Ed Driscoll

Ebert and the Bandit

“Stuntman and director Hal Needham has died at 82 following a colourful life that sometimes offended fancy types,” Tim Blair writes, quoting from Needham’s L.A. Times obit:

Critics weren’t crazy about the films, which included “Hooper” and “Stroker Ace.” In 1981, Roger Ebert called “The Cannonball Run” the story of a wild, cross-country car race, “an abdication of artistic responsibility at the lowest possible level of ambition …”

Needham didn’t take such criticism too seriously. “Cannonball Run” earned more than $72 million.

And Roger Ebert was the very definition of artistic responsibility — particularly during his own stint actually toiling in the movie industry himself.