I'm looking for...



Happening:
Anytime
to
Near:
Anywhere
That is
Anything

Former Dallas Critic Goes To 'the Movies'


by Jerome Weeks 6 Aug 2009

Michael Phillips — the Chicago Tribune‘s movie critic and the former theater critic for the Dallas Times Herald — has been picked to fill the well-worn, well-thumbed aisle seats in the syndicated series, At the Movies. (Get it? well-thumbed? Siskel and Ebert? OK. I’ll stop). Phillips and the NYTimes critic, A. O. Scott, will replace […]

CTA TBD

Michael Phillips — the Chicago Tribune‘s movie critic and the former theater critic for the Dallas Times Herald — has been picked to fill the well-worn, well-thumbed aisle seats in the syndicated series, At the Movies. (Get it? well-thumbed? Siskel and Ebert? OK. I’ll stop).

Phillips and the NYTimes critic, A. O. Scott, will replace the not-widely-respected Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. Michael Phillips and I were drama critic-competitors in Ye Olde Days but that raging animosity has mellowed into ordinary, friendly resentment. I kid. I love the guy. Hey, he gave my wife and me a baby shower gift. So I’ve picked the most unflattering picture of him I could find.

In Dallas, At the Movies screens at the must-sleep-TV time slot of 11 p.m. on Sundays on WFAA, which explains why you haven’t seen it lately. But the LATimes’ Patrick Goldstein believes you haven’t seen it lately for another reason. The ‘two Bens’ were “an embarrassment to all, meaning the previous hosts, the network and the critical profession in general,” so it’s good they’re gone. But more than that, he believes that the-movie-critics-on-TV format is covered in cobwebs. I hope the best for Michael — honestly — but Goldstein may have a point here. Unfortunately for them, Phillips and Scott “are being asked to revive a format that is as moribund as a black-and-white detective series.”

SHARE
  • Stephen Becker

    For people who are fans of actual movie criticism, this is a good move. Scott is actually pretty tight with Ebert, so that may have had something to do with this. Plus, he was good when filling in for Ebert off and on over the years. Still, replacing the kings of the format, Siskel and Ebert, will be tough. Replacing Lyons, Mankiewicz (and Richard Roeper for that matter) won’t be.

  • I got to know Michael when he had a brief stint working up in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Great critic, thoughtful and a nice guy. It will be interesting to see what he and Scott do to the At the Movies format. It really needs a complete makeover.

  • The ousting of Ben Lyons proves that there’s still justice in the world.