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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Sean Kelly

R.I.P. Roger Ebert

siskelandebert

It is definitely a sad day for cinephiles as, one of the all-time great film critics, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times has passed away at the age of 70.  There has pretty much never been a period in my lifetime when Robert Ebert (and his late television co-host Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune) were not part of the popular culture.  For years the simple three word quote “Two Thumbs Up” has been a badge of honour for many films.

Like most people, I was introduced to Roger Ebert through his long-running television review show Siskel and Ebert, which began back in 1982.  The show supported a viewpoint of film criticism that I personally hold quite dearly – everyone has the right to their own opinion.  With the simple rating of either “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Down,” the fun of Siskel and Ebert came in the form of the heated debates the two would have about movies.

Even though he was four years younger than Ebert, Gene Siskel tragically passed away in 1999, due to complications from a brain tumour.  At this time, Robert Ebert continued with a rotating roster of guest hosts before being permanently joined by Richard Roeper in 2001.  However, Ebert would be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006, which resulted in him going on a permanent hiatus from the show.  The show, now named At the Movies, would continue for a few more years with a number of different hosts before sadly being cancelled all together in 2010.

Ebert underwent surgery for his thyroid cancer, which resulted in the removal of his jaw and subsequently his ability to speak or eat.  Despite this handicap, Ebert still maintained his career as a film critic and he found a new voice online through his website RogerEbert.com and his official Twitter account.  In fact, it was sadly just a couple days ago when Ebert wrote his final post as he prepared to scale back his workload as his health issues returned.

Like most film critics, I didn’t always agree with Ebert’s opinions and I had a feeling that he had become a bit out of touch with the types of films in this day and age.  That said, Ebert’s was an opinion that I valued more than any other film critic.  His passing is definitely the end of an era and I don’t think we will ever see another film critic like Roger Ebert.

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).