Is Television Once Again Safe for Intelligent Film Critics?

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08/06/2009 11:33 AM |


Somehow, the Times got hold of the information that their own lead film critic, A.O. “Top Gun” Scott, and the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips will be taking over the critics’ chairs on At the Movies, the reel-talk program originated by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

The real news here, though, is that this is the end of the road for current hosts Ben Mankiewicz and, oh happy day, Ben Lyons, noted blurb whore, film-critical punchline, starfucker and son of Jeff Lyons, renowned throughout NYC film critics circles for his utter lack of insight or taste, overprotector of his son, and obnoxious screening-room demeanor: basically the guy in the bar who carries on his conversation — if you can call a machine-gun rattle of (idiotic) opinions a conversation — in a voice so loud that it’s impossible not to pay attention.

Longtime Lyons family bête noires across the internets are already celebrating, just as they did upon the unceremonious end of Jeff’s own TV gig this spring. Glenn Kenny is delighted by the return of actual intelligent discourse to a television show, and not afraid to thumb his nose at Lyons pere and fils (justifying his glee with a choice selection from his seemingly bottomless supply of anecdotes about Jeff Lyons being an arrogant jerk), while Reverse Shot commemorates the tenure with about exactly the amount of class it deserves.