My Name Is Legion wrote:
Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote:
I will say that one thing I didn't like about his reviews, particularly in his later years, was how he bluntly infused his personal politic into his reviews. Check the last sentence of this one
, which comes out of the blue.
You know what? When you write an opinion piece, about anything
, you're allowed
to express your tastes and opinions. Ebert was a master essayist.
You can not "like" it, but he wasn't doing anything wrong or by mistake. If you think his remark about health care in that particular review was "out of the blue," you flunked the exercise.
I became quite familiar with Ebert's reviews while in grad school (my thesis was on cinematic history and my research included a large dose of film criticism). I was, of course, familiar with his work before then, but in a casual way. I came to appreciate a number of aspects of his reviews--the way he judged films against their ambitions (rather than the oh so tedious "if it ain't Kurosawa it's crap" approach of many others I had to wade through); his writing style; his willingness to praise or skewer the same actor, director, screenwriter…based on the work being evaluated (generally, no one got a "pass" based on reputation alone); his sheer enthusiasm for the medium of film…
I did not always agree with his reviews (my disagreements were almost always about things he disliked that I enjoyed--but it was rare when I did not enjoy a film that he praised), but there is no other critic (dead or alive) I've read whose views more closely match my own about film. I can certainly make my own way through the cinematic world without someone to hold my hand, but I am saddened at the loss of a reliable guide to my cinematic enjoyment. I will also miss the deft wit of the author of "Thoughts on Bill O'Reilly and Squeaky the Chicago Mouse".