On today’s date in 1942, Roger Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois. 25 years later, he became the film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, a job he held until the end of his life in 2013. His reviews were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers and collected in dozens of books. Along with Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel, Ebert co-hosted the pre-eminent film review television shows Sneak Previews and At the Movies. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize.
His opinion mattered. When he loved a movie, Ebert could make the career of a new filmmaker. With a thumbs down, he could destroy dreams. And sometimes he did. One of Ebert’s most successful books, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, collected reviews of films that Ebert, well, hated. Ebert had no patience for bad movies and didn’t hold back when discussing those he considered the worst. In celebration of his life, today, let’s take a look as some movies he rated at less than one star.
“Wolf Creek is more like the guy at the carnival sideshow who bites off chicken heads. No fun for us, no fun for the guy, no fun for the chicken.”
“A lot of bad movies are fairly throbbing with life. Mannequin is dead. The wake lasts 1 1/2 hours, and then we can leave the theater. Halfway through, I was ready for someone to lead us in reciting the rosary.”
Josie and the Pussycats
“Josie and the Pussycats are not dumber than the Spice Girls, but they’re as dumb as the Spice Girls, which is dumb enough.”
“I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it.”
“Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way.”