April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert has died.

"On Tuesday, Mr. Ebert blogged that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer following a hip fracture suffered in December, and would be taking 'a leave of presence.' In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote 'I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.'"

Working on something he loved right up to the last minute, despite all adversity....

I'm sorry to see him go. I met him once at a bookstore event. I was with my son Chris — a big movie-lover — who was young and excited about meeting Ebert, so I waited in line. For some reason, the book we had in hand for signing was "Two Weeks In Midday Sun : A Cannes Notebook," which has not just writing by Ebert, but drawings — line drawings. As Chris was interacting with him, I said that I loved the drawings.

I was, at the time, immensely interested in travel sketchbooks, most notably Bill Griffith's "Get Me a Table Without Flies, Harry." I, myself, traveled with a sketchbook and a fountain pen (and no camera) and made my trips all about drawings. So I was sincere in my enthusiasm for his drawing, and he immediately said that the drawings were very bad.

Oh, no, I love them, I said. They're very charming! Afterwards, I realized that it was absurd for me to encourage his drawings and baby him about their charm. Look at how he joyfully brutalized the bad films, even collecting the meanest reviews in books with titles like "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie." He was a critic, and I was being uncritical.

I must have sounded like a kindergarten teacher to him. I didn't have the time to talk about the Griffith tradition and my own adventures in Amsterdam. It was just a book signing encounter. Move along. No connection made.

There are many, many Roger Ebert books of course.

92 comments:

Moose said...

Sorry - other than being a mildly thoughtful movie critic - what was he? Jesus?

Jay Vogt said...

May he rest in peace.

Everyone paled in the shadow of Pauline Kael.

Of the pack, he was quite serviceable. He was syndicated into our local paper. I always found his reviews to be worth the five minutes they took to read.

rehajm said...

As a kid I never missed a Siskel & Ebert episode, following them from public television to syndication. If they were on at 10:30 on Sunday morning or midnight Saturday. I loved their interplay and became passionate about film because of them. I would see everything. Every genre, the crap, everything. And they were my guides. I loved the notion they really didn't care much for each other, yet they remained partners. They knew it was good television...

After Siskel passed, and Ebert became the shrill hack he became, he helped wean me off Hollywood.

RIP

Ignacio said...

All I can remember about Ebert is how much he disliked BLUE VELVET.

ricpic said...

Life Itself: A Memoir was quite a surprise to me. Ebert comes across in it as a genuinely sweet person. Not that he didn't hold to positions that repel me, he was PC to the core, but at the same time there was a minimum of meanness, harshness in him. Lost for much of his life. An alcoholic. But always with a considerable circle of friends and finally a loving marriage.

ricpic said...

Either the above is true or Ebert was a genius at misrepresenting himself.

Freeman Hunt said...

He will be terribly missed. Someone who truly appreciated the art of film, he was the sort of viewer artists make their films for.

Ann Althouse said...

"All I can remember about Ebert is how much he disliked BLUE VELVET."

Wasn't it because — I'm running on memory here — he couldn't bear to see Isabella Rossellini treated that way, especially the way she was made to appear naked, with no sufficient reason?

mccullough said...

Ebert dropped the ball on so many movies. Here's a website that ranks his 79 worst reviews, the films he overpraised and underappreciated.

I'd put Unforgiven at No. 1. He gave "W." four stars. It might be the worst of Oliver Stone's many bad movies.

http://rogersworst.blogspot.com/

Bob Ellison said...

He co-wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

bpm4532 said...

We must make our own decisions now.

garage mahal said...

Ebert could enjoy a dumb movie but wouldn't tolerate straight up meanness that served no purpose.

RIP

mccullough said...

Garage,

He gave W. four stars. Ebert was mean spirited when it came to people's whose political views he disagreed with. Not a fine character trait.

Anyway, it's his underappreciation of at least 25 classic American films that show he was pretty clueless. He had a very limited sensibility.

creeley23 said...

I found Ebert the most reliable reviewer for my particular taste in movies, which is not to say that I agreed with him all the time.

And he was hateful, in the typically blustery Hollywood way, when it came to conservative politics.

Still I can't think of anyone I would rather read, this side of James Agee, on film.

Saint Croix said...

I realized that it was absurd for me to encourage his drawings and baby him about their charm.

Not at all! Like many critics, Ebert was a failed artist. So I'm sure he was secretly pleased by what you said.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, by the way, is one of the best bad movies ever made. Hilariously awesome.

"You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance."

