Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert passes away

If you get the 2003 special edition of Casablanca (1943), you'll get commentary from film critic Roger Ebert. Casablanca is one of the greatest films ever made. And it is my favorite movie. But if you're going to have a film critic comment on the greatest movie ever made, which one do you get? There was only one choice. It was legendary film critic Roger Ebert. Today, Roger passed away.

Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel ignited my love for film. It started with their PBS show Sneak Previews. Then they followed it up with a syndicated television show Siskel & Ebert & The Movies. Of the two, Roger Ebert was the least stuffy but they both loved smart, great cinema. But Ebert didn't talk down to readers and movie fans. He communicated his criticism in a easily digestible manner. That meant Ebert could educate the mass audience about film. And he made us appreciate the art of movies as well as the entertainment value. But I remember in the late seventies that they did a show called Guilty Pleasures. It was a fun show where they admitted their enjoyment of movies that other critics thought were no so good. It was one of my favorite of their review episodes.

Roger Ebert's film criticism didn't start with some ivory tower elitist thought. He knew movies. He wrote a screenplay for one, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. (1970) He turned his experience and intellect into a source of astute film criticism. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. Filmmakers should read Roger Ebert's reviews to find out what makes bad cinema and what makes great movies. He will be missed. God speed Roger Ebert.

Opening from Siskel & Ebert.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert take a look at the best films of the 1980s'.

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