Thursday, April 4, 2013

R.I.P. Roger

A few months ago when I heard about the death of film critic Andrew Sarris, I stopped for a moment to reflect on the ways in which Mr. Sarris had changed the world of film criticism. An hour ago when I heard about the death of Roger Ebert, I nearly wept. Had I not still been at work and in the presence of co-workers and customers, I probably would have let the tears flow. I wanted desperately to relate this horrible and tragic news to everyone within earshot, but down inside I knew that they would either not know the name or (even worse) not care. But then why should they care? They have no personal connection to the man. I on the other hand, would not be who I am today without him.

Roger Ebert has touched my life in so many ways. He was the first critic to recognize greatness in my favorite director Martin Scorsese way back when both men were just starting out. He also wrote the screenplay to the camp-classic Beyond The Valley of The Dolls which became a seminal film in the lives of 'Becca'lise and I after a viewing early in our relationship. The commentary track he recorded for Citizen Kane helped me to better appreciate that film for the classic that it is. And most importantly, his Great Movies series inspired the creation of this very blog.

If you've noticed, all the reviews on here are of movies we love deeply and want to share with the world. That came directly from Roger Ebert and his Great Movies essays. If you have the opportunity to check out any of the three published volumes of these pieces, please do. They can also be found digitally on his website. Read any one of these deep-diving explorations and you will begin to understand the mantra by which he guided his life in criticism: A movie is not about what it's about; it's about how it's about it. Those words go through my head every time I sit down to type an entry.

God Bless you Roger Ebert for sharing your love with all of us. You were a true original and will absolutely never be forgotten. See you at the movies.

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