Marshal said...

garage mahal said...
Ebert ...wouldn't tolerate straight up meanness that served no purpose.


Maybe Siskel would have liked you.

CEO-MMP said...

garage mahal said...

Ebert could enjoy a dumb movie but wouldn't tolerate straight up meanness that served no purpose.


Except for the meanness for no reason he vomited forth onto people who didn't agree with him politically.

creeley23 said...

Just looked at the Roger's Worst link. The list starts at #79 with last season's "The Master":

Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn't clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into." He finishes by saying "Paul Thomas Anderson is one of our great directors. The Master shows invention and curiosity. It is often spellbinding. But what does it intend to communicate?

Ebert speaks for me. "The Master" was a beatifully-crafed lost opportunity with two great actors in sync and an intriguing subject but a script that goes straight down the rat hole of the current ambiguous pretentiousness you find in "New Yorker" short stories.

I read several reviewers in thrall to this film but none could say much more than "It's just so great."

creeley23 said...

Make that pretentious ambiguity.

SteveR said...

I liked Siskel better, after awhile Ebert became too close to the business and he lost, for me anyway, what I had liked about his commentary.

Writ Small said...

I remember that he gave four stars to Titan A.E., a poorly animated Tolkien-in-Space mess, and then he trashed the actual, great Lord of the Rings series.

That aside, he was a gifted writer and I loved reading his reviews whether I agreed or not.

creeley23 said...

About the "Roger's Worst" list, Ebert tweeted:

He lists my 75 worst reviews and says why they're bad. Some of the time, he's right. But "Unforgiven" and "Godfather", eventually made my Great Movies Collection, showing I'm capable of learning. I actually take this as a compliment. It took a lot of work.

Pretty gracious.

creeley23 said...

...then he trashed the actual, great Lord of the Rings series.

He did not. He rated the trilogy films: 3, 3.5 and 3 out of 4 stars. Which is better than I think they deserved.

wyo sis said...

He was a hard worker and had an appetite for life.
I don't think he knew he was mean. Most PC liberals don't. They just assume they're right and what could be mean about that. So to his mind his meanness had a purpose.

G Joubert said...

Sorry, but I rarely agreed with him, didn't care for his smugish attitude so I tended to avoid him, and when I did see him I always thought he really needed to go on a diet.

rcommal said...

I remember the Amsterdam posts.

edutcher said...

The one thing that always made me laugh was the opening credits of their first PBS show.

The way he went up those stairs made you think he was going there to molest a kid or something.

Patrick said...

I'm not as much of a movie guy as I'd like to be, consequently I'm not all that familiar with his work. One thing that I apparently will not forget is the terrific savaging he and Mr. Siskel did of a movie called "North." Just ripped it to shreds, as close to literally as figuratively can get.

chickelit said...

A former Althouse commenter named blake blogs pretty much only film reviews. I've gotten much more out of his reviews than Ebert's. Of course Ebert did it far longer.

LarsPorsena said...

A fine writer but his critical faculties collapsed over the last two decades. As PC as they come.

Jay Vogt said...

"All I can remember about Ebert is how much he disliked BLUE VELVET."

Wasn't it because — I'm running on memory here — he couldn't bear to see Isabella Rossellini treated that way, especially the way she was made to appear naked, with no sufficient reason?"


Honestly, what kind of reason do you need.

Saint Croix said...

Look at how he joyfully brutalized the bad films, even collecting the meanest reviews in books with titles like "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie." He was a critic, and I was being uncritical.

Actually, Ebert was a very easy grader. His hate book was filled with flops that nobody saw.

In fact I think that was the major criticism of Ebert's career, all the grade inflation. He was not stingy with 4 star reviews, and would give lots and lots of B+ (3 and a half stars) B (3 stars) and B- (2 and a half stars).

His Blue Velvet review is so memorable because it's so out of character for him. He gave a 1 star review to David Lynch's masterpiece. Ebert almost never did that. Normally if he didn't like a movie, he would slap a 2 star mediocrity on it and move on.

Ebert is famous because he's a likable critic, an easy grader (and also very good on camera).

I might have gotten the idea to rank cinema because of all the grade inflation that you see in Ebert's work. And his body of work sort of parallels what liberals have done to the academy: lots of easy grades.

I saw a resume the other day with a 4.05 gpa. And I said to myself, that's frickin' useless. What are you getting, super As? Beyond the A?

It's a shiny, happy report card.

Class rank, on the other hand, is honest. And that might be true with any kind of critical judgment. After all, ranking puts the criticism in context with what other people are doing. The very process of ranking forces you to make harsh judgments.

