July 2, 2007, - 5:40 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
As you probably know by now, ABC’s “Good Morning America” film critic Joel Siegel died on Friday at the age of 63 of colon cancer.
Although I did not know Joel, nor did I always agree with his movie reviews, he seemed like a very decent and classy guy. And I had a very positive exchange with him over our movie reviews, last year. He walked out of the screening of the sequel to Clerks, “Clerks II” because it was so disgusting. I wrote a review column on the movie, entitled, “Joel Siegel Was Right: Clerks II is Depraved Monument to Decline of Civilization.” Joel walked out of the movie when characters talked about paying a woman to perform oral sex on a donkey (they sanitized this outrage with the PC term “interspecies erotica”). I wish I’d walked out at that point, too. I admired this multi-talented, bright former Martin Luther King organizer, RFK joke-writer, and creator of Baskin-Robbins flavor names, for having the good sense and the morals to speak out against depravity–something you don’t see much in today’s movie critics who accept it as the norm and thus legitimize it.
I sent Joel the column and he responded. He asked me to keep his e-mail private. But since he, sadly, is no longer with us, and since it is a positive manifestation of his moral compass, I reprint it, below:
—– Original Message —–
From: Siegel, Joel S Joel.S.Siegel@abc.com
To: Debbie Schlussel
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2006 11:52 AM
Subject: RE: Clerks II – Debbie Schlussel
thanks. i’m kind of proud of myself.
i heard that dialogue, figured there’s no way i’m reviewing this on morning tv. and no way i want to stick around to see if they
actually do these things.
Another thing I liked about Joel was his brashness and forthrightness. Like me, he was not afraid to offend Hollywood’s big names, even atop the ABC movie review perch. Siegel once said he could not understand the appeal of Matthew McConaughey (I agree):
The appeal of Matthew McConaughey has long evaded me both as a pinup and as an actor. His constant ticks, bad hair and strained syntax as a coach fumble what should have been the tragic and inspirational story of the rebuilding of Marshall University’s football team after a devastating plane crash [in last year's "We Are Marshall."]“
The moustachioed Siegel was relatively very young, and his colon cancer could have been eradicated completely, had he been screened for it and gotten the test when he was 50, instead of 53. He wanted others to get their colonoscopies younger than he did, and since my grandfather died of the same at an even younger age, I think that’s sound advice. And if you do one thing to remember Joel Siegel, do that–get your colonoscopy regularly, once you reach the required age. After Siegel finally got his, he bought himself another ten years of life, even if they were sometimes painful (as he said on TV).
Read Harry Shearer’s and Roger Ebert’s touching remembrances of Joel Siegel.
Joel Siegel, *Zichrono LiVrachah–Blessed Be His Memory.
Tags: ABC, actor, coach, colon cancer, Debbie Schlussel, Depraved Monument, football, Harry Shearer, Joel S Joel, Joel Siegel, Joel Siegel Was Right, Marshall University, Martin Luther King, Matthew McConaughey, RFK joke-writer, Roger Ebert, We Are Marshall