The passing this week of Roger Ebert signifies the end of an era in film criticism.
He was arguably the most beloved and trusted film reviewer in the century-old history of the genre.
Well, perhaps not beloved by everyone. Plenty of (bad) filmmakers have surely cursed Ebert’s name over the decades.
When Ebert didn’t enjoy a film, he had an impeccable talent for expressing his displeasure.
Here are some of his most entertaining zingers.
10. So, thumbs down then?
“Last year, I reviewed a nine-hour documentary about the lives of Mongolian yak herdsmen, and I would rather see it again than sit through The Frighteners.”
The Frighteners review, 1996
9. The last filmpanner
“The Last Airbender is an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented. It puts a nail in the coffin of low-rent 3D, but it will need a lot more coffins than that.”
8. I spit on your movie
“As a critic, I have never condemned the use of violence in films if I felt the filmmakers had an artistic reason for employing it. I Spit on Your Grave does not. It is a geek show. I wonder if its exhibitors saw it before they decided to play it, and if they felt as unclean afterward as I did. A vile bag of garbage.”
I Spit on Your Grave review, 1978
7. Cause for retirement
“John Waters’ Pink Flamingos has been restored for its 25th anniversary revival, and with any luck at all that means I won’t have to see it again for another 25 years. If I haven’t retired by then, I will. I am not giving a star rating to Pink Flamingos, because stars simply seem not to apply. It should be considered not as a film but as a fact, or perhaps as an object.”
Pink Flamingos review, 1972
6. A break-up movie
“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.”
Battle: Los Angeles review, 2011
5. Hurl power
“Spice World is obviously intended as a ripoff of A Hard Day’s Night which gave The Beatles to the movies…the huge difference, of course, is that the Beatles were talented. …The Spice Girls’ music is so bad that even Spice World avoids using any more of it than absolutely necessary.”
Spice World review, 1997
4. Less than meets the eye
“A horrible experience of unbearable length. 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.”
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen review, 2008
3. How to lose a critic in 10 minutes
“This is comedy only by dictionary definition. In life, it is unpleasant, and makes the audience sad. 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.”
2. Freddy got panned
“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.”
1. Come on, Roger, tell us what you really think
“(One) of the worst movies ever made. I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it.”
North review, 1994