The world of film criticism lost one of its most notable players this past weekend. Joel Siegel, critic for Good Morning America, has sadly left this world. That isn’t to say I was much of a fan. I never actually followed his reviews, as I found them too televisioney for me (which is to be expected, considering the show he was on). Sadly, a lot of the obits for him across the internet seem to be recalling his infamous feud with Kevin Smith last year, regarding his craptacular Clerks II.
But now that Siegel is gone, who else do we have left? I am a huge admirer of Roger Ebert. When he was sick for almost a year, I found myself struggling to find his replacement. What critic would take his place, should Roger vanish for good? I struggled to fill that void, and never ended up accomplishing that mission. All I can say is that I hope Roger Ebert lives another 50 years because once he is gone, I am afraid that a giant piece of film criticism will die with him.
Who can we turn too should something that awful happen? Film Threat’s Pete Vonder Haar (as well as some of our other boys – you know who you are) write some fantastic reviews to look forward to on Friday mornings. I’ve noticed that over the past 5 years or so, any one with a computer and a DVD player thinks they have what it takes to write reviews, without knowing anything about cinema’s history. These older guys, like Ebert and Siegel, have been around the block and know much of its history.
And I am not saying that I am any great writer either, it’s just that I’ve read a lot of reviews where the writer is simply ignorant about a good portion of its past. Instead of writing reviews for Transformers or something, they should stay at home and watch how cinema started, where it has gone, and what kind of impact certain films had on the world when they were released. Then write that review.
A long time ago, I read a review on Ain’t It Cool News for Spider-Man 3. This beast is probably the longest, most unnecessary film review I’ve ever read in my life. He does a good job of referencing some old cinema that relates to this film, but then litters the rest of the 1500+ word review with pointless details about his life and outside world.
That’s what I love about Ebert – he talks about the film and the film only. He rarely references anything about his world.
I guess this is the sort of thing we have to look forward to in the future, or reviews by that Pete Hammond guy from Maxim. This dude’s quotes pollute every shitty movie on the planet. These websites, and others like it, are where this industry is going. It’s hard to say if film criticism is going to become unneeded soon but I hope not. Someone out there has to come along and shine.
I am not saying there are no good critics out there, because there are plenty, I just hope it doesn’t become extinct.
Good night Joel Siegel.