Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ebert and Berardinelli

Two of the film reviewers I trust in most respects are Roger Ebert and James Berardinelli, whose film reviews nearly always top the list of reviews on IMDB.com.
Occasionally I’ve disagreed substantially with them – for instance, I still think 2001 is a dud of a movie, overlong, and full of its own bombast, while Berardinelli thinks it’s wonderful – but in general I find their reviews are worth reading because they think along the same lines as I do. By that I don’t mean they have to agree with my view, or I have to agree with theirs, but it’s good to know that the way you feel about a movie will find resonance with the way they feel.
I don’t know how long Ebert’s been going – it’s a long time, something like thirty years or more – and Berardinelli has been visible on IMDB pretty much since it started. Berardinelli isn’t a professional reviewer, as far as I’m aware, but he’s obviously well regarded on the site.
While I was looking up the details on What’s Love Got To Do With It? - the biopic of Tina Turner that I caught the last half hour of the other night – in order to find out who played Ike, Turner’s abusive husband (it was Laurence Fishburne and he was very good), I came across Ebert’s latest book: Your Movie Sucks. It sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s what’s on the back cover, apparently:

Roger's review of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (0 stars): "The movie created a spot of controversy in February 2005. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year's Best Picture nominees and wrote that they were 'ignored, unloved, and turned down flat by most of the same studios that . . . bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.'
"Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: 'Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. . . . Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers.'
"Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks. But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo while passing on the opportunity to participate in Million Dollar Baby, Ray, The Aviator, Sideways, and Finding Neverland. As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

I read Ebert’s Awake in the Dark earlier this year. There were some films he loved that I can’t recall thinking were great, but he also made me keen to see a number of films I’ve missed over the years. I’m not sure that Your Movie Sucks would make me want to see too many of the movies mentioned in it, but it sounds like a great read all the same.
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