Thursday, April 4, 2013

The balcony is closed...

Roger Ebert was one of the reasons I love movies so much. I remember when I was growing up, watching him and Gene Siskel debating the latest cinematic highs and lows on At the Movies, and I loved the way both men were respectful when they criticized a movie. Oscar junkie that I am, I relished their annual show, If We Picked the Oscars, during which they'd dissect all of the year's nominees, even talk about what they thought was the least deserving nominee and what they viewed was the biggest snub that year. (I rarely watched Ebert's show though after Siskel's death in 1999, partly out of loyalty to Gene, and partly because I wasn't much of a Richard Roeper fan.)

Although I didn't see him regularly on television, I always kept up with his reviews, reading his annual Movie Yearbooks like they were magazines, and in later days, following his blog and Twitter feed.

Ebert's death earlier today has left me feeling a little melancholy. His courageous battle against thyroid and jaw cancer, which left him unable to speak, didn't dull his cinematic insights, his love of the movies, or his trademark wit. He was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize and also the first to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Earlier this week he announced he'd be taking what he called a "leave of presence" from his regular reviewing duties to begin radiation treatment to combat the latest recurrence of his cancer. The closing sentence on his final blog post, two days before his death, said, "So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

The spotlights are a little duller tonight, and those of us who admired his zeal for film are a little sadder. But just think how lucky we are to have had a balcony seat near his for all these years, soaking up his love for the movies. As I said on Facebook earlier today, if there's any justice, he and Gene Siskel are together now, catching up on all the films they weren't able to discuss.

RIP, Roger. And with that, the balcony is forever closed.

1 comment:

  1. That's sad to think the balcony is forever closed. Just read an essay he wrote that I loved and was moved to write a blog post about it.