Friday, October 24, 2008

In Defense of Roger Ebert

A lot of people are making a fuss today over Roger Ebert’s review of the movie Tru Loved, which he wrote having seen only the film’s first eight minutes. From IMDb:
In the Los Angeles Times, media columnist Patrick Goldstein writes today (Thursday): "If there were ever an act that indelibly painted critics as elitist snobs, it would be America's best-known critic reviewing a movie after only bothering to watch for eight minutes."

Orlando Sentinel critic Roger Moore says that writing a review of a movie based on its first eight minutes is "not cricket." He then concludes, "If we're going to start writing reviews of movies we haven't suffered all the way, or at least most of the way through, the way most people who shell out $10-12 do after they've spent the cash, we're all doomed."
There are more comments, from movie critics and readers alike, in the remainder of IMDb’s article as well as on Roger Ebert’s blog. In response, Ebert has posted a review of the entirety of the movie and voiced his regret over writing the eight-minute review. Both versions of the review can be read on Ebert’s website.

If you ask me, though, Ebert has nothing to apologize for. First of all, it’s not as if he pretended he had seen the entire movie in his original review. He very clearly states that he walked out after the first eight minutes.

As for whether or not a person can determine a movie’s quality in that short an amount of time – well, it’s hard to say. But if anyone can do it, then I have no doubt that Roger Ebert is that person. He’s been in the business longer than some critics today have been alive, and I think he of all people knows what he’s doing.

I’ve always had a great deal of respect for Ebert and his reviews, and this doesn’t affect my opinion of him in the least. I don’t see why it should affect anyone else’s either.

1 comment:

Josh Brunsting said...

I agree with you 100% of the way. Life's to short to sit through a movie that you know you won't like. I would have maybe stayed a little longer, but I have no problem with what he did. I have to much respect for the guy, and the fact he came out and said that he left, just makes me respect him more.