News of Roger Ebert’s death hit all of us at Nitehawk pretty hard, just like it has for people all over the country. In the day since his passing, social media has become alight with tributes to the man whose thumb guided us through the movies for more than 40 years. We thought we would join in with some our favorite Siskel and Ebert moments, with the pair standing up for good movies, and having some fun with the bad ones. RIP to both.
Siskel and Ebert Review the Nintendo Entertainment System
From time to time At The Movies would dedicate a week to reviewing popular holiday gift items, usually media-related tech, which Ebert was a long-time nerd about. In these segments, Siskel and Ebert take a look at the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo a few years later. The pair play what might be the most boring game of Tecmo Bowl ever played — which says a lot, because I’ve played that game with my dad, and he once broke my laptop just trying to get it open. Just throw a hail Mary every play, guys, I figured it out when I was 6.
Siskel and Ebert and Sherman — The Critic Appearance
Siskel and Ebert appeared on cult cartoon The Critic playing themselves in an episode where the pair break up, giving the show’s acerbic film critic star Jay Sherman a chance to become the new Ebert (or Siskel). Siskel and Ebert fair well poking fun of their stuffy personas while the episode acts as a love letter to At The Movies. I also like that Siskel has a Carnosaur poster in his office.
Poltergeist III Review
At The Movies was never particularly kind to trashy horror films, but Siskel and Ebert seem to have a blast jabbing holes through the preposterous Poltergeist III. Carol-Anne? CAROL-ANNE!
“Stinkers of ’83”
At the end of each year At The Movies would recount the year’s best and worst films, and while watching the two discuss the year’s best movies was always worthwhile, it was the Stinkers of the Year segments that were golden. In 1983, the two tear apart a string of bad sequels: Amityville 3-D, Jaws 3-D and Porky’s 2: The Next Day.
“At The Movies” Star Wars Special
Siskel and Ebert were both quite large fans of the Star Wars films — Ebert lists A New Hope in his, sadly, now closed “Great Movies” list — and their enthusiasm shows in this episode that celebrates the series at the release of Return of the Jedi. Oh, and man, there is an amazing laserdisc commercial in the middle of this episode.
The Infamous At the Movies Outtake Fights
This is a classic bit of bickering that somehow surfaced on the internet several years ago. The first portion, with Gene and Roger decked out all in grey for some reason, is testy and mean spirited – extreme to the point where you wonder if your favorite movie critic pair actually hated each other; but the next portion, where Gene rips on Roger’s weight and Roger fires back about Gene’s stammering is good-natured ribbing at its finest.
Roger Ebert Hated North More Than Anyone Has Ever Hated Anything
Ebert hated North, that bullshit Rob Reiner movie where Elijah Wood divorces his parents and goes on a quest to find a new pair. He hated, hated, hated, hated it. He hated it so much that he named a book after how much he hated it. I kind of hate this movie too, to be honest, but Jesus, Roger Ebert really hated it.
Siskel & Ebert 1, The National Review 0
This clip features Siskel & Ebert on Nightline facing off against John Simon, a stuffed shirt stiff from The National Review, about the Star Wars films. Simon opens with a condescending dismissal of The Empire Strikes Back, where he calls the material “malodorous offal ” that’s stupefying our youth, suggesting that people bring their kids to see Tender Mercies instead — whatever the hell that is. Simon is objectively wrong about the Star Wars films, and is even kind of a dick about it, and Gene and Roger rip into him, defending the films with a level of passion and excitement that makes Simon’s criticisms seem like, well, malodorous offal.
It. Is. Amazing.