Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Roger's little rule book"

Funny, and advice worth taking. (It's clearly aimed at starstruck Ben Lyons, who has taken over At the Movies and is quoted without attribution throughout, not that I've watched that show in years.) On the other hand, Ebert's own overly effusive praise has cost him as a critic; you rarely see less than a three-star review in his column, that is, if he stuck it out all the way through. The prohibition on trailers is weird: Though I agree that recommending a movie based on its trailer is ridiculous, I'd say they themselves are often boringly put together, but harmless, and a heckuva better than commercials. I wish more of my brethren observed the no-autographs-and-pictures guidelines; it's enormously embarrassing when a so-called "professional" whips out the cellphone camera and blank piece of paper after a roundtable, a ritual that can be humbling enough without the added fawning (worse, some of the mementos, like signed hats and T-shirts, are known to wind up on eBay). In all I'm satisfied that I've met the mending Ebert's standards--then again no one's tested me with a suite in the Bahamas, and in the present chilly climate for working critics and the world economy no one is likely to, either.

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