Roger Ebert was one of the only film critics known to the general public at large, thanks to his long-running movie review shows such as “Sneak Previews” and the “At The Movies” shows, as well as his famous thumbs-up or down reviews. He died Thursday in Chicago of complications from cancer, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He was 70 years old.
In an essay on his blog Tuesday, Ebert explained he was planning to slow down and reduce the number of movie reviews he wrote:
“My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers handpicked and greatly admired by me,” Ebert wrote. “What’s more, I’ll be able at last to do what I’ve always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review.”
I didn’t want this piece to be a long list of his many accomplishment or works. I just wanted to honor him in my own way. He was often seen as a champion of filmmakers and underappreciated films, and a fair reviewer, you may not have always liked what he said but you respected it. He was also one of the first critics to treat Anime films like any other movie.
Ebert was also quick to embrace the Internet, finding his personal website an ideal place to communicate with fellow film enthusiasts, and even more empowering once he lost his voice. He had acquired nearly a million Twitter followers.
“Moviegoers these days know so much more about the movies, in every respect, than they did years ago,” he once wrote.
Reactions to his death are coming in from all over.
“Roger was the movies. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical. Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient – continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world. The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family.” President Obama
To this day whenever I hear the phrase thumbs up, I think of Roger Ebert. I for one, like to think he’s reunited with his old partner Gene Siskel. That they’re still talking about movies.