Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, July 30, 2007

For Siskel and Ebert,the balcony may be re-opened

On this weekend's Ebert and Roeper movie review show,it was announced that on August 2,Roger Ebert will be doing a live online chat with fans to promote the new "Balcony Archives" website,which will feature a number of the classic Siskel & Ebert reviews(many of which have been lost or damaged over the years)along with current Ebert/Roeper vids as well. As of this writing,there hasn't yet been an media story or any links available but I will update this story later in the week when that info becomes public.

UPDATE: The official Ebert & Roeper site has now added some info regarding the online chat this Thursday,beginning at 7:00 PM. If you would like to submit a question,just click here to do so!

I'm very happy to hear this,since one of my favorite childhood memories was watching Siskel & Ebert with my family. We discovered the movie mavens on PBS(along with many moviegoers across the country)on Sneak Previews and then later,kept up with them when the show got syndicated and was reborn as "At The Movies." We didn't always get to see the latest films out there but by watching Roger and Gene,we never felt out of touch with the current cinema buzz:



Siskel and Ebert not only made talking about the art of film mainstream and fun,they also had great debates over why they did or didn't like a movie. Some of the best chemistry between them emerged during a rousing argument,which was one of the reasons I looked forward to watching them every week. Here's one example,where the two of them clash on David Lynch's Blue Velvet:

While they could heatedly debate the quality of a film,both Siskel and Ebert were as equally passionate about things they argeed upon,like bad trends in film making(the depiction of women was a sore point at many times)and their pleas for better made movies in all genres,such as this spotlight shone on Halloween as a superior horror movie and one that others would've done well to emulate instead of most of cranked out slasher films of the day:

With Gene's passing, other reviewers tried to take up the gauntlet but to no avail. Roger went thru a number of co-hosts before settling on Richard Roeper(who is too wishy washy for my taste)and now with Ebert in bad health as well,another great advocate for movie love may no longer be with us.

Granted,I don't always agree with many of Ebert's opinions regarding film(his review of the latest Harry Potter movie seemed very out of touch with the scope of the series but then again,maybe he just doesn't like wizard angst)but I can't deny the cultural impact he and Siskel have made on the current state of film appreciation. The Siskel & Ebert phenom has become such a pop culture staple that it's regular fodder for parodies,like this great bit from Robert Townsend's Hollywood Shuffle:

I also have to admit that Roeper has growed on me alittle,especially with the rotating mix of co-hosts to review movies with. It gives folks a chance to check out people who they've never seen on TV before or film makers like Kevin Smith defend those little movies they love,regardless of mockery:

The Balcony Archives sounds like a great opportunity, not only for film lovers to relive the glory days of Siskel & Ebert but for new generations to discover what the fuss was all about and catch the fandom fever themselves. It'll also be excellant for people to talk live to Roger Ebert(I'd like to know whatever happened to Sparky the Wonder Dog). All in all,it's good to know that come what may,the balcony will still be open and I'll be able to see the likes of them again at the movies:

Blogger note: My thanks to everyone who voted in the very first LRG poll-the winner of "Who is your favorite HP Villian" was Snape and the big loser was Draco(no votes or love for Malfoy!). I'm thrilled about this fun new feature and will gladly take suggestions on polling topics(pop culture subjects only,please!).


Robin Brande said...

I loved the old show! I started watching it on PBS, too--always something to look forward to. I still watch every week, although I miss Roger so much. But Richard has grown on me, too.

Thanks for those great clips. Don't we all miss Gene . . .

lady t said...

You're more than welcome,Robin-Gene was The Man! Anyone who was so into Saturday Night Fever that he had to buy Travolta's infamous suit from the film was a truly awesome film geek:)