Roger and You and Me

ebert

For some reason, the death of Roger Ebert is really hitting hard. I was a member of the Ebert club the last couple of years (I was an early adopter for this, and never missed a newsletter), and they were some of my favorite emails.

Growing up with an aerial antenna (some of you remember that right? You wanted to change channels, you got down underneath the tv and rotated the dial, and heard the vrrr vrrr vrrr as the antenna on the top of your house rotated!) and only NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS, and Ebert was one of the first real exposures to culture. I remember sitting there and watching Siskel and Ebert with my dad and realizing how many great movies were out there. It reminds me of all the great Sunday afternoons when we would sit and watch a movie on one of the networks, I want to say it was ABC, and there was a gray haired guy (what was his name he had that perfect 60’s-70’s voice) who would introduce the movie and it would only be interrupted by the 70’s and 80’s version of infomercials with 5 minute ads for aluminum siding or new windows.

I’m rambling, but Roger Ebert was as much a part of my childhood as Walter Cronkite and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and the Disney movie of the week. I can still see my sister Devon sitting there on the floor in her nightgown, with it it pulled down over her legs as she sat indian style with her thick glasses as our dog Ajax relaxed on the couch, the greatest cat in the world Mr. Purr Puff slept on the floor heating vent sucking up all the warmth, and dad sat in his chair. Devon and I were up because we were the older of the four kids and were allowed to stay up and watch the Shaggy DA and Escape to Witch Mountain and all the other memories from my youth, including the unforgettable Disney intro with the fireworks over the castle.

RIP, Roger Ebert. I love movies, and you made me love them more. You will be missed but never forgotten. I know what parasocial relationships are all about, but still I kind of want to have a good cry when I think about the man and his passing.

Instead, I think I will honor the man and watch a movie. Were he still around, that is what he would be doing.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit






112 replies
  1. 1
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Thank you John

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Roger’s death hit me hard, too, John, although you are much younger than I am and have very different memories. But wow, was the man ever a writer! And a good human being. I usually agreed with his movie reviews, and when I didn’t — thanks to his good training — I could usually articulate why I didn’t agree.

    But I find through my sadness at his passing that I am thinking much more of him as a good person and a tough fighter who refused for so long to let cancer have its vile way with him, than I am of him as a movie reviewer. The totality of the man was enormous, and those of us who admire him are, I think, better people for it.

    So again I say, RIP Roger, and deepest condolences to Chaz.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    John, BTW, that’s a WONDERFUL title!

  4. 4
    jl says:

    Rober Ebert, one my favorite people to read, on movies or anything else. A great loss.

  5. 5
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    RIP, Roger Ebert. I love movies, and you made me love them more.

    That is the best statement about the man.

  6. 6
    jrg says:

    Indeed. Roger Ebert, RIP.

    Don’t watch “Olympus has Fallen”, BTW, because that’s got to be the stupidest fucking movie I’ve ever seen.

  7. 7
    Lyrebird says:

    Thanks for the beautiful witness. We weren’t allowed to stay up late enough to watch Escape to Witch Mountain, but total respect to Roger Ebert and condolences to his family.

    –from someone who used to say her favorite show was “Mutual of Omaha”!

  8. 8
    max says:

    I remember sitting there and watching Siskel and Ebert with my dad and realizing how many great movies were out there.

    I started watching Sneak Previews almost as soon as it started. By the time they moved to commercial TV, it was all like, ‘Man, this isn’t as good! They’re only on for 22 minutes!’

    I’m more of Siskel myself, so I suppose I could agree with you… they taught me how to *watch* movies. And I did so much of it, I got sick of them.

    max
    [‘But I never got sick of Ebert.’]

  9. 9
    Cacti says:

    Perhaps you could find a better pic of him than one where half his face is missing.

    Just a thought.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    He wrote some political columns around the time of the Great Hijacking and the run up to war, IIRC Great stuff. He had a strong sense of right and wrong and clear vision and means of expressing it.

  11. 11
    John Cole says:

    @Cacti: Not sure how to respond to this. I look at that picture and I see pure joy and beauty and courage.

  12. 12
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @John Cole:

    I look at that picture and I see pure joy and beauty and courage.

    Same.

  13. 13
    And another thing... says:

    I admire that inspite of tragic & disfiguring health issues,he didn’t withdraw from life. Siskel & Ebert were terrific.

