"Every great film should seem new every time you see it"
When I learned that Roger Ebert had died my heart dropped. He truly was the man. It was fun reading his scathing reviews, and gratifying reading his glowing reviews. Not only did Ebert really love movies, but he loved life. And that's why I love Roger Ebert.
The first time I read a Ebert review was when I was 12, for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Ebert did not like it, and I remember one of his biggest gripes being with the idiotic comic relief twins. After I read the review I was spent; I had found the guy that I would rely on for what to see -- and it was worth it. He saved me from seeing pieces of garbage and he got me to see great pieces of art. Ebert never spoke so intelligently that it was hard to understand what he was saying. He never made you feel stupid and he genuinely cared about his readers.
Sadly I wasn't around early enough for the days of Siskel and Ebert, but most of the clips are on Youtube and they are simply genius. The words they spoke were easily understood, and the "thumbs up - thumbs down" system was remarkable. I think the greatest clip with Siskel and Ebert involved them debating John Simon over "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back." (WATCH NOW) Mr. Simon (I respect his opinion) did not enjoy the film for its violence and the fact that it was special effects driven. Ebert defended the film and called Simon, "Old at heart." I think many people are old at heart, but Ebert was always young at heart... that's why it was so easy for him to connect with a young audience. He could sympathize with us. He thought the original "Star Wars" was amazing -- what is there not to love?!
(He also considers Richard Donner's "Superman" to be a great film. That was the first movie I had ever seen and it still remains one of my favorites.)
When I had recently gone to Ebert's site, I noticed that he hadn't been doing many of his own reviews. I didn't really understand this. A few days later I read his "Leave of Presence," wherein he said that he would only be reviewing films that he wanted to review. He didn't review many -- he left that to an expert panel of critics, and they have done an exceptional job. Sadly, his last review would be for Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder." He gave the film 3 and a half stars which is very impressive. Based on his review I'll be seeing the movie this weekend. I wish he knew the impact he had on most people's lives, I wish he knew the impact he had on my life. Sadly it's hard knowing who you really matter to, especially when you are America's favorite film nerd.
Roger Ebert could identify with absolutely anybody. Even kids. He was never above loving a film that was possibly "childish" or "fun" but he wasn't about to allow a film that was immensely stupid or pointless. Ebert treated all his readers like they were one of his best friends. And he would never recommend a bad movie to a good friend.
So to you Mr. Ebert, I give a thumbs up.
Get showtimes & tickets to "To The Wonder."