Pop Culture
Jun 21, 2011, 08:12AM

Roger Ebert Weighs In On Jackass Star's Death

Just what America needs.

Ryandunn.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Roger Ebert, who’s gotten perceptibly dottier in his old age, is at it again. The self-appointed moral arbiter (who famously objected to last year’s would-be cinematic provocation Kick-Ass by running a review full of spoilers and concluded, in a weak attempt at poeticism, “[T]he movie moved into dark, dark territory, and I grew sad.”) decided yesterday to weigh in on the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn in an apparent drunk driving incident with the following thoughtful tweet:

"Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive."

I’m sure some of us thought of something pithy when we found out that one of the Jackass guys—who’ve made millions by doing goofy things to their goofy selves—had died in a car crash. Who could possibly have seen something like this coming, ho ho? But it’s one thing to think it to yourself or wisecrack to your office mates, and quite another to broadcast it to your millions (and, yes, there are millions who follow Ebert—without him, how would we know that The Seventh Seal is a “great movie”?) of followers.

To their credit, some of those followers called Ebert on it. “That was in disgustingly poor taste,” remarked amanda_clap, while escalantedaniel wondered, “why is this a joke? he is still a person. have some respect.” J0hn0b cut to the chase: “@ebertchicago, you’re an asshole.”

But perhaps the most relevant Twitter riposte came from Dunn’s Jackass co-star Bam Margera: “I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of shit roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents,” later adding, “Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat fucking mouth!”

Ebert’s famously fat fucking mouth has actually been shut for a number of years, of course, since post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer took away his voice. But the thumbs (and the rest of his digits) still work, giving us the purported dry wit of the above tweet.

Plainly the “drink and drive” line was something that Ebert just tossed off, en route to hyping his old reviews of movies like Bugsy and noting how he’s just sent in another entry for The New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest. But perhaps the outrage over the Dunn remark requires a belated pause for reflection, or even an apology to anyone he offended?

Well…no. After another giant of thought, Perez Hilton, expressed concern over the incident—“Too soon, Roger”—Ebert wrote: "Perez Hilton’s readers agree with me and not with Perez about my tweet on Ryan Dunn. He drank, he drove, 2 people died."

And as we all know, if Perez Hilton’s readers are on your side, nothing can stop you.

Unknown is whether Perez’s readers, or anyone else, found Ebert’s tweet before the “drink and drive” remark agreeable: “'Jackass' star Ryan Dunn RIP. His Porsche flew through 40 yards of trees."

See, it’s funny ‘cause it rhymes!

I’m not going to argue about how we all have a hole in our lives now that Dunn is gone. I’ve never watched Jackass on TV or in its many cinematic renditions, and wouldn’t have been able to pick Dunn out of a police line-up (or in a crowded bar—zing?). But even someone responsible for dumbing down the level of film criticism (Thumbs up! Thumbs down!) should have thought twice before blasting something like that out—and then gleefully pointing to statements by Perez Hilton’s readers (not even Hilton himself) as justification for his remarks. If Twitter had been around in 1983, would he have chortled over how Vic Morrow “really lost his head” making the Twilight Zone movie?

At any rate, there’s no time for contemplation in the Ebert-verse, as America breathlessly awaits his two cents on Ron Paul’s popularity, and Jon Stewart’s new haircut. But for now, the balcony in Ebert’s soul is closed.

  • Ever since Ebert lost his jaw he's taken on a kind of Emersonian like sage persona that bugs the shit out of me. Also, he's gotten a lot less pruder. This just goes to show how out of touch he is.

    Responses to this comment
  • Kodak, he's gotten less prude...so he's out of touch? What? How does that compute? Anyway, this drunk asshole killed whoever was sitting next to him, and it's unbelievable to me, the grandiose posturing on this piece (which is less a discussion of the issue at hand and more of a reason to let out some gripes about Ebert) and elsewhere, as if all of a sudden "too soon, bro" became a rallying call for Internet decency. Fucking christ.

  • "Grandiose," eh? Next time I'll keep the words to single syllables.

    Responses to this comment
  • sorry, that comment was typed in haste. I meant to say he's become more prude, but that's not really what I'm trying to say. I think he's adopted a moral high horse position and speaks as if he were one of our time's great thinkers. Fact is the guy ruined movie criticism and dumbed it down. And his tweet was incredibly insensitive. I mean, his family and friends just lost him so suddenly/violently, think about how it must feel for them to read some schmuck make some kind of example of it? Fuck him.

    Responses to this comment
  • Apparently the nation's Moral Arbiter has a conscience, after all -- or at least all the noise finally got to him: http://www.thewrap.com/tv/article/roger-ebert-backpedals-ryan-dunn-jackass-tweet-28432

    Responses to this comment
  • Single syllables wouldn't make this a convincing argument. But it'd be a start.

    Responses to this comment
  • Not sure what "convincing argument" you're looking for -- he was a drunk driver so he deserved to die? -- but I'm breathless with anticipation...

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment