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Ebert has more than once been unsure how to say "Hakuna Matata". For instance, in their review of Disney's Hercules, Ebert called it "Hakuna Makata". He also had trouble saying it in their review of The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride, to the point where Siskel had to correct him.
In their review of 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Siskel insinuated that Ebert was taking a bribe from the studio for saying that young children might find the film entertaining (this is despite Ebert giving the film a thumbs down, mind you):
Siskel: You just dumped on the picture; why soften it? Who are you championing? The filmmakers? Ebert: I'm just trying to put out a little bit of information that might be useful to someone that might enjoy this movie! Siskel: Yeah, it's lousy, but Uncle Rog' says, "You might like it." There ya go. Who are you a friend of?? Ebert: Up next... I'm a friend of the... trusting filmgoer, Gene.
From their Telling Lies in America review, Siskel gave it a marginal thumbs down. Ebert argued, "Gimme Bacon. Come on, gimme Bacon." Siskel chuckled and remarked that he wasn't sure at first what he meant by that. Understandably, it sounded like Ebert was asking for some bacon to eat.
In their review of The Mask, Siskel describing Jim Carrey's characteristic overbite as "predatory animal-like".
The famous outtakes in general, but especially:
Ebert: Sound a little excited, Gene. Siskel: Sound less excited, Roger.
In their review of The Living Daylights, Siskel described Timothy Dalton's version of Bond as "mousy". Ebert said that was an odd way to describe him, and Siskel admitted that was probably the wrong choice of words: "I called James Bond a mouse, and I live to say it."
In their "Worst of 1993" show, Siskel and Ebert gave each other a Take That to movies they gave thumbs up and which made their worst of the year (Siskel liked Carnosaur, while Ebert liked Cop and a Half).
Ebert fires a round at Siskel:
Ebert: Those are the dinosaurs, Gene, that you gave thumbs up to.
And Siskel returns fire at Ebert:
Siskel: We'll have a double bill. People can either go to see Cop and a Half, Roger Ebert recommends, or Carnosaur, a funky, offbeat thriller, and which will they like best? (Ebert tries to get a word in edge-wise) Which one did YOU like best? Which one did YOU like best? Ebert: (defiantly)Cop and a Half! Siskel: (pleased) He said it again, folks. Good. Ebert: And you know, I liked the way you described that double bill, giving your movie all the wonderful adjectives, and giving mine all of the... yeah.
Ebert disliked The Vanishing (1993), to put it mildly. He was especially irritated by the ending, which he felt didn't hold a candle to the ending of the 1988 film on which it was based. When Siskel began to deliver his critique of the film, Ebert kept interrupting him to bash the film some more. After two instances of being interrupted, Siskel said:
Siskel: I don't like the picture. Maybe you're confused about that. I'm still trying to get that opinion out there. Calm down, big boy, calm down.
In their "Worst of 1985" show, Siskel named Pee-wee's Big Adventure as one of the year's worst films, showing a clip from the "bicycle stunt" scene near the beginning of the film. Ebert revealed that he had been on vacation and had missed seeing the film during its cinematic run, but that the clip actually made him want to see it.
Siskel: On the basis of that clip!? Ebert: On the basis of that clip, I kinda liked it... Siskel: Lemme tell you something, on the basis of that- you think that's funny, you're gonna roar- with this film, because... Ebert: He kind of reminded me of Harold Lloyd a little bit there. Siskel:(grabbing his head in disbelief) Oh my God, Roger, you're - Harold Lloyd!?
Ebert: Is it possible to smash a cab against a bus with a guy hanging out the window and not kill him, or even hurt him? I don't think so, but they do it in this movie. (...) Okay, now here's another question: Is it possible to survive a third floor gas explosion by holding up a table as a shield? I don't think so, but they do it in this movie.
During the 1993 Holiday Gift Guide, they actually had to promote, then demo the Sega Activator. Any gamer with knowledge of the device knows how responsive it is (read: not much), so the clip is just Siskel and Ebert trying their damndest to make their movements register. After having to try the Activator on national TV, is it any wonder Ebert is not fond of gaming?
In their review of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), Siskel said it was twice as good as the first film. But since they gave two big thumbs down to the first film, Siskel added: "...And you know what two times zero adds up to."
When Siskel introduced their review of the first three episodes of The Critic. He said it was from the same production company as The Simpsons, although he didn't think it had as many memorable characters as that show, "save for a film critic who's as smart as me and who's as big as... well... Roger's losing weight, so we'll see."
