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Siskel & Ebert era
- 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 II: 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.
Siskel: That's this week on Siskel and Ebert... And The Movies... and the asshole. And that's Roger.
- And of course this, after Ebert was on Siskel's case:
- 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."
- Ebert was one of the few critics that liked Cop and a Half, which flabbergasted Siskel.
Siskel: ...Wow, where's your red hat and beard, Santa? You gave them a treat!
- 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 go to see Cop and a Half, Roger Ebert recommending it, or Carnosaur, a funky, offbeat, wild science fiction film, 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, ladies and gentlemen. Good.
Ebert: And you know, I liked the way you described that double bill, giving your movie all the wonderful adjectives, and mine, giving all the... yeah.
- Ebert fires a round at Siskel:
- 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!?
- In the Assassins (1995) review:
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.
- In 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, "just one self-loathing movie critic with a head bigger than mine, and a body smaller than... well... he's [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 the same episode, after a disagreement on whether Spaceballs was worth seeing or not, despite both admitting it was not Mel Brooks's best work, Siskel told him while smiling, "Well, at least you're wrong on two films now, let's keep going." Ebert replied, "I'm trying to keep my record intact."
- 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.
- In their review of Leonard Part 6:
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!
- In their review of The Great Outdoors:
- 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 segment on 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.Siskel: It does astound me. Are you okay?Ebert: Uh, better than you were the day that you liked Starship Troopers.
- 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?" note
- 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 Doctor Moreau. It began after Siskel gave a negative review to Bogus, which Ebert defended.
- In particular, during The Big Squeeze, Siskel began to deliver his criticism (he liked the film) and Ebert said, "Let me talk." Siskel snarkily replied, "Funny, I thought you already did in your opening review."
- And during The Trigger Effect, Siskel (who liked it) argued that the film got him to think about what would happen if such a scenario (that is, widespread blackouts) would play out in real life. Ebert (who disliked it) interrupted: "You can talk about that all you want, but it doesn't make the movie any better! Coming up next!" Siskel interrupted Ebert to get one last word in: "Yes it does, because it all came from the movie! It all came from the movie." Ebert pretended to ignore him by continuing his segue into commercial.
- Siskel seemed more harsh than usual in the episode where they review The Juror, Balto, White Squall, Nico Icon, and French Twist.
- Ebert gave a positive review to Balto, while Siskel hated it. Siskel tried to put words into Ebert's mouth when he said of the animation, "You said it was sketchy." Ebert corrected him: "No no no, you said it was sketchy. I said it wasn't up to the level of the Disney movies. But it's a perfectly adequate way to tell this story." Siskel snarked, "Boy, there's a recommendation: Adequate." Ebert reiterated his point that he enjoyed the film and that kids would probably like it. Siskel retorted, rather coldly: "When you have kids of your own, you won't want "nice, little ones", you'll want quality."
- Ebert was pissy in the episode where they review Bogus, The Big Squeeze, Bulletproof, The Trigger Effect, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. It began after Siskel gave a negative review to Bogus, which Ebert defended.
- 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.
Ebert: Deedles, Deedles!
Siskel: Stop it, Roger.
- When reviewing Mr. Magoo:
Siskel: Our next movie is Mr. Magoo, which is even more worthless than The Postman. Boy, what a criticism that is. Its only saving grace is that it's only half as long. (Ebert chuckles) Thank you.
- Also, Siskel calling Leslie Nielsen the "Bozo du jour" of Hollywood.
- 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: (chuckling and grinning) 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.
Siskel: Brain Candy, Roger. Brain Candy.
- Then at the end of the show:
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 isn't enough to make my ten best list. It's a familiar subject.
Ebert: .........When we come back...
Ebert: It's hard to explain, but I know what I'm talking about. You don't, unfortunately.
- And this example, when they reviewed Boomerang:
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.
- When reviewing The Swan Princess:
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?
- When reviewing Fled:
Ebert: Fled is one of those movies where ten minutes later, you can hardly even remember if you've even seen it or not. It's got a lot of action, and some technical expertise, and I guess it sort of holds your attention while it's happening. I mean, something is moving on the screen, so you look to see what it is.
Siskel: (chuckling) What a compliment!
Ebert: Who cares!