  14. 14
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cacti: Ebert embraced his challenges without shame. Why not remember him as he wished to present himself?

  15. 15
    Darkrose says:

    @Cacti: He never tried to hide the cancer or what it meant. It was part of who he was. Using another picture would be like pretending FDR never had polio.

  16. 16
    the Conster says:

    Siskel and Ebert was destination TV every week in the early 80s when I was home with little bitty kids, before the internet, before shows could be recorded, before cynicism and snark ruled everything in the popular culture. I listened intently to those two very erudite grown ups talk about movies! Movies weren’t taken seriously by my family growing up – if we went at all, it was once a year at the drive in on a summer night. I loved movies though, and got my parents to drop me off at the theater alone starting at 12 or 13, because I wanted to see movies no one else did, and didn’t want to talk about them before or after until I had seen them and thought about it – I thought I discovered Kubrick. I kept a list of all the movies I saw until I was 19 or so – it ran into the hundreds. Everything I could see I saw, mostly by myself, so yeah, finding like minded movie lovers – and smart ones! was huge.

  17. 17
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I’m with you John. Siskel and Ebert were a huge part of my youth. RIP Ebert. May you and Siskel meet up in the big theatre in the heavens and find only your favorite movies playing with all the fresh popcorn you can eat.

  18. 18
    marindenver says:

    Roger Ebert was a great guy, intelligent, funny, incisive and empathetic. Cancer is a terrible disease – enough said. I’m just so sad that they had to connect. But he rose above it in a way that many people can’t. I’ll miss him a lot. If nothing else because he was a positive connection to my (long gone) youth. My late husband loved movies and loved Siskel and Ebert. He would be sad today too.

  19. 19
    Cacti says:

    @Gravenstone:

    Ebert embraced his challenges without shame. Why not remember him as he wished to present himself?

    Wished to present himself, or was compelled to present himself after the ravages of disease?

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @John Cole: Yes.

  21. 21
    Darkrose says:

    Lovely post, John. This is hitting me hard. I totally remember the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom followed by the Sunday Disney movie, along with Sneak Previews on PBS on Saturdays. Another piece of my childhood is gone.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: Why don’t we make this thread a fight over the fucking picture? I think that would be great.

  23. 23
    Cacti says:

    @Darkrose:

    Using another picture would be like pretending FDR never had polio.

    Poor choice of comparison, FDR rarely permitted himself to be photographed in his wheelchair.

  24. 24
    Gravenstone says:

    I’m rather the contrarian here tonight, I guess. I tended to view Siskel and Ebert as the antithesis of my own movie tastes during the time frame their program aired. That said, it was an indelible part of my youth, along with many of the other things you mentioned in your post.

    And my, what a privileged childhood you had. A motor for your TV antenna? We just alternated between the Toledo and Fort Wayne stations (we were on the edge of both markets), whichever had the stronger signal. Of course, we also walked 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways.

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cacti:

    Look at his eyes.

  26. 26
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I remember when he and Siskel recommended My Dinner With Andre or some art movie, and thinking who want to watch some stupid stuff like that(I was young then and I was into action flicks, or cheap comedies, hell I thought The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training was high art) but he and Gene Siskel planted the seeds that would grow into my love of watching movies, including the great classics you see on TCM or the Criterion movies from France like Army Of Shadows or Battle of Algiers.

  27. 27
    Cacti says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Why don’t we make this thread a fight over the fucking picture? I think that would be great

    I lay awake at night wondering what BJ commenter Omnes Omnibus thinks would be great.

    I think the photo is ghoulish and represents Ebert as a shadow of himself in his prime.

  28. 28
    Darkrose says:

    @Cacti: You’re kind of missing the point, which is that if Ebert didn’t shy away from acknowledging the effects of his illness, for us to do so just doesn’t seem appropriate. It’s pretending that he didn’t go through something awful and refuse to let it stop him.

    Some of his best work came in recent years. His last post was yesterday. I don’t see anything wrong with remembering that he fought to the end.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: Your opinion is noted. Others seem to disagree. And bite me. And, with that, I’ll drop it.

  30. 30
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You would say that. As an insider Cole is skimming off the April fools fund to pay you off while the rest of us have to go begging for Soros bucks.

  31. 31
    smintheus says:

    You could watch Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which Ebert wrote.

