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Opening Arguments

One thumb down

The show that began as "Siskel & Ebert," then became "Ebert & Roeper" after Siskel died, is finally disappearing after limping along without the ailing Ebert for a couple of years:

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert says he's cutting ties with the television show that he and the late Gene Siskel made famous.

[. . .]

Ebert's announcement came a day after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper said he was leaving the nationally syndicated show.

Roeper said in a statement Sunday that he had failed to agree on a contract extension with Disney-ABC Domestic Television so his last appearance on the show will air the weekend of August 16-17.

Sounds like it got a little ugly there at the end; too bad. I was a tremendous fan of the original incarnation of the show. It was a kick to watch two heartland guys become the most famous movie critics in the country, because they got such a kick out of arguing with each other over something they both loved. They managed to sound knowledgeable and passionate without coming across as pompous (or snobbish, Nance). I've always liked movies. Those two made me love them.

And they taught me something else, too, about how to disagree without being disagreeable, how to argue without being argumentative. I was just beginning as an editorial writer when I started watchting them, and they were more like my mentors than my mentors were. If only all who make a living dispensing opinions could be as cheerfully productive.

UPDATE: Commentary from the Los Angeles Times, which also includes a couple of clips from the Siskel & Ebert days.

Posted in: Film


Bob G.
Wed, 07/23/2008 - 1:18pm

Hey Leo, maybe you and I should give it a go.
How about it?
We could sip wine, review movies, and gripe about how our feet used to stick to the floors of the theaters and why Mrs. Smith didn't leave her 2 year old demonic offspring at HOME instead of seating it next to US.

Sounds like a good 1/2 hour of quality TV to me.


(known to give half the peace sign to people often)

Leo Morris
Wed, 07/23/2008 - 2:31pm

Too bad Ebert still has the rights to "two thumbs up." Maybe we can do a wine rating system -- from "That's a one-bottle of Thunderbird movie" for anything with Adam Sandler or Stevem Seagall in it to the "four bottles of cabernet" films like "Fargo," "Monster's Ball" and "No Country For Old Men."

Harl Delos
Wed, 07/23/2008 - 3:38pm

If Seagal gets one bottle of Thunderbird - and I'd say that's a fair - then Sandler surely should get a half-can of generic cola from the party last weekend, that someone dropped a cigarette butt in.

Bob G.
Wed, 07/23/2008 - 6:55pm

LMAO, Leo...brilliant!

(was that a sip or a swig?)