Friday, March 09, 2007

KIM MORGAN (and Richard Roeper) AT THE MOVIES!

Critic Kim Morgan on a TV show that is NOT Ebert and Roeper

If you’ve spent much time reading this blog, you’ll know that it makes me happy when I get a chance to pass along good news about my film-loving friends and colleagues in criticism. Well, this afternoon I am very happy indeed.

I just got an e-mail from Kim Morgan, a film critic whose work appears everywhere from MSN Movies (where she writes regularly for the Movies Filter blog and contributes terrific pieces like this one),, L.A. Weekly and her own blog, Sunset Gun, where her own sassy, uncensored personality leaps to the foreground amongst an excellent lineup of reviews, lists, think pieces and general observations, usually about classic films and her own tangled, tempestuous and passionate relationships with them. Kim is a fellow University of Oregon graduate, a original Northwest homey who wrote for Willamette Week and the Portland Oregonian before traveling south, and I stumbled upon her work through her contribution to Jim Emerson’s Opening Shots Project as well as an article my wife sent me around Halloween of last year. The article, all about horror movies, was written by Kim, and my wife thought it was well-considered and that the sensibility displayed in it might jibe pretty well with mine.

She was right. I’ve spent the time since then enjoying Kim’s work and the no-prisoners attitude she displays in her most unguarded writing. And this weekend we’re going to get to see her on a different stage.

The e-mail Kim sent to me this afternoon was sent from a train headed back from Chicago, where she spent a lovely week, topped off by the taping of an appearance on Ebert and Roeper as the latest addition to a rotation of critics and film personalities occupying the Last Chair on the Left in Roger Ebert’s absence. Here in Los Angeles you can see her appearance at 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening on KABC-TV Channel 7. In other markets, you must either click here or check your newspaper listings to find out when Kim’s episode will air. Word is, Kim will chime in on 300, Beyond the Gates, The Namesake, I Think I Love My Wife, The Host (I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of this one!) and DVD picks of Casino Royale and her own personal choice, Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll. (I’m guessing she’ll sneak in a word or two on Black Snake Moan here!)

When I got Kim’s e-mail, I was as excited as if I’d been picked to be on the show myself, excited in the way you get when you hear great news about a friend or loved one who you’ve always known deserved it. Kim’s got the Oregon thing going, true, but that’s only one of the reasons I like her. Tune in this week and you’ll undoubtedly want to hit those links and become a regular reader so you can find out all the other reasons. (#243: She’s got a thing for Warren Oates.) Don't miss Kim tangle with the latest releases, and her co-host-- I can’t wait to see her rope-a-dope Roeper!— this weekend on Ebert and Roeper. Kim, congratulations! Have a safe train ride back. And if anyone who looks like this takes a seat next to you and starts talking about his bad relationship with his father, just walk away…


Anonymous said...

Wow! The Bad Seed Halloween costume is ace! I loved the ending to that movie.
It seems that everytime I watch that show sans Ebert, Roeper gets all these people who aren't even movie critics. I mean, Fred Willard??
He also had Kevin Smith as a guest host. During the segment where they give dvd recommendations, Smith freakin' recommends his own dvds!
Admitted shameless self-promotion... *shudder*

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, I don't like them giving the show over to the personalities like Willard and Kevin Smith either-- the shilling of your product isn't any more appetizing just because you brazenly admit to it.

I always hope from week to week, when I get a chance to see the show, that the chair will be occupied by somebody in whom I can have at least a modicum of confidence as regards their knowledge and love of film, not just somebody who's treating the opportunity as a lark. I've been happy to see A.O. Scott get his recurring appearances in, as well as Lisa Schwarzbaum, and even Anne Thompson, who was a real breath of fresh air. Michael Phillips does okay, but it always seems like he gets in quip-fest mode with Roeper, and they end up talking all over each other like it's morning drive-time radio or something.

I'm excited for Kim because she's smart, opinonated, unlikely to bow down to Roeper's seniority, and frankly, because she's a sharp writer who loves film and doesn't fit the mold of someone who looks like she spends endless hours in screening rooms scribbling on a notepad. What better way to fill Ebert's chair until he comes back?

