Siskel & Ebert’s 1986 ‘Belizaire the Cajun’ Review Might Surprise You [Video]
Movie Critics Siskel & Ebert made quite a name for themselves throughout the 80s and 90 for their weekly movie reviews. The pair became so popular at one point that their "Thumbs Up" or "Thumbs Down" rating could easily affect the success of a movie at the box office. I found their review of "Belizaire the Cajun" from 1986 and to be honest, was pretty surprised at what they had to say about it.
Siskel & Ebert's "At the Movies", first known as "At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert" aired from 1982 to 1990, originally began out of WGN-TV studios. The typical format of the show had Siskel and Ebert reviewing three new movies out in theaters, or about to be released.
The two would play a few clips from the movie, then each would talk about the film discussing what they liked, or what they disliked. At the end of the show, the two would quickly give their final opinions about the movies, either giving it a "Thumbs Up" to approve or a "Thumbs Down" meaning not worth seeing.
Cote Blanche's description of "Belizaire the Cajun" on YouTube -
Belizaire Breaux (played by Armand Assante, in what many say is his best performance) must save a friend's life, win a woman's heart, outfox a crooked sheriff, stop marauding vigilantes, expose an evil villain, and rescue the inheritance of three orphaned children in a picture that blends suspense and humor.
Like most critics, Siskel & Ebert could be pretty tough on the movies they reviewed, so when I found this video from 1986 of them reviewing "Belizaire the Cajun", I was hesitant to learn what they thought about it.
Turns out, my hesitation was unwarranted because the two tough Chicago movie critics actually liked "Belizaire the Cajun".
Ebert says "A lot of good Cajun music on this soundtrack. I also liked the whole feel of the movie."
Siskel says "Years ago we were rooting for more local cinema. Here's a good example of regional cinema. I think it's great to see this kind of movie coming."
So, what rating did Siskel & Ebert ultimately give "Belizaire the Cajun"?
Two Thumbs Up!
How great is that? Obviously, you're probably like me and couldn't care less about critics' opinions on movies, music, food, etc but, to have two high-brow revered and respected movie critics actually like a movie about our culture certainly is a proud moment.
Even if "Belizaire the Cajun" isn't what we would consider an accurate portrayal of Cajun and Creole culture, the movie's music soundtrack by Michael Doucet And Beausoleil is certainly right on the money.
Below is the Siskel & Ebert episode from 1986 reviewing "Belizaire the Cajun". You'll want to start watching at the 6:16 mark.