13 November 2008

Movie reviewing rules

Roger Ebert, tongue in cheek, outlines some of his rules for movie reviewing:
Do not make challenges you cannot back up. For example, never say in your "Hamlet 2" review, "I challenge anyone who goes to see the movie not to sing the words to 'Rock Me, Sexy Jesus' for years to come." When Gene Siskel predicted that "Hakuna Matata" from "The Lion King" would become a national catch-phrase, he later gracefully acknowledged he was wrong, after only a little prodding from me. [Note: A reader informs me that Gene was right. I believe the jury is still out on "Rock Me, Sexy Jesus."]
Sit down, shut up, and pay attention. No cellphone use. No texting during the movie. No talking out loud. No sucking up the last Coke out of the Kidney-Buster. It is permitted to laugh, or to scream when a movie scares the crap out of you. It's okay to join in the general chuckle after the It's only a cat! moment is over. There was a special amendment forgiving Pauline Kael for saying "Oh! Oh! Oh!" in astonishment. We eagerly awaited her "ohs!" and took care to note when she uttered them. It is acceptable, but rarely, to join in a general audience uproar, as at the first Cannes press screening of "The Brown Bunny." Even then, no cupping your hand under your armpit and producing fart noises.
- Roger Ebert, 28 October 2008


Matthew L said...

The interesting thing about the article (other than it being generally right) is that it seems he's criticising one person in particular. Many of the examples he uses are apparently references to a guy called Ben Lyons, who is one of the hosts of the "new" version of the long-running At the Movies show that Ebert used to host. They discuss this at http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/10/ebert-critic-ru.html

eT said...

So it's a case of handbags at 20 paces in the movie-reviewing world? Cool.