Why we'll miss Roger Ebert
05:00 AM, Apr 04, 2013
I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat when I heard Roger Ebert died today. I’ve been watching and hearing his movie reviews for decades, and, for the last several years, I’ve been following his health battles and personal triumphs.
In a sense, the celebrated film critic became just as much of a part of my life as the movies he reviewed.
Ebert provided insightful cultural commentary, but what I loved about him is that his passion for the movies leapt off the page. He frequently reminded us of the joy movies can bring and that not every film has to deliver a hard-hitting lesson; sometimes it’s simply enough to make us smile.
Pop Candy reader Chris Cummins (@bionicbigfoot) illustrated this earlier today by tweeting the below video, in which Ebert and fellow critic Gene Siskel praise and defend Star Wars:
Indeed, the first time I saw Ebert was in the ’80s, when he and Siskel bantered and bickered on At the Movies. That also may have been the first time I realized there could be much more to a flick than what we see onscreen, and that some of the best art is that which begs lengthy discussion.
Ebert struggled with cancer for more than a decade, though the last 10 years proved to be some of his most prolific. Undeterred by the illness which left him unable to speak, Ebert became an active tweeter, penned a memoir, ran a film festival and continued to write movie reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times.
“There is no need to pity me,” he told Esquire in a 2010 profile. “Look how happy I am.”
As we mourn the loss of one of filmmaking’s biggest fans, we should also be grateful to have had Roger Ebert around to remind us especially in this age of snark and cynicism that fortune or power don’t always lead to happiness
Sometimes, all it takes is a trip to the movies.