When I was a kid in the 1980s, we didn’t have a lot of money to see movies in the theaters or rent them at Blockbuster on VHS, so my largest connection to most new movies came from watching Siskel & Ebert on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings. I’ve never cared too much about what critics have to say about movies, because I’ve always believed that I’ll simply judge something for myself. But watching Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on TV made me think that these were the guys that should always be taken seriously, so if they gave something “Two Thumbs Up,” I was going to save what little of my allowance I could and go see that movie. Of course, most of the movies they loved weren’t exactly fodder for an 8-year old child, so I skipped a lot of them until I was a little older.
Now, of course, I think that 99% of movie critics are full of sh*t, with a 1% margin of error, as they’re the sports writing equivalent of people who have made a living off of the work of others. “But you’re an a-hole critic, aren’t you?” Yeah, I guess technically I am and I’d include myself in that 99%, but I limit my leeching to the movies that I really hate and wish had never been made. So what I always enjoyed about Ebert, as I conveniently write this on what would have been his 72nd birthday and with the documentary about his life hitting theaters later this year, is that when he hated a movie, he told you about it succinctly, but with enough venom in his sting that you know he really f*cking hated that movie.
So I scrolled through his archives and found the movies that he really hated the most over the years – those with ratings of one star or *gulp* less – as well as some of my least favorite movies, and picked his best lines that helped describe just how terrible he thought these movies were. I don’t agree with all of his reviews (’90s Burnsy loved The Usual Suspects), but I learned two things in the process: 1) Ebert and I would have loved watching Happy Madison movies together; and 2) TOMMY BOY RULES, YOU MONSTER!