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Will Roger Ebert Biopic Be a Big Bust?

Back in 1970, the unlikely friendship between a grizzled WWII vet and a shy young movie critic made (cult) movie history.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

October 24, 2013 - 4:30 pm
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russ_meyer_ebert

Biopics range from the sublime (Coal Miner’s Daughter) to the shambolic (98.5% of the others).

Who hasn’t experienced that very particular sensation of profound embarrassment while watching, say, Wired or Beyond the Sea or pretty much any movie in which a real person is being impersonated by a badly cast actor, especially one burdened by distracting facial prosthetics?

Why do we get so exercised by “stunt casting” gone wrong, fuming for weeks over Alan Rickman’s performance as Ronald Reagan in The Butler?

Hell, I’m still mad at Alex Cox for making Gary Oldman wear a “hammer and sickle” t-shirt instead of a “swastika” one in Sid & Nancy, and his failure to cast Courtney Love as Oldman’s costar.

Maybe it has something to do with that part of our brain where the “uncanny valley” resides.

As well, we mistakenly believe we “know” famous people — even own them, in a way.

How dare an actor get “our” celebrity wrong! How dare that director cast the wrong person to play him?

The passionate comments beneath this article on Sacha Baron Cohen’s firing from the Freddie Mercury biopic are representative.

Whereas I have no investment in that project (emotional or otherwise), there are dueling Clash biopics in various stages of development, so here’s sensational news for both producers:

I’ve got your Mick Jones right here.

Happy to help!

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All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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my buddy's half-sister makes $68/hr on the computer. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her payment was $14888 just working on the computer for a few hours. visite site.....WWW.Rush64.Com
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Poor Roger. His film should be a tragedy of the Godfather kind. Like almost all critics he became a parody of himself. In his last few years, he seemed to have already had his reviews written out before he even saw the movie. The actual viewing was more like a formality to grab a quote and add some detail. You could sense that he already knew the number of stars he would give it before they even lowered the lights.

A successful critic must at some point become a conformist. Too many picks that buck public opinion and you lose face and relevancy. No established critic wants to be the one that calls the next Saving Private Ryan a piece of garbage or the next Lone Ranger a masterpiece. So they start basing their reviews on pre-release hype, political and social talking points, and industry buzz. Eberts reviews became as dry as stale bread and as predictable as the sunrise. I've noticed it in other reviewers as well. The longer their careers, the less their reviews reflect the movie and the more they reflect their personal worldview.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
up to I saw the draft 4 $5028, I have faith that...my... friends brother actually bringing home money part time at there labtop.. there mums best friend started doing this for only about six months and just now repayed the dept on there condo and got a great new Chevrolet. you can check here >>>>> http://x.co/2hNL1
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
As long as they leave out the last 15 years of his life where he was an unbearable, pompous ass, it should be a drive-in favorite where the liberals can watch it whilst smoking some pot.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are no statues of critics.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure this movie will be a critical masterpiece; every left wing extremist, tinkerbell and Hollywood elitist will SWEAR it's the best film ever made. They'll point to the handful of it's oscar nominations as proof.
Alas, the message will be lost on hundreds of millions of American like me who will not spend the $10-15 movie ticket price on a worthless piece of crap like this.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Counting down until Ebert's wife / widow elbows her way to the forefront, and attempts to take over the project. (She can be played by Michelle Obama in the movie ... which I will never, ever, watch.)
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hate to ask the obvious quesiton but do we really NEED a film biography of Roger Ebert? He didn't cure cancer, didn't fight gallantly in a war, didn't feed the hungry and didn't do anything that could be described as bettering the human condition. He was just one more film critic in a nation that is eyebrow deep in such persons. Maybe his relationship with Russ Meyer was sort of interesting but can it carry a two-hour film? As for casting the part - Who cares? There aren't too many chubby leading men in Hollywood. Maybe the chameleon-like Johnny Depp will put on a couple of pounds and get the part. And there's always Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will the biopic about Ebert be a winner or a bomb? Depends totally on who's been hired to write the screenplay. Shaidle doesn't even consider that factor. Maybe because she believes, along with the other 98%, that film is a visual medium and only the director counts. Sorry to introduce a little reality into the subject of film but it's all about the script. So if someone with brains, passion, talent and perseverance is hired on as writer, well then the film stands a chance of being first rate.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Er, Ricpic:

The "bust," er, line was simply a cutesy pun on Meyer's favorite type of female.

LIghten up.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
True story - Some years ago a friend and I were watching a Russ Meyer flick on VCR. I can't remember which one and the fact that we were drinking heavily may have had something to do with it. One of us got the bright idea of actually calling Russ Meyer and telling him what a great guy we thought he was. (Did I mention that I was drunk?) We called the phone number on the VCR jacket for Meyer's production company in San Diego. To our amazement Russ himself answered. Turned out that he was running his operation out of his home at this time. We described ourselves as fans of his ourve and he was sort of gruff but ultimately couldn't have been nicer. (I think he had been drinking too.) He patiently answered questions from two drunken idiots for about fifteen minutes and told us were we could more easily purchase Russ Meyer products. Try doing that with Steven Spielberg.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
best comment ever!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
True. They don't make 'em like that anymore.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Desperate for material, Hollywood has hit the abyss when films about mediocre malcontents are considered worthy of bankrolling. Gene Siskel brought life to the duo. Ebert sulked. If Ebert hadn't suffered for a long period with facial cancer, scant few would have remembered him today.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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