I just learned that Rodger Ebert died. The world is a lesser without him. I have never met him, and I am not sure that I ever saw him on TV, but his writings were a big influence in my love of movies.
In the very early 70’s, I subscribed to The New Yorker to read Pauline Kael’s reviews but it wasn’t until I started reading Ebert that I found somebody who whole-heartily, unabashedly, loved movies. His reviews echoed that love. I think that alot of people say that they love movies, but they really only love certain kinds of movies, they only love movies that agree with them. Ebert seemed to love all kinds of movies.
American movies are a collective, most American Art. They cost alot of money to make, even cheap ones, so they – by and large – have to be directed towards the mainstream, meaning they can’t afford the personal indulgences of, say, painting or photography. I think that Ebert loved American Movies because he loved America, because he had a generosity of spirit toward the American quilt. He had his complaints he wanted things to be better, but he seemed to embrace America, warts and all.
Anybody who loves movies will miss him. My heart goes out to Chaz, his wife. Rest In Peace.