21 Comments
Nov 11, 2023Liked by Will Leitch

I read your college drugs article the other day in New York Magazine (the main reason I subscribe-you are there!) and it was a shock to see your byline on a non sports story. I brushed away my trepidation and plowed in. It was very well written, very powerful! One thing I will note as a Father: the time to guide them properly is when they're young.

At 18 it's too late. Discuss everything (boundaries, dangers, grifters, etc.) They may roll their eyes "oh Dad" but it will sink in.

The most important thing: pay attention and give attention. All those activities with your sons?

It shows them they matter. You are doing well grasshopper.....

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Nov 11, 2023Liked by Will Leitch

LOVE IT (talking like on the newer shows) :).

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As a Chicagoan of a Certain Age, my whole family watched At The Movies, as well as read both the Sun Times and the Tribune. You absolutely needed to know what Siskel and Ebert thought, and waiting for their inevitable disagreements was part of the fun of watching.

And you're correct that the show couldn't be done now, and one of the reasons is attention span deficit, as well as nuance and the willingness to hear someone who just might know more than you on a subject, AND THAT'S OK. You can disagree with a review and still respect the knowledge that went into forming it. And many people don't want to do that.

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Will, how are you not on Letterboxd? Seems like you especially with a passion for both film and for cataloging things would find a home there. I find it’s a place smart discussion of film can rise to the top.

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Oh thank you for this! I, too, adored Siskel and Ebert growing up, and they were my portal to the world I longed to be a part of (chiefly in a Woody Allen movie). When I later became a screenwriter and my first movie was released, the ONLY review I cared about was Roger Ebert. If he liked Freaky Friday, I was golden. And he did, and I was golden. Ordering this book now!

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I fell in love with movies because we did not own a tv until I was in high school. Movies were my salvation and taught me about so many things. Parent magazine published a ranking of movies and my mother would consult the rank of the movie before I could go . Much later she and I would watch Siskel and Ebert before deciding what movie might be appropriate.

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I stopped reading to watch the Letterman clip, which is sublime. The whole time I was thinking, Man, this is Conan-type silliness and absurdist humor, then I get to the end of the bit where he throws to commercial and announces his next guest is... Conan O'Brien. *chef's kiss*

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I wrote out a comment tying this to your piece a few weeks ago about Swift/Kelce and giving audiences what they want versus training audiences to follow where someone leads and grow, but I have the sinking feeling the frustrating answer is really just money and that decision makers need to make money TODAY to keep their job so content homogenizes to be safe and defensible.

It’s that same insecurity that sees the GM of a shaky team trade off two stud prospects for a playoff-run rental: screw what greatness could be in the future. I need to win now or my paycheck goes to someone else. There is, of course, room for those moves...but that panicky GM’s franchise eventually suffers the repercussions of a barren minor league system.

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clicked on lots of things -- thank u

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This brought it all back. Thanks for the ride.

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Really great post, thanks for writing.

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Loved the Siskel and Ebert tribute/review of the book about them, OPPOSABLE THUMBS. And of course, them on SNL slagging Chevy Chase with Chase on the television behind them making faces, ending with Ebert and Siskel agreeing that the best thing about television is you can shut it off—and doing so!

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Yes, their program was truly magnificent! Both spoke with such genuine conviction, and it was always nice to watch them when they disagreed.

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I just subscribed. I’m not here for the sports talk but for the good writing on other topics. Your article about the frat boy drug ring was chilling and made me hope my precious niece goes to just any decent state school with mostly middle class kids. I miss a lot of things about the ‘80s, like being able to sit and stare into the middle distance without the misery of phone addiction, but also Siskel & Ebert. Read your comment about Mario Lopez aloud to my husband. Even if the current media landscape is depressing it helps to know that there are others who remember what we once had and value it.

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New follower here. S&E article's excellent. Ordered book today. On another front, still have tremendous difficulty with your anti Texas sport ( most recently regarding the Rangers)leanings. To each their own.

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Great piece! Growing up in Chicago, it brought back memories of the Siskel & Ebert show. Your observation that intelligence and honesty will no longer be found on television is a real downer - and which I fear is true.

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