Thursday, February 18, 2010

Loose Ends: Ebert, Scorsese, and Choices

- The thing that you should know about Roger Ebert and I is that we have some history. I started watching him and Siskel on their first PBS show, Sneak Previews, when I was like six years old (freak!); I discovered his writing when I was really cultivating my love for film around the time I turned 13. I bought his yearly book of new and classic reviews for the first time that year (1988), and I've bought it every single year since--those volumes take up more than a full shelf of my library, in addition to several of his other books, including Ebert's Little Movie Glossary, which includes an entry I submitted, "the Leno Device" (examined on this page, though they, unlike Ebert, don't give me the credit).

I tell you all of this to try and explain why I, like many other folks, was so profoundly moved by the new Esquire profile that's been making the rounds over the last few days. It's a superbly written, fascinating look at what his life is now, since cancer and a series of surgeries left him without the ability to speak, eat, or drink--but with the full power of his tremendous mind and superb writing. It made me tear up like four times, so yeah, give it a look.

- I frequently disagree with Jim Emerson, the blogger and editor-in-chief of Ebert's website (we just don't have the same taste in movies), but boy do I love this piece he posted this week. "When you see a movie today," he writes, "you are simultaneously choosing not to see thousands of others. So, how do you set your priorities?" The long and short of it is, with so many films available to our generation, how on earth do you get through all the stuff you want to see? Where do you even start? It's a question I ask damn near every day; if you'll forgive the potential TMI, I'm a bit of a list-maker, and that's why I can tell you that I've got a list of "to watch" movies that comes up just under 2500 titles. They're organized into eight lists. I am not a crazy person.

-Have I mentioned how excited I am about Shutter Island, the first new narrative Scorsese picture since The Departed? (Seeing it at midnight tonight; look for my review in the wee small hours of the morning). In the meantime, check out this outstanding profile in the Times.

- I really, truly loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall (for my money, it's the best of the Apatow flicks that the man didn't direct himself), so I'm amped about the spin-off movie (yep, that sounds about as weird as I thought it would), Get Him To The Greek. The part of my brain that gets all OCD about continuity is bothered by the fact that Russell Brand is playing his character from Marshall while Jonah Hill is not, but I'll get over it; this thing's got potential.

Coming tommorow-- the aforementioned Shutter Island review, and (hopefully) some late thoughts on The Wolfman.

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