Sunday, August 15, 2010

Goodbye to At The Movies

This weekend was the final episode of At The Movies, the show that brought movie reviewing to the mainstream. Thirty-five years ago, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert started their empire originally titled Siskel & Ebert and The Movies; a public television show where they discussed and argued their opinions on the movies they see. And even through the passing of Gene and the illness of Roger the show continued on with various permanent and guest critics… Until now.

I have many fond movie memories; watching Top Gun at an age where I didn’t get all the sexual innuendos, playing my home recording of Back To The Future and rewinding it when it was finished to watch it again, and going to my first R-rated movie in the theatre with my dad at age twelve (it was Terminator 2). But none compare to sitting down every Saturday evening from the age of ten and watching Siskel & Ebert yell and argue about the most recent films.

Gene and Roger were the perfect duo of movie critics. They were consistent yet could always surprise you. Their genuine love for movies was something that I related to immediately and ultimately (and subconsciously) inspired me to start this blog. After every review I write, I instantly go to Roger Ebert’s website to see his opinions. Before I started Two Guys And A Girl Review Movies, I would refer to Siskel & Ebert to decide whether or not I would pay to see a movie in the theatre.

Through all of the trials and tribulations the show has seen it has continued to push forward. With the passing of Gene Siskel, Roger continued with the help of Richard Roeper (after a stint of guest critics). And in true spirit of the show, when Roger became ill, Richard continued the critiques (again with a period of guest critics). Then there was the disappointing “new direction” of the show when Richard left and was replaced with Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. Thankfully the show finished in its traditional fashion with Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott, who frequently had appeared on the show as guest critics.

There is no other show that I have watched consistently for as long as the twenty years that I have watched At The Movies and I will truly miss it. How else can I finish this than by giving it “Two Thumbs Up”!

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