[R.I.P.] Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Bookstore Appearance By Roger Ebert

I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll keep this brief. Just one day after posting a leave of presence on his blog at the Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70. He had been battling thyroid cancer since 2002 (it would later cost him most of his jaw) and had recently suffered from further complications.

I was a huge fan of his, something I believe to be true of everyone here at Bloody-Disgusting. As horror fans, he may not have always loved the movies that we love, but he could eloquently state why he didn’t love them (and, occasionally, why he did). For that, he deserves our respect. I never met Ebert, but he seemed to be an honest, principled and lovably cantankerous presence. I’ll genuinely miss reading his reviews and hearing his thoughts on everything else (from food to politics).

I’ll leave you with his (often quoted) thoughts on death. “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip.

 
  • Marty McFly

    This may sound really cruel, but I don’t give a shit that he died. He was a cynical douche bag that hated everything. I mean, for fuck sake, he has SEVERAL books that he wrote called “Your Movie Sucks” and “I Really, Really, Really Hate This Movie” I mean come on, give me a break. I hate critics in general but this guy took that cake as the biggest douche bag.

    • WalkWithMeInDarkness

      You have a right to your feelings. No judgement from me. He was unbelievably hateful towards the slasher genre in the 80′s, especially the Friday the 13th franchise, which of course annoyed the fuck out me. I’m sure it annoyed you, too, given your Jason pick. I wasn’t a fan of the guy at all, but hope he rests in peace.

      • WalkWithMeInDarkness

        “Pic”, not pick. Sorry.

        • rgold

          I have nothing against the man and he was certainly respected by his peers. I was pretty shocked when I saw pics of the poor guy from the past few years. I really had no idea of his struggles.
          Vincent Gallo must be feeling like S*^t right about now…

          http://youtu.be/itsYSYKbF2g

      • divisionbell

        He hated almost all slashers from every decade. His horror reviews were the only ones I ignored. Clearly not his genre. He was pretty much on the mark with everything else.

        • WalkWithMeInDarkness

          I’ve personally never understood why, if a critic doesn’t like a particular genre, that they still review films from said genre. Ebert was a little better than some, but i think a lot of critics shouldn’t review horror films when they clearly don’t care for them. It would kind of be like me reviewing rap albums, i’m not a fan, so that would make me biased.

        • hbomb81

          Theman was among the first to praise HALLOWEEN as a masterpiece. There wasn’t a slasher genre then and he gave it four stars when most critics ignored it as trash. Without Ebert, there may not have been a slasher genre or the push by some filmmakers to elevate it beyond knock-offs (he’s also always praised Wes Craven’s work on some level)

    • Zombie-Killa

      Oh go fuck yourself Marty. He hated EVERYTHING? Seriously? Just because the guy didn’t agree with your opinions or love the same type of movies you loved, he’s somehow a douchebag? Please. I’m one of his biggest fans, and I never agreed with every review, but I respected his opinion, because the man knew his shit. AND he would always provide more than enough reasons and examples for why he felt the way he did, and he never held back anything.

      Shouldn’t be too surprised, though. It’s run-of-the-mill to expect the usual high and mighty, cunty trolling bullshit from you.

      • divisionbell

        Aren’t you just doing the same thing?

        • Zombie-Killa

          Not really, but I think (feel free to elaborate, If I’m wrong) I understand where you’re coming from. Did I blow up in response to Marty’s stupid post? Well, Yes. Yes, I did. Like I said before, it’s one thing to disagree with the man, and not worship every word he writes. But to say he hated “everything”? Come on, man. That just reeks of trolling, and trying to get a reaction out of someone, which I’m 99% sure was the whole point of Marty’s post.

          Maybe I should’ve ignored it went on about my business, but I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t need to fall into the trap and take the bait, but I did. Sorry, but when you spew such asinine and false statements, you deserved to be called out on it (happened to me on here a few times in the past. wasn’t being a dickhead like Marty, just didn’t know everything about said topic). So yeah, I don’t regret anything I said.

    • doomas10

      He wrote nice reviews and in his voice he was pointing out flaws from his perspective without condescending. Even though some times I did not share his opinion e.g., video games are not art, he seemed like a person that I would like to do a proper film conversation. Also your comment that he hated everything is unfair as he showed love for films that others tend to ignore and dismiss entirely such as the Scream franchise, the crow, anaconda(!?), all of quentin tarantino movies and much much more.

      • lovezoid

        Re: videogames not being art – it’s a shame he’ll never get to play Bioshock Infinite. Not that he probably would have.

