leave from work yesterday, today, Roger Ebert passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.
The multiple award winning Roger Ebert has been a big part of my life for at least thirty years, maybe longer. He has been an influence, an inspiration, and even yes, an advisor as to what movie I should see and not see. I loved watching "Sneak Previews" with him and Gene Siskel when it first aired in the 1980s, and immediately gravitated to Ebert as a guy who liked the kind of films I did.
Regarding the original "Sneak Previews," in college, a friend pointed out that the 'bald guy' knew film, but the 'fat guy' knew about films we wanted to see. My friend, fellow writer, and fellow movie reviewer, Derrick Ferguson said today on Facebook, "He understood that genre movies had to be compared to other genre movies and based on the standards of that genre... you don't compare "A Nightmare On Elm Street" to "Gone With The Wind" You compare it to "Friday the 13th" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"" Well said, my friend.
We didn't always agree, but such is the way of critics of any media, but I knew he was one of us. He understood genre, he understood movies so bad they were good, and he understood what really made for a good film. I loved his books on film, and even his outlandish Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Ebert was an extraordinary writer, reviewer, and entertainer, and he will be missed.