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Roger Ebert is the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic from the Chicago Sun-Times. His reviews are syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and Canada. The American Film Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have awarded him honorary degrees and the Online Film Critics Society named his Web site (rogerebert.com) the best online movie review site
I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie is a great title, but it doesn't really sum up this book. It's a collection of reviews of movies rated between zero and two stars - and if you know Roger Ebert's ratings system, you'll know that two stars isn't by any means a total pan. And that's where the book gets weak. The zero to one star reviews are truly funny; it's quite amusing to read the distillation of bitterness and hatred that comes from forcing a movie lover to sit through a terrible movie. On another level, it's also quite amusing to try to imagine how these movies ever got made in the first place - some of them leave you wondering how it is that the producers did not notice they didn't have a script until after shooting started. Others leave you wondering why the actors and director didn't take the easy way out and simply kill themselves rather than complete the movie. Unfortunately, the book is padded with reviews of some movies that it appears Ebert only disliked. And mild dislike doesn't give rise to the same kind of humor as loathing does. Had these reviews been cut, the book would probably have been 50 pages shorter, and it would have been a riot from beginning to end, albeit one that left you with a serious disinclination to go to the movies. (Or, depending on the kind of person you are, with a strong *inclination* to head for the video rental store.) If the editor, author, or publisher truly felt the need to extend the book beyond the despised movies, it would have been much more gripping and entertaining to include a few four-star reviews - maybe one per chapter? - to show what the other end of the spectrum looked like.Read more ›
It could be argued that Ebert is truly at his best when he is savagely attacking the worst films ever made. While his criticism is always sharp and insightful, his negative reviews are much more entertaining, employing sarcasm, bitterness, and outright hatred for the drivel he must endure. The book provides a diverse selection, ranging from the early 1970s to more recent disasters. Although he attacks small, obscure works, he is much more satisfied attacking the giants; the "sacred cows" of cinema that, by virtue of their budgets, are believed to be above criticism. Ebert is dedicated to his craft and would probably prefer to spend his time in the company of classics, but few individuals display such giddiness when given the "privilege" of witnessing true cinematic chaos. His humor is to our benefit.
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This is Roger Ebert's greatest book. Everything about it is absolutely splendid, from the cover photograph, to the last word of the index. I have always been a fan of bad movies, and I enjoy seeing what doesn't work cinematically as much as what does. This is a collection of Ebert's best reviews on the subject of what decidedly does not work. Ebert is always a quick wit, and though I don't always agree with him, I always find his writing insightful to illuminating his point of view. In this book, though, I believe that I am in complete agreement on all the movies that I have seen. Indeed, some of these reviews are so well written and intriguing, I had to see the film in question just to know if it could be that bad. For instance after reading about the silly character names, the telepathic parrots and the man eating vegetables, I just HAD to see "At The Earth's Core". It is unquestionably as wretched as Ebert says, and I delighted in its badness. I have now set my sights on "North", but that is allegedly much harder to watch. If you want an accounting of mostly big budget cinematic fiascoes, this is the book for you. I hope Ebert writes another book soon called 'More Movies I Hated, Hated, Hated.'
What is it with the desire to read reviews of bad movies, some of them now thirty years out of date? It's the intellectual equivalent of craning your head out the car window to look at a roadside wreck. The only possible motive I can conceive of wanting to read this fairly hefty collection (almost 300 pages) of reviews panning movies is that the reader wants to gloat that, at least, if nothing else, I'm not in here, haw haw haw. And yet it's a fun read. Time and again many of us have read books that tell us which movies are worth seeing, but seldom have we read any that warn us away from turkeys. And rarely, if we have encountered lists of bad movies, have we encountered any with Roger Ebert's biting wit and insight. Many people dismiss Ebert because of his willful attempts to connect with the middle-brow audience rather than aiming either high or low, but remember, it's the middle who forks over the largest share of their hard-earned money to get an eyeful of these films. Personally, I like Ebert, and have found him the most consistently trustworthy critic out there to my personal taste. Generally, if he says a movie is great, I can be sure I'll agree; if he says a certain picture should go take a flying leap, I know it's one I should skip. Not everyone will agree with the opinions of this book. I certainly don't. For example, I thought "Patch Adams," though very imperfect, was at least humorous. Ebert panned it. Likewise, I thought the prints of "Titanic" should be recycled into toilet paper spindles and be put to some constructive use; in a side note, Ebert calls the film "brilliant." And one movie Ebert shreds in here, "The Last Movie," has appeared in another book I own as one of the 100 most-neglected movies you should run out and rent right now.Read more ›
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