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Roger Ebert serves Rob Schnieder
August 12, 2005 1:32 PM   Subscribe

C'mon, Roger Ebert, tell us what you really think about "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo." And on a completely related note, today Ebert's website launched "Ebert's Most Hated," a collection of classic zero- and one-star reviews. My favorites: "North" and "Freddy Got Fingered."
posted by Saucy Intruder (118 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I also like the wikipedia entry for 'List of films that have been cited as being among the worst ever made.'
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:41 PM on August 12, 2005


"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."

That is pretty much the best burn in the history of burns.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:42 PM on August 12, 2005


That's surprising: Ebert seems to like everything nowadays. His reviews are always among the most positive of all the major reviewers. I don't trust him anymore.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:44 PM on August 12, 2005


Good stuff, but I was hoping I would never think about Freddy Got Fingered ever again. I stopped watching after the elephant.
posted by puke & cry at 1:45 PM on August 12, 2005


I agree with almost all of the 'worst' selections Ebert made (that I have bothered to see), but I admit I kinda liked The Village.

*shrug*
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:45 PM on August 12, 2005


Indeed, I suffer every time the advertisement blares on comedy central, in between the ads for bachelorette parties and online mortgages.
posted by nervousfritz at 1:46 PM on August 12, 2005


Wow, Ebert throwing it down.

In this case it seems pretty warranted, though. I can't possibly see this movie having *any* redeeming qualities. But who knows.
posted by fishbulb at 1:48 PM on August 12, 2005


Deuce Bigalow is what we get for watching Saturday Night Live. It encourages Hollywood to fund these jackass projects. Call it cosmic justice or karma.
posted by Rothko at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert seems to like everything nowadays. His reviews are always among the most positive of all the major reviewers. I don't trust him anymore.

Ebert may be getting soft in his older years, but compared to Richard Roeper he's has hard as steel. Roeper gives thumbs up to just about everything.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:52 PM on August 12, 2005


"Freddy Got Fingered" doesn't count. It was trying to be the worst film ever made. We're talking about Tom Green, here -- why wouldn't he take the opportunity to play a massive joke on his audience?

The pulitzer line is priceless, though.
posted by fungible at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2005


As per my previous comment, check out Ebert and Roeper's latest... Roeper loved everything but Dukes; Ebert at least dealt out the old thumbs down here and there.
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2005


q.v. this thread from December. The consensus seems to be that surviving cancer may be one of the best things that ever happened to him, since it seems to have led him to appreciate life and be unafraid to truly speak his mind-- two great traits in a movie critic.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:56 PM on August 12, 2005


it seems to have led him to appreciate life and be unafraid to truly speak his mind

Ebert, unlike many critics, almost always puts the movies in context. His review for Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects basically said, "It's disgusting, and you'll most likely hate it, but that's why I'm giving it thumbs up"
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:00 PM on August 12, 2005


One of my personal favorites from the Ebert archives: his review of Caligula. In addition to being a scathing review, it's an essay about the problems inherent to panning a sexually explicit and controversial film.
posted by Clay201 at 2:01 PM on August 12, 2005


I'm guessing its just me getting 404's on everyone of these links then?

I did happen to see the review of the Dukes of Hazzard and they were both ripping it to shreds (as it should be for the tripe that it is). And I laughed out loud when they talked about how awful Jessica Simpson is in it.
posted by fenriq at 2:07 PM on August 12, 2005


To paraphrase Frank Zappa- "Writing about movies is like dancing about architecture."


Sure, 99% of all movies suck, but, caring about the opinion of the kid that was last picked for the team in film school sucks worse.


Roger, where's YOUR great film?
posted by mrblondemang at 2:09 PM on August 12, 2005


This reminds me of my SAT's...

"1. Rob Schneider : funny

(a) Adolf Hitler : Poland
(b) green : apple
(c) black : white
(d) Adolf Hitler : funny"
posted by iron chef morimoto at 2:11 PM on August 12, 2005


Roger, where's YOUR great film?

Didn't he write Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls? Maybe that doesn't count...
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2005


mrblondemang: Oh yeah, where's YOUR great film reviews.

Oh god, where does it stop?
posted by ODiV at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2005


mrblondemang: Roger, where's YOUR great film?

Why, right here, of course.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2005


It seems like Ebert has a double hate-on for Schneider, not just for the bad film, but for buying full page ads complaining about a bad review.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:16 PM on August 12, 2005


Mr.blondemang: Thanks for treating us to a misattributed quote, and the tired line about having to do something in order to critique it.
I guess the reply should be, Mr. Blond Mang: Where's your great FPP?
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on August 12, 2005


I usally agree with Ebert's reviews and love it when he gets a hold of something he truly hates but I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Joe Dirt.

I'm guessing its just me getting 404's on everyone of these links then?

No, most of the links are loading for me only after a long, long wait or not at all.
posted by LeeJay at 2:28 PM on August 12, 2005


That Pulitzer line is fucking awesome.
posted by jonson at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2005


KirkJobSluder writes "buying full page ads complaining about a bad review."

This was a truly bizarre episode. Rob Schneider, of all people?!? I could see some bold independent auteur buying newspaper ads to respond to critics, but Rob Schneider? How can you pretend to defend the indefensible?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:40 PM on August 12, 2005


I've decided to follow in mrblondemang's footsteps; anyone who tries to give me their opinion on a film when they have not in fact produced written and directed their own great film will be punched in the fucking face.
posted by punishinglemur at 2:40 PM on August 12, 2005


Obligatory Mr. Cranky review.
posted by bertrandom at 2:44 PM on August 12, 2005


No, I think this is his true masterpiece. Or masturpiece, I'm not sure.
posted by Grangousier at 2:46 PM on August 12, 2005


His reviews are always among the most positive of all the major reviewers.

Nah, like others said, he doesn't even compare to Roeper, let alone the likes of Jeffrey Lyons or Gene Shalit.

However, the creme de la creme must surely be Pat Collins.

Sommersby--The best romance since 'Gone With the Wind.'
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on August 12, 2005




mrblondemang....

Rob Schnieder's sock puppet?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:00 PM on August 12, 2005


Whoah, whoah whoah, The Usual Suspects?! I agree with all the other choices for his list but that one.
posted by Ndwright at 3:12 PM on August 12, 2005


Yeah, Ndwright! I'm nodding, I'm nodding, I'm.. hey.. what the!

Opinions vary! But that Pulitzer line is classic.
posted by cavalier at 3:21 PM on August 12, 2005


Rothko: Didn't we already inform Hollywood that we didn't want a "Deuce Bigalow" sequel by, you know, not seeing the first one?
posted by aaronetc at 3:23 PM on August 12, 2005




What's all the fuss about? I happen to LIKE Rob Schneider...!
posted by ramix at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2005


Saucy Intruder, thanks to you I discovered a treasure: Ebert's thorough panning of The Green Berets, a John Wayne movie that makes me cringe.
posted by alumshubby at 3:35 PM on August 12, 2005


You know, I love Ebert more and more. Given, he's not the most critical guy, but he's always fair and approaches the pictures he reviews with (I believe) a fair amount of objectivity. Man did the only mainstream review of The Devil's Rejects that I enjoyed reading/agreed with, and he's dead on about Rob Schneider. Though I'll be the first to admit that RS isn't exactly a tough target to hit...
posted by ford and the prefects at 3:42 PM on August 12, 2005


indeed, alumshubby.

... we seem to be fighting a war for no particular purpose against a semi-anonymous enemy. There is no word about democracy or freedom, nationalism or self-determination. It appears that the war has been caused entirely by the enemy and that the enemy commits atrocities because he enjoys them. There seems to be no other issue.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:44 PM on August 12, 2005


To paraphrase Frank Zappa- "Writing about movies is like dancing about architecture."

this is like that crazy "chinese telephone" game (note: please do not haul me into MeTa to kick that dead horse) only with famous quotations!

pretty soon it's going to be all "to paraphrase bobcat goldthwait, writing about cocaine is like praying about wheatgrass"

info about the apocryphal quote here
posted by Hat Maui at 3:51 PM on August 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


Rothko: Didn't we already inform Hollywood that we didn't want a "Deuce Bigalow" sequel by, you know, not seeing the first one?

"1999's 'Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo' was a legitimate hit opening to $12.2m and finishing with $65.5m and was a blockbuster in Australia proving that we simply have shocking taste." via
posted by donovan at 3:54 PM on August 12, 2005


"Freddy Got Fingered" is an unheralded classic.
posted by Quartermass at 3:54 PM on August 12, 2005


I think you have to judge a movie based on its intended audience.

"Freddy got fingered" is exactly what Tom Green fans expected. "Tommy Boy" and "Joe Dirt" were pretty much what SNL fans expected. I would not have put those films on the list. They weren't Shakespeare, but the audience got their money's worth.

"Catwoman, " on the other hand, belonged on his list. Nobody was expecting that steaming pile.

I thought it was interesting "Blue Lagoon" made Ebert's list because there wasn't enough nudity for his taste. How old was Brooke Shields at the time? Wasn't she underage?
posted by Jatayu das at 4:03 PM on August 12, 2005


Deuce Bigalow is what we get for watching Saturday Night Live.

Someone still watches Saturday Night Live?
posted by Hildegarde at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2005


I just hope Metafilter is as outraged when this gets released.
posted by Rothko at 4:11 PM on August 12, 2005


Wait.

