Watched a great documentary last night on late film critic Roger Ebert of Siskel & Ebert fame called Life Itself. I was a big fan of that TV show for many years because I loved seeing them debate and discuss films with such unfiltered passion. If I agreed or not I loved watching and appreciated how honest they were. Now that I think about it there is certainly some similar things in the spirit of that show and at times what we do on TMS. But what really struck me about the film was how these guys were so loved by the film industry, the actors, directors, etc, even if they slammed one of their films! Ebert was close with Martin Scorsese and loved most of his films. But he didn’t like Color Of Money and had to give his honest feelings to his TV audience and to his friend. Scorsese didn’t like it but respected it. There was a clip of Ebert on the Tonight Show sitting right next to Chevy Chase and when Carson asked him what he thought of Chevy’s latest film he said “I can’t recommend it”. Chase laughed and made some light jokes back at Roger. But he didn’t storm off the set, didn’t say he would never let him see one of his films in advance, didn’t say he would never interview with him. It was amazing to see Siskel & Ebert grow to be so powerful in their business that they had to be respected and couldn’t be ignored for their honest critiques. And it got me thinking, why can’t most people do that in the music industry? Why do we live in a world today that people constantly ask for your opinion, then go crazy and accuse you of “shit talking” a band or album when you give it? As many of you know I don’t care and never did care about the blow back. I feel it is important to give an honest appraisal in a respectful way always. But it amazes me every day that you say one thing negative (even if it’s true) and people just run to the web, blow it out of proportion, and mount attacks. Why on earth does everything need to be so sanitized and so PC that just giving an OPINION in the music world sends a portion of that artists fan base going crazy after you to the point of totally taking things out of context. Or worse yet that the artists believe what these people embellish and throwing hissy fits about it without even really learning the facts. It’s something I struggle with everyday, and yes there are a couple artists that actually do this sadly, with skin that thin.  Imagine if Ebert and his partner ever caved to that? Something tells me we wouldn’t be seeing documentaries about their career if they did. I also love sports talk radio. Every day I hear hosts slam players, GMs, etc. But these people step up, come on, and give their side of things. You have to respect both sides. I’ve been lucky that most artists get and respect and want an honest opinion and don’t hold it against me if it isn’t positive. We all know the very few that do. But I couldn’t help to see the amazing impact Siskel & Ebert had and how they were able to still serve their audience while still having the support of the artists and industry. There is no logical reason why this can’t also be the case in the music industry, but sadly what I call the “pounce” world of social media we live in today seems to do everything to prevent such free thinking. Hard to imagine what a young journalist coming up today with no following is up against in this super safe PC world.

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  • Tony M on

    Well, you know, EVERYBODY is a tough guy on the internet. And I’m not trying to provoke anyone or being antagonistic with that statement. I got a friend who is the nicest dude in the world who spouts off the biggest “tough guy, right wing, gun owning, anti-Obama ” rants all day long on the internet and in a bar fight would be the first to hide in the ladies bathroom. We tease him about hat constantly. If only the people arguing with him on the other end knew you know? But he enjoys the anonymity of the internet like we all do including myself. Same thing with music fans. “Winger sucks & Venom kicks ass posers!!!!!” is being said by a guy who hasn’t listened to Venom’s “Black Metal” in 25 years and just recently went to a Kenny Chesney concert with his wife. But as far as his internet posts goes he’s writing that inside a pentagram in his basement with a cloak on ready to kick Satan himselfs ass. Let’s not confuse reactionary with passionate when it comes to musical internet posts. I’m passionate about KISS but not blind or brain dead either. I’m the FIRST guy in line to agree with people who say their setlist needs changing and is just plain boring now. If Paul has a problem with that than yeah Eddie, he (or any other artist) has WAY too thin of a skin. It also doesn’t help that after saying, as huge fan mind you, the set list has stunk for the last 11 years that immediately afterwards would be the obligatory 20 internet posts saying what a “troll” I was , how I wasn’t a real fan, and how they are skilled in the martial arts and would kick my ass in 2 seconds if they saw me. Keep fighting the good fight Eddie.

  • Mr. Rock And Roll on

    The unfiltered passion and honesty is what makes TMS a show close to all of our hearts. When I watch it I feel like I’m watching me. You don’t know how many times I’d jump up and shout something at the tv, like when you guys debate. I and many, many others feel the same way you guys at TMS do. You “get it”. My girlfriend chuckles and says “You guys are ALL a bunch of nerds!”, meaning all of us metal and rock fans. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hands down the best and most fun show on VH1 Classic is TMS. Keep up the great work, guys, and thank you for allowing us to have a say on here, too. It’s a family of misfits, but we all stick together! : )

  • James wallace on

    Most that have a criticism are usually not qualified to make a criticism. Roger was a college graduate and pulitzer prize winner. He dedicated his entire life to analyse and study films. His personality also gave him control of all situations, even giving unfavorable reviews to his close friends. Most hate criticism, that is or isn’t constructive. People generally take it personal and will debate their position to the hilt. In order to get respect, you first have to earn it. Siskel and Ebert were everyday movie critics that tapped into the TV market that no one else did. Their “Thumbs Up” phrase has become a cultural icon that will live with them through out eternity. I didn’t agree with every review but I respected it. And you know? They were usually right. There will always be a closet case music/movie reviewer that have no sense of the concept. I blame social media that has created a platform to which they should never stand on. But its life and will not change.

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