Ebert gushes:
June 17, 2002 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Ebert gushes: After seeing Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," my mind was churning with amazement and curiosity. Talking to Spielberg and his star, Tom Cruise, I found myself not an interviewer but simply a moviegoer, talking the way you do when you walk out of a movie that blindsides you with its brilliance.
posted by kliuless (40 comments total)
Interesting article, and the movie sounds better than I had expected it to be. So why did the bit about the spiders remind me of this?
posted by maudlin at 7:00 AM on June 17, 2002

Yeah, whatever. He also gushed over these turds:

Bad, very Bad, Inexcusable
posted by plaino at 7:05 AM on June 17, 2002

For those who don't feel like clicking through, those "turds" cited above are:
Speed 2
The Haunting

And Star Wars Episode 1, which Ebert called "an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking."
posted by ColdChef at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2002

Plaino: Three stars means "recommending," not "gushing". Four is the max.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2002

And this from the man who hated Blue Velvet, Blade Runner and Raising Arizona.
posted by ed at 7:36 AM on June 17, 2002

Hey, he changed his mind about Blade Runner.

That being said, I've found myself agreeing with Ebert less and less in recent years.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:53 AM on June 17, 2002

Perhaps he's just not the same without Siskel keeping him in line.
posted by crunchland at 8:23 AM on June 17, 2002

For your convenience, Ebert's original reviews of Blue Velvet (1 star), Raising Arizona (1.5 stars), and the Blade Runner Director's Cut (3 stars).

For what it's worth, I'm going to see Minority Report in its opening weekend, which I rarely do.
posted by waxpancake at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2002

I always agreed with Siskel more than Ebert, anyway. These days this bloke is my critic of choice.
posted by Marquis at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2002

I'm just glad that this PKD adaptation sounds like it will be better than Total Recall. Or Screamers. Or Impostor.
posted by Dean King at 8:38 AM on June 17, 2002

Blade Runner is one of those movies that I really feel I should like, but don't.
posted by ODiV at 8:45 AM on June 17, 2002

Like Dean K., I am simply stoked that PKD is finally now starting to get the props I have always thought he deserved.

Asimov once wrote an article in which he claimed the Science Fiction is not an actual genre of fiction because a SF story is always a SF romance or an SF action or SF mystery. The Science Fiction part is merely a tool to relay the story. And as a massive PKD fan, I really have a hard time calling his stories Science Fiction but metaphysical fiction sounds pretentious.

I probably catch it in an opening day matinee.
posted by Dagobert at 8:58 AM on June 17, 2002

Pfft. Props by whom? PKD has always been liked by sci-fi fans and Hollywood. But aside from giggling like a first grader over his last name, your average Britney fan still couldn't care less. Though I've heard him called one of the greatest fiction writers of the 20th century. I think that's a little hard to swallow, and I'm an admirer. He was a borderline schizophrenic who made a living at his delusions.
posted by crunchland at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2002

"a borderline schizophrenic who made a living at his delusions" describes any artist, I think, except for the "made a living" bit.
posted by dong_resin at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2002

All right, then let's go as far as to say he was a fullblown schizophrenic. I mean, he supposedly believed all the Valis stuff, and also though Nixon was really out to get him.
posted by crunchland at 9:31 AM on June 17, 2002

posted by crunchland at 9:31 AM on June 17, 2002

Three stars means "recommending," not "gushing".

I mentioned them not so much for the original review but for the times since he has defended his reviews of those films which elevates the reviews to an accumulated "gushing."
posted by plaino at 9:54 AM on June 17, 2002

I agree with his opinion of The Haunting. The plot was crap, but the movie was so beautiful that I did not care. After I watched the movie, I wanted to live in that damn house. It was amazing. I really regret that I did not see it in the theater.

But I have no desire to ever see another Tom Cruise movie. Ever.
posted by bargle at 10:05 AM on June 17, 2002

Ever since his review of Kingpin, I've been somwhat skeptical of the thumb.

So far, I must say that the Tomatometer has yet to let me down. A quantitative, scientific accumulation of movie reviews, thatswhatI'mtalkinbout. If a movie garners anything above 75% on this site, I'm feelin' pretty good I won't be wasting my money.
posted by Fofer at 10:35 AM on June 17, 2002

Ebert gives just one star to Blue Velvet and a whopping four stars to Mulholland Drive? How about some consistency?
posted by dayvin at 10:38 AM on June 17, 2002

An excellent critique of Ubik and Dick's work in general and his place in the canon can be found here. It's by the Polish SF author Lem, and he compares Dick's metafictions to the work of Borges.

Couldn't find a copy of the essay online, but the book is worth reading.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:41 AM on June 17, 2002

Fofer - MetaCritic, which I linked to above, is pretty much identical to Rotten Tomatoes, but it does it for music, too. Dig.
posted by Marquis at 10:44 AM on June 17, 2002

Yeah, I have Metacritic on my Handspring Treo... thanks to AvantGo channels.

