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Movie Critic R. Ebert Gives Atlas Shrugged 1 Star

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Famed Movie Critic Roger Ebert gave Atlas Shrugged 1 Star:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20110414%2FREVIEWS%2F110419990

For those that don't live in the United States. Roger Ebert is one of the most well-known if not the most well-known (I am not sure which is more accurate) movie critic in the United States, so this is not a good start to things as far as the general audience is concerned.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21425&pid=273937&st=20&#entry273937 <-- review by Dennis Harding, member of this board.

I don't know whether Dennis tried to take into account what a person who hasn't read the book would think (which is what Ebert is speaking to), but I am seeing a growing consensus among those who HAVE read the book that runs anywhere from 'well it isn't a hack job' (paraphrasing) to "spectacular". The few who've commented on it qua movie have been much more mixed.

I'll be seeing it in less than five hours, and I'll try to evaluate it from both perspectives: Worth seeing if you've read the book, and worth seeing if you _haven't_ read the book.

Meanwhile, I talked to Diana Hsieh last night, and her claim is that Ebert hates Objectivism (which does show through in one statement near the beginning of the review where he couldn't resist slamming O-ism). So it's possible he lied his ass off to help sink the project.

PS: I do suspect there is a concerted effort by the Left to sink this movie (I base this on repetitive comments made on stories about the movie on the internet--same exact phrasing, an O-ist (or fan, at least) debunks the comment. then some other user posts the _identical_ comment (complete with factual errors like the speech being in part 2, and/or postmodern "attention" to grammar) two hundred comments or so later). The comments run the gamut from expecting part II to suck because of the speech, to the now rampant accusation that AR was a hypocrite for taking medicare and SS, to the also now rampant accusation that she admired a mass murderer. The best counter (and revenge) against this will be to see the movie and if you think it is good, to see it as often as you can afford to AND spread via word of mouth and the internet, the Good News that the movie is good. (Now THERE is a gospel ("good news") I can be enthusiastic about!)

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Roger Ebert regularly reviews movies in a more positive light if they have a message he considers socially redeeming. A recent example is "For Colored Girls," which 70% of critics (even though most of them share Ebert's ignorance or enthusiasm for social responsibility... Hello, "Capitalism, A Love Story") reviewed negatively (rottentomatoes.com), but which he reviewed lukewarm to positively. Based on his review here, I would say he's doing the same thing on the flipside.

I used to be a big Ebert fan, as I believed his claim that he reviews a movie based on what it is trying to accomplish. He does that to a degree, but increasingly slants it with his political and social views. Eventually, I had to stop reading him as he just couldn't help me predict anymore if I would enjoy a movie.

Edited by JASKN

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Since his health problems, Ebert has grown a social consciousness. Obviously he's not going to look favorably on a philosophy that says we should not be forced to take care of his medical bills. However his review is more about the production quality than the philosophy, so I might end up being in agreement with his analysis, regardless of his own political views.

Edited by brian0918

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Roger Ebert regularly reviews movies in a more positive light if they have a message he considers socially redeeming. A recent example is "For Colored Girls," which 70% of critics (even though most of them share Ebert's ignorance or enthusiasm for social responsibility... Hello, "Capitalism, A Love Story") reviewed negatively (rottentomatoes.com), but which he reviewed lukewarm to positively. Based on his review here, I would say he's doing the same thing on the flipside.

I used to be a big Ebert fan, as I believed his claim that he reviews a movie based on what it is trying to accomplish. He does that to a degree, but increasingly slants it with his political and social views. Eventually, I had to stop reading him as he just couldn't help me predict anymore if I would enjoy a movie.

Yeah his criticism comes down too "I found it boring". I mean, 1 star for boring? That doesn't seem right.

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I mostly posted this because he is one of the most well-known movie critics in the U.S. and many, many people will probably, unfortunately, be looking to his review to decide if they are going or will go if they were on the fence and perhaps not an Objectivist but a Libertarian or Conservative or if they aren't any of those things, so as to give a snapshot of how the professional reviewers might be going with this.

He did mention how he thought those that have read the book and are probably even Objectivists might feel about it in the latter part.

These are the parts I found most noteworthy:

The movie is constructed of a few kinds of scenes: (1) People sipping their drinks in clubby surroundings and exchanging dialogue that sounds like corporate lingo; (2) railroads, and lots of ’em; (3) limousines driving through cities in ruin and arriving at ornate buildings; (4) city skylines; (5) the beauties of Colorado. There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

They decide to drive there. That’s when you’ll enjoy the beautiful landscape photography of the deserts of Wisconsin. My advice to the filmmakers: If you want to use a desert, why not just refer to Wisconsin as "New Mexico"?

I found out it is playing in Davenport now as well, which is about a half hour drive or so from me. I may end up seeing it next weekend.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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Roger Ebert has always been a huge lefty scumbag - it's got nothing to do with his face. I would have dropped dumbstruck if he had given AS anything more than his lowest rating.

