Truthfully, I haven't watched the show regularly in some time. I remember catching it on PBS a lot when I was younger and it was called Sneak Previews, because our family enjoyed watching these two nebbishy guys trade opinions about movies with a healthy dose of sauce. And unlike a lot of people who insisted on being called film critics and turned up their noses at stuff that makes it out of the art houses, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel would review movies you might want to see. Since both of them were reviewers in print before they ever started a TV show, they could communicate some particularly complex ideas in their back-and-forth. I took one afternoon when I was in college in Evanston to visit the different Chicago sites they used in the show's opening.
Siskel, who died in 1999, was my favorite of the pair. I found my tastes more often in sync with his and he also seemed to have a lower tolerance for stuff that bordered on degrading or sleazy. But Ebert was also worth a listen, and his smackdown review of Rob Schneider's awful Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is a classic. Richard Roeper never did a lot for me, and he came along at about the time I had begun to feel I would probably see whatever I wanted to see and like it if I wanted to like it and pshaw on people who insisted on only seeing Important Films, and double pshaw on garbage like Deuce Bigalow's Stepbrother asks Dude, Where's My Car, Because I Left it Running With an American Pie and Zohan Inside It. So I'd stopped paying a lot of attention to pre-movie reviews and mostly read the ones that hammered things like the aforementioned epic, just to see how caustic the writer could be.
Now cancer limits Ebert to written reviews and Roeper has decided to move on as well. And rather than letting the franchise have a dignified end, Buena Vista Entertainment has decided to replace the hosts with two new fellows, one of whom works for E! Television and is unfortunately not Joel McHale. It really doesn't matter who the other guy is, because an E! Television correspondent will be bad enough for any two ordinary people.
And all of this will take place on my birthday this year. So take a hike, mouse. I always liked Warner Bros. better anyway.