The Reeler

Recent Comments

Ed Howard on: Ebert Gets Gothamed


A Girl and a Gun
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
GreenCine Daily
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Vince Keenan
World Film (at
You Know, For Film

The Reeler Blog

Ebert Gets Gothamed

(Photo: Chicago Sun-Times)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

For some unknown reason the good people at IFP didn't invite me back to the Gotham Awards this year, so don't look for any coverage here on Wednesday. Nevertheless, I can't help but direct you to a splendid pair of pieces -- both at Movie City News -- paying tribute to Roger Ebert, whom the Gothams will honor tonight with a special award recognizing his four decades of film criticism. First, a word with Ebert himself, who answered 10 questions via e-mail in advance of tonight's gala. Among them is a nice plug for one of my own favorite NYC locals:

You have always been a big supporter of emerging filmmakers. Whose work have you seen lately that is turning you on?

Ramin Bahrani (Man Push Cart) had a film at Toronto titled Chop Shop that amazed me with its power. comparable to Pixote. Eric Byler is someone to keep an eye on after Americanese. Jason Reitman's Juno you want to hug. ...

Is the state of film criticism as bad or as threatened as some would say?

There are better and worse critics. Always have been. The difference is the internet. Now we all swim in the same sea. Look at the success of Berardinelli or JoBlo, or the Salon and Slate critics. All generated not by marketing but by ability. Look at Jim Emerson. Look at David Bordwell, brilliant academic, brilliant blogger. Look at you, and the other critics at your site -- although was Ray Pride (who I admire) frothing at the mouth when he reviewed Delirious? What DID get into him?

For the record, Pride was dead-on accurate about Delirious, but I digress. Check out Jeff Lipsky's open letter to Ebert, published this afternoon at The Hot Blog -- too long to effectively pullquote or paraphrase, but which crystallizes Ebert's class and influence about as well as anything you'll hear tonight:

[My Dinner With Andre] opened in New York to well under $10,000 (at, if I recall correctly, about a $6 ticket price) and after week two [New Yorker Films boss] Dan Talbot was ready to cry uncle. ... [Q]uite unexpectedly, My Dinner With Andre was reviewed by Roger and Gene, in mid-October. Essentially, they both called it the Best Picture of the Year, not the best independent film, the Best Picture, bar none. They sung the same refrain a week or two later, and made it official on their 10 Best episode in late December. The morning after they first reviewed the film, and without the benefit of a sou’s worth of additional advertising, the grosses, nationwide, increased by 300% (moving up from a $5,670 week at the now defunct Gateway in San Francisco to $13,359 a week later, from a $8,409 week at the now-defunct Sandburg in Chicago to $18,073). The film ran in New York at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas for 54 weeks.

Oh -- and he was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism. You don't need me to tell you they don't make them like Roger Ebert any more, and he certainly doesn't need another accolade from another anonymous blogger. But I sincerely tip my cap and humbly thank the man, even if I have to do it from the parking lot. It's the least he deserves.

Posted at November 27, 2007 4:33 PM

Comments (1)

That Ebert anecdote in regard to the Malle film is priceless. It's hard to imagine a critic, any critic, even Ebert himself, having that kind of impact anymore these days. I'm just not sure people care so much anymore, which is a shame.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed


Send a Tip