Hey everyone! I just wanted to publish this post to say thank you to all of my readers, visitors, and followers who took an interest in ‘Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon’ by reading and/or liking the articles associated with it! I also want to give a special thank you to all of the blogathon participants! ‘Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon’ was more successful than I expected. In total, there were ten bloggers who submitted entries! For my first blogathon, this is a great start. As I’ve already told some of the blogathon participants, I will be hosting my second blogathon in 2020! But the theme will be announced in next year’s first half.
Welcome to my very first blogathon, Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon! For five days, blogathon participants will share a variety of topics related to Gene Siskel and/or Roger Ebert. All of those posts will be listed on this community post, separated by the categories that were established in the announcement post that was published back in May. Every participant worked very hard on their article, so be sure to check out as many posts as you’d like!
Found in cardboard boxes at garage sales. Seen on shelves at a used book store. Appearing on Amazon’s and Ebay’s pages. Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks, or sometimes known as Roger Ebert’s Movie Home/Video Companion, are records of years gone by. Showcasing movies that have already premiered, the books feature reviews and other movie related material from Roger Ebert himself. From the mid ‘80s to the early 2010s, these yearbooks provided an overview of any given movie year. They correlated with Roger and Gene Siskel’s show, At The Movies. But for the majority of the 2010s, a movie yearbook has not been published. Also, it seems like this concept is not as talked about as it once was. Is this idea that Roger created still relevant anymore? Does it still have a place in our current day and time? This editorial will explore the arguments for and against the revival of the movie yearbook. I will also share my thoughts on the argument as a whole. Since today is the first day of Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon, let the blogathon begin!
How Roger’s Movie Yearbooks Are Still Relevent
What do putting up Christmas trees, going trick or treating, and watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s have in common? All of these activities are rooted in tradition. Because these activities have become cherished for many people, they are put into practice year after year. For approximately three decades, Roger Ebert shared his thoughts, opinions, and insight about movies and other subjects related to that topic through his movie yearbooks. Throughout his career and reputation, Roger gained the likeability and respect of his audience. Because he became a cherished figure in the movie community, the publication of his movie yearbooks turned into a tradition. What helped was having continuous segments on his shows with Gene Siskel, such as episodes dedicated to the best and worst movies in a given year. Because these segments took place every year, it helped the show’s audience associate tradition with Roger Ebert.
When I think of a “yearbook”, I picture a hardcover book given at the end of a school year, filled with pictures and short, but thorough explanations about those photos. As I conducted my research about Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks, I discovered that they did not fit my definition of a “yearbook”. These books are a collection of reviews, interviews, and essays. Despite this, a traditional “yearbook” and Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks do share one major similarity: they are a collection of records and reflections. A typical school yearbook focuses on the memories and events of a particular school year, reflecting on things such as various school subjects or graduating classes. This publication is usually more visual, where photos are used to tell the story and express ideas. In Roger Ebert’s case, he chose a more verbal approach when it came to the creation of his movie yearbooks. Since movies are a visual medium and images like movie stills and award winners can be found in other publications, pictures are not necessary for these particular books of Roger’s. All of these books discuss the movie year prior to the book’s release. For example, Roger Ebert’s movie yearbook from 1999 will talk about movies from 1998. Like a school yearbook, Roger’s movie yearbooks are a singular place where his collective story can be presented.
Another important component to a yearbook, whether it be a movie yearbook or one from school, is how it creates a shared experience amongst its audience. Because the subject of movies and school is so broad, readers are able to find something in the text that they can relate to. Within the movie yearbooks, Roger Ebert reviews a variety of films that were theatrically released. Different studios and genres are represented throughout the publication. Because of the yearbook’s broad range of movies, there’s a chance that the material is appealing to almost everyone. On his shows with Gene Siskel and in his movie yearbooks, Roger would talk about whether he liked or disliked a particular film. Since they talked about movies that were theatrically released, meaning they are easily accessible for the majority of their audience, a shared experience was allowed to talk place. Just one example is when both Gene and Siskel reviewed the movie, Jurassic Park. This is a movie that a large number of people have seen, so it feels like people watching or reading their review can join a shared conversation.
During the run of Siskel and Ebert’s television shows, as well as their careers, both Gene and Roger created a legacy that outlasted their lives. By reviewing films and making those thoughts accessible to their audience, who also happen to be potential movie-goers, they helped create the concept of movie related entertainment. Gene and Roger also showed that anyone could articulate their thoughts and opinions on film. This contribution has been appreciated by fans and members of the movie community, even encouraging them to become movie critics themselves. Roger’s movie yearbooks make up a part of his legacy, proving to be an essential piece of movie related literature. This concept of looking back on a given movie year through text is something that would continue to be beneficial to movie fans and fellow critics. It may even help make the movie community a better place.
