Ebert Gone

Roger Ebert has died. As you can probably guess, I didn’t see eye to eye with Ebert on politics. In fact, the first post I ever did for the old Moorewatch site was a rebuttal of many of the things Ebert said in his Sicko! review.

But as a film critic, I thought he was great. From my “Ebert is wrong post” (which has some language I’m not proud of, but won’t flush down the memory hole):

Roger Ebert is one of the great film critics (check out the insight of the last two paragraphs of today’s review). There are very few who can get a general audience excited about art films and Ebert is one of them. He’s never been a kaffeeklatsch critic who just wants to sit around with other critics and discuss Citizen Kane. He wants everyone to be excited about great film. He’s turned me on to a number of great films, notably Grave of the Fireflies.

Grave of the Fireflies, by the way, if you are ever feeling too happy and want to feel awful for a couple of days. It is a great film. And like many great films — United 93, for example — I can only watch it every few years.)

One of my favorite Ebert reviews was one I disagreed with. He wrote a long review of Return of the King justifying his three-star rating and explaining why he thought it was good but not what it could have been (I can’t link right now as the Sun Times server is flooded). I didn’t agree with him but I saw his argument and respected his opinion. I love articles that make me think and make me say, “I think you’re wrong, but you make a good argument.”

What was really fun was when Ebert would return to a movie and re-evaluate it. He liked The Big Lebowski, but later added it to his Great Movies list. The same with Planes, Trains and Automobiles. There are probably a dozen movies I would place an all-time great list that I wouldn’t have seen had Ebert not flogged them.

He wrote thousands of reviews, multiple books and a well-trafficked blog that touched on everything including politics. Roger Ebert loved movies and his love was infectious. He was a gifted writer, a gifted critic and a critical voice in understanding film over five decades. RIP.

Comments are closed.

  1. ilovecress

    He will be missed. The thing that Ebert personified – which is being lost more and more in writing both on and offline these days – is the fact that writers don’t need to be ‘right’ – they just need to be interesting.

    I realise the irony of that sentence in the comments section of a politics blog.

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  2. balthazar

    Hes also the fucktard that said this:

    That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended. […]

    This would be an excellent time for our political parties to join together in calling for restrictions on the sale and possession of deadly weapons. That is unlikely, because the issue has become so closely linked to paranoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties that many politicians feel they cannot afford to advocate gun control.

    No, personally, Im glad he wont be tweeting anymore.

    Hot! Thumb up 9

  3. balthazar

    Hes also the fucktard that said this:

    That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection.

    The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands.

    In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended. […]

    This would be an excellent time for our political parties to join together in calling for restrictions on the sale and possession of deadly weapons. That is unlikely, because the issue has become so closely linked to paranoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties that many politicians feel they cannot afford to advocate gun control.

    No, personally, Im glad he wont be tweeting anymore.

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  4. CM

    RIP indeed. I picked up a second-hand review book of his back at University (must have been 1992) not knowing him from a bar of soap, but I absolutely devoured that book and like you Hal, it led to many many discoveries. He was the single largest influence to me in terms of movies back at the perfect age to discover them. I bought a number of subsequent books, and have folowed his blog. Equally entertaining reviews no matter how many stars. And what I really loved most is that he didn’t care whether a movie was ‘supposed’ to be great, he assessed them for what they were. He didn’t mind gratuitous nudity. He liked many (low brow) films (and was happy to award them 3.5 or even 4) that you’d never see other critics saying good things about.
    Very sad day. He was certainly well loved, and appreciated in his life too, which is lovely.
    This is nice.

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  5. Hal_10000 *

    Balthazar, there are fifty million liberals who have said that sort of thing and at least a few million who have said much worse. How many of them wrote this review of Battlefield Earth?

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  6. Mississippi Yankee

    Hey Hal why don’t you put up a movie post anymore? I. for one, really enjoyed it and it got a lot of suggestions from the ‘peanut gallery’ too.

    Unlike you and CM I don’t read or watch any movie reviews anymore. I’ve seen so many “damn good movies” ™ that have been panned by critics that I first look to see who’s in it and go from there. You’d be surprised how well that works. It’s how I found “The Poker House”

    I’m with balthazar concerning Ebert. Long before the fat man uttered his first political babble I had an irrational dislike for the man. Sort of like how I associate all white men having tight wavy hair with Eddie Haskell. BTW, seldom have I been wrong there ;-)

    On another note, I just received and watched “Caligula” today. WOW! I didn’t know they could show “that” much in a Hollywood movie. But then again Bob Guccione of Penthouse fame produced it.

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  7. balthazar

    Balthazar, there are fifty million liberals who have said that sort of thing and at least a few million who have said much worse. How many of them wrote this review of Battlefield Earth?

    Those 50 million libs didnt use their fame to influence stupid people to thier way of thinking.

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  8. Seattle Outcast

    Well, he nailed Battlefield Earth for the POS that it was…

    Usually tended to ignore him as he loved shitty movies like “Out of Africa”…

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  9. Hal_10000 *

    Hey Hal why don’t you put up a movie post anymore? I. for one, really enjoyed it and it got a lot of suggestions from the ‘peanut gallery’ too.

    Yeah, I sorta let that slip. I’ll see if I can think of something for today. Thanks!

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