Monday, June 30, 2008
The Fall of Roger Ebert
First off, let me say that Roger Ebert has been battling throat cancer for a while and I applaud the courage and good-faith he's shown. He seems like a very nice man and I wish him all the best. He is a film critic I really enjoy and have learned a lot from him. That being said, those of us who are honest have known for a long time that perhaps his mind is not as clear or outright sane as it used to be.
Whether it's giving an excellent review to what was clearly a horrible film, or just basically speaking non-sense, Ebert, even before his illness, was showing signs of senility. It is always difficult to trace the descent of a person's mind, but while reading his review of Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark, I think I found an ancient antecedent to his current madness. Please note, this dates all the way back to 1981.
He writes the following: "Watch it with someone you know fairly well. There will be times during the film when it will be necessary to grab somebody."
Does that seem a little silly to anyone? Necessary to grab somebody? I don't know, but this seems like the beginning of the end, although it's been a very long ending, as it is now 27 years later. Interestingly, Ebert's review of the most recent Indiana Jones was quite positive, again confirming his slipping grasp of reality.
For your consideration: "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Say it aloud. The very title causes the pulse to quicken, if you, like me, are a lover of pulp fiction. What I want is goofy action--lots of it. I want man-eating ants, swordfights between two people balanced on the backs of speeding jeeps, subterranean caverns of gold, vicious femme fatales, plunges down three waterfalls in a row, and the explanation for flying saucers. And throw in lots of monkeys."
I don't think there's anything else that needs to be said. I can imagine him walking around, repeating the title of Indy IV aloud and saying he wants lots of monkeys. He's lost it.