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Archive for April, 2013

In front of the screen: Roger Ebert dies at 70

Posted by Eliot Weinstein on April 4, 2013

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Roger Ebert has died. Ebert, the world’s most prolific film critic, and the first ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for film criticism, had only two days ago announced that the cancer he courageously fought for years had returned.

Although I have been taking a (self-imposed) hiatus from blogging for the past year-plus, I would be remiss not to mark the passing of Roger Ebert. The very first actual blog post that I ever wrote, originally posted on Mankind Minus One way back in 2005, was a short piece marking the unveiling of a star for Ebert on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. At that time, I lauded his genius, declaring that, “there are many movie reviewers, but only one Ebert.”

Ebert published two books containing the least favorable movie reviews he ever wrote, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie and Your Movie Sucks. The latter, which still sits proudly on my shelf, contains some of the most entertaining writing I have ever had the privilege of reading. The highlights of that compilation are Ebert’s zero-star review of Freddie Got Fingered, as well as Ebert’s review of Wet Hot American Summer, which is written entirely in verse.

For anyone who didn’t grow up reading Ebert’s film reviews every week, or for anyone who wants a more thorough overview of this amazing man’s work, I strongly recommend the collection Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, published by the University of Chicago Press (hardcover in 2006 and paperback in 2008).

Here is a collection of some of Ebert’s most famous and amusing quotes.

Farewell, Roger Ebert. Whenever I see a movie that is truly outstanding, like The Social Network, or a movie that is profoundly disappointing, like Pearl Harbor, I’ll think of you and your lifetime of wisdom.

Rest in peace.

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