Click here to see my name on Roger Ebert's website. Or see the same thing right here:|
Even though Roger Ebert wrote a question in his response, I don't think he's waiting for my reply, so I'll reply here.
When I showed a friend my comment on Roger Ebert's website, he said of Ebert's response: "He missed the point. Once you are aware of the point, i.e. that binocular shots in movies are almost all the same and are all in error, you will never look at them the same again." When I wrote to Ebert, I considered writing something facetious like "Don't the Coen brothers know anything about making movies? Whenever you show the view through binoculars, you have to make it look like a view through a piece of black cardboard with two slightly overlapping circles cut out." I didn't go for the facetious angle, though, partly because I'm sure he gets hundreds of emails a day so if I don't get straight to the point in the simplest way, I doubt he would bother to figure out my intended meaning. Also, that wouldn't be a good format for the glossary. And for the Answerman column, it might get excluded for being too stupid (obviously) or too funny (if Ebert can't think of something funnier to say in response). I can offer a little more to support Ebert's response of "did it bother you?" I did not notice the two unconventional binocular shots the first time I watched the movie. Also, the first time I watched the movie, I was half-watching for clues as to exactly what time the story was set in, but I missed both the times that the year is specified until my second viewing - I suppose because I was "too busy looking", as Mr. Ebert says. It was also only my second viewing that the term "ATM" caught my attention as a probable anachronism. But to get back to the binoculars, my friend's comment is also right on the money. Because I know that the conventional binocular view in movies is wrong, if I had seen it in No Country for Old Men, I think it would have caught my attention immediately as a "mistake." But because the Coen brothers skipped the usual gimmick and just showed what mattered, I saw what they wanted to show without being distracted, at least in my first viewing.
When I wrote to Roger Ebert, I was actually hoping he would use my comment in his very entertaining glossary of movie clichés. You will notice that when he used my comment in his Answerman column, he preceded it with "Q:" to indicate that it is a question, even though grammatically nothing in my comment was a question. And he preceded his response with "A:" to indicate that it is the answer, even though his response contained a question.