The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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America's best-known critic falls off the 'Avatar' bandwagon

January 19, 2010 | 12:58 pm

Ebert Way, way back in December -- meaning all of five weeks ago -- Roger Ebert was saying that "Avatar" was a huge, groundbreaking film, calling it the kind of "sensational" movie that made him feel "sort of the same as I did when I saw 'Star Wars' in 1977."

But now, the ardor of America's leading film critic for "Avatar" has -- ahem -- cooled considerably. As Ebert twittered: "The year's best picture? Give me a [bleep] break."

Is this the beginning of an "Avatar" backlash, now that the film has made untold billions of dollars and is the prohibitive favorite to win the Oscar for best picture? As we all know, critics love to champion underdog movies. But when you're the top dog, you become the target for all sorts of nasty critical revisionism. If I were Jim Cameron, I'd get ready to duck. The brickbats are heading his way.

Photo credit: Chris Pizzello/Associated Press.