  32. 32
    lamh35 says:

    as a young black kid in the hood when Siskel and Ebert were on, I can honestly say that it introduced me to a whole host of movies that I was never gonna be able to see unless it was for rent at the main library in NOLA (I was raised fairly poor and going to see the latest movies wasn’t happening).

    As I got older and had more access to money, I became a big film buff and Roger Ebert reviews were the only one I really read because unlike some other critics, Ebert never seemed like he was being paid to say he loved a movie. His reviews seemed genuine.

    Also, I’ll just admit right here as a BBW, I loved the relationship that Ebert had with his wife Chaz. It was awesome. I also love that the relationship happened later in his life, gives one hope that even past your “dreaded 30s” you can still find the love of your life.

    Roger loves Chaz

    Wednesday, July 18, is the 20th anniversary of our marriage. How can I begin to tell you about Chaz? She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she has my love, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone, which is where I seemed to be heading. If my cancer had come, and it would have, and Chaz had not been there with me, I can imagine a descent into lonely decrepitude. I was very sick. I might have vegetated in hopelessness. This woman never lost her love, and when it was necessary she forced me to want to live. She was always there believing I could do it, and her love was like a wind forcing me back from the grave.

    Does that sound too dramatic? You were not there. She was there every day, visiting me in the hospital whether I knew it or not, becoming an expert on my problems and medications, researching possibilities, asking questions, making calls, even giving little Christmas and Valentine’s Day baskets to my nurses, who she knew by name.

  33. 33
    Peter says:

    I briefly tutored Gene Siskel’s kids in art (I was a private chef for his downstairs neighbors in 1996, with a shiny new MFA). This was right before his diagnosis with brain cancer. Both he and Ebert handled their illnesses and impending deaths with an astonishing amount of class. An era has surely ended.

  34. 34
    taylormattd says:

    Apparently I had exactly the same childhood as you.

  35. 35
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I grew up in a Fundamentalist cult and we weren’t allowed to go to the movies. Every Sunday, first thing in the afternoon, our local network affiliate – ABC, I think – would run At The Movies with Siskel and Ebert. I’d watch it, mesmerized by their plot descriptions, clips and arguing. I never got to see the movies they reviewed so I never knew who was right and who was wrong when they disagreed. But I loved them.

  36. 36
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Cacti: Well, Ebert would have done just fine hiding behind a keyboard. He chose to go out even with the effects of his cancer. He did more than “deal” with it.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: Dude, I am double dipping into both the AF and Soros cash; you totes gotta try it.

  38. 38
    kindness says:

    Our antenna was bolted inside the attic. No rotating. Luckily, you just pointed it to NYC so no big.

  39. 39
    satby says:

    @John Cole: Exactly. Well said, John.

  40. 40
    YellowJournalism says:

    Almost everything you wrote applies to my experiences with Ebert and “At the Movies.” i watched it on Sundays with my dad. We were late to a family get-together one day because, as my dad said, “We need to watch them rip into ‘Major Payne’ first.” (One of them liked it! Need to look up who did.)

    Chris Hayes was doing a wonderful tribute to him right now. Loved the clip of a passionate And angry Ebert telling off a patronizing patron at a Sundance screening.

  41. 41
    lamh35 says:

    @lamh35: speaking of Chaz Ebert, she issued a statment on her husbands passing:

    Chaz Ebert: ‘No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition’
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/m.....ition.html

  42. 42
    hells littlest angel says:

    What made Ebert so enjoyable for me to read was that he clearly loved movies and loved writing about them. I seldom went to a movie without checking his review first.

    Oh, and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens! How can so many obituaries fail to mention that wonderfully awful film?

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    Aside my parents and teachers, Ebert and Siskel were the first adults I saw having an intelligent argument / discussion. Maybe including them. I was also then and now a movie buff and loved how serious they were about movies. Later I got a book of his essays as a present. I didn’t always agree but I wanted to read more and more.

    More recently I was enthrallled by his online presence.

  44. 44
    lamh35 says:

    @YellowJournalism: as an “urban” movie watcher, I loved that Ebert was not pompous or condescending when he reviewed those movies. He was one of the most supportive of Spike Lee’s early work when alot of white critics just viewed his earlier stuff as “race” stuff.

