The Balcony Is Closed

thumbsdownRoger Ebert has a great entry on his blog today regarding his departure from the "Ebert and Roeper" program. He was a part of the show for 33 years and while it was he and Gene Siskel, it was the only movie review show I'd bother watching. "Siskel and Ebert" were my go to guys for movie reviews until The Day I Stopped Trusting Siskel and Ebert back in 1997.

Siskel and Ebert gave "Grosse Pointe Blank" two thumbs down and then gave "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" two thumbs up. I couldn't believe it then and I still don't believe it, but I saw it with my own two eyes and know this to be fact. I was shocked by the fact they didn't like "Grosse Pointe Blank" but I was flabbergasted by the fact they actually liked "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion".

Eleven years have since passed, Gene Siskel has passed away and Roger Ebert has battled his own serious health issues, yet I'm still saddened to learn the show is going in a new direction. Love him or hate him, Ebert has a way with words and always appears to me to be an honest and insightful reviewer of films.

The silver lining here is that Ebert writes he will "continue the traditional format in a new venue". Otherwise, for now, the balcony is closed.

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I've had the pleasure of meeting Siskel, Ebert, and Roeper on numerous occasions. I've seen them do presentations together, at screenings of films and at the Toronto International Film Festival. About a week after I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, I bumped into Gene Siskel on the street (still not sure why he was here), and he didn't think I was a crazy stalker fanboy when I said hi. I've sat near Roger and his wife often at screenings in Toronto. I'm really annoyed that things came to this juncture, and that Buena Vista's going to run the show into the ground with unnecessary format changes and a new cohost whose biggest credit to date is working on the E! network. But I'm glad that Roger and Richard are going to keep it going. It seemed that every week they gave me ideas for movies to go see, or to add to my Netflix list, and I can't put a price on that. Sure, they've all often been wrong (Roger hated Blue Velvet, but loved Dark City beyond all reasonable measure), but it's a joy to see film geeks just talking about movies without the sense that anyone was trying to pump up stuff for marketing reasons. There needs to be more of that sort of thing on TV, not less. Between the ruining of At the Movies and the general razing of the interesting shows on Citytv lately, I feel like a huge chunk of what made TV interesting for me when I was young is just evaporating. And yet, somehow, Billy Fucking Bush continues to find steady employment.

July 24, 2008 @ 11:39 PM

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