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Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

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Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Old 04-08-13, 03:18 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by Jules Winfield
He was a four star enabler. He gave many movies four stars that didn't deserve them.
He did that.
Old 04-10-13, 10:53 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Charlie Rose: Remembering film critic Roger Ebert with A.O. Scott of The New York Times, Dana Stevens of Slate, and director Werner Herzog

Worth a view.
Old 04-10-13, 11:09 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

And this is pretty great:

Roger Ebert and Me: What Happens When a Famous Critic Hates Your Movie
So here’s what happened the first time I met Roger Ebert.

Friday, September 18, 1992.

The Friars Club was roasting Billy Crystal and, because I’d written a few jokes for this verbal onslaught, I was in the ballroom of the New York Hilton that afternoon. As was Roger Ebert, who, along with his much thinner partner, Gene Siskel, possessed the most highly regarded opposable thumbs in the country.

It was in the pressroom prior to the festivities that I went up to him and introduced myself. We exchanged a few pleasantries and that was it. He seemed nice enough. Perhaps a little taller than I thought he’d be, though I’d only ever seen him sitting in a chair on television so maybe I was unfair to have prejudged.

My next encounter with Roger was not in person. It occurred some two years later, after a movie I’d written was released. The movie began as a novella I’d written titled “North.” My son, Adam, was nine years old. He was at that age when he’d be looking across the dinner table at my wife, Robin, and me, and from the expression on his face you could tell he was thinking, “I can do better than these two.” So, taking that cue form our firstborn, I wrote a book about a boy named North who, feeling unappreciated by his parents, declared himself a free agent and then travelled around the world offering his services as a devoted son to the highest bidding set of moms and dads.

I sent the galleys to my friend Rob Reiner asking for a blurb for the book jacket, and, much to my unbridled delight, he liked the book enough to want to direct the movie version of it. An author’s dream! To write a book and then be hired to adapt it into a screenplay! And then cast Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood, Dan Aykroyd, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Rita Wilson, and an eight-year-old actress named Scarlett Johansson to star in the forty-million-dollar film version of it! And then have a Hollywood premičre for it! Where everyone I loved, including my wife, children, and parents, who flew in from (you guessed it) Boca Raton, were in the audience.

Up to that point, the premičre was undoubtedly the most exciting evening in my professional life and I couldn’t possibly have been happier.

Until the next morning.

July 22, 1994.

When I read Roger Ebert’s review. Which I couldn’t help but interpret as something less than a rave:
I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.
Now, because I have a tendency to be a tad hard on myself, I took the time to reread it. Slower this time. Looking for a hidden adjective. Or perhaps the phrase “I’m just kidding” (as in “I’m just kidding when I say that I hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie”) that I somehow overlooked the next twenty-five times I read this death notice. But no. There was no getting around it. There was something about “North” that apparently irked Roger Ebert.

To be fair, this was not the only negative review that the film received. There were a number of them. O.K., I’m lying. There was a veritable avalanche of them. But because it was written by Roger Ebert, this was the one that everyone on the planet read.

And quoted.

To me, by friends who called to express their sympathies: “It’s like Ebert stuck two thumbs up your ass and then had a tug of war with himself.”

To Robin, who came home from the neighborhood supermarket we’d been shopping at for years and said, “I’m wondering if maybe we should order in for awhile.”

To our son Adam, who, when he grew tired of defending his dad to his L.A. classmates, asked if I’d be offended if he changed his last name to Sorkin.

To say the least, the review was embarrassing.

And hurtful.

I write. This is what I do. My job is to sit down with my vocabulary, select words, and place them in an order that will not only hold a reader or viewer’s attention but also give him a laugh or two along the way. If you like what I wrote, well, I’m happy you enjoyed my effort. If you didn’t care for it, well, I’m sorry, but it’s not a war crime.

Don’t get me wrong, Roger had every right to dislike, or even hate, this movie. It was his job to give his opinion and he was a terrific writer, so maybe that was also part of the reason why it bothered me so much. That a fellow wordsmith had been so personally negative of how I defined myself.