How Roger’s Movie Yearbooks Are Not Relevant Anymore
The last movie yearbook to be published was Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2013, which covers the movie years of 2010 to mid-2012. This is because Roger Ebert passed away on April 4th, 2013. Because of this, the movie community lost one of the most unique perspectives in film critic history. It also means that new movie related content from Roger can never be created, since the work would not come directly from him. Making a book called “Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook” and not having Roger involved in the project kind of defeats the purpose. Carrying on one of Roger’s long running book series without his consent also seems disrespectful. Sure, we could guess what Roger would think of movies released after April 2013. But it’s better to know than take a guess.
When Roger Ebert passed away six years ago, the world lost one of the faces of the movie community. The other face of the movie community, Gene Siskel, passed away twenty years ago. This means that the movie community currently does not have any one person that represents them. Gene and Roger earned their titles through their appearances on their television shows. Since their first show, Sneak Previews, premiered in 1975, there were not as many voices in the movie community as there are today. Because more people have joined this community, it would be difficult to choose a new representative. How would this person be chosen? What credentials would give this person the title? Who would nominate this person? So many factors would play a role when trying to make a decision like this. But the one question that should be asked is “Does the movie community really need a new representative”?
With the invention of the internet and social media, more people have been given the opportunity to share their thoughts on film. Blogs, websites, and even Youtube channels have provided platforms for more voices to be heard. These inventions helped the movie community grow, gaining more members now than when Gene and Roger first appeared on Sneak Previews. If the concept of the movie yearbook were to come back, it would be difficult to determine whose opinions get included. Do you choose the people who are associated with movie related companies or Youtubers with smaller channels? What about bloggers, would their thoughts be incorporated in the yearbook too? The website, rogerebert.com, is a place where multiple film critics can share their thoughts in one place. Would these people have a say in who’s cinematic thoughts are welcome? The very first movie yearbook from Roger Ebert, titled Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion, was released in 1985. Because the internet and social media weren’t big factors like they are today, the people associated with coordinating Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks didn’t have to think about these things. But the landscape of the movie community has expanded in the 21st century.
Not only has the internet and social media provided a platform for more members of the movie community, they’ve also presented information in a shorter amount of time. Today, movie reviews are uploaded to the internet days, sometimes even weeks, before a movie’s premiere. Some quick searching will lead any movie fan to a wide variety of reviews and other movie related content from multiple authors. Our digital age has produced e-books, making it easier for readers to download many different stories. With these new elements that the movie community has gained, the idea of putting a movie yearbook to print comes into question. Why not just create an e-book version of this project? Wouldn’t it be easier to put all this content on a website? Another concern that needs to be addressed is whether people would pay for a collection of information when they can receive it for free in places that have internet access. When Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks were published, most of his audience didn’t have the internet. They relied on his books, articles, and television programs when they wanted to hear what he had to say. Today there’s rogerebert.com, a website that provides reviews and movie related articles at a faster pace. They give this information straight to their audience, eliminating the process of company publishing and book binding.
My Thoughts on Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks
There’s no denying that Roger Ebert played a huge role in the movie community’s foundation. His thoughts and opinions on film helped many people become film critics of their own, instead of simply accepting the role of movie consumer. Something that made this goal a reality was the publication of Roger Ebert’s movie yearbooks. These books allowed Roger’s audience to reminiscence over films they’ve seen or heard about, as well as reflect on the topics of the featured interviews and essays. After the publication of Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbook 2013 and Roger Ebert’s death, the world stopped receiving the wise and knowledgeable insight that could have easily been taken for granted. The concept of the movie yearbook is an interesting one, beneficial for all members of the movie community. I, as a movie blogger and member of the movie community, would love to see this concept brought back into publication. However, before this idea could be executed again, several important questions would need to be answered. From selecting the people who would contribute to the yearbook to which medium would host the project, these factors could affect the return of Roger Ebert’s long running series. A series that became a tradition because of one cherished individual. But all traditions start somewhere, and if they’re worth it, should be put into practice for many years and generations to come.
Have fun at the blogathon!
