I don’t actually hate “At the movies”…

9 Feb

Seriously, I don’t…

I’m talking about the the show that “replaced” “Ebert and Roeper”. It’s called “At the Movies“, and it’s hosted by Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz.

And it seems people “aren’t likin’ it”. (Maybe some of you will get this obscure reference. Make sure you leave a comment if you do. 😉 )

Anyway, I’m talking about it because I’m currently watching their “If we picked the winners” pre-Oscar special, and although I’m in a bitchy mood tonight, I just cannot find a valid reason to hate on these guys. Their critique makes sense, they’re coherent, they’re articulate. I just don’t see what is so wrong with them. But maybe there’s something I’m missing, because a lot of folks out there don’t seem very fond of them.

The other day, I ventured on what I believe was the IMDb “At the Movies” message board, and man, were the two Bens taking a textual bashing! It actually surprised me. I skimmed through the threads, and didn’t see a single post saying: “Oh, come on, they’re not THAT bad…!” Not one. What’s up with that?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Ebert and Roeper, and Roger Ebert’s reviews are always the first ones I look for when I want to read about a movie. Unfortunately, I never got to see the show when Gene Siskel was on, but the snippets I saw looked pretty good to me. And I never had any qualms against Richard Roeper either. It’s a show I’ve enjoyed watching since I discovered it, and I’ve always valued the hosts’ opinions.

Sadly, for one reason or another, these hosts have moved on. Time for us to do the same. You heard me, message board people? Leave Ben and Ben alone, damnit!

As far as I know, Siskel and Ebert, Ebert and Roeper, At the Movies, each one of the show’s incarnations had that same simple two people format, and for a show of this nature, it’s just perfect. Two opinions are better than one, but are few enough that each critic has a reasonable amount of time to explain clearly why he liked or disliked a film.

And I don’t know if you caught the first few episodes of the current version of At the Movies, but I appreciate that the two ‘new Bens on the block’ decided to stick with that conversational one-on-one format after all…

The first few shows got dangerously cable news-ey at times. Split screen, special correspondents… Very CNN. The problem was that the correspondents, other movie critics, only came on at the very end of the show, and only had about 19 seconds each to explain why they liked or disliked a given movie, before being thanked and told bye-bye, see you next week. Not the deepest of analysis.

Thankfully, they dropped that stupid split-screen and the correspondents on either side after a few weeks. And since they did, I must say that I’ve found the show quite enjoyable and interesting.

So why all the hating for the two Bens?


16 Responses to “I don’t actually hate “At the movies”…”

  1. Nosesplash February 9, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Don’t give in to the peer pressure of the haters. If you don’t want to hate, you don’t have to. But be warned, a lot of people will hate you for that. Don’t you just hate that?



  2. sunnyberra February 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    I have to admit, I’ve seen the commercials for the show, but have never watched it 🙂
    But, if it’s something you like (or, at least, can tolerate with sporking yourself in the eye when it comes on), then don’t worry about it.


  3. salomey5 February 9, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi Nate, thanks for dropping by. I got your email, will reply shortly.

    I was hoping, by sticking to my unpopular opinion, to start a flamewar right here. I’ve read that flamewars are great to generate traffic, so this post is just part of an intricate strategy, the goal of which is to get lots and lots of comments, all for the wrong reasons.

    Unfortunately, with sensible and wise folks such as yourself, this strategy is heading right down the toilet.

    I was expected replies along the lines of “At movies suxx, ben Lyonns is a dick and so ru and u can sux my dick 2 bcos u don’t no shit. Ebert rulz so STFU bithc.”

    On the upside, nice to know I’m being read by intelligent and articulate people. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it, and will reciprocate. Your “Obama Bin Ladin” post cracked me up.


  4. salomey5 February 9, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Hey Sunny, thanks for coming by! I’m overwhelmed, you guys, I’m not used to all these visitors, lol!

    Thanks for coming by, although once again, yet another non-argumentative, articulate and mature blogger comments. So much for my attempts at only getting complete morons to write back in bad English!

    Oh well, guess I’ll have to make do with the brainy crowd!…
    How are your furry babies doing anyway? I have to go and pay them a visit in the near future.

    Thanks for commenting, and I’ll see you on your blog! 🙂


  5. Roy February 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    Siskel and Ebert were my favorites. It wasn’t just about the movies with them. They had personalities that never quiet meshed with one another.
    I was always waiting for them to get into a fist fight. Only watched the show a couple of times after Siskel passed.
    The tension wasn’t there and and the show was missing the personality of Siskel.


  6. Lissy February 13, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    hahaha DANNY! i loved it when he got all attitude-y with simon 😀

    by the way, i have no idea what you’re talkin about in the rest of the post, so i’m not even gonna try, haha. 🙂 ta-ta!


    • salomey5 February 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

      Lissy, you win a large white Belgian chocolate medal!
      Yeah, of course it’s Danny!!

      I have like 4 episodes of Idol to catch up with, have any freaks emerged yet? Do I have a Pikachu-like creature to bash this season?

      I tried recapping the auditions, but I gave up; it was a very time-consuming pain in the ass, so I’m gonna start again next week, when the voting starts.

      Thanks for swinging by, it’s nice to have you back. 🙂


  7. didi February 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    I dislike Ben and Ben. I confess I am one of the haters from IMDb “At the Movies” MB.