Siskel: "Something is moving on the screen, so you look at it." That's good.
Ebert: That's what I'm paid to do.
Siskel: (chuckles) Almost not enough, in the case of Fled.
- After a strong disagreement over Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Siskel revisited the film after their recap:
Siskel: And my bottom line on Don't Be a Menace is that blacks have a right to make fun of themselves, just like any other ethnic group.
Ebert: Oh, I agree with that.
Siskel: (to camera) That's our show- (back to Ebert) And they're not really making fun of themselves, they're making fun of movies about themselves.
Ebert: Uhhh, that could lead to a long discussion.
Siskel: I'm sure we'll have it.
- Patch Adams, two great lines from Siskel:
Siskel: I'd rather turn my head and cough, than see Patch Adams again.
Siskel: I'd like to call this film Punch Adams.
- I Still Know What You Did Last Summer:
Ebert: Now, how do they win the trip to the Bahamas? On a radio station contest, where they said Rio was the capital of Brazil. Well, that's the wrong answer. The answer is Brasília, and the contest is a phony. But frankly, I was surprised these characters even knew Brazil was a country. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is a deadening series of set-ups and slashings, set-ups and slashings, set-ups and slashings, and for its viewers, it's a waste of 90 precious minutes that they can never get back. Just think, Gene: That's three hours between the two of us, and if you multiply that by thousands of people who will see this movie, it adds up to months, years, even centuries lost forever to the human race.
Siskel: Yes... how, if we had all pulled together, we could've solved some very big problems. We could've gone to a disaster site and put sand bags by a, uh... a raging dam.
Ebert: That's right. We could've stopped flooding. We could've tutored kids who want to learn how to read. Maybe have a used clothing drive or something. Think of the hours of volunteer labor that this movie has taken out of the human time pool. Shocking.
Siskel: I'm gonna go home and just cry.
Ebert: (laughs) I think I'm gonna start crying right now.
- Over the Top:
Ebert: And then you always have some kind of expertise gimmick at the end; for example, when their hands are so sweaty, they slip apart. So they have to bring out-
Siskel/Ebert: The Strap!
Siskel/Ebert: The Strap together!
Ebert: You're thinking, gee, this is a whole lot of minutia about a sport that is itself nothing but minutia!
- Frozen Assets:
Ebert: You know the theory of reincarnation where the dues we pay in this lifetime, we may get to collect in another lifetime? For having seen this movie, I want months and months and months in a beautiful valley with honey and nectar... [Siskel laughs] and zephyr-like breezes. I mean, years, perhaps would be appropriate.
Siskel: You know, you have simple tastes. I could-
Ebert: And a big car!
Siskel: (chuckling) Get something valuable! "Zephyr-like breezes".
- Lassie (1994):
Siskel: Just a little point about Lassie, which I liked very much: Uh, in the movie, and in a lot of kid's movies, it's the dad who doesn't want the dog. The mean dad. Uh, Beethoven, remember Charles Grodin, didn't want the dog, here, the dad doesn't want the dog. In real life, it's the dads who do want the dog, the moms who don't want the dog, 'cause the moms have to do all the work for it! So-
Ebert: Sounds like it might have just a touch of autobiography to it.
Siskel: Just might be. But not a collie in our house.
- In their James Bond episode from 1983, Siskel said Sean Connery was the best Bond, and then told Ebert, "If you disagree with me, I'm gonna throw you off the balcony, jump off myself, and step on your head." Ebert replied, "I don't think that's gonna be necessary."
- Siskel and Ebert had a sharp disagreement over Overboard, with Ebert recommending it to someone looking for a little escapist entertainment. Siskel replied, "Someone you hope never to see again." Ebert replied that he'd be happy to see them again, and Siskel shot back: "They wouldn't want to see you."
- Siskel gave a thumbs down to Bram Stoker's Dracula; Ebert was on the fence but gave it a marginal thumbs up, mainly for its art direction.
Siskel: I know you were bored during it, and I was bored too. I really was. Coming up next-
Ebert: Well I'm glad you're a mind reader. (Siskel smirks) Maybe you can get a job in the next picture doing your act or something.
Siskel: Thank you.
- Naked Lunch:
Ebert: I admire what he [David Cronenberg] did... and I hate it.