The skinny one died?
posted by Kwantsar at 4:12 PM on August 12, 2005


No one's mentioned the Brown Bunny? Ebert thoroughly trashed that film and forever confirmed his status as film critic god. Ebert's first review of the Brown Bunny. Not to be outdone, he follows up on the topic after the Brown Bunny's director/actor Vincent Gallo flames him in this review. Finally, the film came out on DVD last year and Ebert became almost apologetic, giving it three stars.
posted by Happydaz at 4:13 PM on August 12, 2005


How old was Brooke Shields at the time? Wasn't she underage?

Older than she was in Pretty Baby.
posted by Aknaton at 4:16 PM on August 12, 2005


Rob Schneider does a great Elvis impression (singing).
posted by tomplus2 at 4:19 PM on August 12, 2005


Rothko, what are you talking about? That movie is an early front runner to sweep the Oscars!

How could they lose with this as the plot line: Faced with the suspicious death of their father, two brothers must motivate one another to get back on their bikes and take the Las Vegas Motocross Championships by storm.

Um, on second thought. Where does the line form to make fun of this movie?
posted by fenriq at 4:21 PM on August 12, 2005


Spice World had plenty of cheeky British humor and absurdity. No way does it deserve worst ever status. And the chubby one was cute.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:23 PM on August 12, 2005


How (and why) did Usual Suspects get on a list that included Constantine and Catwoman?
posted by hopeless romantique at 4:28 PM on August 12, 2005


Great. Thanks to this FPP I can no longer say I'd totally forgotten they made a sequel to 'Saturday Night Fever'.
posted by tommasz at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2005


but I admit I kinda liked The Village

I did too, but Ebert's review of the film is hilarious so I'm glad he hated it.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:36 PM on August 12, 2005


hopeless romantique: because all three of those movies suck?
posted by tweak at 4:37 PM on August 12, 2005


klangklangston

Ohhhhhh...I'm so sorry for misplacing the originator of my paraphrase. I see it is actually Elvis Costello- thanks for correcting me...oh, wait, you didn't.

I bow to your great wisdom and ability to jump on comments without offering up facts and then making the jump to the holier-than-thou "oh please, I've heard it all before and know everything there is to know about being qualified to have an opinion on something."


Methinks you are a writer. I KNOW you are an asshole. Go fuck yourself, prick.
posted by mrblondemang at 4:45 PM on August 12, 2005


Hmmm....further investigation reveals that many cite Zappa as the originator. Some cite Costello.

At this point, I don't care. I just wanted to say "go fuck yourself" again, klangklangston.
posted by mrblondemang at 4:50 PM on August 12, 2005


yo, blond mange guy, chill already. no call for that stuff, dude.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:59 PM on August 12, 2005


Sounds like somebody needs some anger management, or a spanking.
posted by Eekacat at 5:01 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert's review of North is just mind-bogglingly stupid. Apparently he didn't get the memo it's supposed to be a children's film - this is the intellectual equivalent of going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and criticising the scenario as unrealistic. No, Ebert, most kids don't get legally divorced from their parents - it's a fucking allegory.

Again proving his irrelevance.
posted by mek at 5:03 PM on August 12, 2005


The movie stars Johnny Knoxville, from "Jackass," Seann William Scott, from "American Wedding," and Jessica Simpson, from Mars.
Dang.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:05 PM on August 12, 2005


I personally found Ebert's attempt at writing a film to be exceedingly memorable. I don't think I've ever seen a film quite like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and that's both a compliment and an indictment. It's one of the most gloriously surreal, terrible films in memory.

I find the notion that one must oneself be a successful filmmaker to make valid criticisms about film completely absurd. It's like saying one has to have been alive in the 1800s to be a Civil War historian. Ebert loves film, and has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the field. That's all that's necessary, and significantly more than most "professional" critics have on to bring to the table.

As an attempt to discredit a critic, I find it nothing more than a lazy straw man. I say this as someone who frequently disagrees with Ebert's reviews.
posted by ticopelp at 5:08 PM on August 12, 2005


Mek: Yeah, I liked North. I was 10 at the time. I'd probably hate it now. Ebert usually has a better grasp on children's movies and doesn't flame them as such.

Mrblondemang, your views on whether a critic is a valuable addition to society are interesting. Your angry comments to klangklangston are totally out of line. Really, wtf?
posted by Happydaz at 5:10 PM on August 12, 2005


Heh heh. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
yeah, throughout the whole end of that movie I had the Mario Brothers video game song in my head.
Hmmm...Star Wars II as well.

