You don't need me to tell you we are not living in a golden age of televised film criticism. With "Ebert Presents At the Movies" still on hiatus, with many of cable's movie channels moving further and further away from actual movie-related programming, we're left with an increasingly inhospitable televisual landscape when it comes to critics and reviews. Obviously there is good video content about movies on the web — and more of it all the time — along with countless podcasts. But for folks like myself, who grew up watching (and loving) film critics like Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on television, it's sad to see how far this particular wing of film criticism has fallen. Am I the only person left on the planet who likes watching people talk about movies on television? Sometimes I feel like I am.
That's part of the reason I was excited to be invited on "CBS This Morning" last Saturday for a segment about "Hitchcock" and Alfred Hitchcock movies with Dana Stevens from Slate. Obviously, I was happy to be on TV at all; I'm a legendary attention whore. But I was almost as excited to see the show feature all sorts of movie-related content that had nothing to do with me. A short while before Dana and I went on, film critic Michael Calleri appeared to discuss his falling out with his editor at the Niagara Falls Reporter over his desire to review movies with strong female characters. Later, hosts Anthony Mason and Sharyl Attkisson interviewed the filmmakers and stars of "Brooklyn Castle," an independent documentary about a local chess team. That's three different movie-related segments in the span of the hour.
Our discussion about "Hitchcock" and Hitchcock is embedded below, along with those other two clips. I'm not pretending we reinvented film criticism on television or anything like that. But I'm glad someone cared enough about these topics to invite us on to chat about them. That round CBS This Morning set is actually perfect for a conversation about film; I'd love to stick two more critics on the other end of the table and take over the room for an hour to talk about "Life of Pi" and "Lincoln" and a few other titles. But would anyone watch? I hope so.
Critics on Hitchcock:
Michael Calleri on His Battle With His Editor:
With the Filmmakers and Subjects of "Brooklyn Castle:"