Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Aristocrats

When I was growing up, when there weren't a thousand channels to choose from, years before the internet changed the game, there was Siskel & Ebert.

I loved watching their show. Didn't always agree with either of them, sure. But these were two men who were clearly passionate about movies. They discussed them seriously. Tried to champion smaller films that might've gotten lost otherwise. For a kid who was excessively into movies, their show said,

It's okay.

It's okay to be THIS into movies.

It's okay to want to argue over them.

They're worth that.

Siskel died back in '99. Ebert's health's been rocky for a while now, and he's officially not returning to the show that he and Siskel started.

Just as well, since the show was really over once Siskel was out of the picture. It was their volatile chemistry that infused the show with conflict and life. Kids today may have a hard time appreciating their significance. Their success was the perfect alignment of pop culture with technology and time. They existed at the right time.

Praise YOU TUBE, I really like this profane, uncensored clip of them shooting one of their promos back in the day:

It's the essence of why they worked so well together, on that show. The bickering was clearly not just an act. But partway through the clip, they actually start to bond. That tenuous working relationship really kept things alive. These were NOT altogether pleasant men. But they were real.