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April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan" 
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Post April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
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Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:51 am
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Elegantly written. I doubt that Ebert would have wanted a long-winded, sentimental eulogy, and this ReelThought demonstrates that. He truly was a titan of the film-fan community.

I regret that, over the course of the past few years, I became more and more neglectful when it came to reading Roger's reviews. I now wish that I had spent more time reading what he had to say about the movies. He will truly be missed, and with his death, I fear that film criticism will go back to being a pastime of only serious devotees of the silver screen. The fact of the matter is that the world needs another Siskel and Ebert, but I doubt that anyone quite like them will ever will ever capture our minds and our imaginations in the same manner they did.

I wonder what will become of Ebert's site. I cannot imagine Ebert Presents At the Movies, the show which he co-hosted on PBS back in 2011, returning from its lengthy hiatus. A shame, as Ebert had stated his intention to finally begin a KickStarter campaign for the program.

Did anyone else watch his new show?


Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:15 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
I wonder if Roeper will take over the site.


Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:25 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Much has been made over the fact that in recent years, Ebert gave out a lot more 4 star ratings than anyone, but it was abundantly clear his tastes had changed since his battle with cancer began. When you're fighting something like this, you crave something life-affirming, movies that aspire to be great and reach for the heavens. That doesn't mean he can't appreciate a downbeat movie, but it's clear he'd softened his criticisms a bit, and totally by design.

That's why I can't stand it when certain people (no names) deride certain movies without even having seen them as "too Oscar-baity." Roger, more than anyone whose reviews I've ever read, understood and respected those who were trying to tell a great story, even if it didn't work.

Even though I strongly, vehemently opposed his stance on video games, the guy has been so compulsively readable for so long that it became impossible to swear him off even if you felt like he was insulting you. I wonder how many people now who bashed him for so long now feel after seeing cancer take him before his time.

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:55 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
James thanks for the column. It is both fitting and touching.
I will admit I was definitely not in agreement with many of Mr Ebert's later columns, but I still tried to read him, because he was an uncommonly good writer.
Then I read the review of he did about the Spice Girls Movie "Spice World" way back in 1998. (one of my niece's was a huge fan).
I laughed out loud in my cube here at work - getting me some strange looks.
I will quote from Mr Ebert's review;
"They occupy "Spice World" as if they were watching it: They're so detached they can't even successfully lip-sync their own songs. During a rehearsal scene, their director tells them, with such truth that we may be hearing a secret message from the screenwriter, ``That was absolutely perfect--without being actually any good.'"
God will he be missed!
Thanks again.


Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:58 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Vexer wrote:
I wonder if Roeper will take over the site.


Ebert Digital will run the site. Jim Emerson will continue as webmaster. Roeper is one of several reviewers hired by the site to review new movies.

The site was expected to be re-launched next Tuesday - don't know if that will be delayed or not.

Going forward, Chaz and others will firm up a staff of regular reviewers and columnists. Rogerebert.com will continue to have new content although none of it (obviously) will be from Ebert (after his remaining unpublished reviews have been posted - we know there's at least one).

The hope is to keep the site vital although I'll admit that my main interest in it has always been Ebert's work; I haven't paid much attention to his guest reviewers and columnists. After his last review has been posted, I will only occasionally visit the site, and then only when I'm looking for an older review. This isn't a knock on the men and women who's work will be highlighted there - some of them are very good critics/writers - but I can't summon much enthusiasm for going to Ebert's site when there's no Ebert.


Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:45 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
James Berardinelli wrote:
The hope is to keep the site vital although I'll admit that my main interest in it has always been Ebert's work; I haven't paid much attention to his guest reviewers and columnists. After his last review has been posted, I will only occasionally visit the site, and then only when I'm looking for an older review. This isn't a knock on the men and women who's work will be highlighted there - some of them are very good critics/writers - but I can't summon much enthusiasm for going to Ebert's site when there's no Ebert.

This mirrors my feelings as well. RogerEbert.com will excite me a lot less without Roger Ebert. I've not been reading any of the guest reviews. Almost all of them are great writers, but none of them are Roger Ebert. They don't command the attention he does. Nobody does.

Very heartfelt and touching tribute, James B!

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:52 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Well done Mr. B...well done.

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:10 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Ebert used to write a column called the Movie Answer Man. He'd take questions from readers...the best, most interesting questions and answer them. It was a must-read column. I submitted a question to him once, and to my surprise he answered it. I was honored, to say the least.

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:16 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
God, I miss Sneak Previews. IMO, it was one of the few things that ever deserved to be called "must-see TV".


Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:18 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
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Everything he wrote - reviews, columns, blogs, interviews, tweets, etc. - was personal. He didn't hide behind an alter ego. So the sense that readers "knew" him wasn't misplaced. And that's why his death is felt so keenly by so many - not because he is "greater" or "more famous" than anyone else but because he let us get close. Even to those who never met him, he was a friend and companion.


I think this completely nails it. Ebert didn't keep himself at a clinical distance, didn't pretend to objectivity, didn't shy away from letting people see the dirty laundry. He was one of us, because he let himself be.

