Top 11 Funniest Siskel and Ebert Reviews
February 6, 2019
(The Channel Awesome logo and the title sequence play. Note: from this review on, NC's parts are filmed in 60 frames per second)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Siskel and Ebert.
(Footage of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert is shown)
NC (vo): Arguably, the most famous critics who ever lived. Even years after their deaths, people still remember their reviews, their personalities, even their thumbs. In my opinion, a good critic should do two things: offer a unique and interesting point of view, and do so in a passionate and entertaining way.
NC: While their points of view were indeed great, it's the entertainment part that kept us coming back.
NC (vo): Despite their, quote, "professional relationship", Siskel and Ebert acted like emotional children more times than can be counted.
(An opening snippet of one of their review shows Siskel & Ebert & the Movies is shown)
Ebert: And we'll also take a look at a new film about a friendship between a boy and a whale.
Siskel: Sorta reminds me of our relationship.
NC: (stunned) Damn!
NC (vo): They'd argue about whose name would be first in the show's title, they constantly mocked each other's physical appearances, they even bickered about who would sit closest to the desk on a talk show, to the point where the host had to sit in-between them to shut them up! Even when doing the promos, they couldn't stop pissing each other off!
Siskel: This week, on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. And the asshole. And that's Roger.
NC: And when it came to the movies they've reviewed, they were just as entertaining.
NC (vo): The two of them had an undying love of cinema that united them whenever they were on screen. Whether they liked the film, hated it or disagreed on it, there was an absolute passion for it every time.
NC: Not surprisingly, two big personalities with a lot of big thoughts resulted in a lot of big laughs.
NC (vo): It was wonderful to see them get so into it. Whether they were angry at a film or each other, you couldn't help but appreciate how much they loved talking about it...but, at the same time, giggle at just how angry they got.
NC: Now, of course, critics like myself never lose my temper...
(Cut to a clip of the review of Tom and Jerry: The Movie: NC spitting out watermelon upon being shocked and appalled that the titular characters were speaking)
Past NC: HOLY CRAP!
NC: (swipes the clip away) But it's still fun to celebrate how invested they were, especially during the funny parts.
NC (vo): So today, I'm gonna count down the funniest arguments, funniest rants and even funniest laughs these two made in a long career of film reviewing. Now, keep in mind I'm not including reviews done with [Richard] Roper or other critics. Don't get me wrong, they were very passionate and entertaining, too, but Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel truly had a connection that was one of a kind and couldn't be duplicated. And that's what I'm here to focus on and celebrate.
NC: So, get ready for their Top 11 funniest moments. Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the Top 11 Funniest Siskel and Ebert Reviews!
(The intro for Siskel & Ebert & the Movies is shown along with the images of the titular critics on the sides. The title zooms in. This will be the interlude footage throughout the video)
NC (vo): Number 11.
Siskel: Baby's Day Out (1994) is a different kind of movie.
(Footage of the review is shown)
NC (vo): Surprising to me and, let's just say it, everyone in existence, Siskel really liked Baby's Day Out. Apparently, it reminded him of all the comedic silent films.
Siskel: It almost plays like an old-fashioned silent film. The old-fashioned look kept me involved as much as anything, and I have a suspicion that little kids will really eat up this fantasy of the baby getting in trouble, but not getting in trouble.
NC (vo): To nobody's surprise, Ebert thought Siskel was nuts.
Ebert: This movie is not funny, it's way too long, the burglars who are recycled right out of Home Alone...
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah?
Ebert: ...are really awkwardly written.
NC (vo): And some of the arguments as to why almost seemed as strange as Siskel's recommendation.
Ebert: I hated this movie more than any other movie on this show, and I'm-I'm really surprised at you. You should be ashamed of yourself.
NC: (confused) Already kind of an odd start to a Baby's Day Out argument.
Ebert: I think a little child...
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah?
Ebert: ...who sees this baby about to fall off of tall buildings...
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah?
Ebert: ...and being crushed by big, uh, cars isn't gonna know what's funny.
NC: (shrugging) I guess it's not funny, but I've yet to see social media attack it, and they'll go after anything. (A fake Twitter post from the user "Offended by Air" is shown with the message,"Baby's Day Out triggered me.")
NC (vo): Sure enough, instead of talking about the film being a dumb flick, they get into what cinematic elements might scar children from watching Baby's Day Out, as well as what cinematic elements apparently scarred Roger when he was younger.
Ebert: When I was three and a half years old, I went to see a movie where Mickey Rooney was standing on a ledge outside a window. It was a comedy, everybody was laughing. I was terrified.