If you would like to check out this editorial’s references, here are the links:
Hello everyone! If you’re interested in joining my blogathon, Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon, you still have time! All you have to do is leave your topic request in the comment section of the post, “Announcing my new blogathon called ’Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon’!”. This post can be found when you click the blogathon banner at the right-hand side of the page or by visiting this link:
Greetings to all of my readers and followers! I just want to remind everyone that there’s only one month left to sign up for my blogathon, “Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon”! If you’re interested, please request a topic as soon as possible. To check out the original blogathon announcement, click on the banner that’s located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. I also want to share that I have just received The Baroness Orczy Blogging Award from the blog, Silver Screenings! I’m going to be honest, I had never heard of this particular author until I won this award. So, I went to Goodreads and learned more about her. Based on the presented information, she sounds like a fascinating individual! I’ll definitely have to check out one of her books sometime. Thank you to everyone at Silver Screenings for selecting me for this award. Having my written work compared to someone like Baroness Orczy is truly an honor!
One day, while I was on the internet, I came across some episodes of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s show, At the Movies, on Youtube. As I was watching these episodes, I wondered why there wasn’t a show like this on television anymore. But, when I asked this question, I realized that there kind of is. Though not on television, I can think of several channels on Youtube dedicated to talking about film. There’s also lots of blogs related to movie criticism, especially on WordPress. As a movie blogger myself, I know that the growth of the movie review community might not have been possible without Siskel and Ebert. So, in honor of the Grandfathers of Movie Criticism, I have decided to dedicate my very first blogathon to them! Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon will take place from September 20th to the 24th. If you would like to participate, you can sign up in one of the following categories:
A. Siskel and Ebert Themselves – This category is for blog entries about Gene Siskel and/or Roger Ebert. Articles about their life, legacy, or career are most certainly welcome. If Siskel and/or Ebert have written any books, editorials, or articles, blog entries about that can be submitted to this category. If you do write an entry for this specific category, all I ask is that you please be respectful when writing about Siskel and/or Ebert. If your post is about how you disagree with their opinion, that’s fine. But please don’t be disrespectful or negative toward anybody.
B. Movies that Siskel and/or Ebert have reviewed or talked about: This category is pretty straight forward. Any movie that Siskel and/or Ebert have reviewed/talked about or that was covered on any of their shows is fair game. To find out which movies would be allowed for this category, you can find episodes of At the Movies on Youtube or search “At the Movies” or “Sneak Previews” on IMDB and look through the listed episodes section.
C. The Show Itself: For this category, you can write about anything related to Siskel and Ebert’s shows. Do you have a favorite episode of Sneak Previews or any version of At the Movies? Share it in your post! Was there a particular host that you were fond of? Feel free to talk about them in your article! Did the show play an important role in your life? Tell your story on your blog! Other topics that would be allowed in this category are trivia about the show, specific segments, and the show’s history, just to name to few.
D. Something movie related that has to do with Chicago: Because Siskel and Ebert were film critics in Chicago, this category is a creative way to honor the Grandfathers of Movie Criticism. For this category, you can talk about movies that either take place or were filmed in Chicago. You may also write about film festivals or movie related events that have been hosted in the Windy City. If you’ve had a movie-going experience in the city of Chicago, feel free to share your story!
The Official Blogathon Rules
As I’ve already mentioned, please be respectful not only when writing about Siskel and Ebert, but also to other bloggers.
If you plan on publishing your post(s) earlier or later than the allotted time-frame (September 20th to the 24th), please let me know in advance.
Only new posts will be allowed for this blogathon.
Three participants at a time are allowed to write about a singular topic. For example, if four people wanted to talk about Roger Ebert’s book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, only the first three participants would be able to write about the book.
Each participant is allowed to publish a maximum of three entries.
All entries must be original work.
If your interested in participating, please share your idea(s) in the comment section below.
Creativity is encouraged.
Pick one of the five banners and spread the word about Siskel and Ebert at the Blogathon!
The List of Participants
Sally from 18 Cinema Lane – (Editorial) Roger Ebert’s Movie Yearbooks: How Relevant are they Anyway?
Ruth from Silver Screenings — (Review) Roger Ebert’s book, The Great Movies
Edirin from Retro Movie Buff — (Editorial) Roger Ebert’s book, Your Movie Sucks
UpOnTheShelf from The Movie Shelf Reviews — (Discussion piece) Siskel and Ebert’s appearance on “The Critic”
Le from Critica Retro — (Review) Z (1969)
Gill from Realweegiemidget Reviews — (Review) Prizzi’s Honor (1985)
J-Dub from Dubsism — (Review) Casino (1995)
Quiggy from The Midnite Drive-In — (Review) The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Rebecca from Taking Up Room — (Review) Straight Talk (1992)
Tiffany and Rebekah from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society — (Review) A Star is Born (1954)
Rob from MovieRob — (Review) About Last Night… (1986), Opportunity Knocks (1990), and Rookie of the Year (1993)