Date of Death: April 4, 2013
Cause of Death: Cancer
I don’t think I officially appreciated Ebert until I was in my mid-twenties, when my taste in movies finally caught up with his. It got to the point that I would exclusively look at his review when debating whether or not to see a movie I was on the fence about, because I almost always agreed with him. I always admired his dedication and his passion for his job. He was never cynical about what he was doing. Sometimes his reviews could be scathing or his opinions about the directors cynical, but you could tell he loved every minute of the review process (and compared to many critics, like Leonard Maltin, he never believed the golden age of film was in the past; he was always excited for the future). Hell, the guy continued to pump out multiple reviews per week after he lost his voice and most of his ability to move his body. He even wrote a blog post saying goodbye to everyone just two days before his death.
While I don’t watch as many movies as I used to, I appreciate them more, and that’s thanks in part to Ebert. Through his writing I appreciate things I used to ignore, and not be so forgiving of lazy filmmaking. And he occasionally made me laugh, too. We all saw his death coming for 11 years, but his death meant no more movie reviews. I wonder if I’ll ever find another critic I enjoy so much.