This "where's YOUR great film?" thing. It seems to be all about ROI and boardroom decisions (armchair quarterbacking) and ego - at least this is what several people I know in the film industry tell me.
Of course I know dick about film making, but Hell, give ME $20 million (or whatver it cost to make the film) and I'll make a better movie than Schnieder & his cohorts.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:14 PM on August 12, 2005


Cool, I thought that I was the only one that didn't like The Usual Suspects. Ebert's opinion about it is exactly mine, "To the degree that I do understand, I don't care." I never really understood what the big deal with it was.
posted by octothorpe at 5:16 PM on August 12, 2005


I was lucky enough to see him give a talk at the MIT Media Lab which was notable for how he rationally argued that the kind of "hyper-interactive-experimental" storytelling that Media Lab types are so fond of is flawed. "If you make a movie where I can choose the ending, I'm going to just want to rewind the thing and play it over again until I find them all. And now I haven't 'directed' anything, but you've made a movie 5 times as long that says nothing." (I paraphrase; it was years ago.) He was so smooth about it I doubt anyone took it as a criticism.

I got to walk with him afterward for awhile. He assumed I was a student and we had a nice discussion about human evolution while he ate a giant cruller. Great guy.
posted by nev at 5:47 PM on August 12, 2005


Cool, I thought that I was the only one that didn't like The Usual Suspects. Ebert's opinion about it is exactly mine, "To the degree that I do understand, I don't care." I never really understood what the big deal with it was.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM EST on August 12 [!]


The last five minutes. The final scene that catches you by suprise and all that business... It's the viewer's reward for being so patient throughout the 6 hours leading up to the twist.
posted by jikel_morten at 5:48 PM on August 12, 2005


MetaFilter: where's your great FPP?
posted by bwg at 5:48 PM on August 12, 2005


wow, mrblondemang, way to make a pageful of readers think you're a psycho. Crazy overreaction there, dude.
posted by jonson at 5:50 PM on August 12, 2005


I'll admit, too, that I don't agree with all of his reviews, but then I never expect to. I appreciate all that Ebert's done to become a well-versed critic. I really like the fact that he really likes movies and he likes writing about them whether it is the charm of Mr. Hulot's Holiday, or the awfulness of Battlefield Earth. I appreciate that he's willing to go back and review movies that he may have made a mistake on, or that have been redone, in the case of The Brown Bunny, say. A movie he slagged mercilessly, and when Gallo re-cut it, he took a second look, and liked it.
He's not always right, but he's pretty knowledgeable and funny when he gets going.
posted by Zack_Replica at 5:50 PM on August 12, 2005


I was also surprised by the inclusion of The Usual Suspects, which I enjoyed and (unlike Ebert) had no trouble following. Also surprising, though, is that the review simply wasn't that bad. He didn't enjoy it, maybe, but he didn't eviscerate it the way he did many of the other movies on the list, either. Maybe he included it for shock value.
posted by Western Infidels at 5:51 PM on August 12, 2005


I really like Ebert, but was shocked to all hell when he gave The Terminal a positive review. This is a movie about product placement, predictability and formula with a little afterthought plot (yes, using loosely) thrown in on the side.
posted by jikel_morten at 6:15 PM on August 12, 2005


On the Usual Suspects... I think the problem is that, even if you get the twist, the whole plot falls apart because the motivations make no sense. Granted, it's been a while since I've seen it, but as I remember, there's no explanation for why the villain sets up the elaborate device that makes up the entire plot only to in the end accomplish his goal himself, throw the police off his trail by himself, and finally give away his identity (which arrives in the form of a faxed police sketch moments after he makes his escape, making the whole exercise worthless).

It's a pretty good twist, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert rocks! His film endeavors are frankly great, and completely appropriate for the time (being as they are the apotheosis of the B-movie, though with a bit of a Terry Southern edge). And of course during the seventies he had a bit of a reputation as an intellectual and cultural radical (he still considers himself a staunch liberal and hates the mpaa. One reason to like him if we can't find any others).

I have always been less happy with his television work. When he was working with Siskel, it often seemed that every other review of his was a rave (where Siskel seemed at least a little more critical), and towards the end of the S/E duo it seemed like both were edging in a conservative direction, giving more praise to formulaic hollywood tearjerkers and triumphalist pap. The E/R duo still maintains a bit of this, but he is far, FAR more critical than Roeper, who as far as I can tell has the critical sensibilities of a seven year old. But Ebert clearly saves his vitriol (and quite a bit of his wit) for his written reviews.

Oh, and Schneider deserves every bad review he gets, even if he is an extremely easy target.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 6:44 PM on August 12, 2005


So no body else really liked Duece Bigalow then? Damn.
posted by puke & cry at 6:50 PM on August 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


Thenonly good thing about the first Bigalow movie was Eddie Griffin. Schneider sucks pretty much as badly as any one person can ever suck.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 6:55 PM on August 12, 2005


D'oh! I was going to post about Ebert's best hated-movie reviews. Ya beat me to it. Good stuff.
posted by surferboy at 6:55 PM on August 12, 2005


That's a fairly simple explanation, mr_roboto - he doesn't do any of those things. All you have in The Usual Suspects is a guy who was arrested at the scene of a crime spinning the detective a tall tale so they'll let him go before he can be possibly identified. And perhaps trying to throw suspicion on another (dead) man, but that's less clear.

I've always meant to go through it in detail to see if it actually is internally consistent, and to work out just how much of the supposed plot actually does need to have happened (in some form). But I think it's fairly safe to say that about 95% of the elaborate mechanisms you see in the film never happened at all.
posted by flashboy at 6:56 PM on August 12, 2005


flashboy: Or as an alternative explanation, it falls into that genre of crime film in which the arch villian sets up an elaborate plot to bring down his enemies. But then again, I like ambiguity in film, so it could be read either way.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:01 PM on August 12, 2005


he doesn't do any of those things. All you have in The Usual Suspects is a guy who was arrested at the scene of a crime spinning the detective a tall tale so they'll let him go before he can be possibly identified

But he does kill all the other characters, and he does torch the boat, and he is this big crime boss. I like the movie, but the fact that the twist is the ending gives rise to a few complications with regard to motivation, etc. (not that this can be helped, given the way the film hangs together).
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:03 PM on August 12, 2005


I love movie reviews -- I could read them for hours. The bad ones, that is. The harsher the review, the more fun it is (if well-written). Gotta love rottentomatoes.

Also, Roeper is worthless.
posted by dreamsign at 7:09 PM on August 12, 2005


True. It's certainly not obvious to what extent the point was to set up Keaton as Soze - if the whole thing was an attempt to both bring down Keaton and make people believe the Soze figure was dead, or if that was just an opportunistic by-product. Of if, possibly, the whole thing is actually just taking place in the mind of a six-year-old boy.

But yes. Ambiguity is good.

Or is it?

Or is it?

posted by flashboy at 7:09 PM on August 12, 2005


As far as I am concerned, Deep Rising was a lunatic masterpiece. It is right up there with Jason X.
posted by maxsparber at 7:25 PM on August 12, 2005


Ambiguity is good, but I can see how critics might have a problem with it. I think many critics (including Ebert) tend to privilege plot continuity and coherency to the point of being obtuse, but perhaps seeing so many damn movies with plot holes makes people a little crazy in this respect.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:27 PM on August 12, 2005


I'll cop to having Ebert's book I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. Good times. I like the reviews more the more he hated the film.
posted by Tuwa at 7:32 PM on August 12, 2005


"All the colors are bleeding into one, and I stand alone, above it all, to pass judgment and decide the fate of civilization"

- Roger Ebert
posted by dgaicun at 7:33 PM on August 12, 2005


Funny... If only critics had any power, we might have a few better films.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:40 PM on August 12, 2005


The things I liked the most about The Usual Suspects is that most of the movie plot never happened and the twist hits like a brick, imo. That and Benicio Del Toro.
posted by puke & cry at 7:40 PM on August 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


Wow... I love it when Ebert shows his claws.

I don't always agree with his reviews, but I do always look to see what he said about any given movie I might like, hate, or be unsure about, just because I value his sense of humor, and his viewpoint of movies as something that are supposed to be FUN, foremost. (After reading his articles for a couple of decades, I also think I'd like the guy in person.)

Also, he didn't harsh on any movies I like in his "hated movies" list (and I like a LOT of admittedly questionable movies), so we can stay friends.

(And I never knew he hated The Usual Suspects... that movie irritated me when I saw it in the theater, and I was shocked when it became such a phenomenon.)
posted by BoringPostcards at 7:46 PM on August 12, 2005


A man who lacks a decent respect for horror druids can't be all bad:

Of the many threats to modern man documented in horror films -- the slashers, the haunters, the body snatchers -- the most innocent would seem to be the druids. What, after all, can a druid really do to you, apart from dropping fast-food wrappers on the lawn while worshipping your trees?
posted by rdone at 7:58 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert and Roeper pissed me off when both had negative reviews of Fellowship of the Ring. Ebert totally lost his perspective and wanted it to be exactly like the book. But Roeper, Roeper was guilty of sheer dickheadedness.

Roger is still a great writer and I am pleased to see that once in a while something gets his dander up. But it is nothing like the lion we used to see when he and Siskel were throwing it down. That was when they truly reveled in a great film, and got downright nasty when they found something wretched. I remember when Siskel made his brief return after surgery. He tore the jugular out of some piece of Hollywood swill and looked into the camera and warned all producers of schlock and swill: "I'm back". And when he was gone, I think Ebert just lost his love of the game.
posted by Ber at 8:02 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert's review of North is just mind-bogglingly stupid. Apparently he didn't get the memo it's supposed to be a children's film - this is the intellectual equivalent of going to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and criticising the scenario as unrealistic. No, Ebert, most kids don't get legally divorced from their parents - it's a fucking allegory.

