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Ebert Interruptus

I'll be away from the blog for a few days, headed to Boulder, Colorado for the Conference on World Affairs. That probably makes me sound super-cultured and really global, but I'm actually neither. My main reason for going is to attend only one aspect of the conference, an program started by film critic Roger Ebert in 1969 which has come to be known as Ebert Interruptus.


The format is this: Ebert would screen a movie of his choosing on a Tuesday, let's say. On Wednesday, he would start the film again and pause it each time anyone had a question or a comment (including himself, I suppose). This would go on throughout the rest of the week.

For the past two years, Ebert Interruptus has been led by Josh Larsen, a Chicago area film critic who writes at Larsen on Film, co-hosts the podcast Filmspotting, and has written a book called Movies Are Prayers: How Films Voice Our Deepest Longings (2017). I don't know Larsen personally, but I've corresponded with him a couple of times and I enjoyed his book. For his first Ebert Interruptus, Larsen chose Wes Anderson's Rushmore (1998). Last year, Larsen chose Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). At that point, I decided, "Okay, I've got to whatever it takes to attend Ebert Interruptus in 2019." I convinced my wife (who doesn't even care for movies, unless they're documentaries) to join me for the trip. (I'm going to the conference; she's going hiking. We'll both be doing what we love.)

So when I decided that Larsen chose WALL-E (2008) for this year's Ebert Interruptus, I'll be honest: I was disappointed.

I was expecting a Hollywood classic, a masterpiece of world cinema, or even a highly-respected, culturally-significant film dealing with the complexities of human nature in the 21st century. I wasn't expecting a Pixar movie that I watched with my two young nieces several years ago. But then I thought, "Well, maybe this is a culturally-significant film dealing with the complexities of human nature in the 21st century..."

Although I've never met him, I trust Larsen and look forward to this experience. I won't be reporting here until I get back, but I do hope to Tweet about the Conference on World Affairs in general and Ebert Interruptus in particular, so if you follow me on Twitter (awolverton77), I'll be sure to keep you posted. In the meantime, feel free to poke around on this blog and my older one that's still active.

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