August 1, 2007
All of Siskel & Ebert online
Growing up, I got just about all my information about new movies from watching Siskel & Ebert At The Movies on Sunday mornings. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert are still the best TV movie critics of all time, as far as I'm concerned, probably because at heart they were both journalists. They were incredibly knowledgeable and really cared about movies, and the focus of the show was always the movies, not the reviewers. I wonder if those two guys with their bad hair and anti-telegenic looks would ever make it on TV today.
Siskel & Ebert were famous for their fearless and passionate debates/fights, but that was part of what made the show so much fun to watch--rarely do we see any TV personalities (with the exception of Anderson Cooper) get so worked up over their subject matter today, unless they're talking about politics. After Siskel died, it was never the same: Ebert needs a thorny, more analytical partner to keep him from getting too soft, and I think we can all agree that Richard Roeper is no Gene Siskel.
Starting tomorrow, over 5,000 clips from the show are going to be available at AtTheMoviesTV.com! (Currently it directs you to the Ebert & Roeper site.) The site will feature over 20 years of reviews, the largest collection of online video-based movie reviews anywhere.
This is awesome news. It's been hard to find any clips of the old show online--YouTube has this one of Siskel and Ebert reviewing Blue Velvet (also available on the movie DVD) which Roger Ebert notoriously didn't like because he thought it was disrespectful to Isabella Rossellini, an argument that doesn't really make sense (since she agreed to do it.) He has since said he wishes he had done a more balanced review of the movie as a whole.
But tomorrow, you'll be able to search for thousands of clips by movie title, director, or actor, and watch the two reviewers almost come to blows over movies like Full Metal Jacket [video]. It seems that hardly any of the shows pre-1985 were saved, so only shows from 1986 onwards, after they moved over to Buena Vista Entertainment, will be in the archive.
On his own site, Ebert wrote about the archive: "Gene and I knew those old shows would be worth saving, but for a long time nobody agreed with us. In the years before home video, it seemed like a waste of expensive video tape to preserve hundreds of episodes of our earlier incarnations on “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You,” “Sneak Previews” or “At the Movies.” After all, the movies we were reviewing weren’t going to be opening again, and who’d want to watch a show of old movie reviews? Right?"
Ha. Clearly those television people were living before we entered the days of Always Archive Everything.
TrackBack URL for this entry: