All In   |  April 04, 2013

Talking movies: How Roger Ebert changed television

James Lipton joins the All In panel to talk about Roger Ebert's impact on television and new media.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> one of the things i liked best about this movie was you had to be smart to watch it. you had to think about it. it didn't pound you on the head.

>> shake hands with yourself.

>> i really want to congratulate myself for my intelligence and i'm sure you feel good about yours, too.

>> i have it really easy and understood everything, more than you did.

>> the things i learned from siskel and ebert , passive-aggressiveness makes for amazing television. we want to welcome the actor on "br "bravo." nice to have you here. i believe you were corresponding with roger the end of his life and have a letter you wanted to share.

>> i wrote this letter to him and he had written to me. if you had occasion to see any episodes of my series in the past few years, you may be aware how often and how gratefully you're quoted. i am not regretfully a film scholar and turn to you, roger . i remember your calm clear stance on movies and the world around us and the political implications of work you're asked to explore. you might or might not be surprised how often i read you and exclaim yes, especially at times like this in my view, the barbarians are at the gates and nice to know something who stands steadfast ly a political rectit rectitude. maybe i'm only reading my views into yours, but i like what i read.

>> had an amazing social conscience. you were with him on the show at one point. how does that show work? why does it work? i remember one time watching the show and getting upset at two people arguing. i asked my parents, why are you watching two people arguing? i don't like fights.

>> that particular argument whether exaggerated for the screen or not although they had their tensions, that was particular for the two of them. when he started having guests on, looking for guests to come in and fill in after siskel, each was different and all he said was have fun. one thing you had to do before every show, you had to play patty cake with him to have fun and get the energy up. the other thing you had to do was have your thumb photographed. it was a gallery of everybody's thumb. not a gallery of thumbs, yours and rogers. he was delightful encouraging you to say anything.

>> we all loved roger , we're all saying wonderful things. let's remember at the very begin beginning of the show, there were people who thought these were a couple of chuckle heads and tuned in to see them bicker and it seemed at times roger would look at gene and say, you are about the dumbest guy i ever sat across from in my life and gene would be prickly and would pull it back and sometimes cut it off unceremoniously. that's why, as we tuned in to laugh, we eventually developed this respect. wait a minute. these guys are having a discussion about art on national tv and they're bringing people into it.

>> they care enough to get genuinely ticked off at each other, a key. you're sending a sub-textural cue to the viewer that it matters.

>> may i ask a point, i am so inappropriately dressed for this occasion.

>> we were going to let it go.

>> i'm not. we were in the edit room. i was in the edit room all day with my 250th episode of inside the actor's studio. this is how i dress in the edit room. it says arrested development because i was in it and they sent it to me. i'm not advertise iing arrested development and wish i were wearing a nice appropriate suit for roger . roger might be amused and interested.

>> you could be wearing a green turtleneck like he was in the early clip.

>> there's something amazing about watching two people talk about movies and talk about art and talk about things they care about that is so compelling and so compelling i found myself today falling down a total youtube spiral in which i just watched. what did they say about "good fellas" and "aliens" and " jurassic park " and every one incredibly gripping.

>> they gave this generation a model of what it can be at its best, the passionate back and forth might seem pointless but really has enough mutual respect for each other and the popular art we're discussing to give that art the honor.

>> you know it was the internet before the internet. i think that's why he fit so well in the world of social medi media.

>> feedback whether from gene or from his readers.

>> there's a reason why i think people in my profession like him so much. one of the difficulties we have critics no t all, present company excepted, frequently, especially in film, a critic will write about a movie and not know who did what. they don't know the process and often gift credit or blame to the director for something that is clearly the actor's job, or vice-versa. roger was very good about this.

>> i was reading today, the cinematographer did this and the actor did this.

>> he could separate one's work from the other.

>> and master of technique. thank you so much for being here for roger ebert . that is all for this evening. the "the rachel maddow show" starts now. good evening, rachel.

>> good evening, chris.

>>> i think the idea of patty cake with all the