Roger Ebert,
Your Movie Sucks
(Andrews McMeel, 2007)

Reviewers are not often, themselves, reviewed. Sure, we get feedback -- mostly of the "Thanks for your great appreciation of my work," "Your opinions bite chunks," "Who are you to judge me?" variety -- but I'm talking about a real, genuine look at a body of work.

If anyone deserves that kind of attention in the reviewing field, it's Roger Ebert, movie critic extraordinaire, a legend in his own time, the Dorothy Parker of his age. And, while this isn't his first published collection of reviews, Your Movie Sucks certainly has the best title, edging earlier collections such as I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie and the far less whimsical The Great Movies II.

As the name implies, Your Movie Sucks is a collection of reviews that suggests to the actors, directors and the rest of the movie-making lot, "Gee, fellas, this film isn't quite up to par." Of course, it says it much better, with all the barbed wit and truly educated background that Ebert can bring to the fray. Love him or hate him, he knows his stuff. And he doesn't pull punches; when Ebert likes a movie, he is unstinting with his praise, but when he's not impressed, you might want to check your ego at the door.

I mean, who knew you could get a Pulitzer Prize for reviews? But let's consider a few choice excerpts from this collection.

From Cabin Fever: Unsure of whether it wants to be a horror film, a comedy, an homage, a satire or a parable, Cabin Fever tries to cover every base; it jumps around like kids on those arcade games where the target lights up and you have to stomp on it.
From Elektra: The movie's fight scenes suffer from another condition, attention deficit disorder. None of their shots are more than a few seconds long, saving the actors from doing much in the way of stunts and the director from having to worry overmuch about choreography. There's one showdown between Elektra and the head killer of the Hand that involves a lot of white sheets, but all they do is flap around; we're expecting maybe an elegant Zhang Yimou sequence, and it's more like they're fighting with the laundry.
From Freddy Got Fingered: This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.
From Pearl Harbor: Pearl Harbor is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on December 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is forty minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality.

Ouch. It sucks to be those guys.

Of course, the book takes its title from Ebert's notorious review of Rob Schneider's movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo. The title says it all.

Suffice it to say, if Mr. Ebert ever wants to write a movie review for Rambles.NET, we'll do our best to find him room.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Tom Knapp

5 May 2007

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