Years passed. And, like all hurts, Roger’s words receded into the past where the sense memory it evoked became shielded by scar tissue.

Ebert went on to give other movies both good and bad reviews, and I went on to write things that have gotten both good and bad reviews. Oh, well, as Hyman Roth said in “The Godfather: Part II,” “This is the business we’ve chosen.”

But, like the desire to run into a former lover, the one who dropped us for the one they ended up marrying, for years I wondered what would happen if I crossed paths with Roger Ebert again. What would I say? How would I say it? And would the police have to intervene?

So here’s what happened the next time I met Roger Ebert.

March, 2006.

I was on tour promoting a book I’d written when someone I was having lunch with in a Chicago restaurant pointed him out.

I became transfixed. I watched him eat. I watched him laugh. And, when he got up, I watched him as he worked his way to the men’s room. Within seconds, I excused myself and did the same.

So there we were. Downstairs in the men’s room of a restaurant.

“Roger…?” I heard myself say as we were both exiting.

“Yes,” he answered.

A beat of silence. One that he appeared to be using to figure out where he may have known my face. And one that I used to figure out what I was going to say next. It was clearly my turn to talk. Some twelve years after that review.

“Alan Zweibel,” I said.

Another beat of silence. One that he appeared to be using to tighten every muscle in his body.

And one that I broke by saying, “And I just have to tell you, Roger, that that sweater you’re wearing? I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that sweater.”

One last beat of silence.

Then I smiled. And then he smiled.

Then I started laughing.

And then he started laughing.

And then we shook hands.

Rest in peace, Roger.
Old 04-11-13, 10:45 AM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

For those who regularly looked at his site, it's been completely re-done, as he said a while back. Rather nice now.

http://www.rogerebert.com/
Old 04-11-13, 10:47 AM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by trespoochies
For those who regularly looked at his site, it's been completely re-done, as he said a while back. Rather nice now.

http://www.rogerebert.com/
Was reading it this morning. I think it looks great.
Old 04-16-13, 05:50 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

I saw this and nearly spit out my soda. I'm going through the FOI government requests at work and I saw someone is asking for Ebert's FBI file.

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-...bert-fbi-4863/

I have no idea what they could be fishing for.
Old 04-16-13, 06:05 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by Navinabob
I saw this and nearly spit out my soda. I'm going through the FOI government requests at work and I saw someone is asking for Ebert's FBI file.

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-...bert-fbi-4863/

I have no idea what they could be fishing for.
Nothing, the guy that put in the request (Shawn Andrew Musgrave) is a 23 year old from Tuscon, AZ that's probably just bored and a little curious. He requested his own FBI file last year and was denied when it was revealed he didn't have one (though he may now, hah). The fact they responded the way they did means Ebert has one, and it could be an interesting read.
Old 04-16-13, 06:11 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

"To The Wonder" is the last published review, but reading this article by Jim Emerson at his website ( http://www.rogerebert.com/scanners/r...e-roger-i-knew ), it says this...

But this final one -- sent March 16 and labeled "FOR USE as needed," is of Terence Malick's "To the Wonder," which (spoiler warning) he liked quite a lot.
If Ebert gave this review weeks earlier for him to hold until needed, that means he mostly likely saw "To The Wonder" earlier than other movies and some other movie that got published sooner is actually the last movie he saw. (It could even mean "The Host" was the last movie he actually saw!)
Old 04-16-13, 06:13 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

I seriously doubt The Host was the last he saw, that would mean nearly a week of no movies?
Old 04-16-13, 06:17 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

His From Up on Poppy Hill (Studio Ghibli's latest) review was released the same day as The Host. So it's possible he saw that more recently. Then again, he didn't enjoy it that much either.
Old 04-16-13, 08:55 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by Navinabob
I saw this and nearly spit out my soda. I'm going through the FOI government requests at work and I saw someone is asking for Ebert's FBI file.

