Thursday, August 26, 2010

See You, "At The Movies"

This past week, the program "At The Movies" ended its very long run. It's tough to compete in this day and age when you can find movie reviews just about anywhere. I watched the show ever since it started on public television and was called "Sneak Previews."
 I always got a kick out of seeing Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel have a heated disagreement then give those famous "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" recommendations for any given movie.
It later years, the name of the show changed many times. As I recall, it went from "Sneak Previews," to "Siskel & Ebert: At The Movies," to "Ebert & Roeper: At The Movies," then finally just "At The Movies."
Part of the change was because sadly, co-host Gene Siskel died of a brain tumor in 1999. After a number of fill-in guest hosts, Richard Roeper sat in to review movies with Roger Ebert. Ebert fought (and is still vigorously fighting) cancer himself, and he eventually had to leave the show, yet still maintains his own website where he reviews movies--a lot of movies. The guy won't be beaten down by disease even though he can no longer speak. The show's final two hosts were A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips. They were both watchable enough, but no pair can ever hold a candle to the team of Siskel and Ebert. I even modeled the opening of a movie review program I hosted in college after one of their early openings, where the two argue as they walk into a movie theatre. Roger Ebert, a longtime film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, won a Pulitzer Prize, and is the author of several books about film. I'm glad he's still around to give us his take on movies today, and I hope he stays around for many years to come. I have many fond memories of "At The Movies," which won't be forgotten (by me, anyway) for a long, long time (I hope).
As they used to say at the close of each program, it looks like "The balcony is closed," but this time, for good.