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 Post subject: Roger Ebert 1942-2013
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
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Roger Ebert.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Woah. Well, I had a love/hate relationship with the guy's opinions on a lot of things, but his show was what turned me on to movies in the first place. At least he's no longer suffering all those terrible medical ailments.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:59 pm 
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Dear god, this is a bad year for my formative heroes. Ebert is almost solely responsible for my interest in serious cinema as an adolescent and teen. He was a warm, accessible teacher and I learned a great deal from him. He's one of the few critics who didn't seem to have an ego about his opinion, or even when he did, it was somehow never antagonistic unless his sensibilities were offended. I'm in shock.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:08 pm 
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Wow, I was just reading yesterday about how he was going to have to ease back on his workload. A goddamn shame, I spend many formidable hours as a kid reading those big compendiums of his reviews that I'd rescued from library book sales. Even though his tastes aligned less and less with mine as I grew older, there was no one more readable or entertaining, and he had a special gift in making a reader want to see films he loved-- even against their better judgments! I kind of can't believe he's gone...


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:09 pm 
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We all knew this was coming, but still what a huge loss. Ebert was so big hearted, generous and so thoroughly human with a broad yet pretty consistently good taste in all kinds of movies. I can't think of any other critic with his amount of power or visibility who did more to champion little films. There was Ebertfest later on and of course his inspired choice of Ignaty V. for the second incarnation of the TV show. But way before that he was always writing and talking up films his audience otherwise might not have heard of, proclaiming the genius of Werner Herzog to middle America and telling anyone who would listen that Errol Morris' Gates of Heaven was his favorite film of all time.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:47 pm
He made an announcement this week that he was going through cancer treatment again, but this is a lot more sudden than I expected. I guess at some point it's just too much and you can't fight anymore. And he was a real fighter.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:12 pm 
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I'm truly heartbroken by this. Just 2 days ago he was saying about reducing his workload and he even bought the rights to his website and now he is gone. I had tons of respect for Roger even if I didn't agree with some of his reviews and opinions. I'm so sad for his wife too, who has gone through the entire ordeal Ebert had with cancer. RIP Roger.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:19 pm 
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When I was growing up, I never left the house for school on Friday without grabbing the entertainment section first so I could read Ebert's latest reviews. Hell, in high school I wore out the binding on my hardbound edition of his Great Movies book from overuse. I can't think of an other person who so greatly influenced my sensibilities towards cinema when I so desperately needed the direction and had no one else to guide me. I once described him to a friend as my greatest teacher I have never met, someone who explained character, mise en scène, cinema history, etc with the kind of inviting conversational tone that put me at ease to explore and be adventurous in my selections (all this, an his influence helped me how I've read literature an written fiction as well). Though I've only been an occasional reader i and found myself rarely agreeing with him for the last 7-8 years, I'll be forever in debt to him. RIP Roger Ebert.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:20 pm 
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Over the past decade he really impressed me with his blog writings. He seemed to really take to the format and took on a great number of topics beyond film. The way he wrote there about his illness, and about so many other things, was a model. Most people will remember him for his thumbs, of course.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:25 pm 
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Jesus, what a loss. I think in some ways it's a shame that he's looked on so often as a lightweight critic, because I feel as though criticism in the Robin Wood sense wasn't what he was after- he's often dismissed as an 'appreciationist', but that seems like a noble title to me, a title for someone whose appreciations helped me to appreciate a lot of what I had seen and whetted my appetite for both specific great movies and the idea of movies as a great and powerful art.

He also seemed like a link people like Pauline Kael or James Agee, critics who had wide circulation and power to influence viewers but still had discernible points of view and quixotic favorites and loves. There are still great critics out there- and ones who can go far more into depth than Ebert did, for sure- but he was the last of a kind, to me, and I'm going to miss him.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Just in case anyone hasn't already read it, I recommend his incredibly personal autobiography, Life Itself. In it, he confesses that after watching Persona early in his career and not understanding its power, he decided not to fake it and write about what he understood and how it affected him, and that this honesty was the central philosophy in his career. Somehow, it seems he was a man entirely without pretense. Others had deeper insights, but few had his sincerity.

No one I know personally will understand how heartbreaking this is to me, so not to appropriate Roger Ebert or anything, but I want to say that everyone's articulate thoughts and personal recollections have meant a great deal to me.


Last edited by Dansu Dansu Dansu on Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
scotty2 wrote:
Over the past decade he really impressed me with his blog writings. He seemed to really take to the format and took on a great number of topics beyond film. The way he wrote there about his illness, and about so many other things, was a model. Most people will remember him for his thumbs, of course.