Again proving his irrelevance.


One of Ebert's most charming characteristics is that he DOESN'T go easy on terrible movies with indefensible plots simply because they're made for children, as so many other reviewers would. That's a good thing.
posted by jimmy at 8:05 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert and Roeper pissed me off when both had negative reviews of Fellowship of the Ring.

Nitpicking, but Ebert gave the first one a favorable review. Hell, he didn't even totally hate the Bakshi version.
posted by jimmy at 8:07 PM on August 12, 2005


It's great to find a MetaFilter thread in which I've already read almost every link offered in it. Ebert's movie review site is a treasure trove.

Oh, and to whoever said we didn't expect Catwoman to be awful... oooooh yes we did!

Other good Ebert reviews of bad movies: Constantine (compete with flash-forwards to March of the Penguins), Dukes of Hazard, and Resident Evil, where we find out that laser beams have a sense of humor.

Just so you don't load up on mere junk food, you should know his Great Movies essays are also great. Possible to spend hours reading them, looking for missed classics for which to raid video stores.
posted by JHarris at 8:16 PM on August 12, 2005


Oh, and to whoever said we didn't expect Catwoman to be awful... oooooh yes we did!

If I remember correctly, most people were positive it would suck. I also remember the first trailer coming out and revealing a shitload of stupid dialogue. The next trailer that came out had all the dialogue removed.

Also, the caption on the dukes of hazard review is priceless:

"Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott wear clothing in a scene from "The Dukes of Hazzard."
posted by puke & cry at 8:23 PM on August 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


I love how Ebert hates the most harmless movies ever. It's such a colossal waste of time to hate..say...Tommy Boy. And why? There are about ten films in the theatre at this moment which I belive are more hate-worthy than Freddy Got Fingerd, Stargate, or The Usual Suspects. Hell, I think pretty much everything Nicole Kidman/Jeneane Garafalo/Ashton Kutcher/Wachowski Brothers/Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifa/Russell Crowe/Ron Howard/or Will Smith has ever been involved is more hate worthy. Billy Bob, should have his kneecaps blown out for doing a Bad News Bears remake.

It just seems so easy, and not terribly engaging to pick apart the films he did.

It's like "Well? What did you expect from a movie titled B.A.P.S(Halle Berry)?Or Catwoman?(Halle Berry..again!) Did you expect a masterpice? "

Why waste your time being irritated with a Rob Scneider film, and then give The Honeymooners Movie three stars?
Watching Cedric the Entertainer is like sqeezing your nuts so hard that you pass out.

C'mon now.
posted by onkelchrispy at 8:51 PM on August 12, 2005


Ebert's my favorite critic, but I have to give props to the NY Times' A.O. Scott for writing a review that actually makes me want to watch Freddy Got Fingered.
posted by zsazsa at 9:05 PM on August 12, 2005


onkel that was a really weird string of slashes. hardly any of those actors/directors have anything to do with each other.

and after sling blade,simple plan, and monster's ball, billy bob can get away with an awful lot of terrible shit, in my opinion.
posted by glenwood at 9:24 PM on August 12, 2005


What the actors/directors in the 'weird string of slashes' have to do with one another is that, as I stated: pretty much anything(perhaps not everything)they have participated in has been alltogether more irritating/intelligence insulting and hate-worthy than many of the movies that appeared on Mr. Eberts list.

however, you are right that billy bob, should perhaps be forgiven of his most recent hollywood sphincter buggering.
posted by onkelchrispy at 9:40 PM on August 12, 2005


I still miss Gene Siskel, six years later.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:52 PM on August 12, 2005


Actually, several of the people on onkelchrispy's list have been in at least one good movie at some point in their careers, which takes a bit of the force out of his argument. (I'm not exactly sure what's the criteria that he uses for his harmless movie list: NO bad movie is harmless, anything that puts millions of additional dollars into movie studio pockets encourages them to make more things like that, so it had better be good.)

And Ebert often doesn't like movies. Although recently he does seem a little more forgiving than in the past, this week he gave *two* movies the ol' Zero Star treatment.

Remember that often a movie that you see as bad could be that way just because of your personal local perspective filter. Of course Ebert's not immune to that, none of us are, but he's seen so damn many movies that if he likes a movie that I hated, I'll generally stop and think about it a bit. (Of course, he still makes mistakes -- he gave Space Jam three stars, bah.)

In a way, it's not a movie critic's job to tell you if you'll like something, that's impossible. But after reading a review, you should have some idea of if you're capable of enjoying it.
posted by JHarris at 11:18 PM on August 12, 2005


I heard they're making a sequel to Dungeons and Dragons. Comedy gold.

