Picks and Pans Review: At the Movies

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They look like Mutt and Jeff; they snip and snipe at each other like the Bickersons; they agree about as often as Buckley and Nader might. And that is what makes Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel so much fun to watch as they review the movies. The two of them started their act six years ago on PBS’ Sneak Previews and then switched to commercial TV. But they were fighting long before that in Chicago’s two big papers, on theater marquees that displayed snippets or stars from their reviews and even, occasionally, in newspaper bars. They are both superb reviewers who know and love movies, who are strongly opinionated but not snooty about it. That alone—and the fact that they run nice, long clips—would make their show worth watching. But what adds that extra twist is that Ebert and Siskel know each other so well. There’s a little bit of each of them that can’t stand the other—and once in a while it comes out. Sometimes they are more entertaining than the movies they review.

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