    Speaking of which, Ebert also had me at his thumbs up for “Booty Call”. That’s what I liked about him. If he liked a movie, he liked it.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com.....70301/1023

  45. 45
    Gordon, the Big Express Engine says:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com.....S/50725001

    Awesome review. Just hilarious.

  46. 46
    James Gary says:

    Ebert was a great writer and a great critic and for every one of the films he praised (“E.T.” comes first to mind) that I personally disliked, there’s another film where reading his review completely changed my assessment (“Five Easy Pieces,” for example.)

    That said, Cole, I have to get my dig in: if you’re gonna see a movie tonight, don’t watch “God Bless America” a fifth time. Try “Super,” or “Natural Born Killers,” or “Heathers,” all great movies and all of which Bobcat Goldthwait plundered in an annoyingly half-assed and amateurish way for “God Bless America.” Based on Mr. Ebert’s published reviews, I’d venture to suggest Roger would concur.

  47. 47
    Culture of Truth says:

    Someone said my tweet about Ebert was on Chris Hayes. If it was I missed it!

  48. 48
    Culture of Truth says:

    Mr. Cole, clearly the Universe is telling you to kick back and watch Booty Call.

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    Unpossible to ferret out a “best” piece of Ebert writing, but courtesy of JohnO in the earlier thread, I’m newly aware of his Ben Stein defenestration. This, friends, is not only a thing of beauty, it encapsulates our daily battles against all things wingnut by illuminating their war against modernity. Bless you Roger Ebert.

    Intelligent Design “scientists” in “Expelled” are offended by being called ignorant. When Stein points out that “Catholics and mainstream Protestant groups” have no problem with the theory of Evolution, he is informed by an ID advocate, “liberal Christians side with anybody against Creationists.” Now we have the smoking gun. It is the word liberal. What is the word liberal doing here? The Theory of Evolution is neither liberal nor conservative. It is simply provable or not.

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/eber....._mind.html

  50. 50
    lamh35 says:

    @Culture of Truth: hey! don’t knock Booty Call. That movie was funny, and I say if it was made in today’s “Hangover” obsessed movie culture is would be more than just an urban cult hit.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    @John Cole:
    I agree. That’s what the man looked like. He wanted to be alive, in all that statement means. Just because the man had prodigious talent doesn’t mean he will always(or ever) have prodigious looks. We get old, we get sick, the outside can look like shit but it is on the inside that really counts. And Ebert had the insides better than most. A person who found, worked and excelled at his talent and at life.

  52. 52
    dance around in your bones says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Chris Hayes was doing a wonderful tribute to him right now. Loved the clip of a passionate and angry Ebert telling off a patronizing patron at a Sundance screening.

    That was a good one.

  53. 53
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’m not knocking Booty Call. If it’s good enough for Ebert, it’s practically perfect for Tunch’s human.

  54. 54
    Darkrose says:

    @lamh35: Okay now I’m not just sniffling.

  55. 55
    Mike in NC says:

    This thread reminds me of the “rabbit ears” on top of our 1960s-70s living room TV, which somebody added aluminum foil to in order to try to get a better signal.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    He spent his early years around the corner from my house in Urbana. I posted a picture of the plaque in front of the Ebert house a few threads back.

  57. 57
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Roger Ebert taught me to pay attention to cars crashing into fruit carts. I miss him so much already.

  58. 58
    BarbCat says:

    Love this; his final review:

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....mph,31945/

  59. 59
    raven says:

    Here’s a link to the Ebertfest film festival in Champaign.

    All of us at Ebertfest are very saddened by the news of our dear friend Roger’s passing. He was a remarkable man who influenced journalists and film lovers the world over. The 15th annual Roger Ebert’s Film Festival will take place as scheduled April 17-21

  60. 60
    Suffern ACE says:

    @White Trash Liberal: I think there was a section of an episode called “how can they afford such beautiful apartments” that stuck with me. Whenever I see tv shows or movies of folks who are supposedly struggling in the city, yet live alone in these 1,000 foot spreads with balconies, views and quaint fireplaces, I utter that phrase to myself.

  61. 61
    gbear says:

    Now if you were REALLY old, you could add your memories of when you got your first color TV. They didn’t call the Disney show ‘The Wonderful World of Color’ for nuthin’…

    I used to watch Ebert and Siskel’s show but I didn’t really appreciate how good a person Ebert was until the last few years. He was a wonderful, witty writer and stood for some great causes. His writings and his memory will live on.

