Have you ever seen anyone without a lower jaw? Roger Ebert: The Essential Man:
Roger Ebert can’t remember the last thing he ate. He can’t remember the last thing he drank, either, or the last thing he said. Of course, those things existed; those lasts happened. They just didn’t happen with enough warning for him to have bothered committing them to memory — it wasn’t as though he sat down, knowingly, to his last supper or last cup of coffee or to whisper a last word into Chaz’s ear. The doctors told him they were going to give him back his ability to eat, drink, and talk. But the doctors were wrong, weren’t they? On some morning or afternoon or evening, sometime in 2006, Ebert took his last bite and sip, and he spoke his last word.
Let me again point you to one of the best blogs online, Roger Ebert’s Journal. A little about it (also from the great Esquire article I linked to up top):
… five hundred thousand words that probably wouldn’t exist had he kept his other voice. Now some of his entries have thousands of comments, each of which he vets personally and to which he will often respond. It has become his life’s work, building and maintaining this massive monument to written debate — argument is encouraged, so long as it’s civil — and he spends several hours each night reclined in his chair, tending to his online oasis by lamplight. Out there, his voice is still his voice — not a reasonable facsimile of it, but his.
The thing I like best about Ebert’s reviewing is that he identifies what a movie sets out to do: Dumb summer romantic comedy. Or, Make an artistic statement. And onward. He reviews the movie based on its own goals, on its own terms — has the movie given up on itself and settled for mediocrity? Or worse, is it hostile towards the audience? Or has it overreached as it strove to do something new? I think this is how I would try to review movies… it seems fair.
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