Roger Ebert died yesterday.
I was crushed when I heard it, because it meant that we had lost a wonderful man and a brilliant critic. Ebert had a gift for making his reviews some of the
most entertaining pieces of nonfiction I've ever read: his turns of phrase, his clarity and insight, gave him a distinctive voice that will be impossible to forget. Whether he loved a movie or hated it, whether you agreed or disagreed, you knew it was Ebert's review.
Despite assholes who derided Ebert as a snob for whatever of their favourite genre films he disliked, Ebert was a man who appreciated a good popular film, who didn't look down on genre movies for their content, and knew there were many ways for a film to be a success. Ebert simply knew that a movie's format was no excuse for bad filmmaking.
Ebert also championed animation as a medium, and was pivotal in increasing America's appreciation of the Studio Ghibli films. Without this man's passion for good films, the anime landscape in the US might have been poorer for it.
And all of us can only hope to face Ebert's physical hardships with such grace and poise as he did. Ebert sounded like a guy that made the most out of life, whatever it was, and it also shined through in his passion for criticism and for the written word.