The passing of Roger Ebert today at the age of seventy from cancer marks a sad day for all the aspiring film critics out there. Arguably the first and only real power house movie reviewer, once described by Forbes magazine as “the most powerful pundit in America”, he was also the first critic to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
What I loved about Ebert was that he wasn’t a film snob. If he watched something and liked it, he said so. He wasn’t trying to impress any higher power because he simply was the highest power in his field. Four stars was his equivalent of a perfect film, and he gave Adam Sandler’s remake of The Longest Yard three, good for you Rog, you go Rog. His positive review of Speed 2: Cruise Control is the only one of its kind on Rotten Tomatoes and solely responsible for its 2% rating. Don’t worry Rog, I liked it too. When the world and its aunt were falling over each other to worship at the altar of The Godfather Part II, Mr. Ebert casually threw three stars in its direction, I bet he could have refused any offer Marlon Brando put forth.
It was just clear to see that the guy loved cinema. Last year, whilst obviously in the grips of serious illness, he published more than three hundred reviews on his blog, now that’s dedication.
Do yourself a favour and take heed of Ebert’s ‘Great Movies’ list, it’s full of films that you will actually like instead of films that you have to pretend to like to be part of the cinematic elite. (http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=greatmovies_fulllist)
Thanks for the reviews, Roger, safe journey.
“Because we are human, because we are bound by gravity and the limitations of our bodies, because we live in a world where the news is often bad and the prospects disturbing, there is a need for another world somewhere, a world where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers live.” – Roger Ebert