Thumbs up to this online archive of 'Siskel & Ebert' clips

Ebert_lFrom 1989 to 1992, I was a pre-teen Siskel & Ebert-ologist. Not only did I never miss an episode, but I taped ‘em all on VHS as well — and even, for a time (though I’m not sure why), took notes as I watched. Back then, daydreaming of one day getting to sit in the middle as the kid critic on Siskel & Ebert & Kirschling and weigh in on movies like Arachnophobia, I was far gone. And here in my office, I’ve still got the double-autographed picture of Gene and Roger from 1990 to prove it.

I’ve long since returned to Planet Earth — though Roger Ebert (pictured) is still the man — but it was hard yesterday not to get pumped at the news that 5,000 old video clips of Gene and Roger (and Roger and Roeper) were going up at athemoviestv.com. Actually, in one sense, it sucks because now all those videotapes I made and notes I took are suddenly even more worthless than ever. But I’ll live with it because it throws me back to watch these two guys — who really didn’t get along most of the time — go after each other again. Some guys have the crack of a bat; for me, it’s the sound of the bald guy bitching at the fat guy that harkens back lost childhood.

addCredit(“Roger Ebert: Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com”)

What are their best scrapes? I’m disappointed my favorite Siskel & Ebert fight of all time, a battle in blood over a long-forgotten 1991 movie called The Hours and the Times, isn’t (yet) available on the site. Still, to get yourself started, check out their dust-ups over Blue Velvet and Full Metal Jacket.These guys got a rep from some cineastes for helping kill seriouscriticism with their "thumbs up, thumbs down" shtick, but compared towhat passes for television discourse on movies today, their oldsyndicated shows — crammed with entertaining ideas, seriousconsideration of art films, and unwatered-down opinion — play liketoday’s public television. If by chance you’ve got favorite old Siskel & Ebert reviews, list them below. I want to check them out.

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  • Nav

    This is great. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Alyson

    The review of Say Anything was amazing. I read it at about fourteen, having never seen the movie. I had gotten one of those big collections of Ebert reviews for my birthday and I read nearly every one. Talk about an education. Anyway, the one for Say Anything always sticks in my mind because it seemed like Roger Ebert knew what would be important to a teenage girl, and loved the movie for knowing that, too. I rented it shortly after and still love that movie today.
    I also like his review of Love Story, where he talks about how the book takes only fifteen minutes to read.

  • nunya

    it’ll be great to watch these old shows. i actually frequently read and re-read ebert’s archived reviews on his website. they are always insightful, well-argued and have the content of articulate critical literature. one of my favorite reviews is ebert’s rather distinguished take on my favorite movie – forrest gump. you should read it.

  • nunya

    it’ll be great to watch these old shows. i actually frequently read and re-read ebert’s archived reviews on his website. they are always insightful, well-argued and have the content of articulate critical literature. one of my favorite reviews is ebert’s rather distinguished take on my favorite movie – forrest gump. you should read it.

  • Michael

    Gregory – you’re the man. I always tell my friends I could watch Ebert & Roeper (and previously Siskel & Ebert) for hours on end, and when I saw you had put this link up I was ecstatic. No sleep for me tonight!
    (P.S. I live in Rhode Island, and I swear I can never find when this show is on. You have more pull than me in the biz, Greg, so do a buddy a favor: call up NBC WJAR and tell them to put this show on at a better time!)

  • Daniel

    Wow.
    I’m gonna be busy for hours on end now!

  • garvey

    I’ve been on the site since Thursday (re)checking out reviews. One great dust-up was for Silence of the Lambs. Gene loathed it, though I remember him changing his mind later on.

  • mike

    Roger, you ignorant slut!!
    You could tell they weren’t the best of friends. They were movie critics at rival newspapers. But, they were the only game in town at the time.

  • Jakeem

    My favorite Siskel and Ebert moment was when they were reviewing an ’80s movie featuring actress Kathryn Harrold. Siskel hated it. Ebert was enchanted by Harrold’s performance.
    As a result, Siskel snarled, “Roger, if you like her so much, why don’t you call her up and ask her for a date?”
    Despite this, I always believed there was underlying affection between the two competitors.

  • Jay

    Michael, I live in little Rhody too, and I just check out the reviews online now – it’s easier than trying to find when they’re going to show it this week (like 12:00 am on a Monday).

  • Babette

    I work with celebrities everyday and am never starstruck. Roger Ebert is the only person who ever left me silent in awe. My friend forced me to say something to him and when I did I went into this long 10,000 word per minute diatribe about how when I was a kid his reviews for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Shoot the Moon, and My Dinner With Andre turned me into a film lover. Ebert took a moment, thought about it, and finally said, “Yeah. Shoot the Moon was a good movie.” I will love him forever because he was so cool when I wasn’t. God bless you and get better Mr. Ebert.

  • emily

    In rodgers review of blue velvet he was going on how they humilated Rosseni in it. This is the same the guy who wrote the screenplay to Beyond the valley of the dolls. Which degrades women alot more then Blue Velvet.

  • Ned

    Jakeem, I remember that episode as well, but there’s more to the story. In an interview in Playboy, they were asked about that exchange, and it turns out Kathryn Harold saw that episode, and was so flattered that she had her agent call Ebert and ask him out for her. Ebert said he would think about it, but he suspected it was Gene pulling a practical joke, and never called her back, so he actually could have gone on a date with her.
    They did have a rivalry with each other, that’s for sure, but there was real affection there. I’ll never forget an appearance they made on the Tonight Show, not long before Siskel died, and Ebert turned to Gene and told him that he loved him. Ebert also did a very touching tribute to Gene Siskel on the show after his death.

  • Ned

    Now that I think about it, I don’t think the actress was Kathryn Harrold, I’m pretty sure it was Paula Prentiss. I think the movie that was being discussed was Black Marble. Ebert gave it a good review based soley on her performance, and Siskel accused him of giving it a good review because he had a crush on the lead actress.

  • DLM

    The “Silence of the Lambs” dust-up is impressive. I’d never seen it before and loved watching it. Disagreements aren’t the only things that are fun. For a good time, watch them rip into awful movies like “Very Bad Things” and “North.” And listening to them gush about films like “Fargo” and “Schindler’s List” reminds me why I love movies.

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