Whenever you heard the term film critic, two names always came to mind: Siskel & Ebert. Every Saturday night around 6:30 pm, I'd find myself running toward the closest television set to watch the pair discuss the movies released that week. Would they get the ever-desired “two thumbs up," the dreaded “two thumbs down," or the usual split? One of my favorite reviews the pair ever did was the heated argument the two had over the movie Full Metal Jacket (1987). Ebert really loathed the film, while Siskel defended it like crazy:
The other was outside show, and perhaps their greatest such appearance outside of their show, on a Season Two episode of the animated show The Critic. It was, for many, the show's greatest episode (mine included):
For movies, I always looked to the very words of what Mr. Ebert would say was good or not. If it wasn't for his resounding passion for Dark City (1998), I'd probably not even know about it and it wouldn't be one of my favorite films of all time. And that was the true power he had. If he loved your film, he'd do all he could to make sure everyone else would know about it. If he hated it, then he would show much disdain over it, like he did with Phantasm II (1988). He chewed that movie out for its horror elements and cliches. Me? I can see the reasons why he loathed it, but for me that was the whole point of the movie. It wasn't reaching to be anything more than entertaiment.
When Siskel passed away in early 1999, the show wasn't just the same. I tried watching Ebert and whomever the guest co-host was (until eventually Richard Roper). The show just wasn't the same. So I resorted to reading more of Ebert's articles for the Sun-Times. In a fit of undisputed irony, much like Gene, the last movie Roger reviewed was the absolute turd, the Host (the last film Siskel saw was Simply Irresistible). Regardless, even though he has passed on, Ebert's legacy will live on forever. For he taught us the importance of movies and the passion of telling others if it was truly worth seeing. So here's to you Mr. Ebert and how everyone will always be giving you a thumbs up for doing so much.
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