I just learned of the sad news, through the AV Club, of the passing of Roger Ebert. Truly sad news. I’ve mentioned Ebert’s influence on my reviewing style many times on this site. I used to pore through all of his old reviews. He had a great way of keeping his reviews entertaining while elaborating his points without sounding pompous. There was always an unwritten “these are my opinions, but if you feel differently that’s fine, too” atmosphere about them.
And when he trashed a movie… he trashed a movie. His most infamous is probably his review of Deuce Biggalo: European Gigalo, where he took Rob Schnieder to the woodchipper:
The movie created a spot of controversy last February. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year’s Best Picture Nominees and wrote that they were “ignored, unloved and turned down flat by most of the same studios that … bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,’ a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.”
Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: “Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind … Maybe you didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven’t invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who’s Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers.”
Reading this, I was about to observe that Schneider can dish it out but he can’t take it. Then I found he’s not so good at dishing it out, either. I went online and found that Patrick Goldstein has won a National Headliner Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, a RockCritics.com award, and the Publicists’ Guild award for lifetime achievement.
Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks.
But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” while passing on the opportunity to participate in “Million Dollar Baby,” “Ray,” “The Aviator,” “Sideways” and “Finding Neverland.” As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.
He lost some of his touch after his surgery (I thought he went too soft on some truly horrible movies). But that doesn’t invalidate the fun times I had over the years digging up an old Roger Ebert review and savoring it like fine wine. I’m gonna miss you. Hopefully you and Siskel and giving thumbs down to terrible movies in heaven.