A great intelligence and wit has been lost. Roger Ebert passed away at 70.
Cancer beat his body, took his jaw and his ability to speak. He kept at his work and for years I took for granted Ebert’s reviews for the Sun Times. Any time a silly film like The Chipmunks or Fast and Furious would come out I had to know what he thought. It was fun and exciting to see that he could watch anything, take in any genre and find the good in it, observe the bad – but never demean the work.
Growing up I’d watch Ebert face off against Gene Siskel and argue the mundane beauty of popcorn movies. Their discussions gave power to films, it was okay to take movies seriously – to care.
Roger Ebert had a career path no one could plan. He orbited Hollywood, film and filmmakers, but was also a part of the literary world. He took his writing and his thoughts wherever he liked.
It’s easy to envy the man’s career, but what I admire highest was his ability to stay optimistic and relevant in the face of a disease that changed his physical being, threatening his life until it finally took it.