***THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE FOR THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON APRIL 4TH, 2013***
In a world of mass social media and a blogosphere so big that anyone can eternally etch their quickly formed opinions into hyperspace, people often ask what the point of a film critic is. When someone is as well-respected and revered as the late Roger Ebert, that question requires no answer.
It’s hard not to make this post personal, but Roger Ebert was nothing short of an inspiration to many, many writers, both aspiring and established, with his belief that, ‘No good film is too long,’ becoming a mantra to those who shared even a fraction of his passion. But for a man with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Pulitzer Prize, he’d be too modest to admit that he was any sort of idol.
His presence across all forms of media was unparalleled, embracing the leap from print to online and amassing over 800,000 followers on Twitter. Television gave him the platform to present AT THE MOVIES with Gene Siskel (who died in 1999 under similarly tragic cancer-related issues), with the pair coining the infamous thumbs-up or down rating system. But it was his online blogging presence that became the mainstay of many a critic’s internet bookmarks due to his wit, knowledge, and willingness to embrace the continually changing face of the movie world.
After reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times for forty-six years, Ebert expressed his need to take ‘A Leave of Presence‘ yesterday, after revealing that a fracture he had suffered was in fact another form of cancer. With radiation and more hospital time on the horizon, he admitted the need to let others step up and take on more of his workload – but not without reviewing more for his Great Movies collection, ‘Which has produced three books and could justify a fourth.’ Simply put, the man never stopped.
In regards to rogerebert.com, Ebert explained how we would, ‘Learn more about its exciting new features on April 9 when the site is launched,’ and one can only wonder if, secretly, part of him knew that he may not be around to witness this new chapter. However, the internet has preserved Roger Ebert’s legacy, and he signed off using the most pertinent and succinct last words we could have hoped for – ‘See you at the movies.’