Roger Ebert: 1942 – 2013
Today is a sad day in the world of movies. Famed Chicago Sun movie critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Ebert passed away today after losing a long battle with thyroid cancer. Most movie critics, including myself, attribute their passion for writing movie reviews to Roger Ebert. Along with Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert changed the entire profession by providing well written, insightful commentary into movies and relating to the average moviegoer, despite his overwhelming knowledge of film. Almost everyone remembers Siskel and Ebert’s TV show, which I accredit to paving the way for online movie critics.
My favorite memory of Roger Ebert isn’t even a personal one, but of something that happened to one of my friends. After watching Michael Bay’s THE ISLAND after reading Ebert’s positive review, my friend sent an email to Roger Ebert, questioning Ebert’s praise for the film and basically blaming him for his wasted $10 (the email was friendly, not harsh). Much to our surprise, Roger Ebert actually wrote back, defending his review and making a few jokes as well. I loved that a critic as busy as Ebert would take the time to defend his review, keeping a loyal fan in the process. For that reason, it’s hard for me to hate THE ISLAND, despite all evidence telling me I should.
I’m sure every movie critic has their favorite Roger Ebert moment (most might point to his book of reviews he regrets posting) and that’s another testament to much of an impact he had on the profession. He will be missed, but he leaves a great legacy behind (including 15 books) and thousands of movie critics that will attempt to honor him with their reviews. (Chicago Tribune)