NC: As far as I'm concerned, (A poster is shown for...) Mr. Bean's Holiday is a thriller! You might as well take your kids to see Halloween. (The poster for Halloween (1978) is shown)
NC (vo): After Gene makes the threat that sensitive children could grow up to be like Roger Ebert, they even argue about which theater each of them saw it at! Man, they could bitch about anything!
Siskel: I better go back and find out who attended that sneak preview. I saw all those children are in dear jeopardy of becoming...
Ebert: (overlapping) We attended...
Siskel: ...Roger Ebert.
Ebert: ...the same screening, and those kids were not with that movie.
Siskel: You didn't attend it, I saw it in Michigan City, Indiana, uh, last Saturday, so you're wrong.
Ebert: (overlapping) Uh-huh. Totally different audience.
(The review ends here)
NC: (shrugging in confusion) Touche?
NC (vo): It's a strange and awkward bit of comedy, but I guess that figures when you're reviewing a strange and awkward bit of comedy.
Ebert: I'm really surprised at you. You should be ashamed of yourself. First of all...
Siskel: What? For not agreeing with you? I've never been ashamed of that, I've been proud of that.
NC (vo): Number 10.
Ebert: The new movie Alaska (1996), which is in the old tradition of real-life nature adventures...
NC (vo): This time, it's Gene's turn to ask, "What the hell were you thinking?" when Roger gives a positive review to a children's adventure named Alaska about two kids climbing mountains to save their dad.
Ebert: On its own level, I enjoyed it. I imagine it's targeted at kids up to about 13, and I think a lot of them are gonna love it.
NC (vo): Since neither of the kids were babies, (The poster for Baby's Day Out is shown) Roger thought it was delightful, but Gene goes right for the offense.
Siskel: You know how you always say to me, "You missed the boat on this one"?
Roger: (overlapping) Uh-huh.
Siskel: Well, I then refer... You missed the harbor.
(NC acts like he gets punched with a punch sound effect playing in the background)
Siskel: This is, I think, one of the most laughably bad pictures I've seen in a long time.
NC (vo): But Gene, too, gets in some weird reasons why.
Siskel: The word "father", and this is a movie, not other research, (snickers) the cul...the word "father" has never been mentioned for 40 minutes in this picture.
Ebert: So what?
Siskel: They're not talking or acting remotely like-
Ebert: (overlapping) Let me...
Siskel: Remotely like kids who lost their father and trying to find him.
NC: Did you know Freddy (The picture of Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street appears) never uses the word "human" on his search for killing humans? Movie ruined!
NC (vo): They almost immediately jump into yelling at each other. Oh, I do hate it when mom and dad fight.
Ebert: Your criticism of this movie is utterly irrelevant to the experience of the film...
Siskel: (overlapping) Oh, no, no, no...
Ebert: ...on the screen...
Siskel: (overlapping) No, why? Why, why?
Ebert: And it would be mindless to anyone seeing the film.
Siskel: It wasn't meaningless to me.
NC (vo): After bringing up a legit criticism about how silly it is nobody can find that plane...
NC: (raising his hand) Which as someone who reviewed that film, I can vouch for that.
NC (vo): They start talking over each other like it's a political debate.
Ebert: (overlapping) This movie is...you won't believe me.
Siskel: (overlapping) Roger, when you describe...when you describe... I'm-I'm gonna defend the major story and the acting, the acting by child...
Ebert: (overlapping) Oh, I'm sure a lot of-
NC: (slamming his fist down, imitating the Senate president from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) Will the Senator yield?!
Ebert: Ten-year old kids are gonna be saying, "Gee, they didn't, uh..."
NC (vo): Finally, it ends with the ultimate test of Roger proving he likes this movie: he looks to the camera and says he likes this movie!
Siskel: I just want you to say that you really enjoyed it yourself.
Ebert: I did enjoy this movie.
Siskel: Oh, great.
Ebert: (Looks to the camera) I enjoyed this movie.
(A phrase saying "Ebert Nod of Approval" appears on the bottom of the screen with a ding)
NC (vo): I'm sure a lot of people felt this movie didn't give them much, but it did at least give them a pretty funny review.
Ebert: Incredible, how can you say that?
NC (vo): Number 9.
Siskel: Our next film is called Frozen Assets (1992), and we take a step way down in quality here. (Ebert laughs in the background) This is one of the dumbest comedies I have ever seen.
Ebert: You're going very easy on it, I say.
Siskel: So far.
NC (vo): I guess you have to include what they at the time declared the worst comedy they've ever seen. Presumably similar to you, I've never even heard of this movie, but hearing both of them taking sucker punches at it is really a lot of fun.
Siskel: It was as depressing an experience as I've ever had going to movies; that's 23 years of going to the movies professionally, maybe six, seven thousand pictures.