  62. 62
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091814/

    Kevin Bacon as a bike messenger who lives in a flat so spacious he can ride around in it.

    Also features the trope Serious Business.

  63. 63
    Sammi says:

    Roger Ebert led to Oprah becoming a billionaire. I love her story of how she went on a date with Ebert during her local Chicago show days and Ebert told her the secret to maximizing money from her shows was in syndication rights. She followed his advice and the rest is history.

  64. 64
    Suffern ACE says:

    @gbear: I982. We were late adopters.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Genine says:

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Ebert.

  67. 67
    Donut says:

    @John Cole:

    Word.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    dance around in your bones says:

    @gbear:

    Now if you were REALLY old, you could add your memories of when you got your first color TV. They didn’t call the Disney show ‘The Wonderful World of Color’ for nuthin’…

    I remember my dad saying we’d wait a couple years to see how the color tv thing worked out before we got one. That was back when a tv was literally the size of a large chest of drawers. We used to go to a neighbor’s house to watch the ‘color tv’ until we finally got our own.

  70. 70
    Cassidy says:

    There’s always one.

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    I find the picture to be respectable and respectful. Roger did not hide in the shadows after the cancer took his voice and jaw away. To place him back there does not honour his memory. The balcony is indeed closed.

  72. 72
    trollhattan says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    RCA held tight to the color teebee patents for, what was it, seventeen years? before there was any competition. They also owned NBC at the time. The sets cost the equivalent of several months’ salary and needed constant fiddling by techs. If you, for example, ever moved one, the tube had to be realigned.

    We had a B/W set for, like, ever.

    As yew kids vacate my lawn, realize how dang-dong lucky yew is.

  73. 73
    gbear says:

    @dance around in your bones: I don’t remember how old I was when we got our first color TV, but I remember they’d been around for a while before we got ours. I also remember that dad wouldn’t let us in the living room until it was in place, turned on and adjusted. It was a total surprise to us kids.

    It didn’t take long before we discovered all the fun you could have messing with the settings – turning people green or purple. We’d screw with the color and laugh and laugh until dad would get mad.

  74. 74
    dance around in your bones says:

    @trollhattan: I guess my dad was smart to hold out, then.

    I still love watching B&W movies. Something about the lighting and shading is so calming.

    Plus these new-fangled TV’s are so bloody complicated! Switching from cable/satellite to Netflix or the Xbox is….complicated. The kids think I’m daft.

    eta: Remember those plastic things they sold on late night TV that you were supposed to hold/glue over your B&W TV to make it turn to color? Hahahaha!

  75. 75
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I fondly remember sitting on the back porch in the summer with my grandfather drinking LemonBlend (made slushy) listening to Bob Prince and Nellie King broadcast Pirates baseball. Grandpa could not stand Bob Prince and when the two broadcasters switched between the radio and the TV broadcast he would turn on the “portable” B&W TV to listen to Nellie and turn off Bob.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    rda909 says:

    Even though it’s not a “free night,” the missus and I will be having a big bowl of popcorn tonight and watching a flick in his honor. I became a devotee after he and Siskel publicly called out the Oscars for ignoring Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” and they both named it the best picture of the year. Amazing clip here, and Ebert is remarkably prescient in describing white “liberals” today and how President Obama can do not one single thing to their satisfaction (yet Bill or Hillary or John Edwards…they’re okay!):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjYS8EUakgs

    And he had this incredible review of the movie too. A very insightful man…RIP:

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com...../906300301

  78. 78
    patroclus says:

    As a kid, I would routinely watch Siskel and Ebert’s Sneak Previews and I loved how competitive they were with each other while still maintaining a degree of respect for each others’ opinions. Ebert was with the Sun-Times and Siskel with the Trib and they started out as direct competitors, with a genuine dislike for each other, but over time, they sort of merged into a single entity. You could always count on Ebert to like the kids’ movies with a joy that clearly exposed his inner child and his written reviews created great word pictures that made you want to see them even if you agreed with Siskel that it was probably a stupid movie, poorly directed and ham-handedly edited. You could always count on Siskel to sneak in some personal dig that Roger never seemed to get. Ebert was clearly the nicer guy; Siskel the analytical one. Ebert the Democrat; Siskel the Republican (albeit a liberal). It was PBS’s very best show – once they went commercial, it wasn’t nearly as good. There’ve been a lot of copycats; no one has ever done it better than those two.