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-...bert-fbi-4863/

I have no idea what they could be fishing for.
Ebert was a liberal columnist for a major newspaper in the '60s -- there's a very good chance he had an entry in Hoover's secret files and it'd be interesting to see what that is.
Old 04-20-13, 10:43 AM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

His website has another one of his "last" reviews up for Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay.

He liked it. Gave it 3 stars.
Old 04-04-14, 09:30 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Still dead, but anyone else really anticipating the Ebert documentary, Life Itself, due out in July?
Old 04-04-14, 09:46 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Very much so.

(Until then, allow this little masterpiece to tide you over)

<iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/50149561" width="500" height="280" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 04-04-23, 07:46 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Wow, today marks ten years since Roger Ebert's passing. I like that whenever I catch a movie from the 60s onward I TCM, I can usually find Ebert's original review on-line. It's nice he left behind such a wealth of writing. It's great to see his thoughts on forgotten films like "Portnoy's Complaint" and "$".

His wife Chaz had a column up today about Roger, and his final days. I was a little surprised reading it, as I had been under the impression his final column, "A Leave Of Presence" which was published two days before his passing was him saying goodbye because he knew he was about to go, but not so according to this piece.

A Return to the Presence of Love | Chaz's Journal | Roger Ebert
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Old 04-04-23, 07:55 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

I'll often watch a lot of old Siskel and Ebert reviews on YouTube. I miss their show and often think movies would be better if they were still alive today.

Last edited by Bluelitespecial; 04-04-23 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 04-04-23, 09:09 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

I could listen to his commentary tracks on Citizen Kane, Dark City, and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls all day long. Very much appreciated his passion for films and film making. He is missed.
Old 04-04-23, 09:12 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

He was in addition to being a good critic, a great writer.
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Old 04-04-23, 09:18 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Reading Ebert’s reviews meant a lot to me. For me, the loss was never filled by anyone else. Maybe it was the period of time when I started reading his reviews. But I really felt a connection.
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Old 04-04-23, 09:39 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

Ebert was a champion of movies. His writing made you go out of your way to see a movie that you would never have thought of seeing before. For some strange reason, no one has been able to fill that void, even in an era where a critic like Ebert would have thrived by using social media and YouTube to reach a bigger audience.

I feel lucky to have been able to correspond with him through emails back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He would reply to emails with the same grace and wit that he made famous on his syndicated show and he seem delighted to have a tool to directly speak with his fans and detractors. I imagine that in today’s social media world he would have made many posts go viral in a positive way.
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Old 04-04-23, 09:43 PM
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re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation (1942-2013)

I’ve never been able to finish the documentary about him.
It’s too heartbreaking for me.
Old 04-04-23, 10:37 PM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Yeah like others said nobody fills the void. If I see a movie that I know he’s talked about, I seek out his review and any videos. Hoop Dreams, Up Series, I wouldn’t have seen them if it wasn’t for him. There’s movies in the intervening ten years that I wonder what he’d think of.

And he kept up with the times. His Tweets were pretty entertaining, and he won the New Yorker caption contest a few times.
Old 04-05-23, 12:52 AM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by Toby Dramit
I could listen to his commentary tracks on Citizen Kane, Dark City, and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls all day long. Very much appreciated his passion for films and film making. He is missed.
Casablanca as well.

Growing up with Siskel & Ebert had a profound influence on how I viewed movies. I'd say there is no way to truly appreciate Citizen Kane in this day and age without listening to Ebert's commentary.
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Old 04-05-23, 01:33 AM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Originally Posted by rennervision
I'd say there is no way to truly appreciate Citizen Kane in this day and age without listening to Ebert's commentary.
Completely agree ...
Old 04-05-23, 04:51 AM
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Re: Roger Ebert – Discussion & Appreciation [Update: Dead]

Jeez, that “update: dead” in the thread title still stings 10 years on 🙁

I still own and frequently re read most of Roger’s books, and have to agree, he did some of the finest commentary tracks ever and it’s just a shame he didn’t do more.
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