Roger Ebert: 15 of his finest put-downs

Roger Ebert

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The legendary American film critic Roger Ebert passed away yesterday at the age of 70, his paper the Chicago Sun-Times announced.

Roger Ebert
[Roger Ebert never held back from putting the boot into a Hollywood dud - Getty]

Ebert had been a film critic for the newspaper since 1967, and had announced on his blog on Wednesday that he was undergoing radiation treatment after a recurrence of cancer.

He became familiar to millions of Americans on the TV shows he co-hosted, first with the late Gene Siskel of the rival Chicago Tribune and — after Siskel’s death in 1999 — with his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper. Their thumbs up/down rating system became hugely influential in the movie industry.

But it was his writing that set him apart as the most famous and respected movie critic of his generation, and he was never afraid to give it both barrels. Here we look back at some of this most memorable put-downs.

On North, 1994

North

“I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.”

On Battle: Los Angeles, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

“Young men: If you attend this crap with friends who admire it, tactfully inform them they are idiots. Young women: If your date likes this movie, tell him you’ve been thinking it over, and you think you should consider spending some time apart.”

On The Twilight Saga: New Moon, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

“Sitting through this experience is like driving a tractor in low gear though a sullen sea of Brylcreem.”

On Armageddon, 1998

Armageddon

“No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out.”

On Stargate, 1994

Stargate

“The movie Ed Wood, about the worst director of all time, was made to prepare us for Stargate.”

On How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, 2003

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

“Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson star. I neglected to mention that, maybe because I was trying to place them in this review’s version of the Witness Protection Program. If I were taken off the movie beat and assigned to cover the interior design of bowling alleys, I would have some idea of how they must have felt as they made this film.”

On Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles, 2001

Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles

“I’ve seen audits that were more thrilling.”

On The Brown Bunny, 2003

The Brown Bunny

“I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny.”

On Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

“If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”

On Spice World, 1997

Spice World

“What can you say about five women whose principal distinguishing characteristic is that they have different names? They occupy Spice World as if they were watching it: They’re so detached they can’t even successfully lip-synch their own songs.

On Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

“To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion.”

On Freddy Got Fingered, 2001

Freddy Got Fingered

“This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

On Deuce Bigalow, 1999

Deuce Bigalow

Deuce Bigalow is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes.”

On Godzilla, 1998

Godzilla

“Going to see Godzilla at the Palais of the Canne Film Festival is like attending a satanic ritual in St. Peter’s Basilica.”

On Sex and the City 2, 2010

Sex and the City 2

“The characters…are flyweight bubbleheads living in a world which rarely requires three sentences in a row. Their defining quality is consuming things. They gobble food, fashion, houses, husbands, children, vitamins and freebies. They must plan their wardrobes on the phone, so often do they appear in different basic colors, like the plugs you pound into a Playskool workbench.”

Do you have a favourite Roger Ebert review?

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Nick is an Edinburgh-based writer and editor, covering music, pop culture and comedy.