From 1989 to 1992, I was a pre-teen Siskel & Ebert-ologist. Not only did I never miss an episode, but I taped ‘em all on VHS as well — and even, for a time (though I’m not sure why), took notes as I watched. Back then, daydreaming of one day getting to sit in the middle as the kid critic on Siskel & Ebert & Kirschling and weigh in on movies like Arachnophobia, I was far gone. And here in my office, I’ve still got the double-autographed picture of Gene and Roger from 1990 to prove it.
I’ve long since returned to Planet Earth — though Roger Ebert (pictured) is still the man — but it was hard yesterday not to get pumped at the news that 5,000 old video clips of Gene and Roger (and Roger and Roeper) were going up at athemoviestv.com. Actually, in one sense, it sucks because now all those videotapes I made and notes I took are suddenly even more worthless than ever. But I’ll live with it because it throws me back to watch these two guys — who really didn’t get along most of the time — go after each other again. Some guys have the crack of a bat; for me, it’s the sound of the bald guy bitching at the fat guy that harkens back lost childhood.
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What are their best scrapes? I’m disappointed my favorite Siskel & Ebert fight of all time, a battle in blood over a long-forgotten 1991 movie called The Hours and the Times, isn’t (yet) available on the site. Still, to get yourself started, check out their dust-ups over Blue Velvet and Full Metal Jacket.These guys got a rep from some cineastes for helping kill seriouscriticism with their “thumbs up, thumbs down” shtick, but compared towhat passes for television discourse on movies today, their oldsyndicated shows — crammed with entertaining ideas, seriousconsideration of art films, and unwatered-down opinion — play liketoday’s public television. If by chance you’ve got favorite old Siskel & Ebert reviews, list them below. I want to check them out.