Today, Roger Ebert died.
That is a difficult sentence for me to write, not just because Ebert was a man I greatly admired (the first person to pass on in a long time that I was a capital F Fan of at the time of their death) but also because Ebert long ago passed from being a mere man, and into being an American Institution. He was a staple of movie criticism in a way that no one else was, other than perhaps his longtime partner Gene Siskel. I didn’t always agree with him, but you’ll never find someone you agree with 100 percent of the time. But I always read him, I always respected his opinion and I always found his thinking and journalism skills without peer.
In a way it seems oddly fitting that yesterday he announced that he was going into retirement with a ‘leave of presence,’ essentially announcing his retirement, because it feels like his work ended with him. He taught millions of people to love film and experience it in new ways. He was the first film critic I ever read or watched regularly and the one I read the most.
And as odd as this sounds, it felt like he’d always be there. Rest in Peace Roger. We’ll miss you.