' ' Cinema Romantico: In Memoriam

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Memoriam

(The following editorial - posted here verbatim - was published yesterday in the Chicago Sun Times.)

The concept was too simple to work: Two guys on TV talking about the movies, expressing themselves in full sentences, even whole paragraphs, with a lot of spirited disagreement.

Add some film clips. Add a signature touch -- thumbs up or thumbs down. No snazzy special effects. No celebrity schmoozing. No shilling for Hollywood.

It was called "Siskel & Ebert" when it first aired on WTTW in Chicago in 1975, and it was called "At the Movies" across the country by the time Roger Ebert finally called it quits this week. It worked for 33 years for one reason above all -- it respected the intelligence of the viewer.

Movie lovers have lost a lovely guide. Ebert and Richard Roeper, our colleagues here at the Sun-Times, both bowed out of the show this week, and though the show will continue on with new hosts, it won't be the same. Which, to be honest, is a polite way of saying we doubt it will be as good.

As Sun-Times columnist Rob Feder wrote on Tuesday, Disney ABC Domestic Television plans to "dumb down and glam up" the show.

Ebert, Roeper and the late great Gene Siskel never dumbed it down, knowing that you weren't dumb and dumber.


Wretched Genius said...

And I was just starting to like the rapport between Roeper and Michael Phillips. This blows.

Anonymous said...


Roeper: This movie is okay.

Bearded Guy: You're an idiot.