At the Movies ends its long run on television this weekend. The show went through different versions in the last few years, but its greatness was in the two decades of Gene Siskel and Robert Ebert – their concept, their standards and their passion.
On a personal note, I would say that, along with an excellent local art house theater, Siskel & Ebert’s At the Movies helped me develop my passion for film more than any other factor. In fact, At the Movies’ Sunday evening broadcast was the reason that I got my very first VCR.
The thing that Siskel and Ebert did better than anyone was to evangelize good films that were out of the Hollywood mainstream, bringing attention to and creating audiences for independent film, foreign films, documentaries and to new and indie film makers. Here’s a great example – Siskel and Ebert’s review of Mike Leigh’s great Secrets and Lies.