Roger Ebert’s return is a reminder of the pleasures of watching two intelligent people bicker, either on camera or in print. The recently launched online archive of "Siskel & Ebert" shows can easily suck away an entire afternoon as you bounce between reviews like this one for "Pulp Fiction," in which Ebert and the sorely missed Gene Siskel nearly fall out of their chairs with enthusiasm for the film, and this one, for "Cop and a Half," in which Siskel drawls "Where’s your big red suit and beard, Santa, you just gave them a gift!" after Ebert deems the film worthy of a thumb up. The clip fades to black with the sound of them still exchanging back-and-forths, and it’s easy to imaging them arguing into the twilight over the relative value of Burt Reynolds‘ comedic turn.
While Richard Roeper’s no fitting replacement, Ebert has been kicking up dust in print with other writers. Here he debates horror paperbacker Clive Barker over whether video games can be considered art after Barker took up the gauntlet at the Hollywood and Games Summit. Barker said "We can debate what art is, we can debate it forever. If the experience moves you in some way or anotherâ€¦ Even if it moves your bowelsâ€¦ I think it is worthy of some serious study." Ebert responds "Perhaps if the experience moves your bowels, it is worthy of some serious medical study."
Rosenbaum says Bergman is less taught in schools today than Godard and Hitchcock. He carefully avoids saying Bergman is less taught than Dreyer or Bresson. I grant him Hitchcock. He uses Google counts in his argument, so out of curiosity I googled â€œfilm class on Ingmar Bergmanâ€ (1,400,000) and â€œfilm class on Jean-Luc Godard (310,000). He says Bergman is â€œless discussed,â€ so I googled web discussion groups and found that Bergman scored 59,000 and Godard 14,400. Of course these entries cover a multitude of kinds of content, but there you have them.
Neither has the quotability of Ebert’s famous exchange with Vincent Gallo upon the premiere of "The Brown Bunny," which caused Gallo to use his voodoo powers to inflict cancer upon the critic. Still, we do like to see the debate.
+ Siskel & Ebert & Roeper archived (RogerEbert.com)
+ Games can be art, says Barker (GamesIndustry.biz)
+ Games vs. Art: Ebert vs. Barker (RogerEbert.com)
+ Scenes From an Overrated Career (NY Times)
+ Defending Ingmar Bergman (RogerEbert.com)