Ebert: Well, Gene, I was going to the movies professionally for 2 or 3 years before you were and there was nothing I saw during that time that even approached this and its abysmal awfulness.
Siskel: (overlapping; chuckling) Yeah. Yeah.
NC (vo): Hearing some of the jokes from the film about a dude who thinks he's managing a bank, but really, it's a (in a goofy voice) sperm bank, quickly shows where they're coming from. You know what, you can't take it that way, the movie would.
Zack Shepard (Corbin Bernsen): Don't be shy, my door is open if you need a hand, two hands. Hey, I'll get down on all fours, that's how eager I am to please.
(NC looks on with a deadpan expression on his face...but smirking for a millisecond)
NC (vo): It's pretty standard until the two of them actually start to laugh at the fact that they probably saw the worst comedy ever made, but then realize they don't even want to give it that recognition, because then people might want to see it!
Ebert: This is perhaps, uh, the worst comedy ever made.
Siskel: (chuckles) They may take that ad out.
Ebert: Yeah...then it makes it sound good.
Siskel: (overlapping) Think of the second worst comedy ever made, they would've used it.
NC (vo): The movie is so bad that they start discussing what rewards they'll be given in the next life as karma for having to sit through it!
NC: And even that, they review!
Ebert: You know the theory of reincarnation where the dues we pay in this lifetime and we may get to collect in another lifetime? For having seen this movie, I want months and months and months in a beautiful valley with honey and nectar and zephyr-like breezes. (Siskel laughs throughout this)
Siskel: You know, you have simple tastes. I couldn't...
Ebert: We'd have a big car! (Both start laughing)
NC (vo): It's pretty amusing when a film is so bad, you spend most of the review fantasizing yourself dead and in another life where things apparently make more sense.
Ebert: Not even the worst comedy ever made, just the worst movie ever made, I don't know.
NC (vo): Sperm banks, karma and a new car! Not what'd you expect in a normal review, but that's part of what makes them so much fun to watch.
Siskel: Get something valuable; zephyr-like breezes.
NC (vo): Number 8.
Ebert: Our next movie is not only the first feature in a long time, starring television's top star, Bill Cosby...
(The clips from the movie in question are shown)
Ebert (vo): ...but it is also one of the worst movies of the year.
NC (vo): Known both as one of the biggest bombs ever made and one of the worst movies ever made...
NC: And I'm...sure this is where the controversies about this film stop...
NC (vo): ...Leonard Part 6 (1987) got a lot of hate at the time. And Ebert's dry delivery of how awful the film is even has Gene in stitches. You can actually hear him snickering off-camera.
Ebert: Frogs, squirrels and rainbow trout. (Siskel snickers off-screen)
Ebert (vo): Cosby knows he's in trouble with hitmen attacking him in the kitchen of his restaurant.
Ebert: (deadpan) How highly, highly humorous.
NC (vo): And, yeah, it is pretty funny to hear him wrap up the review like this.
Ebert: Bill Cosby, the richest man in show business, $67.5 million income last year, reduced to holding a Coca-Cola bottle next to his face in order to get a picture made at Columbia. He ought to be ashamed of himself.
NC: (uncomfortable pause) Yes, Cosby should really be ashamed of himself for that Coke ad! (beat) Never gonna top that.
(NC swipes his finger at the camera)
NC (vo): And Siskel's response is pretty much the perfect response.
Siskel: Boy, you're upset. And you know I am, too! (Ebert laughs)
NC (vo): It's always kind of nice when you see them bond over a movie they like, but it's especially nice when they bond over a movie they hate. They see something so awful, they just have to laugh at the experience, like brothers in cinematic war.
Ebert: Everybody knows that when you do a weekly television series, you only have a little bit of time every year to make a movie.
Siskel: (offscreen) Right.
Ebert: You can make about...it's like Tom Selleck's got the same problem, you can only make about one movie a year, but the plus is, you got nine months to have you and your agents look for the right script. If this is the script they found, they ought to start doing a movie every other year.
NC (vo): And, of course, you can't make fun of Cosby without a knock at Jell-O in there.
Siskel: It'll be like, you know, getting some of his Jell-O products that he sells and finding out that there's nothing in the box.
NC: Well, I guess you could make fun of him in other ways. There's probably more appropriate jokes now...I mean, inappropriate jokes... (stutters) I mean, don't see this movie.
NC (vo): It's great to see them not only this angry, but also having a ton of fun being this angry.
Siskel: You said he's prostituted himself, I say he's...I say, the fact is, he's disappointed his legions of fans.
Ebert: (overlapping) Yes. Yes, he is.
NC (vo): You have no idea how right you both are.
NC (vo): Number 7.
Siskel: And our next film is Home Alone 3 (1997). Boy, has this franchise ever run out of the gas?
