Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Roger Ebert's Painful Mea Culpa

Roger Ebert issues a mea culpa on his blog. He got caught up in the vanity of his own prose, and thought it would be witty to write a review of a movie that he stopped watching after 8 minutes, which he revealed in the review.

How wrong was that decision?

Here's Ebert:


What is the key lesson from all of this? I will never, ever, again review a film I have not seen in its entirety. Never. Ever. Laura was right: That sort of thing is seized upon as a practice, not an exception. Already you can learn here and there on the web that I support Creationism. (See my blog entry, "This is the dawning of the Age of Credulity.") Soon, I am sure, you will be able to read, "Ebert reviews movies after only watching eight minutes of them."

What have you done now? I have done what I should have done in the first place, and viewed the entire movie (97 minutes of film, 7 minutes of credits). I have appended my new review to the end of the original review, which I am honor-bound to retain in its original, uncorrected state. I have added a preface asking readers to consult my two blogs on the subject.

Your final thoughts? I must apologize to writer-director Stewart Wade, his actors and his crew. They did nothing to deserve this. For them it must have been like a drive-by shooting. Among the comments, there is one from a reader who spoke with a young woman after seeing the film. She loved it. I guess she was near tears. It meant a lot to her. "I have two moms," she said. I feel like a jerk. In even my negative reviews, I try to give some sense of why you might want to see a film even if I didn't admire it. Here, I failed.

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