Sadly, your humble narrator is forced to defend Roger Ebert.
As with much of liberal journalism, Ebert increasingly let his bias out in the open in the days since 9/11, gushing over leftwing agitpropumentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and An Inconvenient Truth, and ultimately becoming a full-blown Journolist-style bomb-throwing polemicist on Twitter. 9/11 and the Bush years were hard on much of the left — see also, two films mentioned above. But prior to that, Ebert was a great film critic, cranking out readable prose and doing weekly television appearances for decades, who built a loyal national following, who by and large trusted his opinions.
But that doesn’t count for much for Armond White of the New York Press. After all, unlike Ebert, who actually wrote movies before becoming a critic (OK, Russ Meyers’ movies, but still), White is a “pedigreed film critic.”
I do think it is fair to say that Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism. Because of the wide and far reach of television, he became an example of what a film critic does for too many people. And what he did simply was not criticism. It was simply blather. And it was a kind of purposefully dishonest enthusiasm for product, not real criticism at all…I think he does NOT have the training. I think he simply had the position. I think he does NOT have the training. I’VE got the training. And frankly, I don’t care how that sounds, but the fact is, I’ve got the training. I’m a pedigreed film critic. I’ve studied it. I know it. And I know many other people who’ve studied it as well, studied it seriously. Ebert just simply happened to have the job. And he’s had the job for a long time. He does not have the foundation. He simply got the job. And if you’ve ever seen any of his shows, and ever watched his shows on at least a two-week basis, then you surely saw how he would review, let’s say, eight movies a week and every week liked probably six of them. And that is just simply inherently dishonest. That’s what’s called being a shill. And it’s a tragic thing that that became the example of what a film critic does for too many people. Often he wasn’t practicing criticism at all. Often he would point out gaffes or mistakes in continuity. That’s not criticism. That’s really a pea-brained kind of fan gibberish.
The key word there being gibberish.
(H/T: Big Hollywood)