March 2, 2017

The Most Famous Thumbs on TV

In the days leading up to the Oscars, I thought about which movies I had seen and which movies I had interest in seeing. When both of those lists were short, I thought about what a sharp contrast this was to several years ago when Siskel and Ebert had a near monopoly on televised film reviews, and even if I didn’t see many movies, I was very much aware of them – their plot, their stars, their likelihood of success. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were pioneers of film criticism. Long before the internet prompted millions of amateur critics to endlessly discuss films, there were Siskel and Ebert. Two newspaper guys from Chicago: Siskel wrote for the The Chicago Tribune and Ebert for the cross town rival paper, the Chicago Sun Times. Their television series, with several different names, ran from 1975 to 1999.