Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert, RIP

Roger Ebert passed away today from complications with throat and salivary gland cancer.

I wish I was famous enough or an important enough figure in writing to say that without Roger Ebert I wouldn't be the writer I am today and for it to actually mean something. Regardless, it's true.

My brother loved Ebert and because I always tried to emulate my brother creatively I searched him out. I remember being infuriated that Ebert loved The Phantom Menace and that he didn't absolutely hate Tomb Raider (and that his review of the film focused almost entirely on Angelina Jolie's chest) but feeling like I'd finally stumbled across someone who really just wanted to express how great film was and how much it meant to him.

I had a weird routine for a while, I'd obsessively read about films I hadn't seen (still do) and then before adding them the first of countless lists of films to see I'd make in my life, I'd go to Ebert's website and see if he thought them worthwhile on scale of 1 to 4 stars. Depending on that the film would, or would not, end up on an almost endless list of films. He was my standard on which to base everything.

From reading Ebert I realized that writing about film was as big a passion as possibly making film and from this realization I realized that I just love writing.

I saw Ebert speak using his keyboard technology at The Castro one night. He was introduced by Terry Zwigoff and Philip Kauffman and Errol Morris and he was still the most riveting speaker of the night. My girlfriend and I stumbled in to the night after the speech and a screening of Julia completely awed, inspired to create, to watch films, to live our lives with the same vigor as this man did.

Drew McWeeney, to be quite honest, a worthy successor to the Ebert Throne wrote a lovely article about Ebert and just what sort of human being he was. It's well worth a read.

We lost a big one today film-lovers, we lost a big one.

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