NC (vo): This review starts off as standard as you would imagine: Gene rips the movie apart, mocking how unfunny and predictable it is.
Siskel: The story makes no sense. I feel for every family that's gonna be suckered into seeing Home Alone 3.
NC (vo): But, to Gene's surprise, and it almost sounds like to Roger's surprise, Roger likes it!
Ebert: Now this is going to astound you, but I'm giving the movie thumbs up.
Siskel: It does astound me. Are you okay?
Ebert: I'm better than you were the day that you liked Starship Troopers.
NC: (tough guy voice) Ohhh, them's fightin' words!
NC (vo): What makes the review so funny is not only Ebert's argument which...yeah, does seem kind of bizarre...
Ebert: This movie empowers little kids. This is the one where they finally got it right. I liked it better than the other two.
NC (vo): ...But mainly Siskel's reactions; he seems to mirror probably a lot of moviegoers' reactions as well.
Ebert (vo): It's not as violent as the second one...
Ebert: The kid is charming, he really is a good little actor, and the plot is smarter.
NC: I mean, let's be honest, even the people that liked Home Alone 3 wouldn't think Ebert would like Home Alone 3!
NC (vo): The look on Gene's face throughout the whole thing gives the impression that this must be a joke. It has to be. He seems to be saying to himself, (Zoom in on Gene's face) "Who is this guy? I mean, sure, I liked Baby's Day Out, but this is Home Alone 3!"
Siskel: It's the same plot as the first one, only more bumps to the head.
Ebert: And the second, they're all the same plot.
Siskel: Well...well, you just said that this one empowers more than the other one, absolutely not true!
Ebert: (overlapping) That's the secret of it, that's the se...that's why kids love these movies, because they love the fantasy that they have power.
NC (vo): What sometimes made these episodes even more fun was that the written reviews would come out a few days before the show would come out. So when you see Ebert give a film a three-star rating and hear Siskel start off bashing it right away, that's pretty enjoyable to anticipate what the reaction was going to be. And his mouth hanging open the whole time doesn't disappoint.
Siskel: I thought the kid was a generic mop top, and I thought that-
Ebert: Oh, come on, that kid?
Siskel: (offscreen) Yes.
Ebert: Come on!
Siskel: Yeah, they're only two kids.
NC (vo): It's definitely more fun than the movie itself.
Siskel: Overkill here! Overkill.
Ebert (vo; overlapping): No, no, not for you.
Siskel (vo): Oh, okay.
NC (vo): Number 6.
Ebert: Our first movie is named Red Sonja (1985) and this one, get surprised, gets some very tough competition as the single silliest sort of sorcery movie.
NC (vo): A lot of times when Siskel and Ebert watch a bad movie, they're angry at it. But with Red Sonja, they almost recommend it because of how enjoyably awful it was and how much it made them laugh.
Ebert: This one is so inept, there are times when it's actually fun, especially when the actors struggle through dialogue that sounds like they've already read the Mad Magazine parody of this film.
NC (vo): Listen to them, they're practically excited to talk about this film, it gave them so much joy.
Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman): Vermin! What were their lives compared to this?!
Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen): You are mad! The Talisman will destroy you!
(Siskel and Ebert laugh at this)
Ebert: See, it's been a long time since I've heard a line like "You're mad! The Talisman will destroy you!" Meanwhile, they're dropping dirt...the director, right on the lenses.
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah, yeah.
Ebert: Right there, just inches away from the camera that's supposed to be falling on them.
Siskel: If they only had plastic surgery back then in the Middle Ages, the movie would have been over.
NC (vo): They almost talked like kids recording a movie they just love sitting through so much that they have to relive it by shouting out their favorite parts; they're practically giddy.
(The footage of Sonja fighting through different enemies is shown)
Warrior: (deadpan) Watch out, Sonja!
Ebert: (chuckles) Oh, my God, "Watch out, Sonja!" I just love that!
NC (vo): Maybe the best moment is when Siskel wants to describe the awkward positioning of the Buddha in this movie, but both of them find it so funny that they can't find the best way to say it without cracking up.
Siskel: Well, let's put it this way, the Buddha in this film they have under the camp looks like- (He starts to crack up along with Ebert)
Ebert: (chuckling) How does he look, Gene?
Siskel: The Buddha looks like-
Ebert: Now we know why you look so contented, right?
(Both start laughing again)
Siskel: Oh, I guess you got to see the movie.
Ebert: (overlapping) No-
Siskel: (overlapping) Oh, I don't want to say that because...don't see the movie! The Buddha looks like he's going to the bathroom.
Ebert: Thank you very much.