Indeed. And he used that pulpit to argue quite persuasively for liberal and progressive political ideas in front of an audience that one imagines was not always predisposed to be aligned with them. As a writer he was never one of my favorite film critics, ironically, but Ebert greatly impressed me in every other way: as a cinephile, a TV personality, an essayist, a Russ Meyer champion, and a human being.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:04 pm 
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For anyone who hasn't seen it, Ebert's tribute episode to Gene Siskel on Siskel & Ebert is, to me, one of the finest and most moving episodes of television I've seen and among the few times I've cried watching television. His writing an TV reviews, beyond being informative and witty, often contained a great deal of emotional heft to them.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:11 pm 
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RIP Roger Ebert. As a kid in middle school and high school, so much of my early exposure to silent, indie and foreign cinema came from Ebert. I went out and actively searched for Buster Keaton cause of Ebert. Also, I'm genuinely fond of his collaboration with Russ Meyer. Hearing Meyer talk about Ebert and Ebert talk about Meyer, the mutual love was beautiful. Sad to see him go.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:15 pm 
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If nothing else his work with Meyer makes this a tremendous loss. I never had the connection to his reviews that others did, but he was still one of the best writers in the critical sphere.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Location: Richmond, Rhode Island
RagingNoodles wrote:
RIP Roger Ebert. As a kid in middle school and high school, so much of my early exposure to silent, indie and foreign cinema came from Ebert. I went out and actively searched for Buster Keaton cause of Ebert.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who sought out Buster Keaton's work, thanks to both Roger and Gene's conversations. This is truly a sad day.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Ebert's last published words were "I'll see you at the movies."


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:45 pm 
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Well, there had certainly better be movies in heaven!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:24 pm 
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As many others have stated here, I downright devoured At The Movies when I was in my teens in the 80’s. I loved the repartee between the two, Ebert’s often caustic wit and impressive knowledge base, his championing of the burgeoning move to letterboxing in home video (in Film Comment, if memory serves) and, above all, his naked passion for the movies. It was all extremely heartening to a very young enthusiast.

As I made my way through college in the late 80s and early 90s, I made the youthful and utterly foolish mistake of turning up my nose at his brand of criticism and writing as I began studying film in earnest. I somehow began to view it as too pedestrian, too mainstream.

However, as I reached my mid-thirties (and now into into my forties), I found myself again reading his work and my admiration for both him and what he was tabling returned with a vengeance. Above all else, his later work boasted an admirable and glowing humanity and candor, and he did not pretend that his viewpoints were anything other his, filtered through his own unique life experiences. This last point, especially, has attained much greater importance to me as I move on through the years.

He will be missed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:12 pm 
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When I was in high school in the 80s, I was the editor of the school newspaper. Our movie reviewer decided he wanted to do a phone interview with Roger Ebert. To my surprise, Ebert was more than game and gave generously of his time for our little amateur hour attempt at journalism. I didn't always agree with him, of course, and he'd be the first to agree that if I did there would something terribly wrong. But he was one of the good guys, and will be sorely missed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:25 pm 
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A great critic no doubt. What impresses me most about Roger Ebert is how did what he loved until the day he died. He could have easily felt sorry for himself and bask in the sympathies of others but he chose to keep on living until he couldn't fight any more. Anyone that's had cancer or known someone with cancer can understand just how much it can sap the life out of someone - it's really really debilitating. God bless Roger for continuing to do what he loved until he passed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Indeed- there's a sort of tragic irony to one of film criticism's greatest loudmouths literally losing his voice, and I can't imagine that anyone would have objected if he quietly retired at that point. The sheer volume of good, worthwhile stuff he put out after that is almost shocking, more work than some people do in a lifetime.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:32 pm 
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I'm also very impressed at the way that he fully embraced the internet and 'new media', and was very generous to his co-contributors throughout his career. He gave a lot of people their chance to reach a wide audience and show what they were capable of.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:36 pm 
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sigh...the balcony is closed...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Whatever you think of Ebert's opinions, I'm of the opinion that if you didn't like him personally, especially in the last decade or so of his life, you must not like anyone. It is undeniable that he was great for cinema and will be sorely missed.

Is there anyone who left who had the kind of universal respect and notoriety or has the potential to reach the level Ebert had as a film critic? One of the drawbacks of the saturated information age is we no longer have iconic figures like Roger Ebert to look towards and I've always had an internal debate with myself if the trade-off was worth it?


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