    • divisionbell

      I totally understand. While I enjoyed many of his reviews, that man pretty much hated every horror movie and generally seemed to hate them because they were horror films. Aside from that genre (which does happen to be my favorite) I liked his writing.

      • Aaron Emery

        He hardly hated every horror film. “Cabin in the Woods’ ‘Devil’s Rejects’ ‘Exorcist’ ‘Night/Dawn of the Dead’ ‘Scream’ just to randomly name a few that I remember him liking, there’s more I’m sure. Either way, a critics opinion should always be taken with a grain of salt as we all have different tastes.
        Personally, I thought Roger Ebert was a fantastic writer and, even if I disagreed, he backed what he had to say with facts and knowledge of film in general.

        • cubbiechris

          Not to mention Evil Dead 2, Re-Animator, Elm Street, Halloween, and of course he was the one critic that got Dark City. Named it his number 1 film of the year and his commentary on it is amazing. He’ll be greatly missed.

          • doomas10

            “no, he hated every single slasher out there”….pfff. If people have bothered to read his reviews, he in fact supported films in the horror genre that everyone else disregard. Thanks for pointing the Dark City one! :D

          • Aaron Emery

            Slashers: ‘Candyman’ ‘Psycho’ ‘Scary Movie’ (I know, I know. It counts though) ‘Child’s Play’ ‘Final Destination’. Again, that is just a handful but if you do some reading it’s not hard to see that that statement is completely wrong!

  • dirtyghettok

    I’ve always respected him and his opinions, and he definitely deserves some Get Well balloons. Anybody got an address for me to send them to?

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    R.I.P.

  • Remember-Slithis

    R.I.P.

  • Zombie-Killa

    Damn. Sad news. I didn’t follow the events leading up to his death closely, but I knew something had to be wrong, when other guest critics started posting reviews on his website, and Richard Roeper took over for the major mainstream releases.

    RIP.

  • VampireJack

    Wow.
    I only read yesterday that he was sick.
    For all those haters out there just remember this – he was an American film reviewer who was “known” in the UK.
    The guy was a legendary film reviewer (maybe we didn’t always agree on certain films, but his views WERE respected).
    RIP Roget Ebert – and you were right about I Spit On Your Grave….

  • doomas10

    I grew up with Roger Ebert reviews – Ok I am not that old – I am merely 25! – Despite disagreeing I could see where his objections were coming for particular films. But this is a guy who clearly loved cinema in a way or another and the only film critic that won the pulitzer award. Additionally, he loved 5 of the most classic films in my book ! Kill bill, last of the mohicans, the crow, scream and the descent. Rip :(

  • Canucklehead

    I was watching Ebert since the early days on PBS. He loved movies and the history of movies. The movies have lost a great friend in him today. The balcony is closed.

  • lovezoid

    “I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state,” he wrote. “I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting.” – Roger Ebert

    An inspiration to me and godfather of the online film geek community. Even when I disagreed, which was a crapload (especially regarding horror), it was always so strongly that it made me think really hard about, and forced me to articulate, why I felt he was wrong in my own head. Class act.

  • dirtyghettok

    On a serious note, his life is just beginning. To qoute “The Fountain, “Death is the road to awe.” And from his statement above, he enjoyed his life and passed away with no fear. I only hope I am as happy as him for when I ascend to the next level.

  • DBZEROGRAVITY

    RIP Ebert — I’ve always enjoyed reading his reviews although I don’t always agree… He recently ripped apart Evil Dead but most of the negative things he pointed out are things that make the original great

    • dr.lamb

      That review was by Richard Roeper. Look under the headlines.

      • DBZEROGRAVITY

        Oh, thank god… completely missed that. thanks for the heads up. But dammit now I wonder what Ebert would have thought

        • dr.lamb

          I guess he would have ripped it apart… One of his flaws were that he got too hung up on logical flaws.

  • dr.lamb

    RIP. I can only agree what was already stated here: Did not agree with all of his reviews, but hell they were always entertaining. I don’t think he was a hater of horror films. He just did not like formulaic movies in general, like said slasher movies (however, I don’t agree: slashers are more about the “how” than the “what”). On the other hand, he gave favourable reviews to heavy stuff like “From Beyond”, so I don’t think he was a uptight critic.

  • Lights-Camera-Reaction

    I didn’t like him very much as a critic, but it’s still very sad. RIP.

  • Scorpionsy

    I did didn’t follow Roger regularly with his reviews.

    I used to follow Leonard Maltin.

