2003-06-14 15:57:05

I’ve just read Roger Ebert’s review of Igby Goes Down. He’s left me wondering whether he was watching the same movie as the rest of us. His first mistake is to keep referring to Jeff Goldblum’s character, D. H. Baines, as Igby’s Stepfather when in fact he is Igby’s Godfather. The second mistake is to state that Igby met Sookie through Rachel. Of course, Igby actually met Sookie through his Godfather, and even then only indirectly: Sookie was working for the company that catered a party being thrown by Baines at his house in the Hamptons. Sookie was unknown to any of the other characters in the film. Furthermore, Ebert suggests the reason Sookie falls for Igby is because Igby makes her laugh. This is followed by a silly statement about Sookie and lessons young men such as myself are supposed to learn from her:

All women who like you because you make them laugh sooner or later stop laughing, and then why do they like you?

First of all, Mr Ebert, one of the defining characteristics of Sookie is that she never laughs, instead preferring to state, in the driest of tones, "That’s funny." Sookie rarely smiles in the movie, let alone laughs! This is probably one of the reasons Igby is drawn to her. She’s different enough from those in his own family (i.e. not rich and uppity), but melancholic enough that he can feel comfortable around her.

These may not be huge errors on Ebert’s part, but they are errors I’m positive he was not making in years past. He is still perhaps the most respected and most read film reviewer around, and thus should be doing his utmost to keep his reviewing standards at the highest level. Despite some recent complaints I’ve had with his reviews (I’ve written somewhere in this diary about his occassional lack of self-consistency), he remains my favourite movie reviewer.

I said I gave this move 7 out of 10, but the thing is, when I think about it on a five star scale, I definitely wouldn’t give it less than four stars. Four stars is 8 out of 10. 7 is only three and a half stars. On Ebert’s scale it would only be two and half stars out of four! I think I was a bit harsh in my first reaction to the movie because I made a special effort to observe all the little details, which I normally wouldn’t do on a first viewing of a movie. I know that I will be asked to share my thoughts about the movie on Monday, so I probably viewed the film with a more critical eye than usual.

Gosh, it’s late.