The episode where they reviewed Full Metal Jacket, Benji the Hunted, and Spaceballs had a lot of great disagreements, and at the end of the episode, Siskel told Ebert to look at his thumb over the weekend.
In their review of An American Tail, Siskel derided the musical number, "In America, There Are No Cats":
Siskel: What about all the people named "Katz"? (Ebert laughs)
Some great sarcastic lines from the duo:
In their review of The Great Outdoors:
Siskel: The big commodities guy from Chicago just doesn't like nature, and then the average guy, the happy-go-lucky chubby guy, he loves animals. Thanks. We appreciated that.
Ebert: (after a clip) And no matter what he fires at it, the door doesn't go down. How funny. The door is still there. How hilarious. How highly, highly humorous.
In their review of Overboard, after Goldie Hawn's character pushes Kurt Russell's character (who said he wasn't going anywhere) into the water:
Siskel: Isn't that a surprise? He actually fell overboard, Roger! I bet you didn't know that was gonna happen, noooo!
At the end of their Best of 1991 episode, they couldn't resist getting in a few quips at each other's expense.
Ebert: Well I have to congratulate you, Gene, you don't have any bad movies on your list this year. Siskel: Thank you! Ebert: Okay. (Beat) Nothing you want to say to me? Siskel: Happy New Year!
On The Late Show With David Letterman, Letterman showed a supposed clip from a Siskel and Ebert episode:
Ebert: Our next movie is Lost in Space. This big budget version of the 1960's camp classic- Siskel: Leonardo- Leonardo DiCaprio is hunky. Ebert: Leonardo DiCaprio is not what we're talking about right now! We're talking about Lost in Space! Siskel: It's what I'm talkin' about, big boy. He's hunky. Ebert: Dammit, Gene...!
After Siskel gave a marginal Guilty Pleasure recommendation to Lambada, Ebert called him out for it. After recapping the movies in that episode:
Ebert: And Gene, this is the first time in a long time that you gave thumbs up to all five movies, and.... ya shouldn't have.
In their review of Home Alone 3, Siskel gives the movie a scathing review, but then Ebert chimes in with his opinion....
Ebert: Now this is gonna astound you, but I'm giving the movie thumbs up.
Then there's also Siskel's completely flabbergasted look while Ebert continues to praise the movie, as if he's just thinking, "What is WRONG with you? Like, are you seriously for real?"
Usually the duo are pretty good at moving on after a disagreement, but occasionally there's an episode where bad feelings hang in the air the whole show and come out in their debates, or one of the two is in a noticeably bad mood. Examples:
Ebert was pissy in the episode where they review Bogus, The Big Squeeze, Bulletproof, The Trigger Effect, and The Island of Dr. Moreau. It began after Siskel gave a negative review to Bogus, which Ebert defended.
Siskel seemed more harsh than usual in the episode where they review The Juror, Balto, White Squall, Nico Icon, and French Twist.
In their review of Meet The Deedles, Siskel mentioned that the movie scarred him so much that now, any time he hears the word "Deedles", he experiences pain. Ebert says the offending word and Siskel observes that Ebert loves the word because it gives him power.
Siskel: Our next movie is Mr. Magoo, which is even more worthless than The Postman. Boy, what a criticism that is.
In their review of Broken Arrow when Siskel changed his vote from thumbs up to thumbs down based on Ebert's criticisms:
Ebert: I'm amazed. Siskel: I know you're amazed, do me one favor: Look in the camera and say "I was wrong about Cop and a Half, it wasn't a very good movie." Burt Reynolds... Ebert: Uh no, I won't do that. Siskel: (incredulous) WHAT?! Ebert: No no no, I won't do that. Listen, I saw things in Cop and a Half that I admired- Siskel: (smiling) That no one else did. Ebert: In any event, you've done a very good thing, and I've also done a good thing too, by sticking to my guns. Okay next movie... (surly smile) Cop and a Half.
After a sharp disagreement over Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy:
Siskel: Roger, will you look at this picture again? Ebert: Sure I will, I'd be happy to. Sometime, maybe, in the 21st century.
Then at the end of the show:
Siskel: Brain Candy, Roger. Brain Candy. Ebert: I wish some for you, Gene. I think you've been taking too much of it.
Yes, even pauses can be funny. When the two reviewed Boogie Nights (which Siskel only gave a marginal thumbs up), Ebert gave a pause as he regained his composure before cutting to commercial, and it's hilarious:
Siskel: Oh, "the dreams of stardom" is an old show business cliche; it happens to be true. It's not enough to make my ten best list. It's a familiar subject. Ebert: .........When we come back...