    But we need to show a little respect for the dead…and for people who dedicated their lives for a career they were passionate about (something most people do not pursue), even if we do not agree with their points of view or the other way around.

    So out of respect, RIP Roger!

    • doomas10

      Well said

  • Aaron Emery

    Roger Ebert was a great writer, for years he was, and still is, a writer who’s opinion I always looked for. While I don’t always agree with some of his opinions, he always makes a valid point and has strong arguments to back up what he says. THAT is a true film critic.

    R.I.P. to one of the film industry’s top voices. Your critique and knowledge will be greatly missed throughout the community.

  • WalkingDeadGuy

    He suffered a lot during his old age, very sad. I may not have always agreed with his reviews, but I’ve always respected him. I don’t understand some of the mean comments about him, I mean you may not have agreed with his views on certain films, but it is after all, just an opinion. I’ve watched/read a lot of his reviews on slasher films, and although he was very critical of them, over time I noticed that he softened up a bit in regards to this sub-genre. Into the 90′s he gave both ‘Scream’ and ‘Urban Legend’ favorable reviews. With age comes wisdom, and I think he proved this to be true when he started realizing horror movies can simply be entertaining and not hateful attacks on young women.

    He was also a huge supporter of gay rights, as a gay man I appreciated his outspokenness and support. R.I.P. Roger.

  • Stonker

    RIP I didn’t always agree with him but he wasn’t afraid to state his mind and say something was shite if he really thought it was. Ok, so he didn’t like slasher films. There isn’t many I liked either.

  • ThunderDragoon

    R.I.P. You were an amazing man, Roger.

  • Mr.Mirage

    A critic should be willing to examine any work for its own merits. The late Mr. Ebert was not able to do that for the most part, but when he did, he was an astonishing writer. I cannot say I disliked him as a person, and he does leave several works behind that are worthy of attention. My only complaint was that he was, indeed, capable of writing so brilliantly and eloquently but chose to not do so…

    Hell, he is the reason I kept my original DVD of Dark City after I bought the Director’s Cut… it has one of the rare moments in which I read his review and could only say “Yes, Roger.”

    Critics know that being hated is part of the job, and he understood that, and had the grace to carry on. That much I will give him.

    I am glad his suffering is over. I would like to think that in the afterworld there is the best movie screen ever, and Roger and Gene are allowed to debate for the remainder of time.

    Requiescat in pace.

  • cubbiechris

    R.I.P. Unlike some of you I learned more about films through his reviews and commentaries (Dark City is legendary) then any filmmakers. He was a film lover first and foremost. Perhaps living in Chicago I have more respect for him because I grew up with him. To say he hated horror is a completely false. Just read his reviews on Dawn of the Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street, Re-Animator, Evil Dead 2, Devil’s Rejects, Halloween, etc… I’ll miss him greatly and the film world just lost a icon.

  • hbomb81

    Roger Ebert adored genre films, including great horror. He was one of the only critics at the time to praise John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN as the masterpiece it is, he gave Rob Zombie’s DEVIL’S REJECTS a glowing review when most mainstream critics ignored it and he was one of DARK CITY’s staunchest defenders. Never mind the fact Jodorowsky and Guillermo Del Toro were among the filmmakers he praised throughout their careers. Evil Dead 2 was recognized for its brilliance, if you read his reviews you may not agree with WHY he didn’t praise things without reservation (he is a critic, after all) but its because he had standards he stood by and could argue with wit and logic. The man loved films of all genres on their own merits, from high to low brow, and I’ll miss his voice in the world of cinema.

    • Corey-Mitchell

      “And that is why I personally hate 90% of all horror movies. I don’t see the movie — I see what’s underneath it: i.e., no story.” – Roger Ebert

  • Joe-Banger

    I like Marty’s post, I wont miss that old wind bag either.

  • Canucklehead

    Hmmm, let’s see…..Roger Ebert….influential, ground breaking critic, TV Star, best-selling author….supporter of such events as the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and countless others. You and Marty….internet trolls. It’s a close call but I have to give it to Roger.

  • DaveB2

    Ebert DID like Childs Play 2 though. He was a great guy beyond being a critic. Sure I can’t stand critics much either. I always thought Siskel was WAY off on a lot of movies….he was so irksome at times reviewing things. But again was my opinion he sucked vas a reviewer. But always remember it idealistically IS America…I didnt believe in EVERY review Ebert gave , but at least he had the nuts to say what he believed in , loved watching his shows to findout about the movies way before the internet was around.