i love the smell of snark in the early afternoon

March 31, 2010

you guys, roger ebert is pretty cool. i only recently realized this, having not been a fan of siskel & ebert when i was growing up.* however, he is droll and snarky and funny. to wit, in reviewing recently released pile o’ dreck the last song, he gets some nice digs in at nicholas sparks, who wrote the novel/screenplay for the movie:

Sparks recently went on record as saying he is a greater novelist than Cormac McCarthy. This is true in the same sense that I am a better novelist than William Shakespeare. Sparks also said his novels are like Greek Tragedies. This may actually be true. I can’t check it out because, tragically, no really bad Greek tragedies have survived. … To be sure, I resent the sacrilege Nicholas Sparks commits by even mentioning himself in the same sentence as Cormac McCarthy. I would not even allow him to say “Hello, bookstore? This is Nicholas Sparks. Could you send over the new Cormac McCarthy novel?” He should show respect by ordering anonymously.

now i’ve never read nicholas sparks, but i’ve seen a walk to remember, god help me, and the trailer for the last song made me want to stab myself in the eye. y’all, i don’t even like cormac mccarthy.** but i am willing to bet that his books are like 5 billion times better than anything written by nicholas sparks. and i say this as someone who reads romance novels, okay, so i know all about the joys of trashy literature, which can actually be well-written and interesting.***

*you should read RE’s blog. it’s fun. also kind of trendy these days. yeah, that’s a bandwagon i’m jumping on. what of it?

**caveat: i’ve never actually read cormac mccarthy, and my actual opinion on his work should be more properly defined as “non-existent.” the weird thing is, i’ve never even wanted to read one of his books. despite all the praise heaped on him (and the dislike from certain quarters), i have never been even slightly interested in picking one up.

***don’t judge, okay?



  1. I too have been enjoying his blog. And I guess there’s a TV series in the works? And a computer that emulates his own speech?

  2. LOL. I’ve read both–more than one of both, I’m ashamed to admit about the Sparks. Sparks is a godawful cheesy saccharine syrupy purply manipulative ridiculous heavy-handed bleggggh writer, and that’s putting it nicely.

    Hmm, I always liked Siskel better on the TV show.

  3. I too am on team Siskel. Sparks is low-hanging fruit, the critic’s equivalent of “Look at the dweeb! Dweeb!”

    Which is not to say that I didn’t find the above amusing, I did, despite the weird Shakespeare-novel thing, because one novelist calling himself a better novelist than another novelist makes logical sense, even if false in content, but a film critic saying he is a better novelist than a medieval playwright and poet is just…

    But I was sad when Siskel died– he was, ahem, an intellectual. Ebert panders.

    This is a montage of an episode of the severely underrated The Critic in which Siskel and Ebert break up.

    • yeah, i don’t generally agree with ebert’s reviews – he’s too soft on movies that should really be beat up on more (although if i recall, his amusingly scathing review of one of the *transformers *movies was making the rounds for a while). but then, i read mick lasalle for several years before realizing there were far better sources (i prefer the av club), and after that kind of abuse, pretty much any critic is an improvement.

  4. Hmmm. Here’s that address…

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