Jessica Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times
In the hours since legendary critic and journalist Roger Ebert passed away, the tributes have come pouring out from all corners of the world, both journalism and otherwise. We've already collected thoughts and memories from several film luminaries and colleagues. We heard from his fellow Sun-Timers. And we heard from writer Will Leitch, who is following in Ebert's footsteps towards a tremendous career. Now, here are even more thoughts and memories from critics, friends, and other colleagues of Roger's.
We'll do our best to keep this updated throughout the day.
Full coverage from Roger's college paper, The University of Illinois' Daily Illini
"When Roger held court in the middle of the features department, all other work stopped. He'd start out talking to one or two friends and soon an impromptu audience would assemble to hear him tell stories, share the latest joke he'd heard (he always laughed the loudest at his own punch lines), or deliver a wicked impersonation of Irv Kupcinet."
- Robert Feder of Time Out Chicago (and formerly an Ebert colleague at the Sun-Times)
"He has a way of speaking straight to the reader that's simple and emotional. It's no doubt why I connected with him as a kid. His writing style was welcoming and warm, and it assumed you were smart enough to appreciate the sorts of movies he was praising. He made you feel smart, even if you were just a kid. Critics forget this so easily--we're trying so hard to sound so cultured and so cool that we get too wrapped up in impressing our reader when we should be having a conversation with him or her. As a college student, I was snide about Ebert's accessibility, considering it a weakness. As always, he was far wiser than me."
- Tim Grierson, film critic (writing for Paste)
"It wasn't just that he inspired people by soldiering on through illness and disability (though that was certainly the case). It was that Ebert somehow seemed more powerful and prolific in this late incarnation than he had before, his already formidable life force ever more focused on the urgent, everyday task of writing and joking and arguing about the things that really matter in life."
- Dana Stevens, writer for Slate
"But here's the thing about Roger Ebert: He was more than willing to talk, and he treated his fellow critics with sweetness and generosity, as one of us. In the minutes before a screening would start, Ebert would hold court from the back row, regaling everyone with everything from opinions on issues of the day to a fusillade of dirty jokes. Before his voice was silenced, he was one unbelievably great talker and an even better laugher--nearly to the point where, if he loved a comedy, everyone else in Chicago would love a comedy, too, just because his laugh was so damnably infectious."
- Scott Tobias, film editor of The A.V. Club
More after the jump.
"When cancer robbed Ebert of his voice and boisterous laugh that used to echo through Chicago's Lake Street Screening Room, he was even more engaged and public through his constantly updated Twitter account and blog. Ebert was a man of voluminous appetites who loved life and loved movies and loved people."
- Nathan Rabin, head writer for The A.V. Club
" No one in the city, or even in journalism, wrote as much as well as Ebert did, at a pace that never wavered until yesterday. Even with the grind of movie reviewing--and, knowing movie critics, it is a grind, and it takes a unique love of the art to suffer its ongoing indignities for the medium's handful of life-changing works of brilliance--he took time to go off on beautifully free- form flights on his blog... In the ease of his words and the depths of his knowledge, Ebert was as good as anyone at the business in understanding the internet and making his home in it, no trivial evolution for a lifelong newspaper man."
- Whet Moser, Chicago magazine
"For many on this site, including myself, Roger Ebert was a gateway into film criticism and film appreciation. His death is significant because, up until now, he seemed a ubiquitous presence for many of us. From the syndicated Siskel & Ebert to his facebook page, Ebert has remained a prolific, ever-present, and (I assume, for most) welcome presence."
- Landon Palmer of Film School Rejects
"Roger Ebert's death is on par with the passing of Studs Terkel for both Chicago and the world. Studs told the stories of the men and women who made Chicago live and breathe. Roger Ebert told the stories of film and, by extension, humanity writ large."
- Scott Smith, writer and digital manager
"Ebert, along with Studs Terkel and Mike Royko, are the guys that I want to be. They were passionate individuals that knew they'd screw up, but also had a deadline. There isn't enough time in the world to be perfect. There isn't a reason to fear death. You're going to be wrong. You're going to say things you regret. You're going to make the world a better place as long as you try. What I'm saying here, it's being said by everyone else. Ebert did it right."
- Brandon Wetherbee, writer, journalist, and host of You, Me, Them, Everybody, writing for BrightestYoungthings
"He wasn't just a great writer, thinker and innovator; he was a one-of-a-kind person with a one-of-a kind mind that the world had never seen before - and will never see again. Even then, when his ability to speak had been taken away, he was the best communicator in the room. I don't know how to describe it. He would."
- Kyle Koster, writing for The Big Lead
"Roger understood how much movies matter, how a good one can burrow into our souls, and he never let anyone forget it. It's hard to imagine him no longer out there watching, thinking, and writing about movies. But it's comforting to know that he changed the way we watch, think, and write about movies forever--and for the better."
- Keith Phipps, film critic, writing for Slate
"In high school and then especially in college, I discovered that Ebert was an even more remarkable critic in print than on television. With the advent of the Internet, reading Ebert's weekly movie reviews, every Friday after class, became a sort of holy ritual amongst my film nerd clique -- the delivery of the cinema gospel direct from The Man himself. You didn't watch anything until you read Roger's take first."
- Matthew Singer writing for IndieWire
"When I started writing on film over fifteen years ago, Ebert's writing was my largest and most influential resource. I couldn't begin to cite the number of films I've seen based solely on his recommendation, but that number's certainly larger than any other critic I've read. His writing was personable and, more importantly, accessible, straddling a line between thoughtful academicism and on the spur subjectivity. And he introduced me to two favorites, both of which I continue to watch compulsively: Gates of Heaven and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls."
- Rumsey Taylor, founder and editor of NotComing.com