To Ebert's credit, he's come out with a "great movies" list. It's 367 movies. Or what most critics would call a 4 star movie.

So Ebert was attempting to resurrect some sort of ranking of excellence that he pretty much destroyed with his "thumb up" mantra.

joated said...

I enjoyed the Siskel & Ebert shows but lost a great deal of respect for the man when he started spouting politics.

Matt said...

For the most part I shared his taste in movies but his knowledge of movies was what was really impressive. He knew more about the history of movies than most critics. That alone gave his reviews a little extra weight. He wasn't just throwing out his opinion.

He could also be harsh and pithy:

The Brown Bunny, 2003
"I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny."

The Last Airbender, 2010
"The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented."

Gusty Winds said...

Siskel and Ebert were always great guests on Howard Stern.

Michael K said...

I liked Gene Siskel much better. Ebert was a dedicated lefty.

wyo sis said...

"The way he went up those stairs made you think he was going there to molest a kid or something."

They both looked like that. My kids thought it was very creepy.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I enjoyed the Siskel & Ebert shows but lost a great deal of respect for the man when he started spouting politics.

You must have begrudged him then for understandably taking up the cause of making that lack of financial means or insurance shouldn't have killed him (or anyone else) any sooner than his disease did.

Siskel and Ebert were always great guests on Howard Stern.

Wow, didn't know they did that gig. I'm totally intrigued and want to look it up now.

rcocean said...

Sad news. As a film critic he was always better on TV then in print, but he wrote several excellent pieces on life. He had a post on death recently that surprisingly thoughtful.

I always read his blog and liked him, even though his politics were dumb, smug, and liberal.

RIP.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

rcocean praisingly buries the film critic and scornfully burns the publicly minded humanitarian. What great priorities.

Phil 3:14 said...

I liked him.

Ritmo (sorry about feeding this troll) says:

rcocean praisingly buries the film critic and scornfully burns the publicly minded humanitarian. What great priorities.

Huh? Can you not see praise when it stares you in the face? Do you have any friends whose politics you disagree with.

Good grief!!!

rcocean said...

I actually thought was a very interesting person. One on hand, he had great communication skills and was a fine writer, which indicates great intelligence. But he seemed incapable of thinking deeply about anything. His politics - for example -were nothing more bundle of prejudices and emotions.

And these prejudices were based on his family and schooling. In one of his posts (he calls himself a Roman Catholic who didn't believe in God). There's no evidence he ever questioned his inherited political beliefs and ever knew much about economics, history, political science, etc.

He loved to talk about Darwin and Evolution but he always sounded like a College Sophomore who'd just read Stephen Gould.

rcocean said...

BTW, its been a long workday and I'm too tired to edit.

creeley23 said...

rcocean praisingly buries the film critic and scornfully burns the publicly minded humanitarian. What great priorities.

Ritmo: It no doubt will come as news to you but sniping and snarking at conservatives is not publicly minded humanitarianism.

hawkeyedjb said...

We should always appreciate artists, writers, and craftsmen for what they are: people good at their trade who should be ignored when they venture outside their area of expertise. Roger Ebert wrote thousands of movie reviews, and he was very good at what he did. Enjoy his film criticism, because most of it is truly good. His opinions on politics are as useful as my opinions on film, which is to say "close to worthless." So enjoy, celebrate and mourn Mr. Ebert for what he truly was - a good film critic. Ignore the parts of his oeuvre that don't represent his special area of expertise.

R.I.P.

Robert Cook said...

I just saw that today was the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Was this reported anywhere in the media today? (I saw it at COUNTERPUNCH just now.)

tiger said...

'Moose said...
Sorry - other than being a mildly thoughtful movie critic - what was he? Jesus?'

Pretty much THIS.

He could be more than a little pompous and his knee-jerk liberalism was shallow and at times filled with anger - if not hate - for those that disagreed with him.

And his reviews never struck me has having all that much depth - at least not as much as he is credited with having.

tiger said...

'wyo sis said...
He was a hard worker and had an appetite for life.
I don't think he knew he was mean. Most PC liberals don't. They just assume they're right and what could be mean about that. So to his mind his meanness had a purpose.'

You just justified this prick's meanness to people he thought were inferior to him because of their political beliefs.

WTG. (Nothing personal btw; this is the first time you've posted something I take issue with)

tiger said...

'O Ritmo Segundo said...
rcocean praisingly buries the film critic and scornfully burns the publicly minded humanitarian. What great priorities.'

