Thursday, April 4, 2013
Life Itself by Roger Ebert
My brother Chris and I grew up on Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. We were young when we started watching, I would guess ten and fourteen. And in hindsight the fact that two children were watching Sneak Previews so religiously at such an early age really solidifies what nerds we were. But we both grew into true film, music, and book lovers. I suppose the show gave us an early education on criticism, and it also turned us into very young snobs. I can remember very clearly rolling our eyes at a neighbor who came over to tell my mom how much she loved the movie Porky's. Now, we were far too young to see that movie, but we knew that it got two “thumbs down” and deserved an eye roll of the highest order. We were tiny snobs.
As I got older though, I learned something else from Roger Ebert. It’s okay to like a not-so-good movie. You know, if I want to see Blue Crush at the theater…twice, I can own it and hold my head high (ish). [...Yikes.] After all, if Roger Ebert could give “thumbs up” to Into the Blue (I think he had a little crush on Jessica Alba), I could give myself permission to like Blue Crush.
Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself made our 2011 best of the year list, and I just re-read the last chapter entitled, “Go Gently.” That chapter alone, those four pages, are worth the price of the book. What a life; Ebert wrote like a man on fire the last several years, and he just got better and better. Inspired.