Growing up, I loved Siskel & Ebert & The Movies, because unlike the entertainment reporters and talk-show hosts that aired earlier in the day, Siskel and Ebert talked about films. They weren’t concerned with gossip or awards or politics. They focused on movies, pure and simple. They argued a film’s merits and deficiencies. They praised good stories and lambasted bad ones. They knew what they liked and didn’t like, and they had the ability to explain why. From Siskel and Ebert, I began to learn the language of film criticism, but more than that, I began to learn how to better love films.
Only a lover can be a critic.
The question has been coming up a lot lately. That’s why I wrote a “Letter to a Young Film Critic,” which is available in the new issue of Comment magazine. Order your copy here.