No, I am not dead. But I wish I was after seeing the new incarnation of At the Movies, starring Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz. Two thumbs down, and soooo bad, my toes curled up in negative support for this inanimate corpse of a once-great show. I caught the debut while doing some channel-hopping during a commercial on the sports news. It was such a train wreck of a TV show that I just couldn't turn away and go back to football highlights.
To think this is the successor to the shows first put on by Roger Ebert and the late, great Gene Siskel is upsetting. If you thought Ebert and Richard Roeper and then Roeper and the many Ebert stand-ins were a step down from the original classic critique, you ain't seen nothin' yet.
Lyons and Mankiewicz, who carry names familiar to movie goers (critic daddy Jeffrey Lyons and Oscar winners granddaddy Herman and uncle Joe Mankewicz), have no charisma and no chemistry. Bluntly, they're terrible. Even when they disagree, they plaster fake smiles on their faces and try to outgrin each other in the 'debate.' There doesn't seem to be any vehemence to either side of their debate on the movie, Traitor. Ten minutes after the show, I couldn't remember which was for and which was against the movie.
Ebert and Siskel's family forbade the show from using their trade-marked thumbs up/down rating system, necessitating a new See-it, Skip-it, Rent-it scale. Oddly. the ability to vacillate between yes and no does NOT work. Hope they get rid of the Rent-it rating soon. Actually, since I don't plan to see the show again anytime soon. I really don't care. It's just a suggestion for the show producers in case they catch some other unwitting soul surfing the TV at 1:30 on a Sunday night.
By the way, I think we now know why Ebert and Roeper bailed on this show. There's also a new format that includes guest 'panels,' which consist of three people I've never heard of trying to scream their bon mots over each other so that we get FIVE ratings rather than two for a couple of the movies. IF they were going to foist this on Roeper and whoever, good on Richard for telling them to shove their pile of excrement on some other career.