As you may have heard, “At the Movies” is being overhauled without Richard Roeper and Roger Ebert, news that made me think back to the show’s early days with Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.
When I started watching the show, circa 1980, “At the Movies” was on PBS and the duo were just coming into prominence. It was a hoot to watch them argue about movies. They were never rancorous but they could get arms-and-elbows with each other, Siskel employing dry wit, Ebert’s owlish face bobbing forward pugnaciously. They could be pretty hilarious as they ridiculed movies they hated.
Watch them go at it here about “Bachelor Party.”
Without Siskel, who died in 1999, the show was never the same. Roeper was fine but an intellectual lightweight compared to Ebert. I stopped watching it regularly some years ago. The idea of two critics talking about the latest movies was out of the box and a lot of fun, and perhaps it can be reinvented.