Just Getting Started
Just Getting Started never really gets going. It only kept me thinking, “Is this ever just going to finish?”
Roger Ebert became film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times in 1967. He is the only film critic with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame and was named honorary life member of the Directors' Guild of America. He won the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Screenwriters' Guild, and honorary degrees from the American Film Institute and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Chaz is the Publisher of RogerEbert.com and a regular contributor to the site, writing about film, festivals, politics, and life itself.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor-in-Chief of RogerEbert.com, TV critic for New York Magazine, the creator of many video essays about film history and style, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism, and the author of The Wes Anderson Collection. His writing on film and TV has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, New York Press, The Star-Ledger and Dallas Observer. (Banner illustration by Max Dalton)
House Republicans, who have promised action on their 10-point "Contract With America" in the first 100 days of the new Congress, reach the halfway mark today. No one has been more identified with the GOP's recent surge in Congress than Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). He has used his new position as House speaker to promote his vision of where the country should be heading - and to suggest the viewing of movies as a means of shaping social policy. Who better to give Newt some movie guidance than Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert?
Though I've never personally experienced the Tingler or Ghost-a-Rama, my life as a moviegoer has touched on most of the other legendary film gimmicks.
Film noir is . . .
One day it was winter. The next day there was a wet restlessness in the wind, and it was March. We knew it was March because Dan-Dan the Yo-Yo Man always came to town right around St. Patrick's Day. He visited all the grade school playgrounds, driving up in his fat maroon Hudson and jumping out with the yo-yo already in the air. He passed out fliers for the annual yo-yo contest at the Princess Theater.
It is an open secret that the "spontaneous exchanges" on talk shows are somewhat planned in advance. What has surprised me is how often the hosts depart entirely from the script. In many appearances on the Leno, Carson and Letterman programs, I would estimate that less than half of what happened was foreseen, and in some cases entire appearances were ad-libbed. The "pre-interview" is more like a safety net.
Some of the best reviews of the year are going to a three-hour documentary about a couple of inner-city Chicago kids who dream of becoming basketball stars in the NBA. "Hoop Dreams" (opening Friday), has come out of the Sundance, Toronto, New York and Chicago film festivals trailing clouds of glory, and critical praise that few fiction films are ever granted. Why are the critics so enthusiastic?
TOKYO, Japan--People ask me who my favorite directors are, and I mention Hitchcock, Scorsese, Fellini, Welles and Ozu. They nod, but there is a slight pause, and I know they are considering whether to ask me: "Ozu?"
"Interactive" is the kind of word I like to interact with by hitting the "delete" key on my computer. I'm asked at least twice a week about the future of "interactive movies," and I am sorry to disappoint, but the answer is: Interactive movies have no future. They're already over with, except as a buzzword often found in the same sentence with terms like "infobahn" and "information revolution."
Okay, so you skip the popcorn the next time you go to the movies. Can you dine at the candy counter?