Siskel: Okay, strange.
- Hercules: Siskel gave it a marginal thumbs down, while Ebert gave it an enthusiastic review. After the recap, Ebert re-emphasized that he thought kids would enjoy the film; Siskel fired back that he took his daughters to the film and they didn't like it. Ebert then told Siskel to send his daughters to "Uncle Roger"'s house so he could explain it to them.
Siskel: Roger! We've got a sequel that will outlive us! My kids versus your family!
Ebert: (amused) Sounds like a-
Siskel: We wouldn't even have to change the title of the show!
Ebert: Well, we would, but that's okay.
- When reviewing On Deadly Ground, Ebert said, "If you like to see lots of stuff blowed up real good, this'd be a movie for you."
- Paulie: Both were not amused by the titular talking parrot, and Siskel wanted a big cat to eat it.
Ebert: Oh now, that's cruel, Gene.
Siskel: That's intended to be cruel.
- Air Bud: Siskel spent most of his review complaining about the jerk dad in the film, but admitted the movie was marginally better than he was expecting. He ended the review with:
Siskel: I'm giving it a thumbs down, but frankly I was all over the map on this one, so... take your pick.
- Baby's Day Out: Siskel liked the film and found it charming; Ebert loathed it.
Ebert: I hated this movie more than any other movie on the show, and I'm really surprised at you. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Siskel: What? Not agreeing with you? I've never been ashamed of that, I've been proud of that.
Ebert: Okay, well, in that case, here's another star for your lapel: This movie is not funny, it's way too long, the burglers who are recycled right out of Home Alone and are really awkwardly written and awkwardly played, and they're not funny at all. And the fact- of course, this whole movie is obviously inspired by Baby Herman, the sequence at the beginning of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it's funny in a cartoon because it's not real. If you think that a real baby, crawling through traffic, and crawling out- look, you're already smiling. You think that's funny. I didn't think it was funny.
Siskel: I thought it was an absolute, perfect child's eye view of the fantasies that they might have. And little kids, this is where I think you're off by a lot, little kids will really have their hearts in their throats as they watch this thing, and will be tickled by the way the baby survives-
Ebert: I don't think it's a movie that's appropriate for little kids.
Siskel: Ohhh yeah, too tough for them to handle.
Ebert: When I was three years old, I went to see a movie where Mickey Rooney was standing on a ledge outside a window, it was a comedy, everybody was laughing, I was terrified. I think a little child, who sees this baby about to fall off of tall buildings and be crushed by big cars isn't gonna know it's funny.
Siskel: I better go back and find out who attended that sneak preview I saw. All those children are in dear jeopardy of becoming... Roger Ebert!
- Black Sheep (1996):
Siskel: I have a confession to make. This is the first movie that I have ever walked out on, in a theater, in 26 years.
Ebert: I envy you. I envy you.
- The Pebble and the Penguin: When the titular pebble appears on-screen:
Siskel: Hubie's comes from a meteor. Looks cheap.
- Siskel also claimed that the songs are unmemorable and that you [Ebert] can't sing a single one, and if you could, don't.
- UHF: Ebert said that the movie violates one of his rules of films, that if a main character's name is funny, it's trying too hard for a laugh:
Siskel: You mean like "Weird Al" Yankovic?
Ebert: I think that's his real name.
Siskel: Yeah, "weird" is his given name, right.
- A Time to Kill: Ebert conceded one of Siskel's points about the movie (that using the Klansmen footage to "goose up the action" is tasteless), leading to this:
Siskel: Oh, I wish you were re-considering your vote.
Ebert: No, I-I, on basis-
Siskel: (chuckles) On a very slim basis.
Ebert: ...Final analysis, I'm still voting thumbs up for this movie-
Siskel: You ripped this picture.
Ebert: ...But I'm nevertheless conceding the points you made.
Siskel: Thank you very much!... (to camera) Maybe next week, I'll get him to flip.
(Ebert shakes his head and rolls his eyes)
- In one episode:
Siskel: So I didn't like anything on this show, except disagreeing with you, which I always enjoy.
- Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit:
Ebert: In the movie, Goldberg is now a successful Vegas headliner when the nuns from her old San Francisco school ask her to come back and help them. Amazingly, she does. Why? I don't know. Maybe because she knows there won't be a movie if she doesn't.
