Siskel and Ebert Movie Reviews

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14 thoughts on “The Great Santini, Willie & Phil, Middle Age Crazy, Ordinary People, Divine Madness, 1980

  • In their Great Santini review, Gene is absolutely right about Hollywood catering to teenagers. Unfortunately, Hollywood’s blockbuster has gotten worse, because nowadays we get nothing but superhero films, live action Disney remakes, sequels, reboots, and SO many cinematic universes. Nowadays, you can only get mature entertainment from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

  • So disappointing that they spent early 1980 reviewing mostly lousy or forgettable movies only to not have any shows during the summer, which had so many big releases that are still popular today.

    The Empire Strikes Back: Gene-Yes, Roger-Yes
    Airplane!: Gene-Yes, Roger Yes
    The Blues Brothers: Gene-Enthusiastic yes, Roger-Yes
    Caddyshack: Gene:-Marginal yes, Roger-Marginal no
    Smokey & the Bandit II: Gene-No, Roger-No
    The Blue Lagoon: Gene-No, Roger-Big no
    The Shining: Gene-No, Roger-No (Since then, Ebert’s come around and placed it on his “Great Movies” essay”.)
    Urban Cowboy: Gene-Yes. I don’t remember Roger’s opinion and his review is nowhere to be found.
    And of course they both hated Friday the 13th.

    • It’s hard to find all of Roger’s reviews and commentaries from before 1986 because even the online newspaper archives are incomplete and scattershot before then (his nationally syndicated writings appeared in other newspapers). His website is missing tons of stuff. From what I recollect in searching for Urban Cowboy in the past, Roger either dismissed it marginally or gave it a marginal pass, as indicated in his other reviews that referenced the film.

      As for Gene, his reviews and commentaries are much easier to dig up. Essentially, I just search a library newspaper archive of the Tribune and all of his works are searchable and readable from 1969 to 1999.

      • And as for the Shining, Gene gave it 2 stars and Roger gave it 2 1/2.

        • How did you know Roger gave 2 1/2 stars to The Shining? It’s not in his Video Companion series.

      • And because I have most of Roger’s books, I can also report that a lot of reviews and miscellaneous pieces are also missing from them, let alone from his website.

        Hopefully there will be easier ways to access his comprehensive works in the future.

  • Roger gave Empire 4 stars and it made his top 10 list. Gene gave it 3 1/2 and placed it on his runners-up list.

    • Good detective work Cliffie. And Gene is also right about Hollywood pandering to younger markets.

  • Thanks, Jesse. That’s exactly how I found Gene’s reviews; through library archives of the Chicago Tribune. Unfortunate that a few of Roger’s reviews are missing.

    • You once tole me that you have the 1997 edition of Roger Ebert’s Video Companion. I’m pretty sure it has missing reviews too.

  • Other 1980 releases:

    Used Cars-2 No’s (** from both critics)
    Can’t Stop the Music-2 big No’s
    Xanadu-2 No’s (** from both critics)
    Roadie-2 No’s (* 1/2 from Ebert)
    My Bodyguard-2 Yes’ (*** 1/2 from both critics. More gritty and realistic than “The Karate Kid”, even though KK was a lot of fun itself.)
    Fame-2 Yes’ (*** 1/2 from Ebert)
    Dressed to Kill-2 Yes’ (*** from both critics)

    • I did not like Dressed to Kill at all. I hated this movie.

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