I got a bunch of messages yesterday as the news about Roger Ebert got around. The only response I could come up with was “sad face!” I was speechless yesterday. I’m not much more articulate today, but I want to say something anyway. Roger Ebert is something of a personal hero.
He was an excellent writer. And really, if that’s all I could say about him (it’s not,) that would be reason enough for admiration. Really good writing is not easy to come by. I LOVED reading his movie reviews because they did so much more than tell me whether he thought a movie was good or bad. They explained things. They put things in a new way. They were always filled with well turned phrases. They made me realize WHAT was so good about a movie. They contained so much wit and wisdom. Imagine, movie reviews making me feel! In many cases, his writing was better than the movie itself. I linked to a bunch of them in these posts.
Roger Ebert was also really inspiring to me on a personal level.
For starters, even though he was clearly a cut above the rest in many regards, he was not snobby. You know film snobs. They’re self important and act like good ol entertainment is something for lesser people. Not Ebert.
I always got the impression from Ebert’s writing that he could empathize with the downtrodden. With basically decent people who do bad things or make bad decisions. He seemed to appreciate humanity, in all it’s good and bad.
He wasn’t afraid to ENJOY things. I feel like some people think art and literature have to be depressing to be considered great. I reject that. And I think Ebert did too. On a related note, I feel like some people are too cool to embrace things like simple joy. Roger Ebert wasn’t a too cool guy; he embraced everything life offered. And then wrote about it so that I could take in some of the wisdom that came from his life well lived.
There are going to be so many things written about Roger Ebert in the near future. Most of them are going to be much better written than this. But I wanted to say something anyway.
Mostly, I am just going to miss the hell outta reading his stuff. I’m a big fan.