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  #51  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:02 PM
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What do you think an English degree is? It's a degree in criticism.



What films do you think Ebert gave unfavorable reviews to because he didn't appreciate their genre? My memory of his work was that he was very genre-friendly, usually understood their conventions, and would take those conventions into account when writing his reviews.
I dont recall critiquing anything as an English major, but even if so, are you saying all criticism is identical, that one good at food reviews would automatically be good at Broadway reviews?

None off hand, I was just pointing out I would always mention that during any review, if I have a bias, so readers would know and take with a grain a salt for example a sci-fi review from a guy who hates sci-fi. Everyone has genres they dont love.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:07 PM
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I'm with those in this thread who have said he never had the power to ruin anybody's career. But let's say he did. What evidence do you have that he ever took pleasure in it?
So he published a book titled "Your Movie Sucks", listing all the movies that "suck" and going into glorious detail as to why they "suck" out of a sense of moral obligation? Clearly he relished knocking down those who dared make films that did not entertain him.
  #53  
Old 06-05-2019, 07:14 PM
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I dont recall critiquing anything as an English major, but even if so, are you saying all criticism is identical, that one good at food reviews would automatically be good at Broadway reviews?
Really? That's literally all I did as an English major. What did your classes consist of? Did you not read books and then write papers about those books?

And no, not all criticism is the same, but a strong grounding in literary criticism gives you most of the tools you need to talk about narrative art forms. It (should) teach you how to identify themes and subtext, recognize and dissect symbols, discuss plot and character arcs, and generally give you the skill to discuss how and why a particular story works or does not work.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:17 PM
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Helped usher in the era of critic as star (those who can't, critique!), when no critic of any art form should be held in such esteem. Over the top savage reviews to get attention to himself, and his brand.
With apologize to Dorothy Parker:

And it is that word esteem, my darlings, that marks the first place in this thread at which Tweeming Masshole Fwowed up.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:19 PM
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Really? That's literally all I did as an English major. What did your classes consist of? Did you not read books and then write papers about those books?

And no, not all criticism is the same, but a strong grounding in literary criticism gives you most of the tools you need to talk about narrative art forms. It (should) teach you how to identify themes and subtext, recognize and dissect symbols, discuss plot and character arcs, and generally give you the skill to discuss how and why a particular story works or does not work.
Mostly creative writing, but sorry yes of course reading works and discussing themes and the like, but not necessarily rating their worth as works of art.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:26 PM
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There's a standard rule of thumb. Critics have no influence on how well a blockbuster film does at the box office. Those movies will be well advertised. Lots of people who never read or care about reviews will come to them. They will do well or poorly at the box office depending on how much average film viewers like them. On the other hand, critics can improve the chances that a movie that isn't advertised well and isn't shown in a lot of theaters will get noticed. (That sort of movies are basically either American independent films or foreign films.) Critics can see that such films get seen by a lot of viewers and make a reasonable amount of money. That's the job of critics - to make sure that good films not backed by movie distributors with lots of money can still be seen by a reasonable number of people.
  #57  
Old 06-05-2019, 08:34 PM
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Roger Ebert was the person who explained to Oprah how she could make more money if she syndicated her show than if she took any of the offers the networks were dangling at her. I consider Oprah to have been an overall net positive for America, so that's one for Ebert.

Plus, he told a hilarious story about his early days at the Sun-Times that proved Ann Landers actually had a sense of humor, so that's two for him.
  #58  
Old 06-05-2019, 08:49 PM
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Go back and read the "your movie sucks" quote in context.
Yeah. If you think this is the kind of thing he was always saying, you may have him confused with Jay Sherman.
  #59  
Old 06-05-2019, 10:06 PM
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Regarding the art community I agree 100%- the average person DOES need guidance on how to interpret Mapplethorpe, or Piss Christ

Difference here is most respected art critics have degrees in art history, art theory, etc.- Ebert was apparently an English and journalism major? So then, what makes his opinion on a film more important or valid than yours, mine or any other adult capable of watching a film, understanding it and being able to write a review of it? I can say that there have been times in my life I probably watched more movies a week than he did, what does that mean? Is a morbidly obese persons' restaurant review more valid than a thin ones?

