Skip to main content

Roger Ebert's 4 Star Movie Guide and Serendipity

In the late 1980's BASF had a package of videotapes that included a book of movie reviews by Roger Ebert. The guide had the same dimensions as a videotape.

What I like about Ebert reviews, actually more than like - but am amazed by, is how in a relatively short review there is meaningful insight. Sometimes the insight is into the movie or an actor but sometimes it is about life, the world, or people.

Found books have always interested me. The serendipity of books beguiles me. How many people have been influenced or changed by a found book?

Numerous people bought these tapes wanting the book. But then others were exposed to the book because of the purchase.

Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, was one of the people that found and was influenced by the book. Excerpt from his article Learning From EbertIn the nineteen-eighties, when I was in high school, my parents bought a VHS player, and, with it, an Ebert video guide, in which various of his Chicago Sun-Times reviews were collected. Through that book, I found dozens of my favorite films. 

I also think of the book-less homes that ended up with a book because the 4 package set of videotapes was a good deal. I wonder what kids, teenagers, or adults, that like Alex Ross, found this book and discovered bigger worlds because of what they read. The movies that were seen/rented that never would have been seen had this book not fallen into their lives.

The chaos theory butterfly flapped its wings, a page was turned, and the world ended up a little different because of a book falling into odd corners of America.

I ran into a copy on a thrift store shelf a few years ago. I bought that copy because I remembered seeing the VHS/book set in the video store when video stores were a thing. Thanks to Amazon and the Internet if you had any interest in getting a copy, one can now easily be found.


  1. I greatly enjoy the personal observations and experiences you share here. The chaos theory butterfly is a classic touch. Thanks for sharing!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Internet history is fragile. This archive is making sure it doesn’t disappear

What’s online doesn’t necessarily last forever. Content on the Internet is revised and deleted all the time. Hyperlinks “rot,” and with them goes history, lost in space. With that in mind, Brewster Kahle set out to develop the Internet Archive, a digital library with the mission of preserving all the information on the World Wide Web, for all who wish to explore. Jeffrey Brown reports.

I need a smoke...

Where was this Kent cigarette ad found?

In this 1974 paperback.

If you had asked me yesterday when cigarette ads were last placed in books I would have guessed mid-1960s. The color ad was a single page with a different Kent ad on each side. The ad was bound into the book.