A tribute to film critic Roger Ebert

Tom Richardson, Staff Writer

“Two thumbs up” was the famous quote from both Roger Ebert & Gene Siskel, heard frequently on the film criticism show, “At the Movies,” they both hosted. Gene Siskel passed away in 1999; and recently, his co-star Roger Ebert also passed away, due to cancer. Ebert left this world with a big legacy in both film criticism and journalism. He was considered to be one of the greatest film critics of all time, as he wrote brilliant movie reviews for The Chicago Sun-Times, for the past 46 years.

Ebert battled poor health for the past decade, as he has suffered from both thyroid and salivary gland cancer. He lost the ability to speak and eat in 2006, due to losing the bottom half of his jaw. But even with these rough times, he would still allow himself to be seen in public, as he maintained the gift of pen and paper. He kept writing movie reviews even though he could no longer film them. Ebert also wrote some books about his personal life, and his in-depth viewpoint on film as an art form.

Almost anyone who has ever written or filmed a movie review has been inspired by Ebert in some way, or has at least been taught to do what he mastered throughout the course of his life. The TV show “At the Movies,” was also a key element to his success, and it introduced the idea of two critics reviewing a film.

Ebert was never afraid to let his readers and viewers know if he loved or hated a film. He always went into a film with the perspective of how the audience might also view it. Storyline, underlining messages, and symbolism in film were very important cinematic elements to him.

He was also fair when it came to films that were marketed to a younger audience, as he would always state his reasoning as to why, or why not, the film worked for children. He also made good points about horror films. He was big on strong female leads, and he was passionate about horror films where the audience truly cares about each and every protagonist in the film, so they have a reason for rooting for them throughout the motion picture. Though everyone may not agree with Ebert’s reviews, he always had a good reason as to why he liked or hated certain films.

Film criticism will forever be something that Ebert will be connected to, just like Leonardo DaVinci will always be connected to Renaissance art. He has left his mark on this world through his movie reviews, his books, and the famous “At the Movies” review show. He will be missed by many.