Questions For The Movie Answer Man
Author: Roger Ebert
Original Release: June 1997
In my latest trip to the library, I decided to peruse the movie book section. Naturally, being in Chicago, there were a large number of books by Roger Ebert sitting on the shelf. I decided to pick up a couple of them since I have been gaining a larger appreciation for his work as of late. One of these books, Questions For The Movie Answer Man, is a compilation of his newspaper columns in which he would answer questions about movies submitted by his readers.
Since this book was published in 1997, it is obviously rather dated. Ebert frequently brings up CompuServe, VHS tapes, LaserDiscs and other technological mediums that are indicative of the time period. A good portion of the book’s content is based on popular movies during that time as well — there are multiple Q&As about Forrest Gump, Independence Day and Pulp Fiction, just to name a few examples. Some of these references are laughable today, as are many of the questions that readers have sent in. It’s hard to find any utility in this book in this day and age since we now have the ability to use IMDB and Wikipedia to obtain movie information, and even Snopes to learn about urban legends (i.e. the infamous munchkin hanging from Wizard of Oz).
I have no doubts that in 1997 this book would have been a fun, quick read. However, not even Ebert’s quick wit can make this dated publication worth reading today. While I got a chuckle out of a handful of his occasional snarky replies, I can’t help but feel I should have just watched a movie instead of taking the time to read this. Do yourself a favor and go to the cinema instead — I’m sure even Ebert would approve of this behavior.