April 11, 2013 Leave a comment
A few years back when I was still managing actors, I was working with a client who was starring in a low budget horror film. It wasn’t a very good film. It basically was what it was. But still, we wanted to generate as much media as we could for the project. We sent a copy of the film to At the Movies when Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert were co-hosting the show. We didn’t figure anything would come of it. They certainly wouldn’t review this straight to video low budget horror film. But hope springs eternal so we watched for the next few weeks. Then, three weeks later, towards the end of the show, Robert Ebert picked up the video and looking into the camera explained why the film in question was so bad. He panned it big time. This was beyond two thumbs down.
We were overjoyed. No one had heard of the film before and now it was being discussed by (arguably) the top critic in America on national TV. I’m no believer in the adage that any PR is good PR, but this was one case where a rotten review by that particular critic was a homerun. Suddenly the film was on the map. That’s how powerful and respected Robert Ebert was. He turned film criticism into an art from that captivated the mainstream public. He brought thoughtful reviews and criticism to the masses.
Ebert passed away at the age of 70 in Chicago on Thursday, April 4. He was the first critic in history to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975. He was famous for his writing style which was incisive put also sarcastic and humorous. Apart from film criticism, he also wrote film-oriented books including Werner Herzog: Images at the Horizon in 1980, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the film “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” That fact alone brought him its own unique form of cache. He was great fun to read and watch and helped bring film literacy to a new level. I have to admit it was even enjoyable to watch him tear apart the film my client was in. He did it with such relish and conviction. It was hard not to be entertained. I just wished I’d had popcorn.
He will be missed for he was one of a kind.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013