I’ve been trying to type this memorial to the life of Roger Ebert for the last two hours and haven’t been able to write down a single word through my tears. As many of you now know, Roger Ebert is no longer with us after a battle with cancer for the past decade. He did more for film criticism and the art of independent film than anyone else who came before him and anyone else that will likely ever live. Ebert was the kind of guy who loved films more than just about anything in life. The kind of guy who wasn’t afraid to love a trashy bad movie (he gave 3 1/2 out of 4 stars to the delightful B-movie Anaconda) and wasn’t afraid of going against the norm (check out his review for the original Last House on the Left).
I didn’t always agree with Ebert but there is no doubt in my mind that he truly loved film and loved his profession. How many of us can honestly say that about what we do? Not very many that’s for sure. I grew up watching Siskel & Ebert. Staying up late on Sunday nights was a joy for me to see two people I loved and truly respected talk about the new releases I was curious about seeing. They played an enormous role in my childhood and shaped me for the better as to how I approach film.
When Siskel passed away in 1999, I was devastated. When I found out that Ebert passed away this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking of the great memories I shared with him and that I will never be able to read another one of his “new” movie reviews again. His bad movie reviews were always entertaining and, without him, there are dozens of indie films that I probably would have never even heard of, let alone check it.
He changed the way the world looked at film and his importance to the medium cannot be understated. He will be forever missed.
Ebert Remembers Gene Siskel