I like Ebert but prefer Stephen Hunter.
posted by bardic at 2:10 AM on August 13, 2005


jikel_morten:
I really like Ebert, but was shocked to all hell when he gave The Terminal a positive review.

I haven't seen The Terminal, but I think Ebert's fondness for it is attributable to the fact that it echoes Playtime, which was the opening movie at this year's Ebertfest. It's a truly outstanding movie that follows a man through the often soulless modern-day world, and yet celebrates the human connections he makes there. I loved it, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone rent it on video. The scenes are so detailed and so much of the action takes place in little throw-away bits down in one corner of the screen that I don't think anything less than a big screen tv or a projector could do it justice.

That's the beauty of Ebertfest. He selects movies that may have gotten lost in the shuffle and gives people a second chance to see them. I'd recommend that you all do whatever you can to get down here to Champaign-Urbana next year to see the films, except then it would be harder for me to get tickets!
posted by MsMolly at 6:35 AM on August 13, 2005


The majority of moviegoers confuse their own enjoyment of a movie with its quality. Because of this, they are entirely unsuited to appreciating any sort of critical review because they essentially expect the reviewer to act as an accurate proxy for themselves. As we can see in this comment thread, when a reviewer likes even one movie that a particular audience member hates, the latter tends to become vitriolic and personal in their criticism of the critic, usually insulting the critic's intelligence and taste.

Being a movie critic is very difficult because critics are aware that they're not supposed to be, and don't want to be, a "consumer reports" resource for the audience. Yet, their editors at their newspapers and TV stations expect exactly that from the critics because, of course, that's what the audience expects. Because of this, critics themselves are forced to behave in ways that often validate these distorting expectations of the audience (such as giving all movies a one to five star rating). Then when moviegoers use a critic as a "consumer's guide" resource in selecting what movies to see, and are then disappointed, they resent the critic because they feel the critic has failed to deliver what they promised...just as the movie has.

In my opinion, the majority of people who dislike Ebert the most are those who are, by nature, very similar to the mass audience who dislike high-theory critics. That is, both naively expect the critic to act as a mere proxy for themselves (as individuals!), accurately anticipating their reactions. It's just that Ebert's critics' objective criteria for evaluating movies are the narrow confines of supposed (and conventional) "serious film"--Ebert is judged by them to be too commercial.

But Ebert correctly realizes that he is a critic in a medium that is both mass entertainment and serious art and, this being the case, he modulates his individual reviews appropriately. Rather than privileging a particular film subculture's ideas of "quality", or his own ideas of "quality", Ebert instead endeavors to allow individual films to create for themselves the context in which they should be judged. And then he judges them accordingly. As he often says, "it's not what a film is about, it's how it is about it". More to the point, I think his reviews are assessments of how successful a film is in achieving the goal implicit in how a film chooses to be about its subject matter. If a film clearly wants to entertain the mass audience, then Ebert will judge it by that standard. If the film primarily aims to subvert the audience's expectations, then Ebert will judge it according to how successful it is in doing so. These are the sorts of things that a critic with experience and skill and talent actually are able to objectively analyze. Validating a particular individual's aesthetic sensibilities is not his aim, though it is often expected of him.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:09 AM on August 13, 2005 [2 favorites]


So no body else really liked Duece Bigalow then?

I liked it a lot. It was honestly stupid-funny, as opposed to Something About Mary, which was just stupid.

I'd like to read a review of European Gigalo from someone who liked the first one, to see if it's really a bomb or not... but then, I'll probably just download it anyway.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:16 AM on August 13, 2005


Jharris, try reading what I wrote again. I did not state that they have not been in anything good:
pretty much anything(perhaps not everything)they have participated in has been alltogether more irritating/intelligence insulting and hate-worthy than many of the movies that appeared on Mr. Eberts list.

Personally, I dig Ebert which is why I expected more from his Most Hated List.
posted by onkelchrispy at 8:21 AM on August 13, 2005


"to paraphrase bobcat goldthwait, writing about cocaine is like praying about wheatgrass"

This is even better than Ebert's Pulizer prize burn. I laughed so hard at this, I passed out and woke up with keycap marks all over my face.

No shit.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:48 AM on August 13, 2005


hat maui I think I read a quote: "Writing about music is like dancing about painting" that predates the attributions in your link. And for some reason I'd always assumed it came from the classical music world.

"it's not what a film is about, it's how it is about it"
I could never be a critic because my own tastes are too specific, and I couldn't be objective enough to say a movie or play that I thought was dumb accomplished its dumb goals.

OTOH I'm sometimes one of those people who defends "arteestes" from critics. But it is so much fun to bring the snark against something so truly bad as evidently Alone in the Dark is. [From the link above to an EW review by Scott Brown:]
It's about monsters that live in the dark and cause lights to flicker, making them roughly as terrifying as the Clapper.
...This film-like mass was directed by Uwe Boll ....


