Watch Roger Ebert And Gene Siskel Explain How Critics Go To The Movies

Roger Ebert in Life Itself
(Image credit: Magnolia Pictures)

As you could probably expect, even before I started working for Cinema Blend I was a total movie fanatic. It was a rare weekend that I wasn't throwing down cash to see a new release with a bunch of my friends. Viewing movies as a critic, however, is a totally different beast. When I see new movies, where I see new movies, and with whom I see new movies has changed in a fairly major way. But don't just take my word for it: let Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel take you back to 1980 as they prepare for a screening of Harold Becker's The Black Marble.

As a part of a new segment on Ebert Presents At The Movies, Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky have dug up some footage from an episode of Sneak Previews With Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel in which the pair of Chicago critics had camera crews follow them as they prepared to go to a screening. The video is broken up into segments, seeing the two journalists discuss how they approach each film and then break down their opinions once they've seen it. In addition to showing off the process, it also demonstrates that every critic has a different approach to a screening: Gene likes to learn about a film before seeing it, Roger doesn't; Gene takes notes in the dark, Roger doesn't; Gene likes to sit in the back of theater, Roger likes to sit more towards the front. The video is also fun simply because it's fascinating looking 31 years into the past and seeing how the process has changed.

While some things have definitely changed - I've personally never flicked a switch to let the projectionist know to start the movie - I think the video really does a great job of bringing the movie audience behind the curtain to see exactly how a critic goes to the movies. Head over HERE to watch the episode now.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.