Just yesterday I read the most recent posting by Roger Ebert on his web site. He titled this post “A leave of presence.” In it he listed all the things that he was planning to do in the coming months. Oh, and by the way, he disclosed that his cancer had returned, so he was going to have to write fewer movie reviews. Roger Ebert died today.
Siskel and Ebert in whatever incarnation of that show, was a major influence on my life. I began watching the thumbs up critics over three decades ago, when my movie watching tastes were simple and very unrefined.Their show was just fun to watch, never more than when the two disagreed about a film. They would each defend their view, thumb up or down, with such passion, you just knew these guys truly cared about what was up on the screen.
I certainly haven’t become Frank Rich or anything, but Gene and Roger helped me to appreciate movies in ways I could never have imagined. Mostly, they made me realize that filmmakers had a responsibility to make good movies. That as fans we didn’t have to settle for crap. For that I will always be grateful.
I will imagine Gene and Roger reunited in the balcony in the sky. Still arguing about the latest films of course.