Strong Stand Required

Jeffrey Wells to Roger Ebert: Are you going to weigh in on the Shane aspect-ratio brouhaha? Team 1.37 needs guys like you to stand up and do the right thing. Too many political-minded people who know better are saying “well, maybe the 1.66 version will look good!” and “George Stevens Jr. is such a wonderful and gracious and respected man that maybe it’s okay if he helps to suppress or restrict his father’s original vision.” The thinking seems to be that if you’re a member of the family it’s okay if you let the matter of original artistic intent fall by the wayside. Do you agree, Roger?

  • JLC

    This is honestly the most perplexing thing you’ve ever posted on this site, and that’s saying something. The guy issues a press release about the return of his cancer – a fact you acknowledge in the previous post – and your reaction is this? I realize your quixotic obsession with aspect ratios is almost literally the only thing you have left. But this takes the cake.

    • Didn’t see this reply or the previous post about it.

    • Correcting Jeff

      But does it take the *pocket* cake?

    • Actually

      I can’t say it’s the most perplexing, only because nearly everything Jeff posts is perplexing, but in this case, I can only think of two possible explanations.
      The charitable: Jeff has some late-onset Aspergers thing that has completely eroded whatever filters of social propriety and courtesy normally-function people possess.
      The honest: No one in his personal life calls him out for being a dick, only us, and it’s easier being defensive online than when you’re called out by friends and family for just not being right in the head.

      • Lou Lumenick

        Who else would tell someone their father is “rolling in their grave” because the son supervised a 1:66 transfer of a film that Jeff feels shown only be shown at 1:37?

        • “Feels”? Shane was shot in 1.37 in miud 1951 before ANYONE HAD EVEN DREAMT OF

          • Lou Lumenick

            I rest my case.

          • Not true. Philo T. Farnsworth dreamt of 1:66 in 1927 but Sarnoff talked him out of it. True story.

      • joeybot

        It’s not Aspergers, it’s senility.

  • Ebert has never been one to huddle in the corner and bemoan his setbacks. He is about engagement, and this is one of the pressing issues of the moment. This issue is hardly “the only thing” I have left…what are you, drunk? If and when you get sick by all means go off in your bedroom and weep about it. But that’s not Ebert’s style & it never has been.

    • Raising_Kaned

      To be fair, let’s not forget that when you “get sick” you have a tendency to disappear for a couple days from the site. And that’s just the common cold or flu, not this malicious form of deadly cancer.

      And there’s nothing wrong in the SLIGHTEST about this, IMHO, it’s just simply, “taking care of yourself 101.” So please have the common decency to extend this courtesy to Mr. Ebert as well as yourself.

      I’m not normally one to play the “all-PC, all the time” cop or anything, but this post is in exceedingly bad taste. You should seriously consider taking it down.

      • Oh, I’m sorry…did you say something? Sorry, I was on the phone.

        • In case no one in your private life has bothered to take you aside on this, here’s the problem: had you made your request to Ebert at the beginning of your crusade, and really there’s no reason why you ought not have, since you were announcing sending e-mails to strangers left and right, and Ebert is someone you have a more credible professional connection with (I’m being generous here), that would have been fine. Commendable even. To put up a quasi-hectoring request after he announces another potentially grave illness, you surely must understand, reeks of crass opportunism. Or trolling, as they call it. Anyway, as you were. This is gonna be QUITE a shit show.

          • Re-read what Roger wrote yesterday. Does he sound like someone who wants to be left alone to he can moan in his hospital bed and grapple with his condition as best he can and receive gifts & visits from friends? The man who wrote that announcement is fully engaged in human endeavor on the planet earth. He doesn’t sound like he wants or needs your compassion and sympathy, Glenn. As always, he is ready to go, to do, to be as fully as possible.

            • Mark McSherry

              SHANE is on Ebert’s list of “Great Movies: The First 100”.


            • You’re dodging the central objection. Before he announced his illness, you didn’t seem to give a flying toss whether he weighed in or not. This isn’t about my sympathy or compassion. It’s about your transparent opportunism, which again, ties into the ego-stoking, “glory”-hogging grandiosity that makes people who actually have some interest in seeing a 1.37 rendering of “Shane” loathe to join your crusade.

              • I was trying to show respect for Ebert by treating him/speaking to him like a fully functioning professional journalist. Unlike the rest of the doofuses on this thread who seem to believe that the only respectful thing is to regard Ebert as a withered lost cause who is all but breathing his last. He obviously doesn’t look at things that way, and neither do I. You’re all a bunch of pissy little pricks (except for George Prager).

                • hupto

                  Well, this pissy little prick still thinks it wouldn’t have killed you to wait a couple of days…

                • EricGilde

                  Great! So why was it that you didn’t include him in the crusade until just now again?

        • moviewatcher

          “Oh, I’m sorry…did you say something? Sorry, I was on the phone.”

          Are you serious?

  • Pretty sure Mr. Ebert’s got more important things to deal with right now.

    • Pretty sure Ebert regards the “more important things” you’re referring to as unfortunately necessary but extremely irksome, and that the real symphonic joy of his life comes from writing and engaging on the pressing film issues of the day.

      • Sonny Hooper

        Yeah, Jeff, battling cancer is “irksome.” Get a fucking clue.

  • cyanic

    Jeffrey Wells is more insane than me, which I guess makes me normal and not insane.

    • You might think yourself “insane” but this post indicates you don’t get it & you never WILL get it, not really…but I do & always have. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there it is.

      • Alan Burnett

        Jesus. Let’s make this clear: you’re not trying to improve the lives of third-world refugees or attempting to bring warlords to justice. YOU ARE A FILM BLOGGER. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t pretend as if you’re a modern cowboy bringing JUSTICE and THE TRUTH to the people. The real truth is there’s actually nothing “to get”, there’s no hidden truth to film and art that only you can see. You just have a difference of opinion, deal with it.

  • Indeed

    This is a pressing issue?

  • HAHAHA. This is just terrific, although not for any of the reasons Jeff assumes.

    Can someone in the Illinois area get some footage of Roger Ebert opening this e-mail and laying the down the greatest “Da fuck?” reaction of all time?

    • Raising_Kaned


  • Come back, Shame. Shame! Come back!

  • Actually

    Not everybody can take a strong stand on a cancerous, broken hip, but in this case I bet Roger can!
    – Said nobody, ever.

  • George Prager

    Can’t you at least ask them to re-run “Mr. Ed”?

  • George Prager

    I’m sure Ebert has an opinion about it. There’s no reason to believe that he’s on his deathbed.

    • Max Stephens

      Speaking of death, George, Wells has given you the perfect inscription for your tombstone: Not a Prissy Little Prick.

  • Mr. F.


    “Roger Ebert passed away today, and sure, that’s sad and all… but why is no one making more of an issue with his obesity? Everyone is thinking it, but I guess it’s up to me to say it: he did it to himself. Sure, he was a pretty good writer (when he gave it some effort), but if he had the courage to stop eating himself to death, he might still be with us. And while he refused to join me in my valiant efforts against the Shane aspect ratio fascists (what, was he busy or something?!), I’m not bitter about it. Sure, it just proved he was a total coward and a pitiful excuse for a man… but I’m not going to speak ill of the dead. RIP, Rog.”

    • moviewatcher

      The sad thing is… I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this happened. He’s written worse…