|Posted on March 25, 2010 at 1:27 AM|
"After 24 seasons with us in national syndication, the highly regarded movie review show "At the Movies" (formerly known as "Siskel & Ebert" and "Ebert & Roeper") will air its last original broadcast the weekend of August 14, 2010. "This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program's current co-hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips and top-notch production staff, and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we extend very special thanks to the two brilliant, visionary and incomparable critics that started it all, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel." - DISNEY/ABC
Although I really hadn't watched the show in quite some time, a little part of me died with the final nail in the proverbial coffin. Actually, I think "pulling the plug" is a better metaphor seeing as the show really had been on life support for a number of years.
I can't say I'm surprised. With the internet making reviews readily available and every blogger in the world giving us opinions, there's not much of a place for a show like this anymore. I really grew up with At the Movies, on the edge of my seat each week in anticipation of the next review, home video recommendations and, naturally, awesome movie clips. Plus I just loved Siskel and Ebert's discussions and arguments (and later with Roeper, which was also a great show).
It's disappointing, but at the same time I think it's a show that probably aired past its expiration date anyways. I'll still remember it fondly, but not just for the movie clips as mentioned, but because it was a show that really turned a young impressionable kid and bored teen on to movies in the first place. The internet didn't exist when I first started watching and it, like many others, was the place to go to really get a good look at the new movies and some thoughtful opinions on top of it. Truthfully, my love for movies can be attributed to my watching At the Movies in my youth.
It had been on life support for a while now, especially with Roger Ebert's health concerns (though he certainly has not lost his ability to express himself with a keyboard, his reviews are as good as ever). I can't recall the last time I really watched At the Movies, the various new people in and out that were announced in the news did nothing but surprise me to find the show as still on the air and did nothing but remind how good it was when I was younger.
In that regard, I certainly couldnt' say I'll miss it because I hadn't watched it in probably ten years, but I am still fond of it or, rather, what it once was. With that, it'll go down as a part of my life experience growing up from the 1980s on, and my gratitude towards it deserves a better expression than a mere blog post. Thank you Gene and Roger, and I guess thank you Richard for actually filling in nicely, for shaping a young man's appreciation and fondness for the cinema.