All hail our Ford!
So, I know that we are studying the 1920-1940 periods. But, since we were talking about film critics the other day, I thought it was only fitting to acknowledge the death of one very important (and funny) American film critic: Roger Ebert.
Roger Ebert, who passed away on April 4th at the age of 70, was a journalist, film critic and screenwriter. He wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times for over 40 decades and won the Pulitzer Prize Criticism in 1975. He published more than 20 books and a lot of collections of reviews. He was also an advocate for disability rights, a recovering alcoholic, a memoirist and a regular contributor to the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest. Man, this guy was busy!
Along with Gene Siskel, Ebert helped popularize film reviewing with the shows Sneak Previews and At the Movies. They also coined the expression “Two Thumbs Up”, for when both critics gave the same film a positive review (which, as I gather, was not often). In 2005, Ebert was the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid and salivary glands. Later he became unable to speak and ear due to complications in surgery. However, he continued to write in print and online, since he could no longer host shows.
His final published reviews were for The Hostand From Up on Poppy Hill, which got a 2.5 out of 4. He reviewed Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder, but it wasn’t published.
Ebert also compiled "best of the year" movie lists beginning in the 1960s, which helped provide an overview of his critical preferences. Last year’s choice was (unsurprisingly) Argo.
He is considered by many one of the best and most important film critics in America. Here is what George R.R. Martin (of course I had to mention him at some point in this blog!) said about Roger Ebert:
“Roger (somehow I think of him as 'Roger,' not 'Ebert,' though I never met him in the flesh, and spoke to him only once, by telephone, in the early 1970s when both of us were young and dinosaurs roamed the earth) has been my favorite film critic since forever. I did not always agree with him, but I always found him insightful and fun to read. He was not just a terrific critic, he was a terrific WRITER.
He was One of Us too. A fan, and an SF fan at that. In his youth, he wrote for fanzines, and he even published a few short SF stories in Ted White's AMAZING and FANTASTIC along about the same time I was publishing in those selfsame magazines. If he had not gone on to be the world's best film critic, he might well have been a successful SF writer.
A brilliant man, a good life. I give him two thumbs up.”
He was also an extremely funny man. Some of his comments on the films he HATED are delightful. I leave you here with a few of them:
Armageddon, one star. OK, say you do succeed in blowing up an asteroid the size of Texas. What if a piece the size of Dallas is left? Wouldn't that be big enough to destroy life on Earth? What about a piece the size of Austin? Let's face it: Even an object the size of that big Wal-Mart outside Abilene would pretty much clean us out, if you count the parking lot.
The Brown Bunny, zero stars. I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny. (When the movie’s director responded by mocking Ebert’s weight, Ebert said, “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of The Brown Bunny.")Jason X, half star. "This sucks on so many levels." Dialogue from "Jason X"; rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. "Jason X" sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought.
Mad Dog Time, zero stars. "Mad Dog Time" is the first movie I have seen that does not improve on the sight of a blank screen viewed for the same length of time. Oh, I've seen bad movies before. But they usually made me care about how bad they were. Watching "Mad Dog Time" is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line.... "Mad Dog Time" should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor.Spice World, half star. Spice World is obviously intended as a ripoff of A Hard Day's Night which gave The Beatles to the movies...the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented--while, let's face it, the Spice Girls could be duplicated by any five women under the age of 30 standing in line at Dunkin' Donuts.
Good Luck Chuck, one star. There is a word for this movie, and that word is: Ick.Freddy Got Fingered, zero stars. This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.
His tweets are also something different (through Buzzfeed):
· After 3D re-re-re-release, George Lucas plans to bring "Star Wars" to radio, vaudeville, puppet shows and medieval pageant.
· One man, one wife, says Romney--whose great-grandfather had five wives, and great-great-grandfather had 12.
· Trump: How did Obama get into Harvard? Me: How did Bush get into Yale? Why didn't Trump get into the Hair Club for Men?
· Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos.
· Self-help books are bullshit. Read a good book. That'll help you.Don't forget to be awesome,
PS: There is this really good website called mental_floss. It has all sorts of fun fact stuff about all areas of culture: HISTORY, LITERATURE, FILMS, TV SERIE, PRESIDENTS, LANGUAGE, BRAINY GAMES, and SCIENCE!
Like, did you know the expression OMG was first used in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917?
Or if you are really interested in theories on Parallel Universes...(Spoiler: there are no scientific experiments to support any of the current theories!)