It has been almost half a year that Roeper and Ebert announced that they were pulling out of At The Movies franchise. Come September of last year, we seen the new format and new critics and I, for one, was not impressed. I even on a facebook.com site last year, I expressed my displeasure stating,
“Thumbs down for the new format! We need Roeper, Ebert and Phillips back! At least they make you think—the new format is just plain dumb, commercialized and is made for those who proudly have short attention spans. Ebert and Roeper need to go back home to PBS and start all over again.”
I still mean that months later! I never watched another episode of the new format ever since. I have watched Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel on television since I was a child and both men had eventually shaped my worldview on watching movies critically. Here in Toronto their show eventually had pemanent residence on CFTO television which broadcasted after Sunday night, technically Monday at midnight for many years until, CSI:Miami reruns filled that spot in the 2000’s and was bumped a little after 1:00 a.m. Gene Siskel lost his battle with cancer complications ten years ago this coming February (hard to believe) at the ripe young age of 53 and was eventually replaced with Richard Roeper a year later in 2000. Throughout the years I have agreed with their reviews, disagreed with some—and disagreed very passionately. Roger Ebert, the late Gene Siskel and Richard Roeper believed in the art of conversation when discussing a movie. You have to discuss about the actor (or actresses)—were they right for the role? Did they do their job? Or if they did, did the rest of the movie did their job along the way? There were conversations whether to debate was their a story to the movie? Was it relevant? Was the story well articulated? Or the depth and personality of the characters? The Siskel-Ebert-Roeper team believed that critiquing movies is an art and it is supposed to make you think. After seeing one episode of the new format of At The Movies, I believe that it failed to live up to the standards as the predecessors laid out.
I believe it is time for Roeper and Ebert to start again. Hollywood needs the fear of God when they are tempted to bring out a bad movie and welcome to January folks. This is time when they do release very bad movies. I am not seeing any of the horror flicks that are being released. I am not seeing The Butterfly Effect: Revelations. No Ashton Kutcher, no seeing this movie (I just discovered this a third instalment of the series, the second one sucked!). Also in February, I am definately going to enjoy missing Confessions Of A Shopaholic (the trailer definately gets on my nerves). We need Ebert and Roeper! Car 54 where are you?! We need ’em now! I know that Roger Ebert is recovering from his complications from his own cancer battle. Thankfully, Roger Ebert is still with us (and I pray for many years to come) but his vocal chords have been damaged along with his cancer fight. I hope at some point there will be surgery to correct this damage. When the battle with his health problems began in 2006, a rotating guest of critics came in fill his place. I loved Robert Wolinsky. Charismatic, charming, articulate, spicy and a ferocious debate. Richard Roeper seemed to get on with Michael Phillips, who was less of a dramatic showman critic (as Wolinsky was) but was more of a relaxed figure but passionate about critiquing movies in a different way. I would invite either man to help Richard Roeper in a new TV project as Roger Ebert continues to make recovery. The sooner that is done, the better. I am in no mood to forget and throw away like a used coat over 30 years of meticulous, detailed critical reviews of movies which have had a great say on our popular culture. Now is the time to “think” about movies we see!