And this example, when they reviewed Boomerang:
Ebert: It's hard to explain, but I know what I'm talking about. You don't, unfortunately. Siskel: Y'know, Roger, on that basis, you can do the show by yourself. Ebert: Here's the problem: I have a very very good point I'm trying to make, and I can't make it in thirty seconds. Maybe we'll do a show on it, okay? Siskel: Coming up: The new show called Ebert. (Ebert gives him a "What are you talking about??" look) Ebert: ...Coming up next...
When reviewing The Rugrats Movie:
Ebert: I can't recommend it to anyone over the Rugrats target demographic, I really can't. This is not a movie, uh, for anyone who doesn't already watch Rugrats on television. I have a feeling for them, it's gonna be just fine, and they're gonna like it a lot, because it has that kind of simplistic, uh... child-oriented, poo and pee-based humor that they just love. Siskel: Well, okay. There's a hearty recommendation. (chuckles) That's not gonna pop up in any quote ads you're gonna see. Ebert: Has the "poo and pee"-type material that ya like.
Ebert: It does not measure up to the Disney classics, but it comes as close as any of the animated wannabes in the last year. It's miles better than Thumbelina, for example. Siskel: Uh, Roger, so is a still shot of you taking a shower. Ebert: Thank you very much. I'm sure you've had a lot of experience with studying such... Siskel: No I'm not, I'm just fantasizing. Ebert: I'm sure you are.
In the 1987 Holiday Video Gift Guide, Siskel shows a clip of a personalized episode of Lady Lovely Locks, where he appears to tell Lady Lovely Locks where her friends Maidens Fair Hair and Curly Crown are, then turns down her offer to join them on their picnic, saying he has to go home for dinner.
Siskel: That's great, I'm too busy to enter the adventure, I've got to go home. That's why I got the tape, so I could go home, right?
From the Ebert & Roeper era:
Roeper's "Who are you, and what have you done with Roger Ebert?" line when Ebert gave Cheaper by the Dozen 2 a thumbs up.
Roeper Come on, Roger. You've got dogs knockin' over plates of food. Ebert: Of course you do! Y-you've gotta have that!
When Roeper gave A Prairie Home Companion a thumbs down, Ebert said "You have the appearance of a human, but seem to be an android of some sort".
Roeper: Well, you're the one who wanted to cuddle with a movie.
When they reviewed Van Helsing, Roeper concluded his review by saying the film is dopey. Ebert remarked: "It's dopey, all right, but I give it thumbs up-", and Roeper interrupted with "YOU ARE KIDDING ME!" Ebert's explanation on why he thinks the plot isn't murky is funny, too:
Ebert: Dracula needs Dr. Frankenstein's secret of life, in order to activate his own babies who were born dead, because of course, he's dead.
Ebert's Take That to Roeper during their review of Sahara: "May a diseased yak make love to your sister's kneecap."
Roeper: All right, I'm bein' Punk'd, right? Now let's do your real review.
When he reviewed Garfield 2, he barely acknowledged Roeper at all, and instead talked to any kids who might be watching:
Ebert: I agree with you that it is a better movie than the original Garfield, so I liked it even more. Roeper: Oh my God... Ebert: And kids, at home, kids, y'know, the smaller kids, your uncle Richard here, he's an old, old man, he's very old, he doesn't understand- Roeper: I'm a hipster who knows what's right for the kids! Ebert: It's a comedy about cats and Garfield, so just listen to me, because it's real funny because the way that Garfield gets to England is interesting in that it turns out he's mistaken for this rich cat who runs an entire castle, and the two of them switch places, kind of like The Prince and the Pauper, and they solve each others' problems. And it's all very cute, and you're gonna like it. And so now we can go back to Uncle Richard. Hello again. Roeper: (laughing while talking) Well I'm so glad you liked Garfield and The Fast and the Furious- the sequels to Garfield and the third entry- Ebert: Eternally young, that's me. Roeper: Wow. Your thumb is stuck, I think. Ebert: Uhhhh, we'll see if it is or not.
From their review of Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, Ebert's story about how he wanted to know the name of an actor in the film, and registered on the official website but never did find out an answer to his question.
