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Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

As you’ve probably already heard, Roger Ebert passed away today after a long battle with cancer. The news really gutted me because of his influence on my movie appreciation/addiction.

When I was in college about 15 years ago, I took a Film Studies course as an elective. In that class we were going to watch a collection of movies (yay), and then submit three summaries of reviews for each (ugh). This class introduced me to imdb.com, who had a massive archive of reviews for many movies even in its infancy. And, of course, at the top of most lists were Ebert’s reviews. He wrote in a style that really resonated with me, and broke the movie down into manageable parts.

But, let’s go even further back in years to Sunday nights in the late 80s/early 90s, after the news. I was supposed to be in bed asleep, but I had to stay up for every episode of Siskel and Ebert At The Movies. There were no online reviews back then, and I lived nowhere near a major metropolitan area, so this show kept me informed as to what was out and how good it really was. If I was going to spend 3 dollars of my miniscule horde of cash the movie had to be top notch. Siskel and Ebert always delivered the goods for me.

To this day, I found myself checking his reviews for the movies I thought interesting, and even for the crappy ones I’d check in with him to see if our tastes still matched up. Mostly yes, but sometimes no.

His encyclopedic knowledge of movies and all sorts of topics made him a fascinating person to read, to listen to, to appreciate.

I’ll miss your cinematic knowledge and wit, Mr. Ebert.

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