I can understand taste based reviews, just let us know you dont like musicals before you review one, and maybe just tell what you did and didnt like about it and why you think it did or didnt work or resonate with you, without the attention grabbing insults?
A journalist who concentrates on a particular subject matter, takes it seriously, seeks information and a broad experience of the subject matter, talks to others (including technical experts and scholars) can very well become one of the premier experts in a field, including film criticism. You cant tell me Ebert want as good as someone with a formal film criticism degree. He spent his life doing exactly what one would do.

And the idea that Ebert ushered in an era of critics as Stars is nonsense. He was preceded by Pauline Kael, for example, and by an entire tradition of powerful critics whose single word could shit down a show. That era was over by the time Ebert arrived in the scene.

What Ebert did was be the prime example of someone making thoughtful criticism entertaining and accessible to the general public, and on the terms that the general public experiences film.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:13 PM
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The claim that he was not reliable on details is valid. A friend witnessed him at a screening at Chicago's Music Box Theater duck out to the snack bar after the feature had started. If something vitally important happened in the first ten minutes, he missed it.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:45 PM
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I and most of my fellow 90s kids find Freddy Got Fingered to be hilarious, but I'll grant that it's extremely over the top. I wouldn't hold it against Ebert to not "get" that particular piece of cinema.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:53 PM
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an entire tradition of powerful critics whose single word could shit down a show.
Hee hee.
  #63  
Old 06-05-2019, 11:04 PM
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Roger Ebert was very much like the fictional food critic , Anton Ego, from Pixar's Ratatouille. Roger LOVED movies, and if he had to watch a bad movie, he wasn't shy about saying so. This obvious passion was expressed in wonderful writing. If anyone thinks he's just done two-bit wannabe who got famous accidentally, I challenge then to actually read his stuff.
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:09 PM
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I and most of my fellow 90s kids find Freddy Got Fingered to be hilarious, but I'll grant that it's extremely over the top. I wouldn't hold it against Ebert to not "get" that particular piece of cinema.
In its defense, if you repackaged it as a lost collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Picasso, pompous types like Ebert would probably drool over it. Similarly, if you took the piano/sausage contraption and had someone play it and chant the tune in a modern art gallery in London in 1969, some art critics may have loved that as well, finding it replete with some deep meaning. If nothing else, if forced, a decent case can be made for it as an example of avant-garde experimental cinema, even if that wasnt the intent.

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  #65  
Old 06-05-2019, 11:28 PM
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In its defense, if you repackaged it as a lost collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Picasso, pompous types like Ebert would probably drool over it. Similarly, if you took the piano/sausage contraption and had someone play it and chant the tune in a modern art gallery in London in 1969, some art critics may have loved that as well, finding it replete with some deep meaning. If nothing else, if forced, a decent case can be made for it as an example of avant-garde experimental cinema, even if that wasnt the intent.
I'm one of the few who loved Freddy Got Fingered. Granted, I've only seen it once (actually, maybe twice) , so I don't want to ruin my fond memories of it. It's just so over-the-top, anarchic humor, that I loved it. I was a little bit isolated from North American culture when I saw it: living abroad with no idea who Tom Green was or what his humor was like. Saw it at the English language video store and rented it. The movie was one WTF after another, but done so well that I could not help but appreciate it. I had no idea the movie was so universally trashed, but felts some vindication that A.O. Scott of the New York Times liked it.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:19 AM
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I'm one of the few who loved Freddy Got Fingered. Granted, I've only seen it once (actually, maybe twice) , so I don't want to ruin my fond memories of it. It's just so over-the-top, anarchic humor, that I loved it. I was a little bit isolated from North American culture when I saw it: living abroad with no idea who Tom Green was or what his humor was like. Saw it at the English language video store and rented it. The movie was one WTF after another, but done so well that I could not help but appreciate it. I had no idea the movie was so universally trashed, but felts some vindication that A.O. Scott of the New York Times liked it.
I can say without hyperbole that I got more laughs out of Freddy Got Fingered than last year's Happytime Murders and Holmes and Watson combined. Whatever he yelled at the person as he was driving off at the beginning was hilarious!

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  #67  
Old 06-06-2019, 12:41 AM
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I consider Oprah to have been an overall net positive for America, so that's one for Ebert.

What were the good parts of what she has done?
  #68  
Old 06-06-2019, 02:38 AM
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Even if Ebert could cause a film to flop... so what? So some investors lose some money. Big whoop. The lighting technicians still get paid.