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Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:50 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Absolutely agree, James. He was a unique one. I mentioned this in another thread, but when I was a kid, my parents purchased a big thick book that was chock full of Roger's reviews (it was the size of a phone book! Huge!). I DEVOURED it. He was so easy to read, his style was very accessible even at a young age. I absolutely credit him with helping to foster my love for the cinema.


Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:32 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
This was a fitting piece I think. Well written and succinct. Like James, I don't see myself visiting Ebert's website any longer - there can be no rogerebert.com without Roger Ebert. I visited his review site on a weekly basis and read most, if not all, his new reviews. He will be greatly missed, I'm certain of it.


Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:45 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Touchy epitaph James!

I wish as I had a mentor like Ebert in any activity. Now the best homage that a protégé can make to his mentor is to become the best and I think that you are on track :-)

Cheers

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Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:11 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Ebert Digital will run the site. Jim Emerson will continue as webmaster. Roeper is one of several reviewers hired by the site to review new movies.


I hope Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's another one.

I don't know about you, but when I see a classic film, I always look to see what Ebert had to say about it. He's responsible for me discovering Kobayashi, Ramin Bahrani, Majid Majidi, Miyazaki and Agnes Varda, The Leopard, Sita Sings the Blues, Drunken Master II and countless other films. I'm sure lots of people here have similar experiences

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Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:57 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
The two things you have to admire about Roger Ebert is first his total passion for movies which was clearly evident whether it was in tv or print and his skill at writing reviews as small essays. Even if you disagreed with his opinion you could always enjoy his reviews that treated movies as works of art or serious literature. It is not really mentioned much but there was a side of Roger Ebert that was a hardcore fanboy of the 50's and his love of real science fiction. Here is the article

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/05/roger_ebert_was_the_original_fanboy_partner/


Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:25 am
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
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I'm a footnote on that roster but it's a safe bet that, without Ebert's encouragement and mentoring during the late 1990s and early 2000s, I wouldn't be writing reviews today. He helped to build my self-esteem and taught me how to stand by my convictions even when they ran counter to what nearly everyone else thought.


Ebert was the man at sticking with an unpopular stance. He could almost convince you. Almost, but not quite. The funny thing is that with you, JB, I haven't noticed that many times when your review ran against the grain. There is still very much a conventional wisdom at work, even though your own voice rings loud and clear.

Vexer's boy Dustin on the other hand..... WOW. That guy may be the ultimate contrarian. I only recently learned about him (sad because I've lived in Maryland my whole life and he's a DC native) and I can't tell you how many times my jaw hit the floor when scanning his archives of movies that got 1.5 stars or less. He's worth following for that alone. It is fascinating to see someone like that, where even though you think he's nuts at times, he intelligently defends everything.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:40 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
KWRoss wrote:
Quote:
I'm a footnote on that roster but it's a safe bet that, without Ebert's encouragement and mentoring during the late 1990s and early 2000s, I wouldn't be writing reviews today. He helped to build my self-esteem and taught me how to stand by my convictions even when they ran counter to what nearly everyone else thought.


Ebert was the man at sticking with an unpopular stance. He could almost convince you. Almost, but not quite. The funny thing is that with you, JB, I haven't noticed that many times when your review ran against the grain. There is still very much a conventional wisdom at work, even though your own voice rings loud and clear.

Vexer's boy Dustin on the other hand..... WOW. That guy may be the ultimate contrarian. I only recently learned about him (sad because I've lived in Maryland my whole life and he's a DC native) and I can't tell you how many times my jaw hit the floor when scanning his archives of movies that got 1.5 stars or less. He's worth following for that alone. It is fascinating to see someone like that, where even though you think he's nuts at times, he intelligently defends everything.

Indeed, Dustin has surprised me at times(I didn't expect him to give zero stars to Duplicity), but he certainly backs up his viewpoints well.

Rex Reed on the other hand is the the perfect showcase in how NOT to write movie reviews, after his insult towards Melissa McCarthy, I had to read his other reviews to see if he was like that all the time, IMO he is the absolute worst film critic working today, he's so bad he makes Armond White look like Ebert.


Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:12 am
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
Vexer wrote:

Rex Reed on the other hand is the the perfect showcase in how NOT to write movie reviews, after his insult towards Melissa McCarthy, I had to read his other reviews to see if he was like that all the time, IMO he is the absolute worst film critic working today, he's so bad he makes Armond White look like Ebert.


Ugh - Rex Reed. Borderline incoherent at times, which is an unpardonable sin in film reviewing. He's also not a very nice person. I've run into him a few times at film festivals.


Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:09 pm
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Post Re: April 5, 2013: "Epitaph for a Titan"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Vexer wrote:

Rex Reed on the other hand is the the perfect showcase in how NOT to write movie reviews, after his insult towards Melissa McCarthy, I had to read his other reviews to see if he was like that all the time, IMO he is the absolute worst film critic working today, he's so bad he makes Armond White look like Ebert.


Ugh - Rex Reed. Borderline incoherent at times, which is an unpardonable sin in film reviewing. He's also not a very nice person. I've run into him a few times at film festivals.


I only recently discovered him because of the Identity Thief review, but after reading some of his ridiculously offensive moments in the Oldboy and Spirited Away reviews, I was left wondering how in the world he wasn't canned for some of these episodes. Kind of like the former Rutgers basketball coach.

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:27 am
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