- When the duo reviewed Million Dollar Mystery, they deride the movie's tie-in with a real life contest to win $4 million:
Siskel: They'd do a better service if they simply said, "Try for a million dollars, or we'll give you your ticket back", I mean I would take the six bucks back rather than go for the million.
Ebert: I don't understand the math of what you just said.
Siskel: In other words........ the movie's lousy. (Ebert laughs) That's the whole point.
- When Ebert gave a marginal thumbs up to Fools Rush In, Siskel thought he was being too easy on the picture and said it wasn't in the same league as Jerry Maguire:
Ebert: There's a continuum here. Jerry Maguire is here (holds right hand high), Fools Rush In is here (moves hand slightly lower), it's still good enough to see.
Siskel: Oh, I wouldn't recommend it.
Ebert: Darn Cat is here. (moves hand lower)
Siskel: Darn Cat is subterranean. When we come back, David Arquette and Lukas Haas star in Johns. And we have a new system of reviewing movies. In addition to thumbs, you've seen it invented today by Roger: (imitates hand motions) Here, here, and here.
- Ebert's rant on how generic The Squeeze is for the name of a movie.
Ebert: I almost had to stop and think about the name of our next movie, which is The Squeeze. A horrible title! Who could remember a title like The Squeeze?! Certainly not me! (laughs)
Siskel: You couldn't remember a lot about The Squeeze. Go ahead.
Ebert: When we had a conference call to decide- I'm gonna tell this story- we had a conference call to decide what movies to put on this show, and The Squeeze was mentioned, I couldn't even remember the name of the movie, I couldn't remember having seen it. They said, "You saw it Friday." I said, "Who was in it?" They said, "Michael Keaton." "Oh yeah, that movie!" This movie is like, and occasionally, I have to be honest and tell you this, it doesn't make me a bad movie critic that I forgot this movie. I think I could give anyone a test, six days after they saw this movie, they'd flunk every question! This movie is just vapor, it goes into your head, and evaporates. This is chewing gum for the mind! That, is an insult to chewing gum! This is one of the most insignificant, forgettable formula comedies I've ever seen, and a complete waste of the talents of Michael Keaton and Rae Dawn Chong, who are buried alive in it.
- In a 1996 episode, the duo recapped the summer's movies. First, was Eraser, followed by Mission: Impossible. Both clips featured Exploding Fish Tanks. Siskel lampshaded this:
Siskel: Hey, that's two exploding aquariums in a row!
Siskel: And boom, there goes the aquarium in Eraser! And a bomb goes off at the beginning of Mission: Impossible, but BOOM! Here comes another exploding aquarium!
- The subject came up again in another episode that had the two analyze why summer movies are so often full of explosions.
- Chain Reaction: They gave it thumbs down, and ended the review with:
Siskel: They get the hardware right, and the story wrong. And I think if you get the story right, the hardware seems to take care of itself.
Ebert: That's such a simple point. You'd think... you'd think somebody else would've thought of it.
Siskel: Oh come on, we should- we oughta have all the jobs in Hollywood.
Ebert: Well that would be nice, wouldn't it, but we'd be very busy.
- Bed of Roses: Siskel gave a glowing review to the romantic drama, and when it came time for Ebert to give his opinion, he wasn't nearly as enthusiastic:
Ebert: Thumbs down for me. I thought they were both saps. (Siskel chuckles) And sad sacks.
- The Specialist: Siskel notes a shower sex scene between Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone, but says the movie isn't worth sitting through for it. He then says James Woods does a far better job at acting than Stallone, and wonders how much better the movie would've been had he and Stallone switched roles:
Siskel: I wonder what James Woods looks like in the shower.
Ebert: Uh, I don't, frankly.
Siskel: (chuckles) You know how I mean that.
- Masterminds: Similarly to The Squeeze above, Siskel and Ebert both found this film entirely forgettable. Siskel admitted that this is one of those films that makes film criticism, otherwise one of the best jobs in the world, rough, because you're wasting your life.
Ebert: Two hours, gone forever. GONE. FOREVER.
- Fair Game (1995):
Ebert: She [Cindy Crawford] gets shot at and messed up so much that the movie has to schedule two separate sexy shower scenes just to keep her presentable.
