As an arm chair, sometimes film reviewer/critic, I would be remiss by not acknowledging the passing of arguably the most recognizable and influential figures in his field, Roger Ebert. My first exposure to Ebert was not in the pages of The Chicago Tribune, but in the syndicated “Siskel & Ebert: At The Movies.” It was that program that I first realized that film criticism was a serious profession. It was fascinating to watch he and Gene Siskel arguing over the same film like human representations of “Statler & Waldorf.” They were almost as entertaining as (some) of the films they reviewed.
The world of film criticism runs a spectrum between a simple “I like it” to the lofty echelons of nigh abstract intellectualism (A.O. Scott, anyone)? However, the best thing about Ebert was his ability to represent those two extremes. He knew what he liked. While he did not give praise lightly, when he did it was done effusively. When he hated something, his singular wit would especially shine through.
Over the years, I found myself agreeing on a lot of his reviews, disagreeing on others. However, I could not help but respect his opinions because they were for the most part, validated. If I had to pick any reviewer as an inspiration regarding film analysis, it was him. He reviewed films intelligently, like so many of his peers. Unlike many of them, however, he was accessible.
Film reviewing will not be the same; trite, but true. R.I.P. Mr. Ebert.