NC (vo): A lot of times, they get pissed off at bad movies, but it's very rare that we see them laugh so hard at a "so bad, it's good" film. I guess this was their equivalent of The Room.
Sonja: You slaughtered my parents like cattle! My brother, my sister!
Ebert: Her sister, my brother, my family! That...it...not only did she wipe out her family, but she also killed her sister and her brother.
Siskel: (offscreen) Yeah.
NC (vo): Seeing these two snicker like schoolboys who heard their first dirty word is too irresistible to pass up. Red Sonja definitely made them red in the face.
Ebert: Coming up next At the Movies, our next film. (Keeps snickering as it fades to black)
NC (vo): Number 5.
Ebert: First movie is Cop and a Half (1993), and it's an entertaining example of the kind of movie formula I call "The One's-A Movie". For example, one's a cop and one's a robber.
NC (vo): Yet another disagreement, but this one Siskel loved to mock Ebert for constantly for years and years. Ebert has admitted to being slightly more lenient to films than Siskel, and this one even has him saying it's better than Home Alone 2.
Ebert: This movie has the kind of chemistry between the grown-up world and a smart kid that I looked for and missed in Home Alone 2.
NC: (shrugging) Not a huge accomplishment, but Cop and a Half?
NC (vo): Siskel has a lot of great opening insults, but this one might be my personal favorite.
Siskel: (snickering) Wow, well, where's your red suit and beard, Santa? You just gave them a gift.
(NC snickers at this insult)
NC (vo): Siskel goes on to describe it as a lame cartoon, to which Ebert says that's kind of the point and then praises Reynolds for playing it so realistic.
Ebert: Reynolds plays the cop like a real cop instead of playing him like some kind of a...
Siskel: (overlapping) No, I think it's a cartoon.
Ebert: (overlapping) ...a marshmallow.
Siskel: (overlapping) I think it-
Ebert: (overlapping) It is a cartoon, Gene, it is a cartoon! A good cartoon.
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah, a lame one. No, no, I'm stunned, Roger.
NC (vo): The two of them talking about it is sadly very short, but the review doesn't stop there. In their Worst of the Year episode, Siskel put this as number one. Unfortunately at this time, there's no video available of that episode, but (Cut to a transcript of the episode on IMDb) IMDb does have the episode transcribed and it's pretty damn funny, including Siskel saying, "The only thing more unnerving than this picture is my esteemed colleague across the aisle, so wise, so often, is the only major film critic in America who actually recommended Cop and a Half." If you look further with Ebert defending it, he says, "Maybe you got up on the wrong side of the bed." Siskel says, "As did the rest of America." If you get a chance, look over the whole thing, it's a pretty funny read.
(Cut back to Siskel and Ebert)
NC (vo): But even then, three years later, Gene still brings it up as Roger impressively convinces him to change his vote on the movie Broken Arrow from thumbs up to thumbs down, something neither of them have done before.
Siskel: As you say this, I don't think I've ever done this on this show in 20 years, but, uh, I'm, uh, gonna twist my thumb. (Does so while Ebert laughs) I'm gonna go just like this because...
Ebert: I taught you to do it?
Siskel: Well, what am I really defending here?
NC (vo): Though Ebert is shocked that he actually got Siskel to change his mind, Siskel still gets in the final insult with this.
Siskel: Do me one favor.
Siskel: Look in the camera and say "I was wrong about Cop and a Half. It wasn't a very good movie. Burt Reynolds..."
Ebert: No, I won't do it.
Siskel: (offscreen) What?!
NC: They then start reviewing Cop and a Half again!
Ebert: I-I saw things in Cop and a Half...
Siskel: (overlapping) Yeah.
Ebert: I admire...
Siskel: But no one else did.
NC (vo): As you can see, it's a review so funny, it spanned several episodes over several years. That's more than enough to be on this list.
Ebert: Even then, you've done a very good thing, and I've also done a good thing, too, by sticking to my gut.
NC (vo): Number 4.
Siskel: Our next film is called She's Out of Control (1989).
NC (vo): It doesn't help that before this awful teen film, they saw a really good teen film. Maybe you heard of of it? (the poster for...) Say Anything? But that's only the beginning of their hatred for this flick.
Siskel: This film exists in a strange netherworld I think of what Hollywood considers entertainment, but is really a sinkhole of tawdry values.
NC (vo): This is a movie both of them agree was actually so bad, it made them question their careers. Their careers of being paid to sit and watch movies. (beat) Wow, this must have been pretty bad.
Siskel: I became so depressed, I actually thought about quitting my job as a film critic, feeling as though the movies had abandoned me.
Ebert: People probably think you're joking when you said "No, I'm not really thinking of quitting my job", but I know what you felt.
