Friday, April 5, 2013

To Absent Friends: Roger Ebert

Chicago film critic Roger Ebert passed away yesterday at the age of 70.   He and his Chicago newspaper rival critic Gene Siskel became famous in the 1980's and '90's, of course, with their syndicated TV show of movie reviews and criticism, "At the Movies", and their famous Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down judgments on current movies.  Siskel passed away in 1999, and Ebert went on to become perhaps the best known and most influential movie critic in the country, winning a Pulitzer Prize in the process.

The Internet and social media have been awash with tributes to Ebert since his death was announced yesterday, and who am I to add to the mix?  However, readers of this blog know how much I enjoy movies, and one thing I always enjoy doing, especially if I see an older movie for the first time, or if it has been many years since I had seen it, is going online and digging up Roger Ebert's reviews of that same movie.  His reviews are insightful and entertaining, and I almost always learn something after reading one if his reviews, and those reviews almost always add to my appreciation and enjoyment of the movie.  I did this just recently after I watched, for the first time, the 1994 movie, "The Shawshank Redemption".  Ebert's website contained both his original 1994 review, and a subsequent one that he wrote in 1999.

One great thing about the Internet is that writings such as these will always be available to anyone with access to a computer, and such informative and insightful criticism will never die.

RIP Roger Ebert.

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