- Mixed Nuts: Siskel thinks that the stars of the movie must've asked themselves:
Siskel: "Hey, how bad could it be?" Mixed Nuts is how bad. Very bad.
Ebert: It's bad. It's bad. Wooooo, is it bad. It's really, really bad.
- Spice World, during the recap segment:
Ebert: Two thumbs incredibly way down for Spice World, a movie that asks and answers the question, "Do you need any talent to be in a movie?" The answer? No.
- The Jerky Boys: The Movie: Neither liked the movie, and Ebert shared an anecdote when he saw it in theaters: Not even the target audience liked it, as he overheard a couple teenagers walking out and saying, "Boy, that sucked!" Imagine Ebert saying that line in a Beavis voice and you can see why this is funny.
- Private Parts: Both gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up, and repeatedly brought up Creator/HowardStern throughout the rest of the episode.
Siskel: Coming up next: Booty Call, the story of a couple of guys who Howard Stern could relate to: They've only got sex on the brain.
Siskel: What a show this week: Howard Stern, and then Booty Call!
- After the commercial break...
Ebert: Howard Stern is the good taste movie this week!
Siskel: Absolutely! It's outrageous! Howard, you old conservative, you!
Siskel: Coming up next, our "Video Pick of the Week" just out on tape that I know Howard Stern would love.
- After reviewing Booty Call...
Siskel: ...About a couple of mismatched women who are turned onto each other- Howard, are you listening?
- After the commercial break, they review Bound...
- Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot:
Siskel: Another would-be big moment is when Getty walks in on Stallone taking a shower. Here's what his butt looks like; that's entertainment.
- This bit, at the start of an episode:
Ebert: And we'll also take a look at a new film about a friendship between a boy and a whale. I'm Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times.
Siskel: Sorta reminds me of our relationship.
- In the "Worst of 1997" episode, Siskel chose Jungle 2 Jungle as the worst of the year, and made this remark:
Siskel: The kid, played unctuously by Sam Huntington, is such a complete bore, that you really wish you'd really go play in a dangerous neighborhood and get mugged!
Ebert: (amused) Oh no!
Siskel: Oh yes, I did.
Ebert: I've been reconsidering my vote, Gene, and I really would rather see Jungle 2 Jungle again-
- Also, Ebert makes a confession:
Siskel: (smiling wide) No you wouldn't.
Ebert: ...Than see Year of the Horse again.
Siskel: You're lying.
Ebert: Yes, I would. Yes, I would. Truth.
Siskel: I know what to get you for your birthday now.
- When reviewing Date With an Angel:
Ebert: On some kind of basic level, I liked her [Emmanuelle Beart's] performance. In fact, I think you can even guess what that basic level probably was.
Ebert: Isn't there some kind of basic human level upon which you can respond to beauty of this nature, without having to always be a critic all the time and see how dumb the movie is? Isn't there something pretty to look at there?
- Later in the review:
Siskel: Yes, and then the movie starts rolling. Take a still picture of her; don't look at the film.
Siskel: I would not pick either one.
- After both gave a thumbs down to Teen Wolf Too, Ebert put it to Siskel: If you're sentenced, would you rather see Teen Wolf Too or Date With an Angel? Note
Ebert: But you're sentenced; you don't have any choice!
Siskel: (baffled look) Who are you, the philosopher king?!
- In the Worst of 1996 show, Ebert chose Little Indian, Big City as the worst movie of the year, and shared an anecdote: When he and Siskel first saw the film, a reel was missing and were informed by the movie company that they'd get to see the missing reel the next day. Siskel told the theater:
Ebert: "If it was the legendary missing footage of The Magnificent Ambersons, the movie would still suck." Very well said.
Siskel: How about quarreling parents trapped in a basement attacked by cockroaches? (Ebert laughs) Now you've got a movie!
- In the same episode, both derided Joe's Apartment and House Arrest, and Siskel offered a better idea for a film:
- In the Worst of 1991 show, when discussing Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead:
Siskel: Now there's a premise you really want to explain to your small children before they go watch the picture: Your babysitter could die at any moment!
