Roger Ebert, the "constance" in film criticism, dies at 70, just two days after he announced that the cancer had come back and he was going to write less.
I guess he is not going to write anymore. And that makes me sad.
I remember first having heard of him via Siskel and Ebert at the movie. The show was a fluffy piece of TV I would watch because I'm just a movie geek and I'd watch the heck out of anything movie-related. It was not often that you'd see a TV show dedicated to talking semi seriously about films at the time (or even now), without dipping into celebrity culture. I was not an immediate Ebert fan, however. I found myself agreeing with Siskel more, and did not think much of the other guy.
It was not until I stumbled upon his writing while looking for a positive review on A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (a divisive film I was in love with) that I began to look at him differently. Our thumbs did not always point in the same direction, but I respected the way he included his impassioned, eloquent personal voice in his writing without being intrusive. There was such grace in the flow of his composition, the same kind that would carry him through out his illness. If there's anything I'd miss, this would be it. That and, well, he was just always there and now he is not.
I'd suggest reading that wonderful write up of Ebert's life from the link above. He had quite a colourful life alongside the movies he loved.
“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”I think our thumbs are in the same direction on this one.
Rest in peace.