After announcing his “leave of presence” reviewing films for the Chicago Sun- Times, we’ve lost Roger Ebert at the age of 70.
The thyroid cancer that caused to leave his balcony seat on At the Movies returned, but he assured readers that he would not be going away.
And that could not ring any truer.
Ebert left us with an amazing catalog of movie reviews; some of his best were the ones where he trashed them. The Jaws: The Revenge article has a subtext on suspension of disbelief, sure, but there’s a whole paragraph dedicated to six idiotic things that happened, none of which Ebert could deal with. The most notable was his infamous North review, a schmaltzy piece of garbage that caused him to say “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie.” That line lent itself to a book collecting Ebert’s 0 to 2 star ratings.
I always admired his writing style and envied how he could pack so much deftness into a small column. It was because of Ebert that I picked up Stephen King’s On Writing, which he described as “most practical and interesting book I’ve read on the subject,” since Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. He facilitated my love for movies; I looked forward to every weekend that At the Movies was new, as well as his posts for the Sun- Times. Whether you agreed with a review or not, Ebert remained a esteemed source of insight and criticism.
In his leave of presence, Roger Ebert thanked us for coming to know him in his 46 year career, but it’s we who are thankful to have known you. We’ll see you at the movies, too.