Before Siskel and Ebert, critics were thought of mostly as aloof, erudite stuffed shirts who liked things that mainstream people did not.  That changed with the pairing of these two Chicago movie critics.  They did not sacrifice their standards, but rather, made their knowledge accessible to the public.  They didn't talk down to their audience, but managed to relay their expertise in the format of two guys just talkin' 'bout movies.  What made Siskel and Ebert so great as a team was that they would not allow the other to fudge, or backslide, or contradict themselves.  They kept each other honest and razor-sharp.  Their competition with one another was also quite entertaining, particularly when they disagreed on a film.  I had always found myself siding more with Roger Ebert than with Gene Siskel, but after Gene's passing it became very evident that part of what made Roger so great, was the chemistry that was between Gene and him.  Roger has never been the same.  He seems, at times, a bit ragged and inconsistent in his own reviews.  And though I did enjoy Siskel's replacement, Richard Roeper, he just didn't challenge Roger the way Gene did.  Siskel and Ebert always seemed to not only critique the movies, but also critique each other's critiques.   As I stood at Gene Siskel's grave I realized something, not only does Roger Ebert miss him, but so do I.

                                                                                            -  Todd











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