Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert....R.I.P.

If I could name any film critic that had an influence on me, it would be Roger Ebert. I think it was his conversational approach and emotional honesty. Something was personal for me when I read his words. I felt like even if I disagreed with him, I still always understood where he was coming from. Just yesterday I read his most recent blog post where he admitted that cancer had come upon him again. Yet he was still so optimistic. We have lost him now. This is a sad day.

On two occasions I met the man. I attended the University of Illinois, his alma mater. While there, I had the opportunity to volunteer for his "Ebertfest", which was his film festival that he holds every year in April at the glorious Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, IL. I remember greeting him and opening the door for him at the back of the theater, as I was a "crowd-support" volunteer. It was at the beginning of the opening night showing of Patton, back in 2002. He was gracious to me.

A few years later, while living in Chicago, I went to see him speak at a Barnes and Noble store, at the Orchard Creek Mall, back in 2005. Well he was signing my copy of his "Great Movies volume I" and I told him that I had a lot of fun volunteering at his festival. He told me that he really appreciated my help and thanked me for that.

In the book, he signed it, "Thanks for Ebertfest".....Roger Ebert.


Sam Juliano said...

John, I'll be over again to check out the two reviews under this post that I am tardy on, but I just want to say that I share your grief on Ebert's passing, and envy you for meeting this great man. Those stories are priceless for sure, and though the world now mourns, I know he was first and foremost a Chicagoan, and the Windy City has lost one of it's greatest figures ever. A very sad day. And quite the lovely tribute Jon!

Jon said...

Thanks Sam. It is hard for me to believe that there will not be any more words written by Mr. Ebert. That there will not be those weekly reviews and blog posts that I would read, enjoy, and learn from. He and his writing have been there as long as I can remember. It's hard to have him taken away like this. It's hard to know where to turn now to find what he had to offer. He is irreplaceable.