'A public minded humanitarian'?

What do you base this on?
Ebert's keeping extremely heavy drapes on his windows to the light wouldn't fade his classic movie posters or the fact that his wife is black?

tiger said...

' hawkeyedjb said...
We should always appreciate artists, writers, and craftsmen for what they are: people good at their trade who should be ignored when they venture outside their area of expertise. Roger Ebert wrote thousands of movie reviews, and he was very good at what he did. Enjoy his film criticism, because most of it is truly good. His opinions on politics are as useful as my opinions on film, which is to say "close to worthless." So enjoy, celebrate and mourn Mr. Ebert for what he truly was - a good film critic. Ignore the parts of his oeuvre that don't represent his special area of expertise.'

This is trite bullshit.

It's liberals who have for decades told the rest of us that 'politics are personal' so when someone goes out of their way to tell me what their political beliefs are they must accept they will be judged on that as well as their craft - if not more so.

So - in a sense- fark Ebert; if he didn't want people to know of his political beliefs - something that he certainly judged people on - then he should have kept quiet about his.

creeley23 said...

tiger: Ritmo may have been joking. Of course, liberalism has become self-parodying so there is no way to know for sure without smilies.

Case in point: There is a bioethicist who argues that human beings should be genetically modified to have cat's eyes in order to cope with climate change.

News or satire?

Matt said...

tiger

So...who's being 'mean' now? On the day that a man - who was a critic with opinions [not a politician or a criminal] - dies you come out and call him all kinds of names. Is that honorable? Is that what conservatives - who are apparently better than liberals - do? Do you realize how mean and petty you sound? Are you aware of this fact?

Show some respect. At least for a day.

rcocean said...

God you people are boring.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

tiger: Ritmo may have been joking. Of course, liberalism has become self-parodying so there is no way to know for sure without smilies.

It is pretty crazy that an ideology that calls John Locke's philosophy a self-parody doesn't have the presence of mind to realize what's wrong with being "anti-social(ist)". We are supposed to take cues from those among us who feel that prosocial sentiments and acts are tyranny and evil, and that doesn't see the irony in defining their primary cause in a way that echoes the most destructive and criminal of personality disorders: (i.e. "sociopathy" or ASPD). It boggles the mind.

Anyway, I hadn't read much of Ebert's social commentary, but did appreciate a bit of his stuff I did read that took issue with the cause of making sure the government let the sick and the poor die and wither. That was enough for me.

As far as his wife, Chaz, that sounds like as irrelevant a point as whatever was said about his movie posters.

creeley23 said...

It is pretty crazy that an ideology that calls John Locke's philosophy a self-parody

I'm talking about today's liberals who are more the heirs of Marx than Locke.

But you probably know that and you basically function as chain-puller here.

creeley23 said...

Matt: Perhaps you did not notice, but most of the conservative commenters said they appreciate Ebert in spite of his politics -- a virtue not nearly as often found on the left.

Sam L. said...

Lost interest years ago.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

I'm talking about today's liberals who are more the heirs of Marx than Locke.

I'm happy to be socially concerned while you beat your chest and wave about your anti-social(ist) credentials. And you need not start with Marx. Go further back to that other socially conscious Jew, Jesus, and let me know what you think about his Buckleyan and Randroidian credentials.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

Matt: Perhaps you did not notice, but most of the conservative commenters said they appreciate Ebert in spite of his politics -- a virtue not nearly as often found on the left.

Well, there was Jack Kemp - but movement conservatism and its purging mentality has seemed to make gentlemen like him few and far between.

We like people who aren't afraid and are indeed proud of their concern for the less fortunate. Conservatives who are ashamed of or hide their concern for the poor or unprivileged are inherently suspect to us.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Increasingly, Ebert's far left politics entered into his reviews.

That's a cardinal sin, and has permanently tarnished his legacy.

Matt said...

creeley23

I'm not denying that some are showing respect here. And I appreciate it. But tiger did 4 posts in a row that were rather harsh. I felt someone had to call him [or her?] on it.

Joshua said...

I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers, made over $9k her first month and she convinced me to try. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. Here's what I do Wow55.com

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Thanks Josh for making this comment thread more interesting.

Tell us more.

rcocean said...

Josh,

Thanks for the tip. I love to make to make money while working at home. BTW, could you talk to Ritmo and help him sound more intelligent and interesting?

You could probably do that from your laptop while working at home.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

You've resorted to seeking sympathy and common cause with spam-bots, rc?