Same think about careers. I don't see any problem with threatening artists with career destruction - the pressure just makes them better. Survival of the fittest, baby! And if they do crash and burn, some other artist will come and replace them. There's no shortage of film students graduating each year.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:56 AM
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Cimino ruined Ciminos career. A flop can be forgiven a bloated unnecessarily expense flop can not. His career was ruined before the movie came out due to his own actions. It would have had to be the best movie ever to overcome the production issues. It wasnt, in any form.
Michael Cimino was the quintessential case of a man with one great movie in him (well, one and a half - Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was pretty good). Heaven's Gate was mediocre at best; Year of the Dragon was crap; and the less said about Desperate Hours, the better. I think all Ebert did was help Hollywood figure out the truth: that Deer Hunter was a fluke.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:42 AM
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Roger Ebert was very much like the fictional food critic , Anton Ego, from Pixar's Ratatouille. Roger LOVED movies, and if he had to watch a bad movie, he wasn't shy about saying so. This obvious passion was expressed in wonderful writing. If anyone thinks he's just done two-bit wannabe who got famous accidentally, I challenge then to actually read his stuff.
And I suspect he would agree with Ego when he said:
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In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.
In the end, a movie review is just a movie review. I enjoyed Ebert's writing well enough but was never a particular fan (I enjoyed his interactions with Siskel but frankly agreed with Siskel more than Ebert and once Siskel was gone I didn't really follow Ebert). That he enjoyed such fame and professional success was down to hard work, talent and a certain amount of luck; if writing reviews that people take seriously was such an easy task there presumably wouldn't be so many mediocre critics working in the business today.

While all critical work involves stating a personal opinion, like the aforementioned English papers the opinions need to be backed up by a substantial argument in support and appropriate context, or else they fail in their purpose, which is to convince the audience of the rightness of the conclusions. And a critic that cannot convince others that their review is justified is a critic soon out of work (or at least out of work at any credible publication).

Personally I'm a big fan of Mark Kermode who reviews for the BBC and various print media; he's another critic with a clear and evident love of the medium (and no snobbish pretensions - his doctoral dissertation was on the horror genre and he's made no secret of his personal love for Cannibal Holocaust). Kermode admits that he doesn't always get it right but he is always able to justify why he said what he said about a film.

(And, BTW, I enjoyed My Dinner With Andre.)
  #71  
Old 06-06-2019, 07:39 AM
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I can say without hyperbole that I got more laughs out of Freddy Got Fingered than last year's Happytime Murders and Holmes and Watson combined. Whatever he yelled at the person as he was driving off at the beginning was hilarious!
Damning with faint praise there.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:52 AM
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I dont recall critiquing anything as an English major...
That is impossible.

You may be confusing critique with review. REVIEWS are a dime a dozen. A review is just "this is good" or "this is bad." CRITICISM, in the literary sense, is not a review; it means an examination of the technical and artists elements of a movie (or book, album, whatever) and what the movie is meant to do, does or doesn't do, and what it means in the history and context of cinema.

It being June 6, I'll use "Saving Private Ryan" as my example; if I say that "Saving Private Ryan" is a great movie, that's a review. I could go on to review parts of the movie - Tom Hanks is great, the movie is well paced and the use of humor well timed, the script has a few holes in it, etc. etc. That's all my opinion of how good it is, a review.

If I say that "Saving Private Ryan" fundamentally changed the way war movies have been made in the last 21 years because Spielberg and his crew decided to make it extremely, graphically realistic in a manner and to an extent almost never seen in Hollywood war films before that, while abandoning many of the cliches typical of the genre, that's criticism. I could also point out that his use of washed-out color in the film was also relatively novel at the time, and was meant for a 1998 audience to perceive the events the way they might a black-and-white war film of the era, and and since been copied by many, many films in the genre but is often overused, even in movies where the use of drained color really doesn't make any sense ... you get the idea.

You had to have engaged in criticism, in the literary sense of the word, as an English major, or you wouldn't have lasted a month. Criticism is what being an English major IS.
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  #73  
Old 06-06-2019, 08:19 AM
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I always felt Ebert was top notch in his criticism. He saw more in movies and was a far better writer than anyone else.

Siskel was also fine, though if they differed I'd go with him if it was a comedy and Ebert if it was a drama. But Ebert opinion was always a solid one and he was able to articulate the reasons for it better than just about anyone -- a key but overlooked element in any review.
Huh. When they were more alive I'd go with Ebert for the comedies and Siskel for the dramas. I must have a warped sense of humor.

