Yesterday, I had just gotten off work and found refuge from the rain in my favorite coffee shop. My mind was set to write a new review, but out of bad habit, I opened up Twitter, for just a moment, and saw the sad news. Roger Ebert, the writer I strive to learn from most, my inspiration throughout this blog, had just passed away.
The barista could have guessed I had come across some bad news. For a few minutes I just sat in disbelief, rubbing my eyes, shaking my head and refreshing my twitter feed as all the love for Roger came pouring through. What a sad day for the film community, the strongest voice in film criticism was gone. I’ll never forget the day I briefly met him, seeing all his life and energy shine through despite his tired body. Though most of us knew of his diminishing health, you’re never ready for the end.
Most film bloggers love Ebert and follow his work. From the early days of this blog, he has been my go-to writer to emulate. I’ve strived to learn from his work, not just how to write about movies, but how to become a better writer. Just earlier that day I thought to myself, “Shoot, I haven’t written a new review lately, Ebert wouldn’t have slacked off in my shoes.”
Over the past three years writing this blog, I have learned a lot from Roger. On film criticism, I’ve learned that it takes practice, years of it. It’s not always right to blame actors for a bad movie and if it is a good film (as most that I review are), it’s worth it to be kind and say something good about it. However, never sacrifice honesty. That may be the hardest part of film criticism, being brave enough to be honest, especially if you’re opinion isn’t the popular one.
As a writer in general, my God, Ebert’s lessons have been invaluable. Not only his film reviews, but his blog posts, his twitter account, his memoir, everything he puts out into the world was done with such gusto and care. They were pieces of him he shared with the whole world and his reach was farther than most writers, of our time or the past. He connected us, the film community and beyond, in ways we could only imagine. He made the most of modern communication and helped enrich our human experience.
From this inspired writer, we already miss you Mr. Ebert. The world is a better place because of you. Thanks for always being with us at the movies.