Well, then.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

In any event, "Wow55" is a hell of a domain name.

Other than that, at least your first response was fun.

Broomhandle said...

Another registered Democrat bites the dust.

Mutaman said...

How come there aren't any decent rightwing movie critic?. Wait, now that I think about, how come there aren't any decent rightwing writers?

Mutaman said...

"Siskel and Ebert were always great guests on Howard Stern."

They had a great line:

"Howard Stern, as American as apple pie, served by a naked lesbian waitress"

SukieTawdry said...

Siskel (who I understand was a real SOB) was the more reliable critic for my tastes, but the two of them together were pretty damn good. When they both were highly enthused about a film, chances were it was a good one. Siskel and Ebert operated before Agore invented the Internet and turned me on to many enjoyable small and independent films I otherwise would have missed. I didn't have a whole lot of use for Ebert without Siskel, though.

I remember remarking to my husband after we saw Saturday Night Fever (Siskel's favorite musical) that it was Mean Streets gone disco. Years later I read Ebert's critical essay on the film in which he made the same observation. Which shows he did have moments of brilliance.

RIP, Roger. Hope you got a thumbs up from the Big Guy.

Darrell said...

I went with some friends at work to a bar on the North Side of Chicago that was the regular hangout of a couple of them. Once we were there, those regulars mentioned that we might see Roger Ebert because he was there often. The bartender/owner kept announcing at regular intervals that should Ebert appear, no one was allowed to talk to him, bother him. The place got more and more crowded as the night wore on. Ebert did show and he was given a table to himself--one that several of us had been sitting at. We complied willingly and immediately. Ebert sat there drinking with a scowl on his face, not making even eye contact with any one else in the room. No one attempted to talk with him, although I could see that some people heading toward his table were stopped and spoken to by people that heard the announcements. About an hour later, a drop-dead gorgeous woman about 30 came through the door and after a few seconds said "My God, you're Roger Ebert! I've been reading your columns in the Sun Times forever. I'm a big fan of your work! May I buy you a drink?"
With that, Ebert gets off his chair and explodes--flailing his arms as if someone had just tossed a bee hive into his face. He struck the woman in the face with his hand movement. Seeing that she appeared to be frozen and about to be hit again, I stepped between them, facing her. She was at first frightened by my actions, but seeing me get hit in the back of my head made her realize what I was doing. I shunted her out of the door as I saw a swarm of people moving in from all directions. Once outside she said "What was that?" I said "I guess he doesn't allow anyone to speak to him--but that was the most insane thing I ever personally witnessed." I asked if she was alright and checked her face. There was redness, but no broken skin that I could see. I told her to wash her face thoroughly, though, when she got home--and maybe daub hydrogen peroxide on the area before icing it down with frozen vegetables to keep down any swelling. She got into a cab and left.

No guy over six years of age would throw a hissy fit like that in private, much less a crowded bar. I pretty much wrote him off as a jerk. My opinion didn't change when he started revealing himself as a Lefty. He helped enable Hollywood as they took off the gloves and dropped the coy when producing propaganda pieces. Oh how he laughed that Rob Reiner referred to the bad guys in his film, The American President, as "Republicans" rather than a made-up name they would have used before in a totally fictional piece. He saw no problem with having fictional Republican characters calling a woman that the widowed President was dating "the President's whore" and even more outrageous dialogue. Too bad he didn't believe in God. God would love him.

Darrell said...
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SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Darrell -

Don't know if your Ebert story is true, but the fact that it wouldn't surprise me if it was, says enough.

I'm reminded of the Red Foxx joke, "You should only say good about the dead. [insert name here] is dead. Good."

Darrell said...

A few years later, I saw Gene Siskel at a Chicago hotel when I was coming from a business conference. I said his name, then apologized for bothering him. He said don't be silly, but he still is surprised that people treat him as if he were famous. He then said his wife would never let him get a swelled head about it--her laughing at him whenever he showed signs of that was enough. He then asked if I saw a movie that had recently come out--and I said I had. He asked me what I thought about it and I told him. He was waiting to meet his wife there and she was late and he said he rather not spend the time in the hotel bar. His wife showed up and he introduced her and they said goodbye. He seemed like a nice guy all around.

Craig said...

I've got Eberts in my family tree. It's a Huguenot name. One of sixty such surnames transplanted from southern France to northern Germany by an edict of the Great Elector. After Kaiser Wilhelm's abdication the first Chancellor of Germany under the Weimar Republic was an Ebert.

