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.