On Roger Ebert, "Bates Motel"
Roger Ebert, arguably the most popular and best film critic ever, died on Wednesday at age 70. He and Gene Siskel, who worked in Chicago, formed the popular "At The Movies" TV show, where the two discussed movies on a weekly basis.
My love of the big screen began with my Aunt Sheila and carried on watching Siskel and Ebert. In the 80s, moviegoers awaited a "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" from the moviegoing duo. It was must-watch TV for moviegoers everywhere.
Siskel died in the 1990s, so it's been a while since the two worked together on TV.
Ebert, who battled cancer for the last few years, also won a Pulitzer for his work in film criticism. One of my favorite stories he wrote was Ebert describing watching "Rocky II" with Muhammad Ali. Read it here.
He will be missed.
In the pilot episode of A&E's "Bates Motel," the first scene is Norman Bates finding his father dead.
How he died isn't told, but it's assumed Norman's mother is somehow connected, which starts (or contiues?) the odd connection between mother and son.
In Alfred Hitchcock's original "Psycho," a grown-up Norman still has issues with his mother, albeit a dead one he stores in the Bates house behind the motel. "Bates Motel" is a prequel, so to speak, about Norman's teenage years, and the A&E TV show is almost as creepy and suspenseful at the 1960 original, although this version of the Bates family is set in present day. It works.
Vera Farmiga plays Norma Louise Bates and Freddie Highmore Norman. The pair oozes chemistry from the get-go, so much so it makes you cringe at times. There's a scene in the pilot, which aired March 18, that has nothing to do with the mother-son relationship, but will make you cringe nonetheless.
There's also a third character that will send shivers down your spine: the town of White Pine Bay, Ore., where Norma and Norman move to and buy the Bates Motel. There's shaddy things happening in this town, and enough to pull the viewer in.
As if the Bates Motel wasn't enough.
- Mark Podolski | @mpodo