Maybe Ben is trying to tone down some the idiotic, blurb-happy commentary he has been throwing around. Maybe, as Mank suggests, he is "calming down". In fact, this is the second week in a row that Mank has asked Lyons to "calm down" after hearing what he thought was an overly positive review (last week it was The Secret Life of Bees, this week Changeling). I couldn't imagine Siskel telling Ebert (or vice-versa) to "calm down", at least not without a serious smack-down thrown back in return (Siskel: "This coming from the guy who liked Cop-and-a-half?!")
(check it around the 3:45 mark)
Damn, that's some good TV--two real guys with strong opinions, a good friendship, and a grudge. That intro with the theme song makes me sad . . .
Anyway, one comment which Ben seemed to catch mid-idiot--or "midiot", if you will--is this comment about Rocknrolla:
Nobody does gangster films better than Guy Ritchie . . . British gangster films, anyway.
Now, maybe I haven't seen enough "British gangster films" lately, but I don't know anybody who would start a sentence like that unless they are dying to be loved by the film industry.
On the horror movie Splinter, which Mank recommended, Lyons says:
I like it, too. I just don't have the stomach for horror movies.
What?! "It's good, but I am not a fan of the genre . . ." Don't get me wrong, I don't think a critic should give a positive review to a movie they don't like, which Ben has done before. But to not recommend a movie because you discount an entire genre--and then say it was a pretty good movie anyway--just boggles the mind. Good thing there aren't too many Shakespeare movies out these days. "I'm not crazy about this old stuff. I want some violence, I want some chase scenes. I just didn't get all the British humor."
Finally, on Passenger, he says:
You just find yourself looking at your watch thinking, man, I got to get out of here.
Apparently, he left his cell phone at home during that screening.