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Too bad she wasn't in town for one more week We could've had her come out to visit us at the drive-in next Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I caught the end of this late last night (it runs on odd syndication times here), and thought she was really good, although I wish Doeper would've let her talk some more -- she was making some good point about an Indian film (whose title I sadly didn't catch), and you could almost see the internal switch click on in Doeper's head: "Intelligent film point...being made...must...STOP!!' And so he stepped on her comments, started flailing his arms about (no, I'm not making this up) and slipping into a schticky voice meant to defuse the moment of any substance (it was like an unironic version of Steve Carrell's character on the office, insecure that someone else might get attention). Morgan, being a classy good sport, laughed it off, but you could see this glimmer in her eye that said, "What a schmuck." Which, of course, Doeper entirely is: he seems not to realize that it's only through Roget Ebert's good graces (and that sun-times connection) that he's gotten a gig as a TV critic, instead of fading to his proper obscurity as the poor man's Dave Barry. .

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, I agree about Roeper. But I thought Kim did a fine job. I got mildly annoyed when he kept intimating that her tastes and viewing habits were a little outré for him. But where I thought Kim did best was in defending her views on The Host, the South Korean monster movie that finally saw a U.S. release this past weekend. After admitting that he liked The Host, he said he never wanted to see this movie again, even though he’d never seen anything like it. When Kim began defending the movie as something more than a goofy lark by linking it to a longstanding tradition of socio-political subtext in science fiction/horror films, using Godzilla, King of the Monsters as an example, you could practically feel Roeper’s eyes rolling off-camera. It was nice to hear her try to make this guy understand how a film like this can work on several levels, but he was too uncomfortable in trusting his own response to the movie, for whatever reason, to do anything but pooh-pooh the idea of subtext, as if he'd never heard of such a thing. Even so, bravo to a good, fun writer get a chance like this, and her blog,, got a nice plug at the end of the show too. Way to go, Kim! And next week David Edelstein is going to be sitting in.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for my earlier "fawning" post.

Here's the thing that bugs the crap out of me when you talk about "Doeper" (I love that). He loves the fact that he's on camera. He also loves to make himself out to be this twinkling intellect of a movie critic.

True that there are films that are meant to be cerebral, there are some that are meant to be an alagory (spelling?) and there are some that are meant to be pure escapist fun.

If Doeper wants to wax intelectual on a film like The Host, then he should give the film some credit. When a collection of scenes, moments on film, are put together in such a way that they elicit a feeling, an emotion from the viewer then that same viewer needs to be honest with himself and acknowledge it. In the case of Doeper and how Dennis described his response to how he felt about what he saw, well the guy is just plane full of crap.

In essence, his explanation about his initial response will lead you to believe that he can't trust his own emotions. Well, whoopdefrickindo!! That's what you do when you pay your $5, $8 or $10 bucks to see a flick. You give yourself up to the film and see where it takes you. If a movie is chock full 'O Nuts then so be it. But if you tend to form an opinion before you've seen the film and then are completely taken by suprised, don't tell your television viewers that your somehow baffled by what you experienced.

Accept it you bloomin' freak.

God Bless Gene Siskel. He always knew a good movie when he saw it... on any level.

Anonymous said...

If you people want to see what Roeper is like at his core, you should've witnessed the review for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Ebert said something to the effect of it being a retread of what past horror movies have done and how it was mindless and unneccessarily violent and so on. Then after they both made their case at the end, Roeper sums it up by saying it was completely worth watching just to see Jessica Biel in a wet t-shirt. Then Ebert, laughing in disbelief, makes a comment about how he is the lowest common denominator of the human race. hahahahaha
It was one of the funniest moments on that show.

Anonymous said...

BWWAAHA! *Great* story about the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I don't always agree with Ebert anymore, but moments like that remind me why I've always loved him as a critic-- because he's smart, funny and deeply human in his responses. The great thing about Ebert is, if he'd liked the film, he could've offered interesting reasons for enjoying it, which wouldn't have been stupid (like roeper's), but would have allowed for its escapist fun (I think his reviews of Bond movies-- generally positive, but also tongue-in-cheek-- are an example of what I mean). In other words, he could've been the "populist" guy Roeper was straining to be, but he wouldn't have had to strain.

Great news, BTW, about Edelstein-- I know you can get his New York stuff online, and it's fun, but I still miss him at Slate (and so does slate-- aside from reading doonesbury online, there's not much reason to go over there anymore).