By September 4, 2012 1 Comments Read More →

Hostile Questions: Roger Ebert

Who would have the cojones to publicly antagonize Pulitzer Prize-winning film reviewer, essayist, screenwriter, and memoir-ist Roger Ebert? Well, let me tell you a story. In a former life, I, too, was a film reviewer (I guess my Pulitzer got lost in the mail?) and on my first day at the screening room I accidentally sat in “Roger’s Chair.” Surprisingly, there was no beat-down. Roger, I discovered, was beloved by everyone in the room. Pretty soon I liked the guy, too. Heck, you had to admire him for how he handled the infamous war of words with director Vincent Gallo (a screening was briefly delayed so that Roger could deliver his latest retort).

But after he published the apparently profound and even-more-than-apparently bestselling Life Itself, I knew I could no longer let this supposedly seemly gent careen unchecked across the literary landscape. Who else was going to take him to task for the hasty, ill-considered smears littering his long,  illustrious career? One Star for Critters 2: The Main Course, the film that launched a national demand for Critters-brand merchandise? Zero Stars for Tony Danza’s She’s Out of Control, the classic caper beloved by billions?! One half-star for Hellbound: Hellraiser II, which contains the best razor-blading-maggots-off-your-own-flesh scene in the history of cinema!?!

A young Ebert dreaming of the day he would ruin Tony Danza. (Credit: Art Shay)

Oh, Mr. Ebert. You have a lot of account for, sir.

Just who do you think you are?

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

Where do you get off?

The stop before you, I hope.

What’s the big idea?

Forty-two.

What is your problem, man?

Underpaid.

Haven’t you done enough?

Please, please, tell that to my editors.

 

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus, senior editor at Booklist is the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award.

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