April 28, 2002


WHY EBERT IS A YUTZ: I have another quibble with Ryan Vooris, but this one is a lot more fun to talk about. Yes, Roger Ebert does turn the occassional phrase, but he has an unforgivable flaw as a movie critic: extremely bad taste in movies. Even Ryan brings up the Meet Joe Black three-star outrage, but the two recent reviews he cites are wildly off the mark, too. Ebert's smug slam of Jason X (is that "ex" or "ten?") makes him look like an idiot. Jason X is essentially a comedy, and this enjoyable bit of hilarity appears to have all gone over Ebert's head. The audience laughs at the preposterousness of it all, and there's absolutely no mistaking that this is what the filmmakers intended. This is the kind of movie that is generally considered "critic-proof"; the Jason X filmmakers and the audience have a bond that most critics can't understand because they've come to Take Films Very Seriously. Most audiences, on the other hand, just want a fun night, and Jason X does nicely. (The one complaint I have is with the ad campaign "Evil Gets an Upgrade!"-- given that the world is in the grips of a battle with real life evil, it's a bit unnerving to see the word tossed around like that in a context that ought to evoke escapism.)

Then there's his Changing Lanes review. Everything that ruined this movie, which could have been a fine film if it hadn't felt the need to devolve into a lecture on the Evils of Rapacious Capitalism, plays right into Ebert's leftist prejudices. He loves, loves, loves the line "You think those factories in Malaysia have day care centers?" Sooo clever. Giving jobs to people who would otherwise starve is so exploitive, as all Good and Decent People at the dinner parties Ebert frequents know so well.

Meet Joe Black, you see, was not an anomaly. It's an anomaly when Ebert gets his reviews right. One more example, and this one's especially for you, Ryan-- one of your favorite movies (and mine), the Special Edition Box-Set of which you own, The Usual Suspects: ONE AND A HALF STARS!

Posted by John Tabin at April 28, 2002 10:53 AM