I learned this past weekend that long time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Movie Editor and Critic Barbara Vancheri has retired.
I consider this a loss to movie fans in the Pittsburgh area as I considered Barb a discerning critic, and I knew that I could almost always (with some exceptions, of course) see a pretty good movie and, just as importantly, avoid seeing a pretty bad movie, by following her reviews. I especially liked how she would often end her reviews by using a whimsical simile. Something like..."The movie is like a bucket of movie theater popcorn. It tastes good while you're eating it, but you still feel empty as soon as it's finished." I loved those!
I am happy that Barb made the decision herself to retire. It is always great to leave on your own terms. I wish her nothing but the best as she enters this next phase of her life.
Full disclosure, the Vancheri and Moellenbrock (that would be my wife) families lived on the same street in McCandless. Marilyn and Barbara and her sister and brother were childhood friends growing up. Heck, Barb Vancheri was at our wedding! So, Marilyn certainly knows Barb far better than I, but in later years, with the development of email and especially since I began writing about movies myself in this Blog, I would email back and forth with Barb about these topics. She would always respond and, I might add, respond graciously to this hack amateur movie fan blogger. I will certainly miss that.
I am not sure what the PG will do to replace her, but the early returns do not look promising. Today's Weekender Magazine featured a write-up on all of the "Summer Movies" that will come out in the months ahead - its as the kind of feature that Barb always did so well - and it was written by someone from a Milwaukee (?) newspaper. Not a good sign, but that is a topic for another day.
While I can't claim to know Barb well, I think I can say that she is an essentially modest person, and that she probably is not happy that I am writing this and putting this small spotlight on her, but I am doing it anyway. I want her to know that I will miss seeing her in the Post-Gazette, that I appreciate her friendship, and that I wish her nothing but happiness and success in whatever she chooses to do in the years ahead.