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Re: Roger Ebert - INVALIDATED ..again
« Reply #239 on: August 06, 2009, 03:39:35 AM »
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I tried watching a couple shows with Mankiewicz and Lyons. Happily I didn't give a shit and went in with no rooting interest or preconceived notions, but it was pathetic how Lyons said so many dumb things all the time it was like a haywire act for him. He reminded me of Sarah Palin by trying to make stupidity sound eloquent and considering he didn't have a political policy that annoyed me, I kept feeling bad for him and hoping he would balance himself out. After a while I was just happy when he agreed with Mankiewicz and kept himself out of trouble.

The new show should be better, but limiting film critics to sound bite reviews is never good so I'll never be an ardent fan.

 

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