CATEGORIES Gay & Lesbian, Celebrities and Controversy, Newsstand, Cinematical Indie, Movie News, CinematicalThe necessary background is here. Last week, Roger Ebert posted a one-star review of the indie drama Tru Loved. At the end of the scathing piece, he revealed that he had only watched 8 minutes of the film -- and that "after that, you're on your own." In a blog entry, he defended the review on aesthetic grounds: he placed the revelation at the end because it worked there. That post generated some 500 comments, and Will's post here a somewhat less impressive 17, splitting pretty evenly between commenters who sympathized with Ebert's life's-too-short impulse, and those who thought giving one star to a film he quit on, and hiding his dereliciton of duty at the bottom of the review, was not cool.
In a follow-up entry, Ebert agrees that it wasn't cool. He insists it wasn't unethical, but admits he shouldn't have done it. As penance, he watched the rest of the film and added a section to his review. "I will never, ever, again review a film I have not seen in its entirety," he says. "Never. Ever."
It seems to me that there has to be a middle ground here. There's nothing wrong with quitting on a film and then writing about it, perhaps shedding light on why you walked out. But you have to front it. And you can't claim it's a review -- that means no star ratings. I walked out of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and wrote about how awful it was. I don't think I did anything wrong. But I didn't pretend to be reviewing it.
That said, Ebert's addendum to his original "review" is characteristically insightful and well worth reading. And by the way: has anyone actually seen Tru Loved? What's its deal?