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Trivia / Roger Ebert

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  • Author Existence Failure: Ebert had mentioned that he was working on a "Great Movies" review for The Sacrifice, but passed away before he could finish it.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: On occasion, he goofed some significant details in his reviews (usually due to taking notes while watching films, or lack of notes when trying to recall a movie when writing a review). A couple of notable instances:
    • His review of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which he mistakenly believed to be an Immediate Sequel to Halloween II and confused the assassin who immolates himself in the film’s opening for Michael Myersnote .
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    • Roger found the practice vault in Ocean's Eleven to be wildly superfluous and wondered why it had to be an exact replica; it's because the "practice" vault was also used to stage a fake robbery to fool the mark via Camera Spoofing, maybe the most vital part of the whole con.
    • When giving a synopsis of Rookie of the Year, he mentions Henry going to the fateful Cubs game with his dad. Henry went with just his friends and his mom got him the ticket; Henry's Disappeared Dad is the biggest part of his personal backstory.
    • He wondered in his review of The Dark Knight Rises where Bane had the financial resources to pull off his coup of Gotham; while it's mentioned rather quickly, it is revealed Bane was bankrolled by John Daggett under the pretense of taking over Wayne Enterprises.
    • He was on the receiving end of this once: a mother wrote in to tell him how her daughter was upset at his negative review of one of the Twilight movies, and she comforted her by telling her that Ebert also panned Star Wars when it was new, saying it would bomb. Ebert's response was to awesomely and politely direct the irate mother to his glowing 1977 review of A New Hope, which was easily found on his website the entire time.
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  • Empty Chair Memorial: Films are screened for Chicago-area film critics in a small theater, the Lake Street Screening Room. When Ebert died, flowers were placed on his usual chair in the theater, and nobody has sat there since.
  • He Also Did: Has not only wrote many books on film but also wrote a cookbook for using a rice cooker. Said cookbook was written after he lost his lower jaw and thus his ability to eat; he relied on his "food memory" to write the recipes.
  • Old Shame: When one works as long and prolific as Roger did, this is bound to happen from time to time:
    • He sincerely regretted his infamous quote on video games not able to be art. Ebert later likened his original statement to a movie critic complaining about a movie they had never watched.
    • Ben Stiller revealed after Ebert's death that Roger personally apologized to Ben regarding his harsh review of Zoolander, which Roger trashed for the subplot of assassinating the prime minister of Malaysia in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which Zoolander opened in the shadow of and fell into Dude, Not Funny! for Roger. After some distance from the tragedies, Roger gave it another chance on his own time and told Ben it made him laugh.
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    • His review of Dumb and Dumber was a middling two-star reception, saying while it had a couple of big laughs, it flubbed other comic payoffs. As he reviewed other, lesser comedies in its wake, while becoming an ardent fan of the Farrelly Brothers, he would lament short-changing Dumb and Dumber, saying at least it had a scene that nearly killed him with laughter (the dead parakeet reveal), compared to truly average comedies that could muster nothing more than mild chuckles out of him.
    • In his review of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, he offered a mea culpa of his vicious half-star review of the original film, in which he took some notably personal shots at the trio of actresses slumming (in his mind) to such a work. He chalked it up to probably being in a foul mood that day, and while he fell short of recommending Full Throttle, he noted there was nothing harmful about a few actresses getting to play secret agents that was worth that kind of vitriol.
    • In perhaps the biggest and most well known example of his entire career, he was one of the only (if not THE ONLY, aside from partner Gene Siskel) major film critics to give a glowingly positive review to Speed 2: Cruise Control. Stars Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric openly referred to it as junk and admit they did it to finance their dream projects, and to his dying day Ebert said it was the one film review he had to defend more than any other and the most frequently mentioned review as proof that he was a terrible film critic.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: His thrashing of North ("I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it.") is probably more well-known than the movie itself.
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