Posted by: Joe Eds | February 16, 2010

Roger Ebert

Esquire has a big feature piece about the famous film Chicago film critic Roger Ebert. It is both equally fascinating and heart-breaking (the below photo nearly brought me to tears). Since his surgery on his salivary glands in 2006 and his return as full-time critic to the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert, 67, has not slowed-down in the slightest banging out movie reviews, essays and columns on the latest movie trends and a full-time blog.

He can’t eat. He can’t drink. He can’t speak. But he writes, watches movies and writes some more. He is a man of passion and idol of mine (I know Jeff’s a big fan too).

My affection for Roger has matured over the years. I loved his old program with Gene Siskel. It aired very late at night on Saturday’s in Houston and I rarely missed an episode in junior high and high school (probably more of a comment on my social standing than Roger and Gene’s influence). Gene passed in February 1999, my senior semester of high school and in college Roger became the main film critic of my choice.  His essays and his love of particular filmmakers (Scorsese, Altman) and particular subjects (race, Darwinism) is very inspiring to any young person falling in love with movies. He has also done a few DVD Commentaries, including one for Citizen Kane. Listen to it and marvel at a man clearly in love with films and what he writes about.

Gene and Roger’s relationship seemed strictly professional based on their time on late night talk shows (below), but this section of the article proves that their was great respect between the men.

All these years later, the top half of Ebert’s face still registers sadness when Siskel’s name comes up. His eyes well up behind his glasses, and for the first time, they overwhelm his smile. He begins to type into his computer, slowly, deliberately. He presses the button and the speakers light up. “I’ve never said this before,” the voice says, “but we were born to be Siskel and Ebert.” He thinks for a moment before he begins typing again. There’s a long pause before he hits the button. “I just miss the guy so much,” the voice says. Ebert presses the button again. “I just miss the guy so much.”

Roger is not much long for this world either. And we will surely miss him too. Here is Roger’s list of the Best of the last decade.

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