Roger Ebert Dies: Our 20 Favorite Ebert Quotes

Roger Ebert died this morning at the age of 70. The famous film critic, who recently announced his thyroid cancer (first diagnosed in 2002) had returned, wrote about movies with a passion, thoughtfulness, and wit that few others have matched.

That’s why it feels entirely right to mark his passing with a reflection on our favorite Roger Ebert quotes. This was not an easy selection to make — Ebert was, after all, a prolific and immensely quotable writer — so feel free to share your own choices in the comments.

“Here it is at last, the first 150-minute trailer. Armageddon is cut together like its own highlights. Take almost any 30 seconds at random, and you’d have a TV ad. The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense, and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they’re charging to get in, it’s worth more to get out.”
Review of Armageddon, 1998

“I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than The Brown Bunny.”
A review of an early version of The Brown Bunny. When director Vincent Gallo responded by criticizing Ebert’s weight, the critic was ready: “It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of The Brown Bunny.”

“I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don’t shine.”
Review of The Human Centipede, 2010

“But now here is the director’s cut, which is 20 minutes shorter, lops off a couple of characters and a few of the infinite subplots, and is even more of a mess. I recommend that Kelly keep right on cutting until he whittles it down to a ukulele pick.”
Review of Southland Tales, 2007

“I’ve seen audits that were more thrilling.”
Review of Crocodile Dundee II (below), 1988

Roger Ebert Dies, Age 70 - 20 Our Favorite Ebert Quotes - Review of Crocodile Dundee II

“I lost faith in the Oscars the first year I was a movie critic – the year that Bonnie and Clyde didn’t win.”
On the injustice of the Oscars

“It is human nature to look away from illness. We don’t enjoy a reminder of our own fragile mortality. That’s why writing on the Internet has become a life-saver for me. My ability to think and write have not been affected. And on the Web, my real voice finds expression.”
Speaking at a TED Talk in March 2011

“I stopped taking notes on my Palm Pilot and started playing the little chess game.”
Review of Masterminds, 1997

“To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion.”
On George Lucas

“‘This sucks on so many levels.’ — Dialogue from Jason X. Rare for a movie to so frankly describe itself. Jason X sucks on the levels of storytelling, character development, suspense, special effects, originality, punctuation, neatness and aptness of thought.”
Review of Jason X, 2002

“The screenplay is so well-written in a scruffy, fanzine way that you want to rub noses in it – the noses of those zombie writers who take ‘screenwriting’ classes that teach them the formulas for ‘hit films.'”
Review of Pulp Fiction (below), 1994

Roger Ebert Dies, Age 70 - 20 Our Favorite Ebert Quotes - Review of Pulp Fiction

“Some of the acting is better than the film deserves. Make that all of the acting. Actually, the film stock itself is better than the film deserves. You know when sometimes a film catches fire inside a projector? If it happened with this one, I suspect the audience might cheer.”
Review of Revolver, 2007

“I was instructed long ago by a wise editor, ‘If you understand something you can explain it so that almost anyone can understand it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to understand your own explanation.’ That is why 90% of academic film theory is bulls***. Jargon is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
On academic film theory, 2008

Caligula is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length. That was on Saturday night, as a line of hundreds of people stretched down Lincoln Ave., waiting to pay $7.50 apiece to become eyewitnesses to shame. “This movie,” said the lady in front of me at the drinking fountain, “is the worst piece of s*** I have ever seen.”
Review of Caligula, 1980

“I am utterly bored by celebrity interviews. Most celebrities are devoid of interest.”
Speaking in 2003

“Parents: If you encounter teenagers who say they liked this movie, do not let them date your children.”
Review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, 2004

“This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”
Review of Freddy Got Fingered (below), 2001

Roger Ebert Dies, Age 70 - 20 Our Favorite Ebert Quotes - Review of Freddy Got Fingered

Little Indian, Big City is one of the worst movies ever made. I detested every moronic minute of it… if you, under any circumstances, see Little Indian, Big City, I will never let you read one of my reviews again.”
Review of Little Indian, Big City, 1996

“I do not fear death. I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear.”
Speaking in 2006

And finally:

“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”
(Date unknown)

Amen to that. RIP, Roger.