Monday, December 24, 2007


Been really enjoying going through the YouTube vaults to check out old episodes of At the Movies from the 1980s featuring Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

For those wondering, At the Movies was a show distributed by Tribune Entertainment during the 1980s and it was taped at the studios of WGN in Chicago. Siskel and Ebert moved over to Tribune after leaving their PBS show Sneak Previews. Then in 1986 those two bolted again to Buena Vista and a new show there known as Siskel and Ebert, taped at Chicago TV station WBBM, where Siskel worked.

But At the Movies continued on Tribune with two new guys they brought in: Rex Reed and Bill Harris. Here's an example of their efforts.

Needless to say, that show sucked compared to the fiery, passionate arguments you got from Siskel and Ebert, and it eventually faded away.

These days the Ebert and Roeper website has video of every movie review that the Buena Vista/Disney version of the show has ever had, going back to 1986 when Siskel and Ebert bolted from Tribune, right through to Richard Roeper and the guest critics. What's missing there are all the old shows they did at Tribune before the move to Disney. Those are instead popping up on YouTube for frustrated fans who want to see what their old Eighties shows were all about. I think it's well worth it for movie fans to look at their old shows on YouTube. It's a part of movie and pop culture history, and looking at the old shows again I am reminded that the Eighties were a LONG time ago. Siskel and Ebert reviewed movies about breakdancing, commented on cheesy flicks with bikini-clad girls in them like Hardbodies, and trashed lots of stuff featuring Burt Reynolds. A LOT of stuff featuring Reynolds. You have to feel sorry for these guys, having to sit through the Cannonball Run movies, Stroker Ace, and this other grade-Z crap from the era.

Some fun clips to show you:
Here's a show where, among other things, Siskel and Ebert dissect The Terminator.

Here these two go nuts over The Black Cauldron, and this clip illustrates a big reason why these two were so good on TV as movie critics. Here these two are really getting into it, arguing and dissecting -- get this-- a KIDS CARTOON! Now that is what I call passion for the movies, and they also throw a few insults at each other. Classic stuff.

Now, here's Siskel and Ebert trashing the Stinkers of 1985.

And finally, a fun episode of the show where they dissect the James Bond movies and who they thought was the best Bond, the best Bond villain, the best Bond girl, and so on.

Here they talk about the Bond girls. I tend to agree with Ebert's opinion that Ursula Andress was the best, but boy, I can't fault Siskel one bit for his enthusiasm about smoking-hot Maud Adams.

That's all for now.

No comments: