“Roger Ebert loved movies.
Except for those he hated”
It was hard to get the news last week that Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert had died of cancer. Just the day before he died, Ebert had announced on his blog that he was taking a “leave of presence” from the Chicago Sun-Times. He said that he would be limiting himself to writing only about the movies he wanted to as he dealt with a recurrence of the cancer that cost him his jaw, his voice, and the ability to eat and drink. (Back in 2010, Equire ran a fantastic profile of Ebert by Chris Jones that talked about Ebert’s post-cancer, post-voice life online.)
I don’t have the time to write the remembrance of what Ebert has meant to me since I first started watching him on TV more than 35 years ago. Suffice it to say that he has always been the critic I turned to first when I wanted to know what critics had to say about movies. One of the things I loved about him is that he wasn’t afraid to trash a popular movie, praise an unpopular movie, and to love movies that are just plain fun. (The NY Times called him “a critic for the common man.“) One thing I had not realized until the news of his death broke was what a talented student journalist he had been working at the Daily Illini.
I have long talked about Ebert (and his old TV partner Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune) in my commentary class, and was scheduled to talk about him in class right when he died.
As I started digging through my blog archives, I was startled to see how many times I had mentioned Ebert over the last 9 years. Here are links to as many of the blog posts as I can find.
But first, here are two of his reviews from television with Gene Siskel.
Siskel & Ebert review The Shawshank Redemption:
Siskel & Ebert review Jurassic Park:
Mentions of Roger Ebert in this blog over the years:
- January 2, 2012 – Roger Ebert on why the 2011 box office was down
- August 5, 2011 – Why should we care about 3D movies?
- March 29, 2011 – Reviewing the movies
Includes a great video appearance of Siskel and Ebert at the National Press Club back in 1995.
- March 7, 2011 – Great Bollywood example
(Includes a link to an Ebert blog post on Bollywood.)
- February 23, 2009 – Slumdog Millionaire brings Bollywood to American mass culture
- December 5, 2008 – Roger Ebert on what’s wrong with movie writing today
Includes a link to “Roger’s little rule book” on writing reviews.
- December 7, 2010 – Media news I learned from Twitter
Ebert had a massive presence on Twitter. This blog post was based in part from something I learned from @ebertchicago. It also has a link to Jane Austen’s Fight Club.
- February 19, 2010 – Esquire profile of Roger Ebert
- April 20, 2010 - Some thoughts on reviewing
Includes links to material about my other favorite reviewer – Pauline Kael.
- November 22, 2006 – Robert Altman remembered
And who could do it better than Ebert….
- April 9, 2009 – How did movie critic really feel about Bill O’Reilly?
- October 9, 2006 – Podcasting hits the mainstream
Included a link to an old Ebert podcast that is no longer out there.
- June 13, 2005 – Everyone’s gone to the movies
You’ll have to search for Ebert on this one. Predates me having permanent links on the blog.
- May 5, 2006 – United 93 opens amid media attention (or is it hype?)
- February 27, 2006 – Why Munich won’t let go of me
Has a link to a commentary by Jim Emerson on Ebert’s web site.