Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched 'Justified' Rides Into the Sunset As One of TV's Best Shows, If Not One of Its Most Watched A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant A Writer From The Onion Totally Destroys Patton Oswalt in This Epic Twitter Rant The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit The Death-by-Skype Horror Movie 'Unfriended' Is an Unlikely Critical Hit 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect 'Justified's Finale Did Just Enough to Be Perfect The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) The 'Game of Thrones' Leak: Don't Blame Critics (At Least Not Yet) David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining David Chase Has Explained the Ending of 'The Sopranos' Again. Maybe He Should Stop Explaining The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List The A.V. Club Picks the 100 Best Movies of the Decade; 'The Master' Tops the List Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More Daily Reads: Why CSI: Cyber Is a Bad Show Worth Watching, the New 'Twin Peaks' Mystery, and More Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more Daily Reads: 10 Reasons Why 'Justified' Rocked, The Case for Kristen Stewart, and more 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD 'Simpsons' Showrunner Al Jean Says No Further Seasons Will Be Released on DVD Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More Daily Reads: Just Show Us the Damn Trailer, 'The Avengers' vs. 'Man of Steel,' and More 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them 'While We're Young': Noah Baumbach's Xer-Millennial Comedy Ponders the Difference Between Sharing People's Lives and Stealing Them Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More Daily Reads: 5 Key 'Game of Thrones' Premiere Scenes, Why 'Wonder Woman' Losing Its Director Was Good News, and More What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting What Paul Walker's Digital "Fast & Furious" Double Reveals About the Troubling Future of Film Acting Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries Why Andrew Jarecki's 'The Jinx' Could Be Very, Very Bad for Documentaries The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Children's Book from 'The Babadook' Will Terrify You in the Real World The Hollywood Reporter Ranks New York's Top Film Critics, From 'Cream Puffs' to 'F*ckers' The Hollywood Reporter Ranks New York's Top Film Critics, From 'Cream Puffs' to 'F*ckers' Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Criticwire Survey: Best Horror Movies Since 2000 Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more Daily Reads: Why No One Remembers "Avatar," the Best Blu-rays and DVDs of 2014, and more The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go"

Highlights From 'Life Itself' AMA: Steve James and Chaz Ebert on Favorite Film Critics and the Movies Roger Ebert Would Have Loved

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire July 2, 2014 at 11:08AM

Roger Ebert's widow and the director of the documentary on his life name the new movies he would hae loved and explain why the critic rated "Benji" higher than "Full Metal Jacket."
0
Ebert

With the release of "Life Itself" fast approaching, director Steve James and Roger Ebert's widow, Chaz, held a Reddit AMA to discuss the documentary on Ebert's life and work. These are some highlights from their answers.

Chaz sometimes knew what movies Roger would like before he saw them, and she still does.

Chaz: There were some movies that I just instinctly knew Roger would love! And in the last year there are two in particular I wouldn't even have to ask him about: "her" with Joaquin Phoenix, and "Nebraska": But also know he would have liked "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave."


Chaz and Roger didn't always agree on movies, but he managed to turn her around on one in particular.

Steve: Besides "A Clockwork Orange," Roger and I used to disagree on "Joe Vs. the Volcano." He loved it and I didn't get why he loved it so much. After he kept urging me to watch it over and over again I FINALLY got it! Not only did I appreciate the stylistic beginnings of "Joe," I found that the philosophy of what happens when you are stripped down to the bare essentials and you have to rely on yourself resonates with us all. Plus, there are some really funny parts of the movie. Roger and I both liked eccentric things and people.


Ebert judged movies on their own terms rather than by a fixed standard — and he rated "Benji" higher than "Full Metal Jacket."

Chaz: Roger's criteria was that the film had to meet what it aspired to do in its genre, so for instance in "Life Itself" he and Gene Siskel are arguing over Roger's vote on "Full Metal Jacket," while giving "Benji" a positive review. Roger explained that cinematically Kubrick's film was better, but overall "Benji" achieved its mission better. Also, Roger just said he had to go on how a movie made him feel.


Ebert always defended film's right to depict violence, but as he grew older, he was less willing to watch violent movies.

Chaz: Hmm..don't know whether I should tell you this, but while Roger's defense of movies with violence never changed, his view of which movies he wanted to watch evolved to the point where he didn't want to review more of the "Saw" movies. And said there was no need for another "Human Centipede" movie. He didn't think they would make people do copy cat crimes (since most set ups of the crimes were so convoluted they were almost not reproducible). He said that some things get into your brain and you can't undo them. And that this was the kind of stuff he didn't want taking up room in his head.


Steve James' favorite critics are...

Steve: I tend to read more of the older critics that I've liked like AO Scott, who I really enjoy reading for his clarity and insight... Anthony Lane is hilarious when he pans, Andrew O'Hehir I find to be quite smart and savvy. I'm a fan of Dana Stevens too.

This article is related to: Roger Ebert (1942-2013)


E-Mail Updates



Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome