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Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion, 1993 Edition.

Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion, 1993 Edition

by Roger Ebert

872 pages, Andrews and McMeel, $14.95

In reviewing the 1990 film The Russia House starring Scan Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer, Roger Ebert writes, "To judge by this film, the life of a Cold War spy consists of sitting for endless hours in soundproof rooms with people you do not particularly like, waiting for something to happen. Sort of like being a movie critic."

This year, Ebert celebrates his 25th year of sitting in soundproof rooms with Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion, 1993 Edition. Here the movie critic reviews more than 1,100 films released after 1970, as well as 19 restored films originally released before that date (including Casablanca, Citizen Kane, and Singin' in the Rain). As a bonus, he offers 16 new "Film Clips," including a posthumous tribute to Hollywood legend Frank Capra and 11 new "Essays" including a short piece entitled "Twenty Reasons Why [Arnold] Schwarzenegger is a Star." (Ebert says the first reason is that "he has a sense of humor and... a keen sense of what is funny about himself. We can sense that he realizes the material is not to be taken all that seriously.")

Ebert himself has fun deflating some of moviemaking's more pretentious and/or cliched aspects in his "Glossary of Movie Terms," comprised of entries from readers. The most popular entry, Ebert says, is "Fruit Cart!"--what experienced moviegoers are supposed to scream when a fruit cart gets overturned during a chase scene. (Likewise, in rural settings, when a character overturns a hay wagon, the sophisticated moviegoer is supposed to shout "Hay Wagon!")

Ebert is no cinema snob, however. He is equally willing to dole out praise to a special-effect-laden blockbuster as to an esoteric art film. Schwarzenegger's Terminator 2: Judgment Day, receives a three-and-a-half star (out of a possible four) rating.

Above all, Ebert is a fan of the movies. He even provides readers with a schedule of American and foreign film festivals, encouraging them to plan vacations around these events as an alternative to sitting at home watching videos, which, he feels, is stifling. "The single most important factor in learning to be literate about movies is to be part of an audience that is sophisticated about them," he writes.
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Author:Gramling, Jack
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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