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Old 06-06-2019, 09:17 AM
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That is impossible.

You may be confusing critique with review. REVIEWS are a dime a dozen. A review is just "this is good" or "this is bad." CRITICISM, in the literary sense, is not a review; it means an examination of the technical and artists elements of a movie (or book, album, whatever) and what the movie is meant to do, does or doesn't do, and what it means in the history and context of cinema.


You had to have engaged in criticism, in the literary sense of the word, as an English major, or you wouldn't have lasted a month. Criticism is what being an English major IS.


I get what you're saying, and agree and truth be told, I didn't last much longer than a month!
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:17 AM
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Ebert was my favorite critic, for a two basic reasons:

1. He was an entertaining writer.
2. I could always kinda tell if I'd agree with him.

I have unusual and highly varied tastes, so there's no critics I agree with 100% of the time. Ebert was good enough at explaining what he observed that I could generally tell whether his assessment held water for me.

I didn't always agree with HIM, but I almost always agreed with the impression I took away from his reviews.

Also, he gets bonus points for correctly praising Escape from LA, a movie that never quite got the cult following it deserved, and for introducing me to Sita Sings the Blues, a movie that's easily in my personal top fifty and I doubt I ever would have heard of if he didn't champion it.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:20 AM
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I liked Ebert, I watched him on TV and I even owned one of his books at one time.

I didn't always agree with him, but I generally found his reasons for liking or disliking a movie to be interesting and worthy of consideration. I often was able to use his reasons to decide whether or not to see a movie, because he liked it for reasons that meant I would not, or hated it for reasons that would make me like it. It wasn't just contrarianism - often he and I liked the same movies, or hated them, but his reasons were always better articulated than mine. It didn't always work - he hated Freddy Got Fingered and so did I, but I came out of FGF at least with the recognition that it was driven by a unifying artistic vision - that of being so over the top that it grossed out anybody, even a jaded film critic.

And let's face it - a creatively scathing review of a genuinely bad movie is often more entertaining than the movie itself.

Plus he and I shared a taste - a half-sneaking admiration for the Really Bad Movie. A Really Bad Movie is completely, un-self-consciously, un-ironically awful, so much so that it has its own charms. The Lair of the White Worm was like that, and I saw it based entirely on Ebert's review of how charmingly atrocious it was. And was not disappointed. See also the incomparable Infra-Man, a sci-fi, kung-fu, chop-schlocky celebration of all that is least forgivable in films.

Art criticism is an inherently trivial occupation - those who can, do, those who can't, criticize - at its best, criticism can inform and enhance, as well as poor mouth and pan.

Sometimes he was wrong, but he was never boring.

RIP, Roger. Two thumbs up.

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  #77  
Old 06-06-2019, 11:36 AM
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In its defense, if you repackaged it as a lost collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Picasso, pompous types like Ebert would probably drool over it. Similarly, if you took the piano/sausage contraption and had someone play it and chant the tune in a modern art gallery in London in 1969, some art critics may have loved that as well, finding it replete with some deep meaning. If nothing else, if forced, a decent case can be made for it as an example of avant-garde experimental cinema, even if that wasnt the intent.
No, no, no. Ebert was the opposite of that. He was one of the earliest critics to champion genre and popular films. He was not part of the Andrew Sarris/Pauline Kael cadre who Americanized Truffaut's auteur notions (and by doing so altered them, bringing in cultural pomposity that Truffaut and his followers scorned, at least at first).

Ebert was a nerd. As a teen, he wrote letters to the science fiction magazines and had his own fanzine. He had two stories published in Amazing and Fantastic magazines.

Most people don't remember how amazingly, fantastically uncool it was to be an sf nerd in the years before Star Trek and Star Wars. I was one and I know. You were a cultural outsider, deemed a priori to be an illiterate, incapable of understanding true art.

Ebert postulated that a film was good or not good at its own level, whether or not it accomplished its goals, not whether it conformed to theory or an outsider's template. That's why he could write a cult classic like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which works almost perfectly in being the kind of movie it is.

To hammer this point home, read the reviews of Star Wars by Ebert, by Kael, and by New York magazine's John Simon, the person you can and should work up a really fine hate for.

