Posted by: ckckred | July 22, 2012

A Look Back: The Siskel and Ebert Cop and a Half Debate

I’m a big Siskel and Ebert fan.  I routinely watch old clips of their shows on Youtube and read Roger Ebert’s print reviews every time they debut on his web site.  The one clip I have watched the most times from their show is a review of the 1993 family comedy Cop and a Half.

The disagreements on the show tend to be the most fun, and the Cop and a Half argument was perhaps the biggest debate, with the possible exception of the Full Metal JacketBenji the Hunted fight.  Roger Ebert wholesomely recommended the film, praising Norman D. Golden’s and Burt Reynolds’ performances.  Gene Siskel then went on to mock Ebert, telling him it was a terrible, unfunny film.

By the end of the year, Siskel named it the worst film of 1993, leading Ebert to call Carnosaur, a movie Siskel recommended, the same title (see below, skip to 5:02). Best line: “Maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

I never saw Cop and a Half before and decided to give it a watch.  And believe me, it’s pretty, pretty bad.  I found it pretty unbelievable that the police would allow a kid to work with a cop, and thought the performances were all pretty terrible.

Believe me, you won’t miss much if you don’t watch Cop and a Half.  But watch the Siskel and Ebert clip instead.



  1. Great post, I’ve recently been watching some of their film debates

    • Yeah. The Cop and a Half debate has been my favorite. Some of the other great ones include the Full Metal Jacket-Benji the Hunted fight, Home Alone 3, Baby’s Day Out, and Silence of the Lambs. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Loved your post.

    Noticed a typographical error though:

    “Believe me, you won’t miss much if you [don’t] watch Cop and a Half.”

    I hate to break it to you, but very many family comedies are like that, and even more family dramas.

    • Thanks for spotting that error. Most family comedies are bad, as well as family dramas. The worst family comedy I’ve seen is Ed, a hilariously bad film that has a monkey playing baseball.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. I love thumbing through random clips of theirs on YouTube. I’d love to know if Ebert would still defend a film like this without Siskel around to go toe-to-toe with him.

    • It’s my favorite arguement on the show. I remember reading an article where Ebert said, “One day the mail brought an autographed photo of Norman D. Golden II, the eight-year-old co-star of “Cop and a Half,” thanking me for helping his career. I thought that was nice of the kid, until I recognized something familiar about his handwriting.”

      You can find it on

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