Remember how the novel was bashed universally when it was released? That should tell O'ists all they need to know about relying on critics to form their opinions on an AS movie.

Granted, it might be a stinker, but regardless of how good or bad it is (in your opinion), Roger Ebert would never, ever give Ayn Rand's message a positive review.

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He didn't give it his lowest rating. And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism. He does nothing of the sort. It's pretty clear that it is not a philosophy to which he subscribes, but he also doesn't critique it. He critiques the movie. Given that other people have panned the movie (such as PJ O'Rourke) who are sympathetic to its philosophy leads me to believe he is not doing this out of spite.

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He didn't give it his lowest rating. And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism. He does nothing of the sort. It's pretty clear that it is not a philosophy to which he subscribes, but he also doesn't critique it. He critiques the movie. Given that other people have panned the movie (such as PJ O'Rourke) who are sympathetic to its philosophy leads me to believe he is not doing this out of spite.

I've had the misfortune of knowing more than I want to about what Mr. ebert thinks on many topics as some of my Twitter followers resend his messages with some frequency. Over the course of the past two years he has made frequent nasty remarks about Ayn Rand, her books and the people that admire her. He's compared Rand to L. Ron Hubbard and Objectivists to Scientologists. He is a statist in the classic sense and has stated frequently his approval of government take over of just about everything. I have also seen him frequently (over the past few years-not before) give movies bad reviews because he doesn't like their political angle. An this just from his Twitter account- I don't even seek him out to read.

So while I do think this could be an objectively awful movie (and I'm 99% certain it will be) I am 100% certain that even if the movie was great he would give it a bad review.

Remember, he's been doing this for years. He was once good at his trade. It would be stupid and hamfisted for him to slam Objectivism too much within the review itself. It would open him up to fair criticism.

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Disclaimer: I haven't seen the movie yet; I'm planning to this weekend :D

Wow, I thought you guys were exaggerating about Ebert's review, but after reading it, I'd have to agree. Either the movie does a really crappy job of laying out its theme, or Ebert just missed it. The review doesn't even tell what the movie is about, at least from the perspective of someone who's read the book. He makes it sound like the movie is about railroad entrepreneurs and the government that hates them. I know that flippancy sells, but in my opinion he did a horrible job as a reviewer.

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From Ebert's review:

There is also a love scene, which is shown not merely from the waist up but from the ears up. The man keeps his shirt on. This may be disappointing for libertarians, who I believe enjoy rumpy-pumpy as much as anyone.

This is just factually incorrect. Ebert needs to have his eyes checked (among other things).

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http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21425&pid=273937&st=20&#entry273937 <-- review by Dennis Harding, member of this board.

I don't know whether Dennis tried to take into account what a person who hasn't read the book would think (which is what Ebert is speaking to), but I am seeing a growing consensus among those who HAVE read the book that runs anywhere from 'well it isn't a hack job' (paraphrasing) to "spectacular". The few who've commented on it qua movie have been much more mixed.

I did try to look at it from that angle, and I honestly believe the movie will inspire many, many people to read the book. They are not going to want to wait for parts two and three to see what happens.

It is that well done.

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OK, I've been to see it, here's my review:

As (quite possibly) the first Front Range Objectist to see the Atlas Shrugged movie (a 12:15 showing in Colorado Springs) it was my intention to give a dispassionate review of it to basically everyone I can e-mail.

I have to report I won't be able to do that. I cannot be dispassionate about this movie, not now, perhaps not for a couple of days. Maybe I should wait?

Nah. To Hell with it. Here we go!

It is fantastic! For Galt's Sake Go See It! You can bet I will make the 7:30 showing with the rest of the 5Frog group this evening. Yes that means I'll have bought two tickets. They deserve ever last cent; I hope this makes scores of millions of dollars if not much, much more.

It is an act of genius taking such a long piece of fiction, reducing it to bare essentials and getting it done in an hour and forty minutes. It actually seemed a bit longer, so much was packed in. There were certainly a lot of elements of the plot that got scrunched together in the interests of brevity but I do not believe anything _essential_ got left out. As for representing the philosophy, certainly a lot of exposition got dropped; there are no multi-page speeches.

If I have real substantive complaints about this movie, it's not about anything that was put in but some of the things that were left out, such as those speeches... and I agree with Harmon Kaslow (one of the co-producers) who in an interview with the Objective Standard, said he regretted not being able to show the scene where Dagny walks into a room, to see scores of volunteers to run the train. (Suggestion, guys--when you get the cast back together to make Part II, with a _much_ larger budget I trust, film this scene and put it on the DVD!) I understand also that there were Dagny/Francisco flashbacks (to before Francisco's becoming a playboy) that were cut.

And there are a lot of nits--Dagny should not have said she was "gambling" on Rearden metal; I think that John Galt showed up at Wyatt's place a bit early (though Wyatt torched his business at the right time), and frankly I hope they find a better actor for John Galt before part III; John Aglialoro is a much better producer than an actor and the proof of his producing ability is right here.

