Thursday, April 04, 2013

We'll miss you, Roger Ebert

Sometimes I regret being right: Just last month I speculated that Roger Ebert must be facing another health challenge. A couple of days ago, Mr. Ebert announced that his cancer had returned and that he would be stepping back, taking not a leave of absence, but a "leave of presence," reviewing only the movies he wanted to see, and announcing some other ambitious plans for his recuperation.

Roger Ebert died today.

I hardly ever go to the movies. Movies cost money and I don't have the income to dispose. But I faithfully read Mr. Ebert's reviews -- I looked forward to them. Ebert never tried to sell readers on a particular movie; he knew his tastes might have evolved differently from people who didn't watch movies for a living. But he told you enough about a movie, whether he loved it or he hated it, to let you know whether you'd like it.

The kids often gave me grief for reading all the reviews of movies I never planned to see. Sometimes, though, and often to the chagrin of my offspring, it came in handy.

But I didn't read Ebert's reviews just to police my children's weekend movie viewing. I read Ebert's reviews because I enjoyed Ebert's voice. I liked his style. I liked his way with words.

I didn't always agree with his opinions, whether about movies or politics. Friends sometimes disagree about these things, but it's OK because they're friends.

Of course, my friendship with Mr. Ebert was a trifle one-sided: I read most everything he wrote; he never knew of my existence. But I still can't help but feel as though I've lost a friend.

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