NC (vo): It's actually so awful that it made Ebert think about what it means to be alive, what to do with his life, what beautiful moments could be wasted sitting here watching this train wreck.
Ebert: Life is precious, life is short, and the idiots who made this film are taking two hours of my life and robbing it from me in order to give me less than nothing.
NC (vo): They then ask all the other people who watched this film, "Isn't life worth more? Why are you here? We have to be here because it's our jobs, but why do you continue to torture yourselves?"
Siskel: Aren't you surprised that people stay? I've always wanted to stand up in the middle of a bad movie in a theater and say, "Aren't your lives worth more for two hours and, uh, even, say, $7 in New York City?"
Ebert: (overlapping) Go stand-
Siskel: That's $3.50 an hour! That's below the minimum wage, the new minimum wage. (Ebert laughs) Get out and live!
Ebert: Go stand in the lobby and talk!
NC (vo): Much like Broken Arrow, they practically dismiss the film to go back and talk about another film they want to talk about.
Ebert: The next movie we saw the same day was Say Anything. That's also about a father, also about his daughter, same kind of basic situation. But here's a trash movie and here's a great one.
NC (vo): Even though they're disgusted, they still seem to be coming at it as people who love movies and this seems like an insult to such a beautiful craft. They're surprisingly even quote from other big-name directors in it. Probably the only review of She's Out of Control that has that!
Ebert: Jean-Luc Godard, the great French director, once said "The way to criticize a movie is to make another movie." Oscar Brotman, a Chicago film exhibitor, once told me many years ago, he said there's a rule, he said, "If nothing has happened by the end of the first reel, nothing is going to happen."
NC (vo): You can feel their love for cinema in this, but you can especially feel their hatred for this movie.
Ebert: A movie like this is a crime because what it does is it robs life from people by requiring them to spend two hours having such a terrible experience happened to them.
NC (vo): Number 3.
Siskel: Brain Candy (1996), an audacious, clever, very funny new satire from the comedy troupe known as "Kids in the Hall".
NC (vo): The comedy team, Kids in the Hall, only made one movie, and boy, did it result in a pretty damn funny review. Siskel found himself really enjoying the film finding it funny, clever and good satire.
Siskel: I recommend this picture as kind of a midnight show cult picture, which I suspect it's destined to become.
NC (vo): You can practically hear Ebert getting ready to explode and he does exactly that. When it's his turn, he's so filled with spite, he barely even reviews it, he just starts shouting names.
Ebert: It's awful, dreadful, terrible, stupid, idiotic, unfunny, labored, forced, painful, bad!
Siskel: (overlapping; chuckling) Oh, no, no, Roger... No. No. No. No. Oh, Roger, Roger, that is...
NC: (laughs) I love how the last one is "bad", as if that would be lost on us.
NC (vo): Siskel retorts with honesty what anyone says when they disagree with what's funny.
Siskel: What happened to your sense of humor?!
NC (vo): Eh, that's kind of what it comes down to; one found it funny, the other didn't. There's honestly not a ton to discuss in this case, but to see such a nice and almost humble review shut down so quickly, loudly and bluntly, how did you not get a laugh out of the contrast?
Ebert: My sense of humor was starving for a laugh!
Siskel: Oh, no, Roger...
NC: It almost turns into Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta from Goodfellas.
Siskel: The drag stuff was funny.
Ebert: (overlapping) So what?
(Cut to footage from Goodfellas)
Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci): Funny how? I mean, what's funny about that?
Siskel: Don't you know that...that's funny?
Ebert: (overlapping) What? Why is that? Why is it funny, why is it funny they're in drag?
Tommy: Funny how? I mean, funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?
NC (vo): Roger's so pissed, he says he can't even talk about it, to which Gene reminds him it's kind of their jobs.
Ebert: We're in different universes here. We can't talk about it, can't talk about it. It's not funny, I didn't laugh once.
Siskel: We get paid to talk about it, Roger.
NC (vo): Roger at least admits he's happy for Gene, and, no big surprise, Gene takes that as a compliment.
Siskel: I just like the picture-
Ebert: (overlapping) Well, I'm happy for you.
Siskel: No, no, no, but...well, at least it's a start.
NC (vo): Even as they wrap up the entire episode, Gene still pushes it hard.
Siskel: Brain Candy, Roger, Brain Candy.
(Cut to the imfamous music video of Weird Al's parody song, Fat)
Hostess Man: Ding Dong, man, Ding Dong! Ding Dong, yo!
Ebert: I would check it out. Check it out. I would take too much of it.
Siskel: (overlapping) No, no, no. No, I'll tell you what, I'm gonna see this picture again, I'll laugh just as hard.
Ebert: Okay, maybe I will, too.