And also note that all three are indeed reviews, not criticism. Ebert's primary fault was that he reviewed for a daily newspaper. He churned out several reviews a week for decades. Nobody can be brilliant five days a week. Kael and Simon had the luxury of writing once a week for magazines, and Kael only reviewed six months of the year, alternating with Penelope Gilliat, whose one movie credit was the high-brow, Oscar-nominated Sunday, Bloody Sunday. Sneak Previews contained no criticism of anything ever. Judging him as a critic for tv work is objectively wrong.

Ebert's actual criticism probably was found only at the seminars in which he dissected a great film shot-by-shot to see what made it work and what decisions went into it. I never went to any but they are generally lauded.

Ebert was not primarily a film critic. He was not the first nationally-known film reviewer. (That probably was Judith Crist, Simon's predecessor at New York and a regular on the Today show, preceding Gene Shalit, who for many years was far more the face of film reviewers than Ebert, both of them before Sneak Preview started.) He was a television personality as frosting to a solid career outside the lights. "Thumbs up/Thumbs down" is a gimmick, but a good one. It's lasted. Get it right.
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:43 AM
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And then there's his whole 'video games can never be art' deal...
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Old 06-06-2019, 11:57 AM
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And then there's his whole 'video games can never be art' deal...
Just for context and to note that others support Ebert:

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the notion that video games are ineligible to be considered fine art due to their commercial appeal and structure as choice-driven narratives has proved persuasive for many including video game luminary Brian Moriarty who in March 2011 gave a lecture on the topic entitled An Apology For Roger Ebert.[28] In this lecture Moriarty emphasized that video games are merely an extension of traditional rule-based games and that there has been no call to declare games like Chess and Go to be art. He went on to argue that art in the sense that Romantics like Ebert, Schopenhauer, and he were concerned with (i.e. fine art or sublime art) is exceptionally rare and that Ebert was being consistent by declaring video games to be without artistic merit inasmuch as Ebert had previously claimed that "Hardly any movies are art."[28] Moriarty decried the modern expansion of the definition of "art" to include low art, comparing video games to kitsch and describing aesthetic appreciation of video games as camp. After addressing the corrupting influence of commercial forces in indie games and the difficulty of setting out to create art given the "slippery" tools that game designers must work with, Moriarty concluded that ultimately it was the fact that player choices were presented in games that structurally invalidated the application of the term "art" to video games as the audience's interaction with the work wrests control from the author and thereby negates the expression of art.[28] This lecture was in turn criticized sharply by noted video game designer, Zach Gage.[28]
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:02 PM
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And then there's his whole 'video games can never be art' deal...
Eh, I play a lot of games and I can still see his point. I don't think I've ever gotten truly emotionally invested in a game and (and I've played most of the go-to titles for "this game touched me so much") I think that the inclusion of game mechanics and basic act of needing to play it is a big part in keeping me separated. Can have astounding music, visuals, etc but there's a bajillion second-rate songs and movies that affected me more in the moment than the most lauded video games ever have.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:12 PM
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Ebert later abjured his declaration that "video games cannot be art", after encountering some video games that, in his opinion, were art. Cosmology of Kyoto, for example.

When you're reviewing 200-300+ films per year, it's hard to pay serious attention to developments in painting, novels, computer games, and so on. I'm not sure he had time to review games that take 10, 20, or 40 hours to play through to completion.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:16 PM
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And then there's his whole 'video games can never be art' deal...
I disagree completely, but I wouldn't expect anything else from a man of his generation.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:17 PM
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One of the things I liked about him was that he evaluated genre films within that genre. If he was reviewing a movie that was designed to be schlock, he judged it against other schlock movies, and gave useful info about whether or not fans of that genre would like the film.


I believe one time he reviewed one of the soft-core Emanuelle series, noting that it turned him on and thus succeeded in its aims.


ETA: Or, on review, what Shodan said.

Last edited by BrotherCadfael; 06-06-2019 at 12:17 PM.
  #84  
Old 06-06-2019, 12:20 PM
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Ebert later abjured his declaration that "video games cannot be art", after encountering some video games that, in his opinion, were art. Cosmology of Kyoto, for example.