BTW I'd forgotten how long Roger Ebert's been doing this until the Green Berets review was mentioned.
Everybody is there except the Jewish kid from the Bronx and the guy named Ole with a Swedish accent.

Wait, I thought it was always an Italian guy from Brooklyn.

Finally - Ebert's "I have won a Pulitzer ..." line is making me think about other high-level putdowns outside the world of crappy movies. There's the Churchill "You'll still be ugly" one. Didn't someone also say a similar "You'll still be stupid" line? (And then there was my sister to her now-ex, when he called her fat: "I can always lose weight, but you'll still be bald.")
posted by NorthernLite at 9:06 AM on August 13, 2005


No fucking way. I go to make a fanstastic FPP today and what do I find? Saucy Intruder has beat me to it! You bastard! Now I'll go wait another three months until I find something else worthy.
posted by jdroth at 9:41 AM on August 13, 2005


I love Ebert, and we're all entitled to make mistakes. But I was stunned, stupified and shocked to see that The Great Man had given such a piss poor review to Radley Metzger's 1969 eurosleaze classic "Camille 2000".

While not Metzger's best film (that'd be "The Image" or "The Opening of Misty Beethoven"), it has what I would humbly consider one of the best soundtracks ever. Certainly in an exploitation film.

Piero Piccioni, you da man. And I simply could not let this stand without saying something in your defense.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:43 AM on August 13, 2005


The Jesse Helms meant to link to this page.
posted by grouse at 10:12 AM on August 13, 2005


I rather liked The Terminal. Product placement is sort of inevitable in a move that takes place in an airport, isn't it? You could just as easily argue about product placement in 2001 or Minority Report. As for being predictable, well, Tom Hanks didn't get the girl. How is that predictable? Tom Hanks always gets the girl!
posted by faceonmars at 11:02 AM on August 13, 2005


Actually he didn't get the girl in Castaway either, I don't believe. But I hear what you're saying.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:43 AM on August 13, 2005


He didn't even get to volleyball in Castaway.

Gio damn, that volleyball was good in the movie.
posted by maxsparber at 12:15 PM on August 13, 2005


It's funny that at the end of each bad review is a link to buy or rent that movie. Caligua: "This movie," said the lady in front of me at the drinking fountain, "is the worst piece of shit I have ever seen." To buy or rent Caligua (click here.)

I really loved his closing paragraph about The Village. Where a lesser critic might have just expressed a desire to have his time/money back, Ebert writes:

It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore.

And then keep on rewinding, and rewinding, until we're back at the beginning, and can get up from our seats and walk backward out of the theater and go down the up escalator and watch the money spring from the cash register into our pockets.



One of my yearly rituals is to buy Ebert's Movie Yearbook, read every review, and make a note in the front cover of movies that I overlooked but sound promising. I love his reviews probably more for his style then for his actual opinions (we disagree at least 20% of the time.) Also, his enthusiasm for watching movies is very infectious.

In fact I am reading his book The Great Movies II right now to find additions for my Netflix queue. He may never get me to appreciate Fellini or Bergman, but there are still plenty of classic foreign films I have yet to see.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:33 PM on August 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


I think I'm the only person on the planet who thought "Burn Hollywood Burn" was actually sort of amusing. Well, besides Joe Ezterhas.

But I think you will only enjoy it if you recognize and know the personalities of everone in it.

"Burn" has more than one meaning...

(which, really, does not justify its existance and it really should have lived as an underground tape passed from hand to hand, shrouded in legend...)
posted by InnocentBystander at 4:52 PM on August 13, 2005


Good memory, zsazsa. Everytime that I pass by Freddie Got Fingered in the video store, I think back to A.O. Scott's (probably) four-star review of the movie. The memory is also aided by the giant "Brilliant! - New York Times" On the front.

You can never agree completely with a critic, but I still can never trust a single opinion by that man because of that one review.
posted by Arch Stanton at 4:55 PM on August 13, 2005


Finally - Ebert's "I have won a Pulitzer ..." line is making me think about other high-level putdowns outside the world of crappy movies.
posted by NorthernLite at 9:06 AM PST on August 13


NorthernLite, you might enjoy The Book of Insults, Ancient and Modern: An Amiable History of Insult, Invective, Imprecation and Incivility (Literary, Political and Historical) by Nancy McPhee.

How about this from the world of crappy plays:
George Bernard Shaw sends Winston Churchill two tickets to the opening night of his new play with the note "bring a friend, if you have one." Churchill sends them back with a note saying something like "Sorry, busy that night. Send me two tickets for the second night, if there is one."
posted by BinGregory at 7:16 AM on August 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


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