Ebert and *cough* Roeper: Anyone Still Watch This Show?

Published 10 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:04 pm,

I used to really enjoy watching Siskel and Ebert duke it out on their show back in it’s heydey, and more often than not I agreed with Gene Siskel’s opinions when it came to movies. Unfortunately Gene died before his time back in 1999 and Roger Ebert had to find a replacement for his worthy cohort.

For a while the show went through kind of an on the air interview process with a wide variety of critics attempting to fill the venerable Siskel’s theater seat. At one point even Harry Knowles sat in for a review or two (man, was that painful to watch).

Finally, for some strange reason, Ebert settled on Richard Roeper.

Hey, I was open minded about the guy… until the day he gave a “thumbs up” to the unbelievable piece of trash known as Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. Now I had seen the film, and it did indeed stink to the high heavens, as was the consensus of almost every critic with a pulse and a working brain in his head. Right there I decided the guy was not worth listening to and I left the show forever.

Why do I bring this up, you ask?

Because this weekend Kung Fu Hustle is going to wide release. I reviewed Kung Fu Hustle from my viewing at Sundance and I thought it was a great, fun movie with lots of laughs, awesome martial arts and special effects. Most people who’ve seen the film agree.

But not Richard Roeper.


“never been a fan of that over the top slapstick stuff”

and he’s also:

“…feeling a little kung fu’d out…”

He didn’t think it was funny, either.

This guy is, to me, like the anti-critic. Not in a good, go-against-the-grain way, but in a everyone-hates-this-so-I-have-to like-it-to-be-different way. Either that or he’s just clueless and has achieved his success through just irritating people with his backward reviews.

Here is a sampling of some of the films he didn’t like:

- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Uh, he’s got to be kidding, right?)

- Shaun of the Dead (Great new twist on the zombie genre and genuinely funny)

- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Great fun and a great performance by Johnny Depp)

- Hellboy (Not knock-it-out-of-the-park great, but I thought it was pretty good)

- Holes (Great Disney film that you’ve probably never heard of)

And here are some films he’s given a “thumbs up”:

- Wicker Park (You couldn’t drag me to this)

- The Punisher (My review is here)

- Be Cool (Haven’t seen it, but I hear it’s awful)

- The Real Cancun (Do I really need a comment here?)

- Star Trek: Nemesis (A sad, sad final film for the Next Generation crew)

- Jackass: The Movie (How do you reconcile not liking slapstick humour with giving this movie a “thumbs up?”)

Sure, we agree on some movies. I thought Blade 2 left a lot to be desired and I hated 2 Fast 2 Furious. We both liked The Incredibles, but who didn’t? Overall I think his choices are ludicrous and I think anyone who bases their moviegoing choices on this guy is making a mistake.

Don’t decide to not see Kung Fu Hustle based on this guy’s opinion.

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10 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. If I ask nicely, will you tell me how you really feel? :P

    Seriously, I don’t understand why people think TV critics should have more credibility than all the other critics out there. Roeper does not speak for the majority of American movie-goers who want to plunk down a few dead presidents and enjoy an entertaining escape from reality for a couple of hours. What I don’t understand is the fact that Roeper didn’t like Kung Fu Hustle, but he liked the Kill Bill movies. Didn’t those movies also mix comedy and violence, sometimes to the point of slapstick?

    I’ll forgive Roeper’s Jackass review because in 1996, Siskel and Ebert gave two thumbs up to Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. (I agreed with them, BTW.) One thing is for sure, though. When a critic, TV show or not, gives Blair Witch 2 a more positive review than The Fellowship of the Ring, it is reasonable to wonder why he would be chosen to co-host a TV show when he obviously doesn’t speak for the average movie-goer.


  2. What percentage of the population actually reads reviews as opposed to those who make a movie viewing decision based on what they see on TV?

    What gets me is when there is a movie that is obviously very good, Ebert gives it the old “thumbs up” and then Roeper slams it. You can almost see the pain in Ebert’s face when it’s not a borderline movie but one that deserves a wide audience, and he’d like the film to get the “Two thumbs up!” blurb for the ads.

    I’d excuse Roeper’s criticisms if I just thought he was extremely picky or highbrow, but actually it almost seems like the opposite… like he’s got the movie tastes of a 13 year old trapped in an adult brain.


  3. I think you were kind in your assessment of Roeper. Oh, how I loathe Roeper let me count the ways. Not only is he a huge prick who will brow beat and insult Ebert if he disagrees with his pics. But the guy feels the need routinelly go against the grain for grain’s sake on movies. I still enjoy the show for the clips and Ebert at times, but man that Roeper makes it almost unwatchable.

  4. Deke! I’m not alone in the wilderness! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :D


  5. I agree wholeheartedly with your opinion of Roeper. I don’t think he realizes what a critic does or is by definition. He should set his goals a little higher. Ebert deserves better. Oooh this was fun.

  6. I’m reading this well after April, but I couldn’t agree with you more about Roeper and your taste in movies. I still watch Ebert and Roeper, but only to evaluate Ebert’s opinion. Roeper most certainly does not represent the average person’s desire for film, and, counterintuitively, he disagrees with most reputable critics on good/bad/decent movies. I’m still waiting the the guy to finally take a crap and get the bug out of his rear! Whoever said that Ebert deserves better is precisely on the mark. This new guy doesn’t even now how to smile without a smirk of sarcasm. More Roeper bashing!

  7. I think you’re all missing the point a bit. The whole reason to have two reviewers is to set up conflict and difference of opinion. You can’t fault the producers of the show for trying to find a contrarian. How interesting would it be to have them agree on 90% of the movies they review? Now I don’t disagree about Roeper being out of touch, but don’t forget that it’s all show biz.

  8. Hey Randy!

    Sure, I see what you’re saying, but jeez… the man’s taste in movies is AWFUL. His reviews are consistently out of whack with the consensus. That’s not to say one should follow the pack, but if 90% of reviewers agree a movie stinks you can be pretty certain that the 10% who like it are out to lunch.


  9. There’s nothing wrong with being a contrarian every now and then, but most of Roeper’s reviews seem to come from planet Pluto. The guy gave a thumb DOWN to Fellowship of the Ring, a thumb UP to Be Cool (which was horrendously bad) and a thumb UP to Blair Witch 2. Those reviews alone speak volumes.


  10. Despite the juvenile way in which he described his reaction to the Lord of the Rings I understood where he was coming from. I don’t agree with what he said, but I do understand that he went into the film with a need for Peter Jackson to make him care. Just like I would feel going into a movie about football- the filmmaker has to make me care because I’m not already invested in any way in the subject.
    And apparently The Fellowship of the Ring was not able to transcend its subject matter and make Roeper care. I can see that.