"A welcome reminder of an era when film criticism actually mattered." - Richard Zoglin, New York Times

"Recommended for wide purchase with, what else, an enthusiastic thumbs up." - Jeff Connelly, Booklist 

"Readers who recall Siskel and Ebert will be delighted by this opportunity to reminisce." - Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, November 28, 6:30 p.m. (Sold Out) | Once upon a time, if you wanted to know if a movie was worth seeing, you didn’t check out Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB. You asked whether Siskel & Ebert had given it “two thumbs up.” In 1975, Gene Siskel was the film critic for the Chicago Tribune, and Roger Ebert had recently won the Pulitzer Prize—the first ever awarded to a film critic—for his work at the Chicago Sun-Times. To say they despised each other was an understatement. When they reluctantly agreed to collaborate on a new movie review show with PBS, there was at least as much sparring off-camera as on. No decision—from which films to cover to who would read the lead review to how to pronounce foreign titles—was made without conflict, but their often-antagonistic partnership (which later transformed into genuine friendship) made for great television. In Opposable Thumbs, award-winning editor and film critic Matt Singer eavesdrops on their iconic balcony set, detailing their rise from making a few hundred dollars a week on local Chicago PBS to securing multimillion-dollar contracts for a syndicated series, and how their influence on the way we talk about (and think about) movies continues to this day. Join Matt Singer for a reading from Opposable Thumbs, followed by a conversation with Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips, and a presentation of iconic clips from “At the Movies.”

Matt Singer headshot
Matt Singer, author of "Opposable Thumbs"









Ticket Pricing

Event: $30 general public / $25 members (includes book)
Book only: $27 general public / $23 members

The Film Center is ADA accessible. This presentation will be projected without open captions. The theater is hearing-loop equipped. For accessibility requests, please email