As for the criticism made by Roger Ebert that those unfamiliar with the book will find the movie incoherent... Pardon my Hungarian, but BULLSHIT! I can well imagine that those not already fans of the book will not find this movie nearly as emotional experience as I did, but I do not believe that they will find it incomprehensible. Ebert, you are a lying, corpulent, rat-buggering overstuffed sack of mustelid droppings. (I didn't realize how much Hungarian I knew.) I have suspected a coordinated campaign by the Left to try to sink this move and you have not only confirmed it, but disappointed me by stooping to being part of it.

The best revenge on Ebert, et. al., is to do everything to ensure the movie is a success. Word of mouth, the internet, your own ticket purchases... Let's roll!

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And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism. He does nothing of the sort. It's pretty clear that it is not a philosophy to which he subscribes, but he also doesn't critique it.

First paragraph:

I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that I could discuss. For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."

True it's not a critique but it's a smear.

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He didn't give it his lowest rating. And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism.
So are you saying that his characterization of Objectivism is poor or misconceived or bad, but is not so bad or obviously intentional to get the label "slam"?

The one thing that I think is most important from Ebert's review is his contention that the movie is basically unintelligible to non-Objectivists... a series of wine-drink conversations that someone not already familiar with the book would not understand. If this is even partly true -- i.e. that the movie was made for an Objectivist audience -- that would be a bad thing; if not, Ebert is slamming the movie unfairly.

My single hope for this movie is that it does not leave non-Objectivists thinking that Objectivism is solely about politics and the free-market.

Edited by softwareNerd

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He didn't give it his lowest rating. And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism. He does nothing of the sort. It's pretty clear that it is not a philosophy to which he subscribes, but he also doesn't critique it. He critiques the movie. Given that other people have panned the movie (such as PJ O'Rourke) who are sympathetic to its philosophy leads me to believe he is not doing this out of spite.

You give Mr. Ebert less credit than he deserves. Do you think his reviews are intended only for those who disagree with Rand? Don't you think a leftist/statist ideologue like Ebert would use his influence to quash interest in the movie from any corner? Of course he doesn't slam Objectivism! Doing so would reveal his bias and discredit his review! His review would have to be "objective" in order to have any power to influence and dissuade. Apparently that has worked with some on this forum.

Here's an alternative review, published on the far-left leaning Huffington Post, of all places. I read it so see what venom the Left would spew at Rand, and was ... well, you read it...

Here.

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He didn't give it his lowest rating. And I'd be interested to know where in the review he slams Objectivism. He does nothing of the sort.

Ummm... I just read the review. Well, okay, I stopped after the first paragraph. In fact, here's where I stopped:

I figured it might provide a parable of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that I could discuss. For me, that philosophy reduces itself to: "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline."

Too bad the movie failed on technical and artistic merits, because I would have been so very interested in Roger Eberts "discussing" Ayn Rand's philosophy. He seems to understand it and appreciate it so deeply.

No, no slam to be found...

In fact, he's very respectful of Objectivists:

I expect to receive learned and sarcastic lectures on the pathetic failings of my review.

...Quoth the learned critic, deigning to stoop down intellectually to lecture on the pathetic failings of an infantile philosophy.

Okay, I couldn't help myself... In fact, this review was directed specifically at O'ists, and its intent is to keep them away...

So OK. Let’s say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, you’re an objectivist or a libertarian, and you’ve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown. It’s not enough that a movie agree with you, in however an incoherent and murky fashion. It would help if it were like, you know, entertaining?

If he succeeds, the very limited initial release will stay very limited and Mssr. Ebert will have struck an effective blow against Rand's message.

Edited by agrippa1

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Okay, I misread that line, at first. I read that as a critique of the movie but, after looking at it again, I can see that it is in fact the same misconception about Objectivist ethics that most lefties seem to have.

However, the rest of his review is still on the artistic merits. Given that at least one review (PJ O'Rourke's) points out the same flaws and comes from someone sympathetic to Objectivism...it's enough to turn me off from seeing it. I thought the previews looked awful anyway. I'll stick to my memory of reading the book and not bother myself with seeing it in dramatic form.

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A new thread that does not reference Ebert is required.

Against all expectations Atlas Shrugged is playing downtown in Honolulu. Who asked for that? I guess I'll go see it. (sigh)

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I read it so see what venom the Left would spew at Rand, and was ... well, you read it...

Here.

Wow, that's a great review. He actually knows what he's talking about.

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Well Mr. Ebert may not have liked it, but the small audience I saw it with in DC applauded at it's start and finish and quite a few of us discussed it afterwords for a brief period and I think all were generally pleased.

I certainly wasn't disappointed - it couldn't be everything we'd hope, but I thought it did the book a great justice. Far better than the Hollywood Fountainhead did...

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