Where Roger Ebert Likes to Sit at the Movies


You’ve probably noticed by now that we’re big fans of Roger Ebert here at Flavorpill, and as we trust his film reviews so wholeheartedly, it only makes sense that we’d also follow his advice when it comes to where to sit when watching a movie. “Growing up, I always liked to sit somewhere in the middle,” Ebert writes on his blog. “After I got the Sun-Times job I idly asked my optometrist where one should sit. ‘Twice as far back as the screen is wide,’ he ruled. To that advice I made a refinement: I prefer an aisle seat on the outboard side of the aisle. Outboard? Imagine a theater with two side aisles. I want the side of the aisle at a greater distance from the screen, so that I can look diagonally across the aisle, and not have to peer over a taller person in front of me. This is especially useful if the movie has subtitles and somebody’s head might obscure them.”

Ebert then goes on to explain why he now sits in the back row when taking in a movie at the Lake Street Screening Room. It all started when Gene Siskel decided to move from the center aisle to the back row in order to avoid “being spied on” by publicists; Ebert became acutely aware of his critical cohort sitting behind him, watching his reactions. “So I moved to the back row to outwit the son of a bitch,” he writes. “I picked the end of the row nearest the door, so I could sneak out to the men’s room without calling undue attention to myself. Most people have bladders the size of oil drums, but I usually have to pee at least once during a movie. A few of my colleagues share this need, and I am sympathetic while watching them bend over and make a Groucho Marx run in front of the screen in the futile hope that no one will notice them.”