April 2nd, 2008
In the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert announces his return to reviewing movies:
Are you as bored with my health as I am? I underwent a third surgery in January, this one in Houston, and once again there were complications. I am sorry to say that my ability to speak was not restored. That would require another surgery.
But I still have all my other abilities, including the love of viewing movies and writing about them. And at my side I have my angelic wife, Chaz.
I’ve been a big fan of Roger Ebert for a while, all the more so after I heard him speak at The Virginia Festival of American Film (now called The Virginia Film Festival) in the early 1990s — he was doing live DVD commentary before there were DVDs — they were called “Shot by Shots” and cost extra and I got those tickets each of the two times I went to the fest. The first one was of Citizen Kane. It was riveting to hear the man speak with with knowledge and wit as the movie played, and answering impromptu questions from the audience on all manner of topics. Being a teacher, he was a natural. The second time I went he presented on Sunset Boulevard. I was a fellow with a notion to move out to Los Angeles to “do something with movies” and it was very inspirational.
A book of compiled Ebert compiled movie reviews accompanied Golden Movie Retriever on my bookshelf, often taken down, referenced to learn more about movies, cross reference movies and actors. In the days before IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes it was invaluable for a movie fan to get access to criticism and data about film.
Time has passed, and Ebert has taken ill. He’s managed to write about this topic with candor and humor. It’s really wonderful to get a dose of his voice — his literary point-of-view is one I think is worth striving for. I look forward to reading more of it.