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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Siskel & Ebert

My wife and I stopped watching the "Ebert and Roeper" movie review show once Roger Ebert was physically unable to do it any longer. We had watched its predecessor, "Siskel & Ebert" for years and years, and stuck with it after the death of Gene Siskel because we liked Roger so much. After Roger's illness prevented him from appearing on camera, it became quickly apparent that Richard Roeper just isn't strong enough to carry the show with assorted guest critics. What we really missed was the incredible chemistry that Gene and Roger had for so many years.

Fortunately, Buena Vista has finally digitized the entire library of their shows together and made them available online. I just browsed through some of the classic Siskel & Ebert reviews and was reminded of what a great team they were. It didn't matter whether they liked each other, or what their off-camera relationship was -- these two guys loved movies more than anything else, and that passion was on display for us every week. They were also very good at tipping us to many movies that weren't going to play at the mainstream multiplex, and deserve credit for sending a lot of us to the theater to see masterpieces like "Hoop Dreams."

For a sample of their work together, take a look at Gene and Roger disagreeing vehemently on Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." There's no one reviewing movies that way on TV anymore, and I miss them both.