- Clifford: When Siskel mentioned that he took a friend's children to the film with him, and felt bad because the movie was horrible:
Ebert: You took kids to see this? This is the kind of movie where, after kids see this, they should see The Good Son to cheer themselves up!
Siskel: Okay. That was about a killer, wasn't it?
- License to Drive: Neither liked the movie, but Ebert enjoyed the driving instructor played by James Avery, especially the joke where the instructor places a cup of coffee on the dashboard and says to the student driver that he doesn't like to spill coffee on his shirt.
Siskel: (chuckles) Well, I'm glad you liked the cup of coffee.
- When they reviewed Jumanji, they showed a clip of Alan warning the kids that there's a stampede on the way, and a group of rhinos bursting through the wall and chasing them. Siskel flatly asks, "Okay, so what?" There's just something amusing about his words juxtaposing with the carnage on-screen.
- All I Want for Christmas:
Ebert: All I want for Christmas is to forget I ever saw this movie.
Siskel: Oh, clever with the title.
Ebert: I think every critic in the country is gonna use that same line; I hope I was first. (both chuckle)
- As mentioned on the main page, Siskel's rambling intro to Prince of Darkness:
Siskel: Our next film is called Prince of Darkness, and yes, it's about the devil, about the opening of an age-old canister, and who escapes? Evil personisfied... personified. You know what I mean. It's evil, it's bad, it's naughty.
Ebert: Would you say it's the devil, or not?
Siskel: I would say, roughly, it's the devil. And this guy plays by a whole different set of rules, where up is down, in is out, I can't talk right, and all kinds of different rules. And if you're not careful, you're gonna be destroyed. (Beat) In this movie.
- Kickboxer 2: Ebert notes the disconnect between the fight scenes (which are in slow motion) and the sound, which is normal speed. This subject is revisited in the recap:
Ebert: Two more thumbs down for Kickboxer 2, with slow motion fight scenes weeeeeeeeeeee reeeeaaaaallllllyyyy haaaaaaaaaated.
- In "Hollywood's Fear of Love", Siskel and Ebert criticize how movies paint the world as a violent place.
Ebert: There is almost nowhere you can go, and almost nothing you can do, that is safe. (Gene chuckles) You can always sit home and drink a glass of water, but then again, it probably has lead in it.
Siskel: Hey, how about our show? We haven't killed anybody yet!
- Manhattan Murder Mystery:
Ebert: He (Jerry Adler) is so convincing as that man, that it's very hard for us to believe, uh, and I don't want to give the movie away, and maybe I just did, it's very hard to believe anything bad about him. Let's put it that way.
Siskel: (amused) Boy, and you dumped on me for The Crying Game, when it was eighteen weeks in release! This movie hasn't even opened yet, and you're... ooh, you're a bad boy today, Mr. Ebert.
Ebert: Yes, I am. Thank you very much.
- In the 1992 "Guilty Pleasures" episode, Siskel recommended a movie called Let it Ride. Ebert admitted he missed the film when it was in theaters, leading to this:
Siskel: Will you take a chance and see it?
Ebert: On your word? Maybe.
- The Adventures of Milo and Otis: Ebert brings up a scene where Milo's wife practices lamaze, and imitates heavy breathing. It gets an off-screen crew member to laugh.
- Made in America: Ebert gave it a marginal thumbs up and criticized Siskel's criticism that it wasn't original, claiming that most movies nowadays are just made of parts from previous movies and what's important is if they execute those old ideas well or put a spin on them. Siskel retorted: "What a heck of a compliment!"
- Forever Young: Ebert laughing when describing the plot:
Ebert: In a development which will prove to add great significance, they learn that a friend has successfully learned to freeze chickens... (stifles laughter) ...bring them back to life!
- Homeward Bound 2: Lost in San Francisco, when describing the first movie's plot:
Ebert: Kind of Bone Alone.
Siskel: Oh, very good.
- The Couch Trip:
Siskel: I'm a big fan of Charles Grodin, and I was very sorry to see him leave the action. I wanted him to come back and mix it up with Dan Aykroyd, the two of them working together could've made a very interesting comedy.
(after some back and forth...)
Ebert: The problem is with the script and the fact that with Grodin, and sending him off to Europe and put him in another sub-plot that isn't involved. So, I think that's where the problem is.
