Roger Ebert

Roger
Ebert
1942
2013

American Film Critic, Journalist, and Screenwriter, awarded Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

Author Quotes

This film is based on an actual 2004 event that took place at a McDonald's in Mount Washington, Ky. Google it and you'll find most of the same details. If you're not one of the film's walk-outs, you'll discover at the end that 70 similar deceptions have occurred in the United States... If the stunt worked 70 times, they must prove something ? perhaps that we are afraid of authority. I know that when a traffic cop pulls me over, I'm frightened ? scared enough that I drive safely and am almost never pulled over.

To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

We can laugh at comedies like this for two reasons: Because we feel superior to the characters, or because we pity or like them. I do not much like laughing down at people, which is why the comedies of Adam Sandler make me squirmy (most people, I know, laugh because they like him). In the case of Napoleon Dynamite, I certainly don't like him, but then the movie makes no attempt to make him likable. Truth is, it doesn't even try to be a comedy. It tells his story and we are supposed to laugh because we find humor the movie pretends it doesn't know about.

What did I think about this movie? As a film critic, I liked it. I liked the in-jokes and the self-aware characters. At the same time, I was aware of the incredible level of gore in this film. It is *really* violent. Is the violence defused by the ironic way the film uses it and comments on it? For me, it was. For some viewers, it will not be, and they will be horrified. Which category do you fall in? Here's an easy test: When I mentioned Fangoria, did you know what I was talking about?

Why has Scandinavia been producing such good thrillers? Maybe because their filmmakers can't afford millions for CGI and must rely on cheaper elements like, you know, stories and characters.

This is a film about ? and also for ? not only obsessed clerks in record stores, but the video store clerks who have seen all the movies, and the bookstore employees who have read all the books. Also for bartenders, waitresses, greengrocers in health food stores, kitchen slaves at vegetarian restaurants, the people at GNC who know all the herbs, writers for alternative weeklies, disc jockeys on college stations, salespeople in retro clothing shops, tattoo artists and those they tattoo, poets, artists, musicians, novelists, and the hip, the pierced and the lonely. They may not see themselves but they will recognize people they know.

To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

We can now have action movies with two stars where one might be African American and one might be Asian American. One of them doesn't have to be white, and the other one doesn't have to be the ethnic sidekick. We're way over that. And I think it's happening in society, too.

What happens in a fantasy can be more involving than what happens in life, and thank goodness for that.

Why is it that English, drama and music teachers are most often recalled as our mentors and inspirations? Maybe because artists are rarely members of the popular crowd.

This is a movie that comes in two parts: It knows exactly what to do with special effects, but doesn't have a clue as to how two people in love might act and talk and think. Movies like Top Gun are hard to review because the good parts are so good and the bad parts are so relentless. The dogfights are absolutely the best since Clint Eastwood's electrifying aerial scenes in Firefox. But look out for the scenes where the people talk to one another.

To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion.

We can't help identifying with the protagonist. It's coded in our movie-going DNA.

What Husbands and Wives argues is that many "rational" relationships are actually not as durable as they seem, because somewhere inside every person is a child crying me! me! me! We say we want the other person to be happy. What we mean is, we want them to be happy with us, just as we are, on our terms... Beneath the urgency of all the older characters - both men, both women, and even the older dating partners they experiment with - is the realization that life is short, that time is running out, that life sells you a romantic illusion and neglects to tell you that you can't have it, because when you take any illusion and make it flesh, its hair begins to fall out, and it has B.O., and it asks you what your sign is. True love involves loving another's imperfections, which are the parts that tend to endure.

Why must a film explain everything? Why must every motivation be spelled out? Aren't many films fundamentally the same film, with only the specifics changed? Aren't many of them telling the same story? Seeking perfection, we see what our dreams and hopes might look like. We realize they come as a gift through no power of our own, and if we lose them, isn't that almost worse than never having had them in the first place? There will be many who find "To the Wonder" elusive and too effervescent. They'll be dissatisfied by a film that would rather evoke than supply. I understand that, and I think Terrence Malick does, too. But here he has attempted to reach more deeply than that: to reach beneath the surface, and find the soul in need. [last movie review Roger Ebert filed]

This is a painful movie to watch. But it is also exhilarating, as all good movies are, because we are watching the director and actors venturing beyond any conventional idea of what a modern movie can be about. Here there is no plot, no characters to identify with, no hope. But there is care: The filmmakers care enough about these people to observe them very closely, to note how they look and sound and what they feel.

To see strong acting like this is exhilarating. In a time of flashy directors who slice and dice their films in a dizzy editing rhythm, it is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. Directors grow great by subtracting, not adding, and Eastwood does nothing for show, everything for effect.

We don't have a lot of class-conscious filmmaking.

What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable.

Wild Things is lurid trash, with a plot so twisted they're still explaining it during the closing titles. It's like a three-way collision between a softcore sex film, a soap opera and a B-grade noir. I liked it. Movies such as this either entertain or offend audiences; there's no neutral ground. Either you're a connoisseur of melodramatic comic vulgarity, or you're not. You know who you are. I don't want to get any postcards telling me this movie is in bad taste. I'm warning you: It is in bad taste. Bad taste elevated to the level of demented sleaze.

This is a plot, if ever there was one, to illustrate King Lear's complaint, "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport." I am aware this is the second time in two weeks I have been compelled to quote Lear, but there are times when Eminem simply will not do.

Toy Story creates a universe out of a couple of kids? bedrooms, a gas station, and a stretch of suburban highway. Its heroes are toys, which come to life when nobody is watching. Its conflict is between an old-fashioned cowboy who has always been a little boy's favorite toy, and the new space ranger who may replace him. The villain is the mean kid next door who takes toys apart and puts them back together again in macabre combinations. And the result is a visionary roller-coaster ride of a movie. For the kids in the audience, a movie like this will work because it tells a fun story, contains a lot of humor, and is exciting to watch. Older viewers may be even more absorbed, because Toy Story, the first feature made entirely by computer, achieves a three-dimensional reality and freedom of movement that is liberating and new. The more you know about how the movie was made, the more you respect it.

We exist to have our wealth moved up the economic chain out of our reach.

What in the world is a leave of presence? It means I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me. What's more, I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review. ? So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies.

Wild Wild West is a comedy dead zone. You stare in disbelief as scenes flop and die. The movie is all concept and no content; the elaborate special effects are like watching money burn on the screen. You know something has gone wrong when a story is about two heroes in the Old West, and the last shot is of a mechanical spider riding off into the sunset.

Author Picture
First Name
Roger
Last Name
Ebert
Birth Date
1942
Death Date
2013
Bio

American Film Critic, Journalist, and Screenwriter, awarded Pulitzer Prize for Criticism