Roger Ebert

This is Roger Ebert as he is now. He is a hero of mine.

There was recently an article about him in Esquire. He's lost his lower jaw and has to communicate through a computer. This paragraph in particular got me a little choked up...

All these years later, the top half of Ebert's face still registers sadness when Siskel's name comes up. His eyes well up behind his glasses, and for the first time, they overwhelm his smile. He begins to type into his computer, slowly, deliberately. He presses the button and the speakers light up. "I've never said this before," the voice says, "but we were born to be Siskel and Ebert." He thinks for a moment before he begins typing again. There's a long pause before he hits the button. "I just miss the guy so much," the voice says. Ebert presses the button again. "I just miss the guy so much."

I can remember when i was in elementary school, my pal J.J. and I used to get together on the playground at lunch time and review movies using the thumbs up/thumbs down grading method Siskel and Ebert popularized. Our own little 'At the Movies' type show, we had even worked out a little intro to the show in our tiny heads that involved us decending from the sky on a giant couch and landing on top of Siskel and Ebert, crushing them. I think this was to imply that our "show" was some how better than there's and that we really knew what we were talking about when it came to movies. Unlike Siskel and Ebert however, we always agreed with each other. And I think we only reviewed Star Wars and Jurassic Park... and maybe Wayne's World? Over the years i've come to realize that Siskel and Ebert knew a lot more about movies than me and my friend J.J. I've become a big fan of Ebert's written reviews, only rarely disagreeing with him, and i frequent his blog a lot as well.

I recently got Citizen Kane off netflix and watched it for the first time. Roger Ebert has a commentary where he explains how each and every shot was accomplished and gives bits of history on the making of the film. I can honestly say it actually made me appreciate the film a lot more. He's also done a commentary for Terry Zwigoff's R. Crumb documentary, which i own on dvd because it's a favorite of mine. Since Ebert has lost his voice, this means he's probably not going to be doing anymore commentaries. I'd always kind of hoped that one day i would venture into film making and that my movie would be worthy enough of having a Roger Ebert commentary... At least i can still look forward to possibly getting a nice review... if i ever end up making anything that is.

Tomorrow I'll be seeing Shutter Island, a film I should be excited to see because it will be the first Scorsese film I will have seen projected in a theater. But i think i'm even more excited because Mr. Ebert just gave it a favorable review. There's a lot more i could say about this guy, but this is supposed to be an art blog... so i'll give it a rest now.

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