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RIP Roger Ebert

I was very saddened today to hear of the death of Roger Ebert.

Roger (somehow I think of him as 'Roger,' not 'Ebert,' though I never met him in the flesh, and spoke to him only once, by telephone, in the early 1970s when both of us were young and dinosaurs roamed the earth) has been my favorite film critic since forever. I did not always agree with him, but I always found him insightful and fun to read. He was not just a terrific critic, he was a terrific WRITER. His shows with Gene Siskel, SNEAK PREVIEWS and SISKEL AND EBERT AT THE MOVIES, were must-see TV for me. A hundred other teams have tried to recapture their magic, but none came close.

He was One of Us too. A fan, and an SF fan at that. In his youth, he wrote for fanzines, and he even published a few short SF stories in Ted White's AMAZING and FANTASTIC along about the same time I was publishing in those selfsame magazines. If he had not gone on to be the world's best film critic, he might well have been a successful SF writer.

A brilliant man, a good life. I give him two thumbs up.


Apr. 5th, 2013 07:33 pm (UTC)
Roger Ebert
I'm a huge fan of his writing and I loved him as much as I could love someone with whom I've talked through the internet a few times. I would actually get very sentimental because he meeant (and means) so much to me. Film reviewing is for me part of the cinema world so when I think of the beauty of the movies, Roger easily come to my mind among other things.
Thanks for sharing the info that he also wrote SF stories. Such a complex personality..such a beautiful man.
Eric Porter
Apr. 5th, 2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
I was lucky enough to grow up in Chicago being able to watch and read both Siskel and Ebert on a weekly basis. They were a huge catalyst in my love for movies and introduced me to many genre's I would have never found on my own. They are both truly missed.
Shane Archer
Apr. 5th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
Can't agree more, Roger Ebert was one of the most readable film critics anywhere, even if you had no real interest in whatever was being reviewed. He always came off as genuinely nice and managed to be critical without being overly negative.

When I was younger I'd catch him in the papers or on TV, and now he was always the first Top Critic I'd seek out on rottentomatoes.com or elsewhere.

Cheers to Roger for a life well lived!
Bryan Cogman
Apr. 6th, 2013 12:21 am (UTC)
This makes me very very sad. In fact, I haven't been this sad about a celebrity's death since Jim Henson. As a budding film nut, I devoured his 'home video companion', watched his TV show religiously, visited his website weekly, treasured his "Great Movies" books... He exposed me at a young age to dozens of films, directors, and writers that I never would have been aware of otherwise.

Many years ago, I saw (and hated) MULHOLLAND DRIVE. Ebert gave it a four star review. I wrote him a comment on his 'movie answer man' message board to tell him why I hated it. To my surprise and delight, he emailed me back PERSONALLY to tell me why I was wrong! (I was right, by the way).

Guess I'll have to get used to a world where Roger Ebert isn't around to review the latest theatrical release or recommend a classic I haven't seen yet. Feel like I lost a friend.
Shiv Sundram
Apr. 6th, 2013 01:19 am (UTC)
An incredible, prolific man
Mr Ebert,

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a two hour film speaks 172,800,000. Few people have the ability to reduce such monstrosity into an elegant one page summary…even fewer have the gift to transmute the beauty of modern cinema into the written word. With that said, the world has just lost a treasure of the written, spoken, and visual arts.

Today, Roger Ebert passed away at the age of 70 after battling cancer since 2002. He was a film critic, known most famously as one of the hosts of “At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert.” Together, they popularized the term “two thumbs up,” and for the layman, that may be the only discernible feature of his legacy. But he was more than that…he always manged to remind us of why we loved movies in the first place. His discussions and writings were colloquial enough to be accessible, and yet eloquent enough to be considered art. I would read his reviews avidly, and even when we completely disagreed on a film’s quality, his words were still thoughtful enough to earn my respect.

And in 2002 he was diagnosed with a cancer that eventually robbed him of his face and voice. Nevertheless, he continued to watch, write, and review movies until he was recently hospitalized. And most importantly, he never lost his perspective and zest for life. On his impending death, he said

“I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter.

Mr Ebert, your writing was visceral, your passion was tenacious, and above all, your courage was inspiring. My favorite review of all time is yours on Citizen Kane. It begins with:

“`I don't think any word can explain a man's life,'' says one of the searchers through the warehouse of treasures left behind by Charles Foster Kane. Then we get the famous series of shots leading to the closeup of the word ``Rosebud''”.