  79. 79
    Gwangung says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    Chris Hayes was doing a wonderful tribute to him right now. Loved the clip of a passionate And angry Ebert telling off a patronizing patron at a Sundance screening.

    Oh, hat wasn’t the Justin Lin thing, was it? That tirade made him an honorary Azn brother in the Asian American creative community….

    If it wasn’t, I’d still love to see it…..

  80. 80
    Anya says:

    Roger Ebert was a huge part of my childhood. My dad was a huge fan. We mostly watched movies recommended by Ebert. We didn’t have a teevee so every saturday (sometimes Sunday) my dad, brother and me went to the movies (mom didn’t like movies that much). Sometimes we went to the Bloor Cinema (Toronto) to see classical movies. Like everyone else mentioned, the quality I liked the most about Ebert was his humanity, and the way he expressed it with his beautiful words. RIP, Mr. Ebert. I wish the world was full of people like you.

    Oh I forgot to mention…Oh John, I heart you so much! <3

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    That photo of Ebert always reminds me of the lead character from the silent The Man Who Laughs, which also inspired the look for the Joker.

    I have a feeling that Ebert was not unaware of the resemblance.

    ETA: Also, as I said in the other thread, I blame Siskel & Ebert for my having not one, but two film degrees.

  82. 82
    Petorado says:

    Robert Ebert was a very decent human being. I suppose it didn’t hurt watching all those stories about people trying to live their lives flickering by on the screen to develop a good understanding of the human condition and what’s important. But he also risked his fame and position to advocate for change for the better, and that’s really the measure of a good person.

    It wasn’t until Siskel and Ebert turned into Ebert and Roper that I realized what a great dynamic they had as a duo. That was some good debate — a term that’s lost much of it’s meaning the way the Washington press corps uses it.

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Ooh, yes, turn you teebee into color! Advertised alongside the Habband never-wear-out slacks.

    Remember Winky-Dink? Before my time but we had the plastic screen around forever.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045456/

  84. 84
    WaynersT says:

    One of those people whom I never met, but felt I knew so well. His blog was my absolute favorite. What a punch in the gut. Such a sad, sad, day.

    Roger Ebert dies. Dick Cheney lives. The world sucks balls.

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @WaynersT:

    No shit. And somebody else, literally, had to die for Cheney to live on. I feel like singing show tunes just thinking about it.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @trollhattan:

    I feel like singing show tunes just thinking about it.

    Sondheim ones, I presume.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan:

    And somebody else, literally, had to die for Cheney to live on.

    It does make it easier to call him a ghoul.

  88. 88
    Slaughter says:

    I loved that Siskel and Ebert brought movie reviews to the masses from out or the realm of the elite and that they argued about movies like baseball fans would argue about Mickey vs. Willie. No one can match what they did.

  89. 89
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Gwangung: Yes, I think it was. I imagine it was the same tone of voice that John uses when he tells us all to fuck off. And I mean that as a compliment to them both.

    I went into Journalism because I wanted to be a film critic like Ebert. I finished my degree, but I realized I did not have a big enough love of being a journalist to do it he old fashioned way and I wasn’t a big enough geek to do it through web sites, although I did get to write a review once for AICN. I took a few film-related courses through my drama minor and English major. I used the nickname AllThumbs to post there in honor of Sikel and Ebert. I realized that I could still love film and be perfectly happy being a couch critic with my friends and family. Since BJ wasn’t yet my number one time waster, I would spend hours surfing through Roger’s old reviews and savouring the days when he’d share a new Great Movies column with the world.

    I read Chaz’s column and feel guilty about feeling so heartbroken about someone I’ve never met. But I don’t think either one of them would mind.

  90. 90
    BarbCat says:

    Okay, okay, so don’t click on my link but here’s the Onion’s obit. I’ll frefund your money if you don’t enjoy it.

    Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As ‘A Triumph’
    News • News • ISSUE 49•14 • Apr 4, 2013

    CHICAGO—Calling the overall human experience “poignant,” “thought-provoking,” and a “complete tour de force,” film critic Roger Ebert praised existence Thursday as “an audacious and thrilling triumph.” “While not without its flaws, life, from birth to death, is a masterwork, and an uplifting journey that both touches the heart and challenges the mind,” said Ebert, adding that while the totality of all humankind is sometimes “a mess in places,” it strives to be a magnum opus and, according to Ebert, largely succeeds at this goal. “At times brutally sad, yet surprisingly funny, and always completely honest, I wholeheartedly recommend existence. If you haven’t experienced it yet, then what are you waiting for? It is not to be missed.” Ebert later said that while human existence’s running time was “a little on the long side,” it could have gone on much, much longer and he would have been perfectly happy.

  91. 91
    patrick II says:

    “I’ve been around a long time, and young men, if there is one thing I know, it is that the only way to kiss a girl for the first time is to look like you want to and intend to, and move in fast enough to seem eager but slow enough to give her a chance to say ‘So anyway…’ and look up as if she’s trying to remember your name.” [Roger Ebert]

  92. 92
    trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Twenty quatloos are awarded. Spend them wisely.

  93. 93
    Ruckus says:

    @YellowJournalism:
    I think they would both feel honored.

  94. 94
    rhubarb says:

    As a child, I was terribly jealous of my cousin, who had a Winky-Dink screen. And after a hard Saturday morning of jumping gullies that would have at least broken our legs if we’d fallen in (amusement was pretty thin on the ground in the Texas Panhandle), we’d repair to the house of a relatively rich friend and watch the color TV. Lots of purple and orange faces, plus errant chartreuse.

  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Cheney and li’l Cheney remain two of a small group who continue to surprise me with their ability to show they’re worse than I thought.

    There’d best be a hell, or I’m going to have to invent one.

  96. 96
    Jane2 says:

    @Cacti: The goodness and curiosity and thoughtfulness of Roger Ebert shone through pictures like this, and that is what I see.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan: I got a little pissy earlier in this thread because, as a general rule, I don’t like people being assholish in an RIP thread. For Cheney, this and this are fitting.

  98. 98
    dance around in your bones says:

    @trollhattan:

    I don’t remember the Winky Dink but a thing more like this guy remembers. It was bullshit, of course.

    Suckers born every minute and all.

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    This may be too emotional to listen to just yet: Werner Herzog reacts to news of Roger Ebert’s death.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: All I am getting is static.

    ETA: Never mind. Got it to play.

  101. 101
    DH says:

    I have been using Mr. Ebert’s book The Great Movies to go though, one by one, the movies he lists there. It has been a real education and a joy. He was a real mensch, and a very brave man. I hate cancer.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That may have been Herzog’s sniffling. Who knew he could actually be sincere?

  103. 103
    Xenos says:

    Very sad at the passing of Ebert. And a bit sad remembering the family sitting around watching the Disney Saturday night movies. With DVDs and the internet there is so much more for kids to watch, but so little heart in it all.

  104. 104
    Bruce s says:

    Chris Hayes had great segment on Ebert tonite. Check it out.

  105. 105
    Bruce S says:

    Chris Hayes had great segment on Ebert tonight. Check it out.

  106. 106
    rda909 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Thank you so much for that. Great interview. I will be sharing greatly.

  107. 107
    rda909 says:

    @Bruce S: I couldn’t care less what Chris Hayes thinks about anything. He hasn’t earned it.

  108. 108
    Fort Geek says:

    @Cacti: Good thing Ebert never showed up in public looking like that.

    Oh, wait!

  109. 109
    rda909 says:

    “North by Northwest” was our Ebert-tribute movie tonight. Almost was “Do the Right Thing,” which we’ve each seen at least 10 times (partly thanks to Siskel and Ebert), and wanted to see another classic instead. Thanks for everything, Roger.

  110. 110
    Johannes says:

    @taylormattd: Me too. I totally identify with this comment and the OP.

  111. 111
    tinare says:

    Last night Diane Sawyer said something about Roger Ebert once saying that he imagined heaven as a movie theater with Citizen Kane playing. Or something like that. I hope that he’s right.

    Anyway, John, did you grow up in the Pittsburgh television market? If so, was it Rege Cordic that you were thinking of —
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=r.....-SearchBox
    He hosted a Sunday afternoon movie show on WTAE. It was a favorite of mine.

  112. 112
    rikyrah says:

    amen, Cole.

    Amen.

    Ebert is a large part of why I love movies.

Comments are closed.