With a critical eye that mirrors his subject's, Todd Rendleman explores the values, temperament, character, and style that have made Roger Ebert the most trusted and influential film critic in America.
Introducing the one critic whom so many moviegoers recognize, argue with, and love, Rule of Thumb illuminates Ebert's critical strengths and blind spots. His sensibilities are further appreciated through comparisons to incisive, provocative colleagues like Pauline Kael and John Simon. While exploring their critical clashes, the author offers fresh assessments of a host of movies, from modern classics like Last Tango in Paris and Blue Velvet, to films that deserve another glance, like Music Box, In Dreams, and Bliss.
Few are in a position to write a firsthand memoir of one of the world's great film critics, but Rendleman accomplishes just this, smartly intertwining his own coming-of-age cinematic sensibility with a witty critical analysis of his subject. All told, his achievement is noteworthy: he offers a unique view of a celebrated personality, while revealing himself as a writer of insight and dash.
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About the Author
Todd Rendleman is Professor of Communication Studies at Seattle Pacific University, where he teaches film art, history, and criticism. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Preface by Roger EbertIntroductionChapter 1: GodchildChapter 2: Rule of ThumbChapter 3: Close to EbertChapter 4: The Total EffectChapter 5: Lit CritChapter 6: And I Still Can See Blue Velvet, Through My TearsChapter 7: Cross ReferencesChapter 8: Turned OnChapter 9: MisfiresChapter 10: I Ain't A Pretty Boy No MoreEpilogue: Heroes NotesIndex