Ebert: I liked the goofy guy who gives him all the James Bond gadgets. I liked him because at least he was a refreshing change of pace, and I liked him so much, I wanted to find out who played the role. Roeper: Okay. Ebert: And I went to the website. Roeper: All right. Ebert: And I spent half an hour on the website. Roeper: All righty then. Ebert: And I've now been signed up as a junior secret agent- Roeper: Okay, congratulations. Ebert: ...The kit and everything else, but they didn't have any information at all about the actors. Roeper: Wow. Ebert: So I can't tell you what that guy's name was. Roeper: Well maybe we'll hear from this guy- Ebert: And it was the only thing in the movie I liked! Roeper: ...Amused you, but congratulations, Agent Roger Ebert, about joining the club.
Jeepers Creepers 2: "Every 23 years, for 23 days, it gets to eat. It has it easy. Every two years, we have to see a new movie about it."
Ebert and Roeper's argument about whether it was good or bad for Yoda to fight in Star Wars: Episode II.
Ebert: If you're Yoda, and you have The Force, you don't need no laser...saber. Roeper: You do when you're goin' up against another Jedi dude who's goin' like this- Ebert: You just go like this... (makes a hand gesture) You're Yoda! Nobody can stop you! Roeper: Well... (laughs at how they're arguing like fanboys)
Roeper's derisive facial expressions during Ebert's explanation of why he liked Harvard Man. Ebert calls him out on it: "Don't look like that; come on."
Into the Blue:
Ebert: I'm giving this thumbs up, y'know, I don't know where to start here. Roeper: Whoa whoa whoa, up? Up?! Ebert: What'd I say? Roeper: Okay, okay, I just wanted to make sure maybe something was wrong with the old... Ebert: No no no, the auditory experience is not deceiving you. (Roeper laughs) Let's talk about why people might want to see this movie. Roeper: Okay. Ebert: Jessica Alba's a pretty girl. Roeper: Yes. Ebert: She's pretty in this movie. Roeper: Yes. Ebert: OK, that's thumbs up. (Roeper laughs)
When reviewing the The Powerpuff Girls Movie, Roeper mentioned that the series had a large adult fanbase. He added: "I hope never to meet those people."
When they reviewed The Fast and the Furious, Roeper said between this and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Ebert seems to be taking the job of fictional film critic David Manning of giving good reviews to bad movies. Towards the end of the review, Ebert said Roeper has to have the "Trash-o-Meter" and give this movie thumbs up.
Ebert was so bored watching Herbie: Fully Loaded that he began wondering what kind of sex a sentient car like Herbie would have.
Ebert: So you're giving this movie thumbs down? Roeper: I am. Ebert: ..........Whoa. Uh...
The "Wagging Finger of Shame":
Ebert: We had "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" on our show, and now we introduce a new position: The (echoing) "Wagging Finger of Shame", which is awarded to movies the studios are too embarrassed to screen in advance for critics. The first (echoing) "Wagging Finger of Shame" winner is The Amityville Horror, which opens this weekend without benefits of reviews, maybe because the studio knows something about this movie that they don't want you to know. Roeper: Well, I've got another finger I'd like to give it...
Ebert: About half an hour into the screening, the film got trapped in the projector and it caught fire! That was the good news! The bad news was, the screening continued, and hardly any of the film was destroyed. Roeper: Heh heh. Well, I will say this for the film: Uh, it's in color, and it was mostly in focus, and I really can't say any more for it than that.
Roeper: If you do go to see Pootie Tang, go out and get some Junior Mints, come back, you won't have missed anything. Maybe go check on your car, call the kids, see how they're doin', and you won't have missed a thing at all. (laughs) Ebert: Ehh... why didn't you tell me that before the movie started?!
From the Roeper & (insert guest host here) era:
When Roeper and A.O. Scott reviewed The Hottie & the Nottie. Three moments come to mind: Scott saying there are many ways to describe Paris Hilton (including one he's too much of a gentlemen to say out loud), Scott commenting that Roeper's shaking with anger when starting to trash the film, and Roeper's annoyance on how Paris is supposed to be attractive: "She looks like a porn star after a really long weekend, especially in close-up."
Michael Phillips's defense of 10,000 BC, particularly when he disagreed with Roeper about the "accuracy" of the film: "I don't know what you're talking about; I think this thing is on the money!" Also, Roeper's accusation that other critics who gave it thumbs up were doing so while they were holding their juice boxes.
Guest critic Robert Wilonsky called The Brothers Solomon the worst movie of the year or any other year. Also:
Robert: Lee Majors got off lucky. He's asleep during the whole dang movie.