I just like RottenTomato's attitude and layout better.
posted by Fofer at 10:59 AM on June 17, 2002

When did it become illegal to dislike "Blue Velvet" now? Does the American Film Institute now have the power to issue administrative regulations related to taste? Sheesh. You want critics to agree on everything, or to not challenge you, even when doing so in an impersonal medium? (Y'know, disagreement, at the least, always gives future E! and A&E, etc., documentarians to talk about - a la, "Pauline Kael hated '2001,'" but now most agree it was a masterwork.")
posted by raysmj at 11:19 AM on June 17, 2002

FWIW, Ebert had this to say about consistency in his June 2 Movie Answer Man column: "I was deluged with messages asking how I could dislike Two when I liked One. My reviews are based on my immediate reaction to the film I have just seen. To skew them in order to make them "consistent" would be dishonest."
posted by dmo at 11:43 AM on June 17, 2002

raysmj: It isn't illegal to dislike Blue Velvet, but I find it difficult to trust a critic (or, for that matter, a person) who doesn't go absolutely bugfuck over that film, or who at least acknowledges it as a major influence in bringing avant-garde cinematic tics to mainstream cinema.
posted by ed at 12:04 PM on June 17, 2002

In other words, dissent isn't tolerated in discussions of culture. OK. That's the way to advance culture, let me tell you.
posted by raysmj at 12:21 PM on June 17, 2002

One thing I've noticed about Ebert is his bias in favor of director-worship. He liked Phantom Menace before it even came out because he adores Lucas. Same with Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut. He writes thoughtful, articulate, intelligent reviews and I still like to read him but he has become very much an establishment critic who is careful about panning the latest work from an auteur. The best critics are courageous in their opinions.
posted by vacapinta at 12:25 PM on June 17, 2002

I find it difficult to trust a critic (or, for that matter, a person) who doesn't go absolutely bugfuck over that film, or who at least acknowledges it as a major influence in bringing avant-garde cinematic tics to mainstream cinema.

but it hadn't made any sort of influence when he wrote the review. it hadn't even come out when he wrote the review.

I'd find it a lot more diffucult to trust a critic who went around constantly revising his reviews to make sure his views on a movie at the time of its release matched popular opinion 15 years later.

i also find it very easy to understand why someone wouldn't like Blue Velvet.
posted by chrisege at 12:51 PM on June 17, 2002

A review{er} doesn't have to agree with you to be useful.

I think MR will be one of the best sf films in a while, easily surpassing the dreadful AI in Spielberg's oeuvre, but of course many of the things in the film are not original with Spielberg -- like advertising that speaks directly to you.
posted by dhartung at 1:01 PM on June 17, 2002

Lets not forget Ebert totally ejaculated all over the place with Dark City, which was decent at best. Ebert values novelty and style over (in my opinion) actual quality, and is flamingly pretentious.
I generally read The Filthy Critic's reviews and find them suitable to aid me in making decisions.

Also, my new motto is:I went absolutely bugfuck over Blue Velvet, You can trust me. Now sign right here.
posted by fuq at 1:52 PM on June 17, 2002

Dark City critical opinion rating at Rotten Tomatoes: 78 percent.
posted by raysmj at 3:26 PM on June 17, 2002

Not only did Ebert get hard for Dark City, the dude did a commentary track for the DVD!
posted by Fofer at 3:43 PM on June 17, 2002

Ebert values novelty and style over (in my opinion) actual quality, and is flamingly pretentious.
If that were actually the case I wouldn't disagree with his reviews as often as i do. I like novelty/style/pretension.
posted by juv3nal at 4:38 PM on June 17, 2002

Damn it. I wanted to see Minority Report so much, but now that I've found out that there spiders in the film (yeah, even mechanical ones), I won't bother. I don't want to see a spider in my life ever again.

It's such a shame... Couldn't they have just used mechanical dogs instead?
posted by kchristidis at 8:07 PM on June 17, 2002

Yesterday's Chicago Tribune had articles on both PKD and MR.
posted by hobbes at 9:12 PM on June 17, 2002

thanks! (metafilter/metafilter :)

what i think is awesome, and PKD might appreciate, is piers anthony's novelization of total recall! but like i think now it'd be more just action figures, taco bell tie-ins, possibly a comic and maybe a cartoon and such :)

also charlie kaufmann and emma-kate croghan were slated to direct "a scanner darkly" but apparently george clooney and steven soderbergh have taken over and given it to richard linklater.

i'm not sure how i feel about that. like i'd prefer the former and am pretty ambivalent about the latter (as in they are pure evil!) like godard's alphaville to truffaut's fahrenheit 451 or something. although it'd be nice just to see it get made i guess :)
posted by kliuless at 6:38 AM on June 18, 2002

First I hear that they're making a film of A Scanner Darkly, one of my favourite books ever, and think, 'Nooooo! Hollywood will wreck it'... then that the script-writer is Charlie Kaufman of Being John Malkovich fame, and think, 'Hmm, maybe this will work'... and now hear that he's off the project, and it's back to 'Nooooo!'

But MR sounds promising.
posted by rory at 7:37 AM on June 18, 2002

It's obvious that we're all hurting over these issues. Perhaps if we all sat down together and watched Life As A House and just thought about, y'know, how fleeting stuff is or something.
posted by Skot at 8:43 AM on June 18, 2002

Of course it'll be good. Most high profile Tom Cruise films have been in has been mindblowing.

Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia, Rain Man, Top Gun, Jerry Maguire..

Okay, so Mission Impossible I + II run kinda close to the line..

But, he's great. He's no comedian, but he has a very interesting charm about him and he rarely seems to be acting his parts.. he just is the character (in a somewhat similar fashion to Whoopi Goldberg, IMHO).
posted by wackybrit at 9:34 AM on June 18, 2002

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