ROGER EBERT Your Movie Sucks [Andrews McMeel-2007]
You gotta respect someone that sits through an average of 500 films a year, especially when a huge chunk of those are absolutely dreadful. And when that someone is film critic Roger Ebert you also need to pay attention to what he has to say. As his former reviewing partner, the late Gene Siskel, once stated on The Tonight Show, they watch the good, bad, the mediocre and all the Friday the 13th movies, so they know what they're talking about.
“Some of these reviews were written in joyous zeal. Others with glee. Some in sorrow, some in anger, and a precious few with venom, of which I have a closely guarded supply”, Ebert states in the introduction to Your Movie Sucks. This isn’t the first time that he’s gone to that well: I Hated, Hated, Hated, This Movie —its title taken from Ebert’s review of director Rob Reiner’s North —was his first collection of movie reviews with a rating of one and a half stars or less. The full-on skewering continues on Your Movie Sucks and it sure is fun.
Before jumping into the 175 film reviews from this decade compiled in alphabetical order, Ebert singles out three of them for the book’s prologue:
- Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo , sequel to the contemptible Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo . The last three words of the former’s review give this book its title and is the funny one among the three in this prologue.
- Chaos , which its producers billed as “the most brutal, horrifying movie ever made” and engage Ebert in an open letter discussion of the movie’s merits. "...Ugly, nihilistic, and cruel—a film I regret having seen." A sobering review and exchange.
- Actor/director Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny , which after Gallo cuts a half-hour from the original version and has a lengthy face-to-face with Ebert explaining his predicament and the circumstances leading to showing an unfinished film at Cannes, the latter gives the new version a 3 star review. The choice insults and name calling on both sides that precedes this is also included and together with the above titled "The Brown Bunny Saga."
Your Movie Sucks is not only entertaining and often funny, but it frequently explains to the layperson why these movies don’t work. If you ever walked out of some of these films thinking they just didn’t feel right but couldn’t really put your finger on it, you’re in luck. Of course, the likes of Daddy Day Care, Dirty Love, The Dukes of Hazzard, Scooby Doo, and the inimitable Freddy Got Fingered are way too easy targets. But there are quite a few films that perhaps with a casting change here, a screenplay touch up there, and maybe with a more sympathetic and/or talented director they could’ve had a decent flick. But they didn’t, and we have Mr. Ebert to thank for sitting through them so we don’t have to. Then again, some of these films are so unbelievably bad your curiosity may be piqued. (We personally do not enjoy horror/slasher films but plan on seeing the aforementioned Chaos at some point.) Just don’t say Roger Ebert didn’t warn you.