    Manky is all right and looks like he actually has some knowledge of films at least akin to Roeper, but Lyons is the one I’d rather punch in the nose. He seems clueless when it comes to quality and he comes off as fake when reviewing something and the only reason he got the job was because of daddy’s influence (and Papa Lyons is not that much better). As a matter of fact, I feel that the whole show seems somewhat fabricated. I swear, it is almost as if they are reading cue cards and have no real thoughts of their own which may explain why Lyons always has that goofy smile on his face.

    Maybe this is Disney’s influence but whatever is I feel that the show has been dumbed down severely.


  8. Chase February 13, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    How exactly would Lyons’ dad have gotten him the job? His dad has a competing show with a different syndicator… It’s called “Reel Talk” and it’s almost an exact replica of At the Movies.


  9. usaperspective February 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Politics Today here:

    I really enjoyed this article. While I have yet to see the new “At the Movies” show I am personally partial to Ebert and Roeper. I was definitely a little disappointed to find out that they had been replaced. I also appreciate your ability to see the positive out of what many deem negative.


  10. didi February 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    “How exactly would Lyons’ dad have gotten him the job? His dad has a competing show with a different syndicator… It’s called “Reel Talk” and it’s almost an exact replica of At the Movies.’

    I am sort of cynical guessing when I say that because I don’t believe that junior got the job on his own merits. Plus I come from Chicago, political influence and you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours mentality where many people who are not qualified to read the alphabet get good, cushy, high level jobs. Read up on the guy replacing the CEO of our school system.

    Bottom line, to me Lyons is awful. He has shown little passion for movies. How exactly was he deemed to fit Ebert or even Roeper shoes because I sure don’t where the film review talent is in him. Someone got him taht job. If he wasn’t Lyons’ kid I doubt he would have been given a second look. BTW, if they had hired A.O. Scott or Michael Philips who both filled in numerous times after Ebert became ill, I would have been more impressed. Both know film a whole lot better and both contain enormous passion.


  11. Lissy February 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    hahaha i don’t know if there’s a pikachu-like contestant yet, salomey, but i’ll be on the lookout for ya!


  12. maxhate February 18, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    I grew up on Siskel and Ebert at The Movies. Today, critics’ power is on the wane. The internet has crushed the power of a positive or negative critical review. If a small movie is well-reviewed at a festival it can certainly help generate buzz (juno, the wrestler, little miss sunshine), but large studio movies have become much less reliant on critical success or failure (see friday the 13h).

    I still read several reviews of most films I plan on seeing (thank you rotten tomatoes) and will sometimes go back and read reviews of movies I just watched. Sadly, the massive decline in newspaper circulation is hurting critics of all types. I don’t have much interest in the new show and have no plans to watch.


  13. salomey5 February 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    I must say that I’m quite surprised at all the hate. I find it pretty amusing, actually… Who would have thought a guy as bland as Ben Lyons could elicit such strong feelings of loathing…? I just find the dude absolutely harmless, personally. He’s not awful, he’s not great… I don’t even find him interesting enough to have an opinion about him.

    I must say, however, that I have no clue who his dad is. There could be indeed a little nepotism at hand here, but then again he would hardly be the first.

    As I stated, I never saw the show with Siskel. I caught maybe the last couple of years of Ebert and Roeper, before Ebert got sick and had to quit hosting. I totally agree that it was a far superior show back then, and I have a profound respect for Roger Ebert.

    However, that show is no more, unfortunately. And maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but I believe that some people simply find it hard to move past that. The show, whether under Siskel & Ebert or Ebert & Roeper was and still is a classic; viewers are used to it, they trusted the hosts’ opinions, so it’s perfectly normal that they’d be disappointed when they call it quit.
    And also normal, is the fact that the audience disses the replacement. We always have a tendancy to compare the new with the old, with the old usually coming up on top.

    I wasn’t exactly impressed by “At the movies” when it first came on. I thought it was rushed, and having the correspondants popping in for two minutes was a dumb, unnecessary idea.
    However, I think the two Bens have found their stride by now. I wouldn’t say the show’s great, but it’s decent. Watchable, if you wish.

    That said, feel perfectly free to keep on hating on two Bens. As I said, I find it kind of funny, plus it’s not like I care that much anyway.


  14. didi February 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Thank you so much for your comments on my blog, Salomey! Hope you are recovering well from the flu. I guess you don’t have to know much about Chicago but you cannot forget Joy tussling Blago’s hair and asking him to do his best Nixon because well, as much as we probably do not like it at the moment, Blago was born and raised in Chicago. Now you can say you know three things about Chicago!

    Thanks so much for your great witty replies and for stopping by. It was a treat! I loved your comment and I have been reading The View board at IMDb for a hot minute, though I very rarely participate (I’m ClaireTrevorAsHelenTrent which you’ll see on the At The Movies board), I enjoy reading the good, the bad and the nutty reponses people give and you are usually (along with a handful of otehrs) one of the sanest, sensible and intelligent posters on that board and of course, sarcastic to boot which I love.

    I do agree with you in some respects. People are usually in a rush to compare old with new and old will always come up on top. I guess it is because most people dislike change. But, I am not changing my tune on Ben and Ben though I will continue to watch because nothing is ever on Saturday nights. Someone on Imdb said finding an actual review Lyons wrote was like trying to climb through a keyhole. LOL! I stick by that sentiments. But it’s cool we don’t have to agree on everything. I’m not Lizzie. I am not gonna go all “Ah, but….” and fold up my arms against my chest and proceed to act like a three year old on you. Strangly I like Elizabeth but not for that or her politics.


  15. salomey5 February 25, 2009 at 2:47 am #

    Yo, Didi, I replied to you on your blog.


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