Friday, April 05, 2013

Thank You, Mr. Ebert

The thing about the loss of someone like Roger Ebert is that it feels like so many people have already covered the things I would wish to say about him, and yet, ti doesn't quite seem like enough.
1. Passionate explanation. Whether he loved a movie or hated a movie he was willing to explain why.  And yes, that, essentially is the job of a critic, but I feel like his reviews better helped me understand things like structure and direction and performance, and also, when you hate something to try and figure out why you hate it. 
2. Passionate and respectful disagreement. Ebert didn't always agree with his fellow critics, Siskel in particular, but they were able to disagree passionately and respectfully.  Okay, mostly respectfully. 
3. To echo what others have said, there was also the understanding that entertainment could be well, just entertaining.  A movie that was just fun to watch was just as important as one that ripped your heart out. 
4. An amazing energy.  I confess thinking of working 46 years as a newspaper critic, and also having television shows, and running a film festival, and blogging, and tweeting, and writing books, well I am amazed.  And a little exhausted.
5. I've told folks that I think some of the best life advice I can give it to find a way to make plans, move towards your goals and yet be open to the opportunities that show up.  So, Ebert's story of working through high school and college with plans to become a features writer, and then being offered the job of film critic and saying yes is a great example of that. 
6. Embracing new technologies. This man not only had a twitter account, but appreciated how the medium worked. To say nothing of his website, or blog, or all the other things and gadgets. 
7. Carrying on. I still think of this lovely piece he wrote explaining how he could no longer eat.  And on.  Even this week when he announced his leave of presence, a phrase that was so true, because did you see all the plans he had?  So, so many.

And some other links, in case you have not yet come across them - NPR Monkey See here, The Onion's review of life here.