To me, Rosebud represents more than just Kane’s longing for the innocence of childhood…it is a symbol of the difficulty of reducing something larger than life into mere words. Every day, Roger Ebert would take on this task with humility, honesty, and his classic touch of humor, whether he was writing about films, society, or his own fight with cancer. And now here I sit, at my own keyboard, unable to do for Roger Ebert what he did so effortlessly for the rest of the world. How does one describe a man like him? It would be fruitless to say that I, or anybody, could do so successfully. So Mr. Ebert. I leave you with one last word:


Rest in peace,

One of your biggest fans,
Shiv Sundram
Apr. 6th, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
Sad day indeed
We'll never get to hear his review of The Tales of Dunk and Egg movie released in 2018.
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:59 am (UTC)
He was One of Us too. A fan, and an SF fan at that. In his youth, he wrote for fanzines, and he even published a few short SF stories in Ted White's AMAZING and FANTASTIC along about the same time I was publishing in those selfsame magazines. If he had not gone on to be the world's best film critic, he might well have been a successful SF writer.

I didn't know that about him. Suddenly, his passing is so much more personal. I always enjoyed his show, though. He'll be missed.
Apr. 6th, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
Two thumbs up indeed.
Apr. 7th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
One of the most gratifying moments I've had...
...was hearing Ebert tell me my movie tastes are "excellent". He was a very warm man, as far as I could tell, and I greatly enjoyed his reviews and his writings. I'll need to watch more of his favourite films.

RIP, Ebert. I miss you already.

Two thumbs up indeed.
Mary Ellen Wofford
Apr. 7th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
I knew when he and Siskel gave Lone Wolf McQuade a thumbs up they were critics who knew that sometimes a not so great movie can still be great entertainment and I followed them slavishly as long as they were on. They were a great odd couple relationship and hearing their discussions on movies and why the agreed or didn't agree really helped form how I think of movies myself and how I understand them.

Mr. Ebert will be missed.
Vincent Bordini
Apr. 8th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
Roger Ebert always had something to say and he was rarely boring. His shoes, like Gene Siskel's, will not be filled anytime soon.

I enjoyed his combativeness and his willingness to publicize the trials of his final years.

He is already missed.
Felicia Johanneson
Apr. 8th, 2013 09:21 am (UTC)

My name is Felicia and I am a 19-yeared old girl from Sweden. I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones. I was introduced to the series from my boyfriend. I do a lot of acting and I am just very curious about casts? Can you in anyway try out for a role?
(sorry for my bad english, haha)

my mail is: freiheit94@live.se if you want to answer! :)

Love / Felicia Johanneson
Alan Ziebarth
Apr. 8th, 2013 01:45 pm (UTC)
Roger Ebert
What I loved about Ebert's reviews is that he always answered the question, "What was the filmmaker trying to do and did he succeed?'.
Apr. 8th, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
Great writer
I agree that Roger Ebert was a great writer, and I often relied on his opinions when it came to deciding which movies to watch, but the thing about him that really stuck out was the sheer volume of his work. He watched and reviewed more than 300 movies a year! And he never fell back into a formula for his reviews so he could crank them out. (Plus he blogged on a number of topics, adding to his workload).
Apr. 8th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
So sad.
I'm with you. I was glued to AT THE MOVIES as a kid. And you're right, while I didn't always share his opinion, his intelligence and personality always shined. He was also fair, and while he could be critical, I don't ever remember him being mean. RIP, Roger. You get my thumbs up.
Apr. 9th, 2013 03:05 am (UTC)
glass half-full, glass half-empty

I miss Ebert, but I don't begrudge the guy his freedom from the flesh -- endured seven-plus years (truthfully eleven-ish) without speaking, eating, or drinking in his customary recreational fashion. More than 10% of his time on this planet. Also suffered multiple mobility-hampering fractures, some surgery-related, others metastasis-related, etc. The end is difficult.
Apr. 9th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
Another part of my childhood is gone
I was always more of a Siskel fan but loved the banter between the two. Later, after the show was over and Ebert went through his major health issues, I became a big fan of his writing. I will miss his words.
Apr. 9th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
Through him, I learned the difference between 'movies' and 'films'.
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
"I was very saddened today to hear of the death of Roger Ebert."

Me too. Very nice blog, he will be missed!

Kellee Farr
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
i can't claim to have always agreed with him either (with his job being within the realms of subjectivity short of a clone when would you expect that though) but i always did enjoy reading his reviews as well. sometimes, i felt like he didn't have as much respect for the darker stuff which actually made me respect him more as a person (sorta felt like he had higher moral and ethical standards than i do)

Edited at 2013-04-10 02:47 pm (UTC)
Tingting Li
Apr. 12th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
He was my favorite film critic. T T
Apr. 13th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC)
His SF Stories
"he even published a few short SF stories in Ted White's AMAZING and FANTASTIC along about the same time I was publishing in those selfsame magazines."

Oh man, I would love to read these stories. Is there anywhere I could find them?

Also, I too loved watching Sneak Previews on PBS when I was a kid. Even though I wouldn't probably enjoy most of the reviewed movies at the age I was at, I just always loved watching the Siskel and Ebert reviews of them for some reason. I always took the big guy's side when they had a disagreement. He will be missed.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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