Siskel: ...That's just what I said thirty seconds earlier.
Ebert: Not exactly what you said.
Siskel: No, that's exactly what I said.
Ebert: Not precisely what you said.
Siskel: That's exactly what I said.
- In the "Worst of 1995" show, after Siskel said that each of the movies featured on the episode stole two hours of their life that they'll never get back.
Ebert: You've got me thinking now, because we're gonna select six movies a piece, that's twelve hours a piece, between the two of us, that's twenty-four hours. That's a whole day.
Siskel: Get me a knife.
Ebert: Here's a guy [Eddie Murphy] who was, at one point, a big star. His career is in free-fall, does he know that?
- In the same episode, when choosing Vampire in Brooklyn:
Siskel: He has to know that.
Ebert: ...That when you must have a comeback project, you don't write the screenplay yourself and have your brothers help you. You go out, and you colla- it's a collaborative medium.
Siskel: You submit.
Ebert: You're the actor. You're not the producer, the director, the writer, the agent, and the studio head. You're the actor, and if you get good people on your team, you're likely to look good. And that's what he needs. He became a star because good people like John Landis and Walter Hill made him look good in good movies.
Siskel: ...The sermon is concluded from Mr. Ebert.
- Curly Sue:
Ebert: Our first movie is named Curly Sue, and this is a cornball exercise in sentimental manipulation, but I don't care because it worked.
Siskel: (incredulously) What?!
- Just the mock-excited way Siskel announces Free Willy 3: The Rescue: "Switching gears: He's back! And he's in trouble again! Free Willy 3!"
- Both noted how Demi Moore had been in what they considered increasingly exploitative roles lately (such as Striptease), and Siskel wondered if her next movie would be "Demi Goes to the Gynecologist". Later he would say, "What's next? Demi has a baby on camera?"
- Cliffhanger: A sharp disagreement, with Ebert liking it and Siskel wondering why it needed to be made. The two argue for a couple minutes and eventually have to move on:
Ebert: Gene, if I had more time, I'd be happy to help you with this.
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!
Roeper: It's depressing-
Ebert: You forgot the dock that breaks away.
Roeper: I'm trying to forget it all.
- When Roeper gave A Prairie Home Companion a thumbs down.
Ebert: You have the appearance of a human, but you are, in fact, an android.Roeper: Well, you're the one cuddling 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 (2005): "May a diseased yak make love to your sister's kneecap."
- Roeper laughing incredulously at Ebert giving thumbs up to both The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Garfield 2: A Tale of Two Kitties.
Roeper: All right, I'm bein' Punk'd, right? Now let's do your real review. You're really giving this piece of junk. This piece of garbage.
Ebert: I agree with you that it is a better movie than the original Garfield, so I liked it even more.
- When he reviewed Garfield 2, he barely acknowledged Roeper at all, and instead talked to any kids who might be watching:
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.
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.
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 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... (they both laugh 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.
Ebert: Jessica Alba's a pretty girl.
Ebert: She's pretty in this movie.
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 any of 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.
- Speaking of Tomb Raider, towards the end of the review, Ebert said Roeper has to have the "Trash-o-Meter" and give this movie thumbs up and give thumbs down to The Mummy Returns.
- Ebert was so bored watching Herbie: Fully Loaded that he began wondering what kind of sex a sentient car like Herbie would have.
Roeper: ...Bumper to bumper?
- When Roeper gave The Lord of the Rings a marginal thumbs down:
Ebert: So you're giving this movie thumbs down?
Roeper: I'm giving it thumbs down.
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...
- The Hot Chick:
Ebert: Here is a movie where the most amazing thing in the history of mankind has occurs: Their girlfriend is inside a man's body! Incredible! And so what is the first thing these ditzy airheads ask? They want to look at his family jewels. These characters are too stupid to be in a movie! 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.
- Pootie Tang:
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?!
- The Master of Disguise:
Roeper: If The Master of Disguise had been a free cable movie...well, I still wouldn't have recommended it.
Ebert: I wouldn't even recommend it if you cut it up and made it into ukulele picks.
Roeper: Uh-oh, look out.
Ebert: This movie.......gah, it never ended, and it was only 80 minutes long! I'm looking at my glow-in-the-dark watch here, I think the movie was only about 60 or 65 minutes in length.