NC: (smiles) It's a start, I guess.
NC (vo): I don't know if Roger ever checked this movie out again, but one thing's for sure, this reaction was a lot of fun to watch.
Siskel: Will you look at this picture again? Maybe?
Ebert: Sure I will, I'd be happy to. Sometime, maybe in the 21st century.
NC (vo): Number 2.
Siskel: Benji the Hunted (1987). (Ebert chuckles) You'd think this was an Edward G. Robinson, or maybe today, an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
NC (vo): You might be wondering what the hell is Benji the Hunted gonna get out of these two, but surprisingly, it's a lot. It's weirdly one of the most heated arguments they've ever had. Siskel says he didn't like how few cute moments there were and how there was too much action. Benji the Hunted is too action-packed and not cute enough.
Siskel: Benji the Hunted exhausted me. This is the first time I wanted to tell a dog to slow down and stop to smell the flowers.
NC (vo): Ebert surprisingly has a joke that almost agrees with Siskel's review.
Ebert: Well, there is a little suspense in the movie, like, for example, will Benji be able to protect those cougar cubs until they get big enough to eat him?
NC (vo): But he jumps right into defending it and they go at it pretty heavy! Over Benji the friggin' Hunted!
Ebert: Gene, your review is the typical sort of blase, sophisticated, cynical review I would expect...
Siskel: You think I was sophisticated?
Ebert: ...I would expect from an adult.
NC: Jesus, was Benji your dog?!
Siskel: You're wrapping yourself up in the flag of children, and I'm saying-
Ebert: (overlapping) I-I'm not wrapping myself in the flag of children, you're wrapping yourself in the flag of the sophisticated film critic. I've seen it all.
Siskel: (overlapping) No, boredom. No, boredom, boredom with Benji running!
NC: (snickers) How often do you hear a critic in all honesty with pure, frustrated anger shout,"Boredom with Benji running"?
Siskel: Boredom, boredom with Benji running!
NC: (points his finger) Did you grow up, Roger, with the boredom of Benji running? I did, I can't go back.
NC (vo): Siskel even seems to change his review from relaying it as just not a very good film to total garbage at the end.
Siskel: (The) Black Stallion is a great film. This is fun to watch.
Ebert: Well, I don't recommend films for kids that are bad, but I'll tell you what, whether it's good or bad, I think kids will really enjoy it.
NC: (confused) A ringing endorsement!
NC (vo): It's just so funny/kind of odd to see two grown film critics get so heated over Benji the goddamn Hunted! It seems like a lot of their most heated agreements seem to be around kids films, but it once again shows they do take every genre very seriously.
NC: Maybe even a little too seriously.
Ebert: I-I'm not wrapping myself in the flag of children, you're wrapping yourself in the flag of sophisticated film critic.
NC (vo): This is definitely an enjoyably crazy argument to get a few chuckles at.
Siskel: No, boredom, boredom with Benji running!
NC: Before we get to number 1, here are some runners-up.
NC (vo): Naked Lunch (1991). They both agreed it was disgusting and disturbing and that was the intent, but Ebert found he couldn't recommend it because it just did its job too well.
Ebert: I guess I have to vote thumbs down, but at the same time with a footnote that I admire what he did, and I hate it.
Siskel: (chuckling) Okay, strange.
NC (vo): The Guardian (1990). They both crack up at the idea of tree gods, and Ebert tries telling a joke that Siskel not surprisingly shoots down.
Ebert: This movie breaks important new ground, and this is something that movie trivia-
Siskel: (overlapping) Oh, you're going to be funny now.
Ebert: Yes, I am. I'm going to be funny. This is the first horror movie in which a chainsaw is used against a tree. Thank you for that enormous laugh of support, it's that funny of a remark.
NC (vo): Jaws: The Revenge (1987). They have a good time poking fun at this film, but particularly, one film flub that even Ebert had to shout out in the middle of the screening.
Ebert: I was sitting in the theater and I said, "His shirt is dry!"
Siskel: (overlapping) Oh...
Ebert: The preview audience...
Siskel: (overlapping) Laughed...
Ebert: ...appreciated that. You know, I hate it when people talk during the movies, but I don't know, that seemed to go over pretty well.
NC (vo): Curly Sue (1991). Siskel literally shouts his amazement before Ebert can give his review of it.
Ebert: And this is a cornball exercise in sentimental manipulation, but I don't care because it works.
Siskel: (offscreen) What?!
NC (vo): The rest of the time, you can hear Siskel snickering and scoffing before it's even his turn, resulting in some good snickering from us as well.
Ebert: By the rude and annoying offscreen noises that you have been emitting, I take it that you do not agree.
NC: Now, let's get to it.
NC (vo): The number 1 funniest Siskel and Ebert review is...
