Readers, I am concerned about Mercury Film Editor Erik Henriksen's level of respect for his fellow film critics. When I mentioned I wished to blog about esteemed film critic Roger Ebert getting kicked off his TV show, At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, he said that I should, as long as I referred to him throughout this blog post as "The Eeb." He also insisted that I use this picture of him:
Never mind that "The Eeb" is one of the most influential film critics around; never mind that he's been one of the most prolific and readable journalists in the past few decades; never mind that he's a staunch advocate of the remarkably sane "subjective" (as opposed to "objective") approach to criticism; never mind that the man is a friggin' national treasure. (He is.) It turns out that Disney, the company that produces the TV show, has decided to take Ebert & Roeper in a different direction, i.e. one that no longer includes Ebert, or his smarmy, nerdy Siskel-replacement, Richard Roeper.
From a statement from the Eeb's website:
After 33 years on the air, 23 of them with Disney, the studio has decided to take the program named "Siskel & Ebert" and then "Ebert & Roeper" in a new direction. I will no longer be associated with it... The show was a wonderful experience. It was a great loss to me when surgery in July 2006 made it impossible for me to appear on the air any longer... The trademark ["Two thumbs up"] still belongs to me and Marlene Iglitzen, Gene's widow, and the thumbs will return. We are discussing possibilities, and plan to continue the show's tradition.Roeper, meanwhile, is still under contract to Disney and can't participate in a new, non-Disney show. Anyway, here's hoping that Ebert finds a new venture. Oh, and I hope he gets his voice back, too! (Not looking too likely, though; it's been two years since he lost his voice after a bout with salivary cancer. He currently speaks with a computer--like Stephen Hawking, perhaps one of the only other humans on the Eeb's magnitude of genius. From his Wikipedia entry: "Currently, ["The Eeb"] talks using a computerized voice system. He initially chose to use a voice with a British accent that he named 'Lawrence,' but eventually began using one with an American accent." Oh man that is sweet.)
In the meantime, I shall curl up with his review of the 1987 Diane Keaton classic Baby Boom. ("The Eeb" liked it. Three stars!)