T. A. Hansen said...

Ebert was a very small man. Very dogmatic. Contrary to his revisionist opinion he Hated, hated, hated Apocolypyse Now when it first came out. He was never a first adoptor of that movie.

Ipso Fatso said...

"I went with some friends at work to a bar on the North Side of Chicago that was the regular hangout...." Darrell

Chances are that bar was the original O'Rourke's, which was on North Avenue near Wells St. in Old Town. When O'Rourke's moved to Halsted St.(it is now closed) I hung out there and was told Ebert stories by the old timers. He was, by all reports, a major league asshole and thought he was smarter than anyone else and let you know it. No one said he was a good guy. As I said on another thread, Ebert can now vote for Democrats in Hell & Chicago.

Ipso Fatso said...

In fairness to Ebert, he did at some point quit drinking which may have had a modifying effect on his personality but during those drinking years he was, as reported, not a good person. He did handle his illness with a special grace. Maybe his marriage helped him find happiness.

CEO-MMP said...

Matt said...

creeley23

I'm not denying that some are showing respect here. And I appreciate it. But tiger did 4 posts in a row that were rather harsh. I felt someone had to call him [or her?] on it.


And take the opportunity to rail against conservatives a little while you were at it, which is what makes it shitty. You have a problem with tiger, tell tiger tiger is being an asshole, not that "is this how conservatives behave" or whatever bullshit you said you cunt.

Darrell said...

I don't remember the name of the bar--I'm a South Sider. Keep in mind that he didn't interact with anyone, not even eye contact. I was told that and I saw it for myself. Until the incident with the pretty woman, that is. And he wasn't drunk. I saw him come in and he was nursing the drink in front of himself. This was 1980 (or 1979), and I hadn't heard anything about a drinking problem with him then. The owner seemed to take pride in providing him with a place to drink in peace. Everyone else seemed OK with that--I guess you had to be. O'Rourke's sounds familiar and right. And not because I grew up in an Irish neighborhood on the South Side and I can think of couple of places with that name.

Btw, the woman was wearing an expensive woman's business suit, skirt well below the knee, and a Burberry's trenchcoat and scarf, so it's unlikely he acted that way to avoid being hassled by a "pro." IYKWIMAITTYD

Ipso Fatso said...

Darrell

If you are still in Chicago read Sneed's piece in the Sun Times on Ebert today. She mentions O’Rourke’s and how he was a regular there. She quotes one of his drinking buddies that he was a good guy and talked to everyone, etc. That is not what I heard. Chances are the people who he did speak to where fellow writers, actors and journalists, people he considered on his level, which is what the guy Sneed quotes was. O’Rourke’s was their hang out. Also remember when you saw him say in 1979, he had been hanging out there and drinking there for over 10 years. The guys I knew had know him for many years.

Darrell said...

Sneed wouldn't break the code of silence for a fellow journalist. Kup was a major asshole and cheapskate and all the "gossip reporters" had only nice things to say about him too. Waitresses, cab drivers, restaurant owners had a different story.

Ipso Fatso said...

Darrell

You nailed it. Sneed is covering for one of her own which all journalists do. And you are right about Kup as well.

Steve Koch said...

Ebert was obnoxious and spouted a bunch of lefty nonsense.

TMink said...

I really appreciated his movie reviews and enjoyed his show with Siskel.

His later years, full of political bigotry and hate, not so much.

Rest in Peace.

Trey

ed said...

@ rehajm

"After Siskel passed, and Ebert became the shrill hack he became, he helped wean me off Hollywood."

Ditto.

Mutaman said...

I was in O'Rourke's once.Having a good time until some guy came in and was immediately escorted out with a lot of yelling and noise. They said he came in occasionally and would try to steal wallets and would try to pick up men. They said they had so many complaints so they had to bar him. I asked what his name was and they said Darrell. True story.

bbkingfish said...

Mutaman...
Your anecdote is way more believable than Darrell's yarns.

Darrell said...

Fuck you, Mutaman and bbkingfish. In your little mind, no one can meet a movie reviewer from a local newspaper randomly in his neighborhood. And do note the independent confirmation by Ipso of Ebert's assholiness. I've told that same story at other blogs over the years when it was relevant. Your opinions are as good as your little fake names. Maybe when you reach sixty, you'll have a few stories too. But that's problematic, isn't it? Stop being assholes and travel around a bit and you may run into some notable people or people that might become famous. Then tell your stories and have internet weasels make snarky comments about them:The circle of jerks.

The story is true. Mutaman and bbkingfish are false.