When you're reviewing 200-300+ films per year, it's hard to pay serious attention to developments in painting, novels, computer games, and so on. I'm not sure he had time to review games that take 10, 20, or 40 hours to play through to completion.
agree, and that's my issue- 'I don't play games, don't know anything about them, but somehow know they are they not art, and know they can never be art'. I don't play them either, but wouldn't make such a statement about something I admittedly know zero about.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:24 PM
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agree, and that's my issue- 'I don't play games, don't know anything about them, but somehow know they are they not art, and know they can never be art'. I don't play them either, but wouldn't make such a statement about something I admittedly know zero about.
So who cares? The world is full of people with opinions about stuff. You hear about opinions from famous people because they're famous but that doesn't mean you need to give a shit. If Ebert was writing for PC Gamer or running Electronic Arts at the time, maybe there'd be room for complaint but the whole "games aren't art" debate was mostly just something for gamers to yell about.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:34 PM
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It never would have occurred to me to not consider chess or go art and the people who over the years crafted and refined their structures as artists.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:37 PM
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In its defense, if you repackaged it as a lost collaboration between Luis Bunuel and Picasso, pompous types like Ebert would probably drool over it.
You're calling the guy who wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls "pompous."
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:50 PM
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You're calling the guy who wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls "pompous."
That's sort of my basic issue- pot meet kettle. The writer of BTVOTD has the temerity to slam Freddy Got Fingered- the biggest critic of lowbrow film used to write them!

Last edited by Helmut Doork; 06-06-2019 at 12:52 PM.
  #89  
Old 06-06-2019, 12:55 PM
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agree, and that's my issue- 'I don't play games, don't know anything about them, but somehow know they are they not art, and know they can never be art'. I don't play them either, but wouldn't make such a statement about something I admittedly know zero about.
Given your OP, this is absolutely hilarious.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:58 PM
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That's sort of my basic issue- pot meet kettle. The writer of BTVOTD has the temerity to slam Freddy Got Fingered- the biggest critic of lowbrow film used to write them!
Ebert was a fan of a lot of low brow fare - but he wasn't an indiscriminate fan of it. (Which is good, because otherwise he'd be a shit critic.) It's possible to like Russ Meyer, and think Tom Green sucks, and not be a hypocrite.
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:19 PM
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That's sort of my basic issue- pot meet kettle. The writer of BTVOTD has the temerity to slam Freddy Got Fingered- the biggest critic of lowbrow film used to write them!
But Freddy Got Fingered was awful lowbrow film. You can appreciate the genre and still think there are bad examples of that genre. And in this case, Ebert was dead on. Same with Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo, which actually made the first Deuce Bigalow film seem halfway decent.

His job is to review films. Some of those films are going to suck. It's his job to tell you which ones suck.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:54 PM
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Ebert was a nerd. As a teen, he wrote letters to the science fiction magazines and had his own fanzine. He had two stories published in Amazing and Fantastic magazines.
Interesting. May 1972 Amazing and Feb 1972 Fantastic. The Amazing one, which I just pulled out, seems concerned with the movie business and the blurb mentions his column. Ted White's blurb for the Fantastic story mentions meeting Ebert at a con.

Ebert was one of the first reviewers who grew up with sf concepts and who thus understood sf movies that didn't explain everything. Forget Star Wars - Kael's review of 2001 was a travesty, and she wasn't the only one with no clue.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:57 PM
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I believe one time he reviewed one of the soft-core Emanuelle series, noting that it turned him on and thus succeeded in its aims.
I kind of got the impression, based on his reviews of Personal Best and Bound, that he liked lesbian scenes in particular. Not that it affected his reviews, necessarily, but he did seem to get more enthusiastic than usual.

Both Personal Best and Bound were good movies, IMO. I haven't seen the Emanuelle series.

Everyone's got their own kinks, I suppose. If they ever make a movie about whipped cream, hats on women, and nude, female, full-contact karate, no doubt that would affect my reviews as well.

Regards,
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:05 PM
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I see his blog was mentioned earlier, but no link to it.
  #95  
Old 06-06-2019, 05:47 PM
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What were the good parts of what she has done?
Darren Garrison, that's a fair criticism, so I'll give you my reply.

Yes, Oprah unleashed Dr. Oz on the world, and Dr. Phil's tough-love-Big-Tex style wore out its welcome with me a looooooong time ago. But all the criticisms about those two in that article belongs to them, not to Oprah.

I'll even go further and say Oprah's views on beef ("I will never eat another hamburger!") are stupid.

