Friday, April 05, 2013

Roger Ebert

This is but one of a million tributes to Roger Ebert that are flying around the web today and yet, I'm proud to be one of the many.  It's a sign of just how influential Ebert was that half the internet is paying homage to a man who was one of the most influential people in cinema for the last 40 years.

It's no big stretch to say that my love of movies was greatly expanded by watching Siskel & Ebert's weekly review show.  I remember watching their program when I was as young as eleven years old, learning about all kinds of obscure movies I'd never have known existed.  Siskel & Ebert often lamented the fact that their 'two thumbs up' gimmick and handing out star ratings in their reviews kind of obscured proper criticism behind a mere ranking game --- there are obviously different levels of four-star films, for instance.  Yet it was enjoyable how the two of them could be entertained by a "three-star" popcorn movie just as much as they could by a "four-star" cinematic masterpiece.

Ebert's written reviews were in the same vein.  If you read a Roger Ebert rave, man, did that ever fire you up to go see that movie.  Even if you didn't always agree with his assessment (remember, this is a guy who championed 'Crash' as the best movie of 2005), you could at least see his point and appreciate the logic behind his admiration of a picture.  Or, conversely, why he disliked a picture.  Or, why he hated a picture, and few things are funnier than Ebert shitting all over a movie he disliked.  He even published two full books of his pans, called "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" and "Your Movie Sucks."  What a boss.

Aside from actually watching the films themselves, no source taught me more about cinema than Roger Ebert.  I credit him with my becoming a film major in university and why I so often delve into film criticism here on this blog…so if you want someone to blame for my way-too-long Markademy Awards posts, I guess you can blame Ebert.

RIP to this iconic figure, the greatest film critic of this age and to one of my writing heroes.  Thumbs up on a great life.

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