Mother Brain’s Roger Ebert Tribute
By Mother Brain
Last week, the world lost one of the last great film critics of our time. Roger Ebert loved the movies. He devoted a good part of his life to separate good from crap. While the public may have never always agreed with his reviews, Ebert was the cream of the crop even in the midst of the growing blogosphere on the internet.
My personal memories of Ebert go as far back as my youth when I used to confuse him with Orle Redenbacher.Whenever I’d see TV spots for movies that were rated “two thumbs up” by him and his critic partner, the late Gene Siskel, I knew their opinion mattered in choosing what movie to spend my money on. Together, they came to our living rooms every weekend with their syndicated show, At The Movies. While I can’t recall any significant memories of the show, I can remember many films I saw because of Ebert’s high praise: The Matrix, Running Scared, Better Luck Tomorrow, and of course Pulp Fiction. But when he and Siskel trashed a bad movie, they would be on fire as you can see here with 1994’s North:
As well as the hilarious review of 1987’s Jaws The Revenge:
Siskel and Ebert were icons of the industry. They’ve been parodied on countless occasions and they also voice-guest starred as themselves on the short lived series, The Critic. Ebert was forced to push on after the sudden death of Siskel in 1999 and their show was never the same regardless of Richard Roper or any other critic taking Siskel’s place.
Even as his health deteriorated in the last 11 years to the extent of losing his jaw, his speech and getting confined to a wheelchair, Ebert never stopped watching films. To the end of his life, he continued to praise the best films of our time (Crash, The Social Network, The Hurt Locker, Argo, etc.) and trash all the rest. He left a very big void in film criticism that will be very difficult for any living critic to fill and the movies will not be the same without his voice or his thumbs up. But we can only thank Roger Ebert for showing us the path to quality cinema.