Today: Jun 17, 2024

The legacy of Roger Ebert

Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor

Last week, 70-year-old Roger Ebert lost his battle with cancer. His wife reported in the Washington Post that it was “a quiet, dignified transition.” He was married for 21 years, but he was more than just a husband, he was a beloved film critic. When he passed, Twitter exploded with tweets reminiscing his reviews and saying things like, “Without Ebert, I’ll have to form my own opinions on movies now.” I know this because I was one of them.

He was honest. And it in was his honesty that made him what he was. Even during his battle with cancer, he still wrote and criticised the bad and good in movies. Ebert was a journalist at the Chicago Sun-Times and in 1975, he became the first journalist film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Ebert was a film critic for 46 years starting at the Chicago Sun-Tines. He wrote many reviews and columns about films, as well as many books. He also has  an annual flim festivial, Eberfest, which will celebrate his 15th year.

A few days before his death he wrote a blog post about how he is taking a “leave of presence,” because of his health.

Ebert said in his blog post that, “At this point in my life, in addition to writing about movies, I may write about what it’s like to cope with health challenges and the limitations they can force upon you. It really stinks that the cancer has returned and that I have spent too many days in the hospital. So on bad days I may write about the vulnerability that accompanies illness. On good days, I may wax ecstatic about a movie so good it transports me beyond illness.”

Because of his illness and the spread of his cancer, he made clear that he was turning digital, he health wasn’t in the right condition to publish articles daily for the Sun-Times.

But he never gave up. He never said that one day might be his last within his blog.

He was strong. Instead he was setting new goals for himself and going digital.

Ebert is leaving a strong legacy behind and anyone following his footsteps have big shoes to fill.

But I don’t need to tell you how amazing Ebert was as a movie critic; instead, see for yourself. Here are some of his best reviews that he is known for, taken from rogerebert.com.

1) Almost Famous. This movie is number one because this is my favorite movie. Here is what Ebert said about it.

Photo Courtesy | www.ign.comAlmost Famous
Photo Courtesy | www.ign.com
Almost Famous

“Oh, what a lovely film. I was almost hugging myself while I watched it. ‘Almost Famous’ is about the world of rock, but it’s not a rock film, it’s a coming-of-age film, about an idealistic kid who sees the real world, witnesses its cruelties and heartbreaks, and yet finds much room for hope.”

2) Gangster Squad. I enjoyed

this movie, but check this out.

“You may have noticed that the trailers for “Gangster Squad” are peppered with hyperbolic review quotes provided by syndicated critics of dubious merit. They’re a sure sign of a movie’s mediocrity, and my favorite blurb hypes “Gangster Squad” as “the best gangster film of the decade!!” Man, what a drag. If that’s true, the next seven years are going to be lousy for the world’s favorite crime genre. To be fair, this tawdry dose of pulp fiction (“inspired by real events”) is not a complete waste of time. It offers the marginal pleasure of an all-star cast slumming their way through a thicket of routine plotting, almost laughable dialogue and the constant blaze of tommy guns.”

3) Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. Because I am a fan

Photo Courtesy | www.filmofilia.com Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Moive
Photo Courtesy | www.filmofilia.com
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Moive

of their show, I had to include this really awkward, disappointing movie. For a fan of the television show, this  movie did absolutely no justice. Unless that was exactly what they wanted to do. Who knows! Here is what Ebert thought…

“I can’t keep this up. Describing the movie is bringing down the level of my prose. As faithful readers will know, I have a few cult followers who enjoy my reviews of bad movies. These have been collected in the books I Hated, Hated, Hated, HATED This Movie; Your Movie Sucks, and A Horrible Experience of Unendurable Length. This movie is so bad, it couldn’t even inspire a review worthy of one of those books. I have my standards.”

4) Gone With The Wind. The loveliest of all movies.

“It is still a towering landmark of film, quite simply because it tells a good story, and tells it wonderfully well. For the story it wanted to tell, it was the right film at the right time”

5) Singin’ In The Rain. It’s the greatest musical.

“There is no movie musical more fun than “Singin’ in the Rain,’’ and few that remain as fresh over the years. Its originality is all the more startling if you reflect that only one of its songs was written new for the film, that the producers plundered MGM’s storage vaults for sets and props, and that the movie was originally ranked below “An American in Paris,’’ which won a best picture Oscar. The verdict of the years knows better than Oscar: “Singin’ in the Rain’’ is a transcendent experience, and no one who loves movies can afford to miss it.”

Well, those are only five of thousands and thousands of movie reviews Ebert has done. For more information, visit his site. Long live Ebert and the legacy he left behind. He will be missed.

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