This week we say a fond farewell to Roger Ebert, who passed away last month. We discuss his prodigious capacity for dismissing films with a single well-chosen phrase; I believe that they’re called ‘zingers’ in US, and Ebert was pretty good at them. We also discuss the accuracy of a few of his reviews — including both the original Star Wars and the infamous prequel The Phantom Menace and also Battlefield Earth, Fight Club and of course Die Hard, which he didn’t like at all.
You read that right: he didn’t like Die Hard. Now that would usually get most people on my list under “Unaware of distinction between arses and elbows” or “Sharpness markedly exceeded by other knives in drawer”. As I’m sure you already know, this podcast is named for a quote from Die Hard, so much do we love that movie. We love it because it’s the single best action-film of all time and a pivotal moment in cinema. But, well… this is Ebert. He got this one wrong, but he’s already on my list under “Has forgotten more than you will ever know about cinema” and “Awesome.” So he gets a pass.
He will be missed. RIP Roger Ebert!
And, of course, we talk about some new films. Pete saw The Place Beyond The Pines and discovered that he doesn’t buy Ryan Gosling in any role that doesn’t involve a ridiculous quantity of sex-appeal and quite a lot of brooding. A bit like nobody would believe Liam Neeson as a greengrocer: the man played Zeus, for God’s sake. I saw the latest Tom Cruise film, Oblivion, and discovered that no quantity of fantastic visuals torn from the covers of golden-age science-fiction novels can make films without proper characters really work. And then we discuss the latest milestone in Marvel’s (or should I say Disney’s) plans for world domination, the unstoppably lucrative and unimaginatively titled Iron Man 3.
Which was directed by Shane Black, who’s one of Hollywood’s more interesting characters. He wrote Lethal Weapon and sold it for a packet when he was twenty-three years old. Twenty-fucking-three! Can you believe that? Not only that, he was in Predator. He was that weedy guy with the terrible jokes. Now he’s writing and directing blockbusters. Far out, huh?
We finish up with a quick discussion of Community and the return of an old segment — one that predates this podcast and used to be called “homework”, but is now called the Bill Collins Special Of The Week. This week’s is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Shane Black’s directorial debut and the first step in the return of Robert Downey Jr. to the A-list.
So come and take the path less travelled with Pete and Justin! And any abuse you need to get off your chest should be directed towards @shoottheglass on twitter!