roger ebertJust yesterday we learned that legendary film critic Roger Ebert's cancer had returned. He said he was planning to scale back a bit and only see the movies he really wanted to review. He knew he needed to slow down, but he saw his life rolling on for a few more years. Well, sad news today: Roger Ebert died at 70.

Ebert was a film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and hosted the television show At the Movies (with Gene Siskel) through the 1980s and 1990s, where he became known for his "thumbs up/ thumbs down" rating system. He is survived by his wife, step-daughter, and two step-grandchildren. This afternoon the Chicago Tribune called him "a film critic with the soul of a poet." Here's a few quotes to remember him by.

  1. Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.
  2. No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.
  3. We fought like cats and dogs, but we always loved each other. (On his relationship with Gene Siskel)
  4. Every great film should seem new every time you see it.
  5. A lot of people just go to the movies that feed into their preexisting and not-so-noble needs and desires: They just go to action pictures, and things like that.
  6. I am utterly bored by celebrity interviews. Most celebrities are devoid of interest.
  7. This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels. (On Freddy Got Fingered)
  8. I'm kind of glad the Internet is totally anarchic. That's fine with me.
  9. Doing research on the Web is like using a library assembled piecemeal by pack rats and vandalized nightly.
  10. I lost faith in the Oscars the first year I was a movie critic — the year that Bonnie and Clyde didn't win.
  11. I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.
  12. I do not fear death. I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. (From Ebert's book, Life Itself: A Memoir. Read the entire essay, "I Do Not Fear Death," on Salon.)

Here's Roger Ebert defending Star Wars.

Do you ever give movies a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

 

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