That takes us to the core issue in the article: Oprah vs. vaccines. Yes, she let Jenny McCarthy plug her book. But smack in the middle of the article that's cited in your cite, we find this:

Quote:
We contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about whether there is a link between autism and vaccines and they gave us the following statement:

"CDC places a high priority on vaccine safety and the integrity and credibility of its vaccine safety research. This commitment not only stems from our scientific and medical dedication, it is also personal—for most of us who work at CDC are also parents and grandparents. And as such, we too, have high levels of personal interest and concern in the health and safety of children, families and communities. We simply don't know what causes most cases of autism, but we're doing everything we can to find out. The vast majority of science to date does not support an association between thimerosal in vaccines and autism. But we are currently conducting additional studies to further determine what role, if any, thimerosal in vaccines may play in the development of autism. It is important to remember, vaccines protect and save lives. Vaccines protect infants, children and adults from the unnecessary harm and premature death caused by vaccine-preventable diseases."
(Published 09/18/2007)

Where's the big fat THAT'S BULLSHIT from the CDC? Where's the opportunity to say Wakefield's study was flawed and the results were the very definition of junk science. Why did they send the blandest of responses instead of asking for the opportunity to have a live human being respond.

In fact, the CDC wasn't Oprah's only outreach to credible responses. Here's a pro-vax voice who was invited to appear on that very show, and he turned down the invitation, because he was convinced Oprah was going to make him the villain.

Oprah gave science at least TWO chances to answer Jenny McCarthy on that very episode, and science blew it. And every single criticism I could find about Oprah and vaccines goes back to that single episode. Nothing after that. When she interviewed Melinda Gates this spring, Oprah specifically gave Gates an opening to talk about vaccinations.

Should Oprah take the Jenny McCarthy episode off her website? Depends on whether you believe the New York Times and Washington Post should remove editions where they made stupid mistakes in stories from their archives.

Now that I've answered that, I'll give you my pro-Oprah opinions:

1)When Oprah debuted in 1986 the gold standard in talk show hosts, Phil Donohue, was running out of gas (although he'd continue for several more years.) The other talk shows were the likes of Sally Jesse Raphael,who started serious and slid into tabloid trash, Geraldo Rivera, and "Jerry Jerry Jerry" Springer.

2) Oprah's Book Club generally had some pretty worthy titles, and her pushing To Kill a Mockingbird returned that book from not-taught-in-the-South English classes to being a cultural touchstone.

3) Without Oprah, it's unlikely Barack Obama would have become President.

As I said, an overall net positive.

Helmut Doork, sorry for the hijack. You can go back to criticizing Roger Ebert now.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 06-06-2019 at 05:49 PM.
  #96  
Old 06-06-2019, 06:10 PM
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Waterworld managed to make back its production cost, so apparently the critics couldn't destroy it.
I do not think this is actually true.
  #97  
Old 06-06-2019, 07:26 PM
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I loved At the Movies. I liked it when I agreed with them, I liked it when I didn't. I especially liked when they disagreed with each other. If they didn't like a film, it did not affect at all whether I was going to see it. The clips they showed had more of an effect on that then the review did.

But Freddy got Fingered was terrible. So was Heaven's Gate.
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  #98  
Old 06-06-2019, 08:37 PM
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As I said, an overall net positive.

To quote Orac/David Gorski:





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Oprah has about as close to no critical thinking skills when it comes to science and medicine as Ive ever seen, and she uses the vast power and influence her TV show and media empire give her in order to subject the world to her special brand of mystical New Age thinking and belief in various forms of what can only be characterized as dubious medical therapies at best and quackery at worst. Arguably there is no single person in the world with more influence pushing woo than Oprah.

Bonus links.
  #99  
Old 06-07-2019, 02:15 AM
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I believe one time he reviewed one of the soft-core Emanuelle series, noting that it turned him on and thus succeeded in its aims.
To be precise, he reviewed the first one in the series. I never remember him reviewing another. The last in the series, if I remember correctly was Emanuelle and Howdy Doody.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:23 AM
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I enjoyed reading his reviews. He was a fairly good writer, thought provoking, etc. I can definitely get the respect, esp. compared to just about all other reviewers.

But ...

I had to take his reviews with a grain of salt. His tastes and mine sometimes diverged. The classic example is Raising Arizona. His original review wasn't so good so I skipped it for a while. Wished I had seen it earlier.

We did a thread a while back about the mistakes he made in his reviews. Getting basic things wrong about who is who, key plot points, quoting things that aren't remotely in the movie, plus a ton of lesser stuff. A real shame.

But a good read nonetheless. Sort of like Cecil.
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