Ebert: A boy played by Elijah Wood gets fed up with his folks in that scene from North (1994)...
NC (vo): It's kind of beautiful how much these two hate this movie. I brought up before that they take their reviews of children's films very seriously, so it only makes sense that they would call this one one of the worst films they have ever seen in their entire lives. That's a long line of movies to sit through to pick this out so quickly, but they have no hesitation about it.
Ebert: And that's the set up for one of the most thoroughly hateful movies of recent years, a movie that makes me cringe even when I'm sitting here thinking about it.
NC (vo): Ebert's review wonderfully rips into it, pointing out both broadly and in detail why it sucks.
Ebert (vo): I hated this movie as much as any movie we've ever reviewed in the 19 years we've been doing this show.
NC (vo): Ebert tries to give a little sympathy to the director Rob Reiner saying maybe it was just an unfortunate misstep, but Siskel is not so kind.
Siskel: I mean, I think you got to hold, uh, Rob Reiner's feet to the fire here, I mean, he's the guy in charge, he's saying that this is entertainment. It's deplorable; the ethnic stereotyping is appalling.
Ebert: (offscreen) Yes.
Siskel: It's...it's embarrassing, you feel unclean as you're sitting there.
NC (vo): The funny thing is this movie disappeared rather quickly, and after it was gone, I never really heard anyone talk about it. The only reason I still know of this film's existence, and I think really anyone does, is because of the hatred Siskel and Ebert have for it.
Siskel: It's junk, first-class junk.
NC (vo): It actually made me watch this movie to see if they were right, and if you've seen my review, you know they're too nice.
Siskel: There isn't a gag that works. You couldn't write worse jokes if I told you to write worse jokes.
Ebert: ...and because everybody in the movie was vulgar and stupid and because the jokes weren't funny.
NC (vo): What's great as well is both of them put it as the number one worst film of the year, which just allowed them to talk about it more.
Ebert: I had to think a long time to pick my worst picture of 1994 about a tenth of a second, and believe it or not, it's the same one that you saw, it was North.
Siskel: (overlapping) Oh, wow, it's...it's stunning.
Ebert: And we kept this as a secret from each other and, unfortunately, I think I liked it even less than you do, if that's possible.
NC (vo): They love digging into what an insult this movie was. In fact, Ebert says possibly his most famous line he's ever said about any bad film.
Ebert: I hated this movie! Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie! Hated it! Hated every simpering, stupid, vacant, audience-insulting moment of it!
NC (vo): This was so popular, he actually titled one of his books that. (A cover of Roger Ebert's book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie is shown) These two have had their disagreements, but when they agree on something they despise so much, they almost feel like it's their duty to let the world know of its stupidity, you can't help but love the fact that these two work together.
Siskel: Any subject could be done well. This is just trash, Roger.
Roger (vo): Okay.
NC: So as you can see, Siskel and Ebert could be very professional and they could be very unprofessional. (beat) So why did that make them great critics?
NC (vo): Well, maybe because they showed just like movies, criticism can be an art as well; It can be serious, it can be silly, it can be emotional, it can be dry, it can be so much more than just covering the release of a film and/or just stating your opinion of it. It's not an exact science the same way art isn't an exact science, it's about the passion, insight and yes, entertainment a critic can bring, and that's always what they did. They loved talking about movies even when they hated them, hell, sometimes even more when they hated them. The best thing about them is their critiques didn't help us form our opinions, they helped us express our opinions, and how to do so in a way that was honest and would get people to listen.
NC: Because of this, I'd really like to make a push for someone, anyone to try and get clearer versions of these reviews out there.
NC (vo): As you can tell, the quality of these are not that great, and yes, I know, the copyright of movie clips can be very tough to work with, but the clips do still fall under fair use, and Siskel and Ebert really did give us something unique and long-lasting that we deserve to see in its clarity. We should be allowed to see the reviews, the reactions and their arguments in all their crystal clear passion. These were the most famous movie critics in the world, and even after their passing, they're still the most famous movie critics in the world. And it's worth analyzing in all clarity why that is. Bottom line, whether it's for joy, anger, laughs or appreciation, Siskel and Ebert had a unique passion that could never be duplicated and deserves to be respected.
Siskel: Leonardo DiCaprio is hunky. (Audience laughs)
Ebert: Leonardo DiCaprio?! What are you talking about right now? We're talking about Lost in Space!
Siskel: That's what I'm talking about, big boy, he's hunky.
Ebert: Damn it, Gene!
NC: You bet your ass I'm going out on that clip! I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to.
(NC gets up and leaves)
Channel Awesome tagline: Siskel: No, boredom, boredom with Benji running!
(The credits roll)