Thursday, September 21, 2023

Calm down, Gene

I never grew up with American film critics, only coming to them long after I was a bonafide movie geek. I never worshiped at the altar of Kael, or really trusted Bogdanovich. There was always dear old Leonard Maltin on Entertainment This week, but I always knew him more as a hype man than a caustic critic. My faves were all writers for Empire magazine, and I still never really disagree with Jack Yeovil.

So I never saw anything by Siskel and Ebert. I never saw any of their TV work until you could start watching videos on the internet, never saw any of their regular newspaper reviews, and never read any of their books.

Coming in late like that, I can say I always liked Ebert - there was a passion for film that seeps through even the reviews of the dreariest movies - but in every clip I ever saw of Siskel, he was so pissed of about something, and lamenting the state of modern cinema.

This may have been because I like watching the gross-out freaky, weirdo stuff, and those are the reviews where he always seemed to have been personally attacked, like the entire cinema industry were all out to get him.

But in hindsight, Siskel does feel like the modern culture critic, always so genuinely and personally affronted by something they don't like, instead of letting it wash over them. 

I'm sure Gene had the love as well, but I never seem to see it.

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