I have never been a real movie buff, at least not any more than anyone else. Movies are great and all, but movies take time, which is something I rarely have. I’m much more of a TV watcher. Blame my short attention span.
But I’ve always enjoyed Roger Ebert, and I was heartbroken today when I learned of his death. As a kid, I enjoyed watching “At the Movies,” even if I never saw most of the movies they talked about. I think I liked it because it showed me what to look for in a film, or at least what a critic look for. I also enjoyed their bickering, which I’ve read could last for hours.
I’d like to write a moving tribute to the man, but I know couldn’t do him justice. Instead, I’ll share some of the wonderful blogs I’ve seen today with some highlights.
Ebert’s longtime employer The Chicago Sun-Times posted this obituary today.
There’s a great photo gallery with it. And this brilliant quote:
“‘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.”
The Slate posted this about his last blog post, his “Leave of Presence.”
“So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”
Slate also posted this bit of fun:
Gene says, “Roger has to move. Crane please!” And Roger retorts, “Makeup—more hair!”
So, as you watch Ebert on Oprah this week and see him, ready for his closeup, the center of the world at last, if you wonder to yourself, “They’re making him into some sort of saint. Is he really that nice of a guy?” … just know that, yes, he really is that nice of a guy. But more than that, he’s a wonderful, soulful writer who is better, and more devoted, than just about anyone in the game.
Roger, I hope you’re in an infinite movie palace, watching every film the great directors only dreamed of making. RIP, @ebertchicago
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 4, 2013
Ebert himself wrote this on dying. I haven’t read it all myself, because I’m afraid I might cry.
It was posted by Salon.com
Raised as a Roman Catholic, I internalized the social values of that faith and still hold most of them, even though its theology no longer persuades me. I have no quarrel with what anyone else subscribes to; everyone deals with these things in his own way, and I have no truths to impart. All I require of a religion is that it be tolerant of those who do not agree with it. I know a priest whose eyes twinkle when he says, “You go about God’s work in your way, and I’ll go about it in His.”
“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away. No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”
And this gem, on Mentalfloss.com,
Watching “Mad Dog Time” is like waiting for the bus in a city where you’re not sure they have a bus line…. “Mad Dog Time” should be cut into free ukulele picks for the poor.
Just one more snippet of his genius.
I’m sure there are more out there and more to come.
Reading all this stuff about Roger Ebert makes me sad I didn’t pay closer attention when he was alive. His effect on journalism, critique and film cannot be forgotten. I hope he’s somewhere with Gene Siskel arguing about how boring Melancholia was. (Wait, that’s my critique. He apparently liked it.)