Ebert: And that's why they had to have all of the credit outtakes and cookies, which went on and on, and instead of listing the songs and then having an outtake, they list three songs, then have an outtake, then three more songs, then have an outtake. Finally, they have the caterer up there- well they don't exactly have an outtake for the caterer, but you get my point.
Roeper: I would've liked to see the caterer!
Ebert: And at that point, finally, it looks like it's over; the projectionist closes the curtains, and then there's Dana Carvey on the curtains saying, "Wait a minute, the movie isn't over yet!" And I'm going, y'know... (mimes grabbing his head)
Roeper: You know what would've been nice? Dana Carvey apologizing for the movie at the end.
Ebert: There are three good things in it.
Ebert: Halle Berry's face, Halle Berry's body, and Halle Berry's costume.
Ebert: Those are first rate. (Roeper laughs) Everything else in this movie is unbelievably bad.
- After Roeper gave a thumbs down to Little Black Book:
Ebert: I don't know why you hate Brittany Murphy so much-
Roeper: I don't hate her!
Ebert: You sure do. You're really tough on her. I like her. I like this movie, and I'm telling you, she is a movie star. She has it. She's got that quality that makes you look at her on the screen, and this movie-
Roeper: Is it the overacting, or?
- Ebert described Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever as "unusually bad".
- The New Guy: Ebert notes that one of the characters says, "Denial is not just a river in Egypt", and he adds: "So, thumbs down, needless to say."
- Good Boy!: Just the way Roeper says "This is such a stupid movie."
- Ebert's rant on 3-D during their review of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.
Ebert: Y'know, my dad took me to the first 3-D movie, Bwana Devil, and I've seen just about every 3-D movie since then, and I'm gonna tell ya: 3-D sucks (Roeper laughs) as a way of looking at movies. 2-D looks a lot better. It's more convincing, it's brighter, it's crisper, it's cleaner. 3-D, even the very best systems I've seen, kinda washes out things and makes them murky, and doesn't add anything. Because I don't care if the arm comes towards me (extends his arm) in the screen. I'm really, I'm not really moved by that! (Roeper laughs)
Ebert: If it had been in 2D, and bright, and in focus, and colorful, it would've been marginally okay for younger kids. It's made as a kid's movie. It's not a crossover movie-
- Their distaste for the franchise continued in their review of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl:
Roeper: Yeah, well here you go, here's my 3D: (pushes thumbs down towards camera) Thumbs down. Thumbs down.
- In Ebert and Roeper's review of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Roeper accused Ebert of liking the movie solely for being smitten with Angelina Jolie. And in the same review, Roeper lists a bunch of plot holes, and Ebert responds, "You do NOT bring logic to a movie like this!"
- The Cat in the Hat: Roeper said that, unlike every other film critic in the country, he's not going to review the movie in Dr. Seuss rhyme, although he can think of a few rhymes with "thumbs down".
- Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed: Both Ebert and Roeper didn't want to spend too much time on the film, with Ebert even more eager to move on:
Roeper: It's a terrible movie, the laughs aren't there, the stunts are stupid, there's no plot whatsoever.
Ebert: There ya go. Okay. Next movie.
Roeper: And I just rue the day-
Roeper: ...we're gonna have Scooby-Doo 3.
Ebert: Next movie. Next movie.
- What Planet Are You From?:
Roeper: Y'know, I don't think you're being fair that this movie only has one joke. There are other jokes in this movie. And I know it's stupid, and I know it's beneath the level of Garry Shandling and Annette Bening and Greg Kinnear and this terrific cast. But you know what? I kept laughing, and maybe I shouldn't have been laughing-
Ebert: You liked this movie? Good God!
- She Hate Me: Ebert gave it a marginal thumbs up, mainly because he thought the film took risks, even if they didn't always pay off. Roeper loathed it.
Ebert: He [Spike Lee] keeps doin' stuff...
Roeper: He keeps "doin' stuff", all right.
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.
- In Phillips and Scott's "worst of 2009" episode, while reviewing Knowing:
Scott: I think what's going on is that the world is ending. The aliens are coming and boy, does it all make Cage mad.
Vishnevetsky & Lemire era