I did not always like “film.” I liked movies, sure. Big blockbusters, lots of explosions, maybe some Will Smith one-liners, but the artistry of film was something else. An enigma if you will.

Roger Ebert inspired me. Chances are in the past few days, you have read that inspirational line to the point of cliché as writers remember what he accomplished. The fact that it can be a cliché should say it all.

There are a lot of inspiring people. Basketball players will cite Michael Jordan. Novelists could mention Stephen King. Critics will forever cite Roger Ebert.

I reviewed video games in college; that’s where I started, rambling cringe-worthy words sprawled out across a college paper that (somehow) were published. Games, in general, remain my core job. But, here I am at DoBlu, a small corner of the web where I talk about movies. It’s not about the money, because if it were, ramen noodles would be a delicacy most evenings. It’s about film, the passion for it, and preservation as it is brought into people’s homes in a widening array of formats.

A shred of this passion was shared with Ebert, because having his level of devotion to an artistic medium would be exhausting. He unbelievably carried on even after a bout of cancer, stronger than ever. He loved what he did in a way few will ever know. There are times where I find myself tired of it, burned out after cycling through so many discs and games. I don’t think Ebert ever knew that feeling, or rather, you could never tell if he did. That canvasing enthusiasm is infectious, and because of it, I know I can keep going.

Looking back, I can pick out the moment that saw a change for me personally. I picked up a copy of The Great Movies, one of a three-book series that Ebert produced chronicling the pinnacle of film through essays. Most people don’t see the art of criticism or its purpose, because most people have never taken the time to read something like The Great Movies. That jabs at the soul of the writing form, a serious look into a celebration of cinematic greats. At the same time, Ebert was on TV, battling Gene Siskel (or other critics after Siskel passed) with energy, overwhelming honesty, and endearing love for cinema. Criticism can be fun, but it can also push a medium forward. The latter is a personal mantra I attribute to Ebert and hold dear.

Ebert was important, not only to me but so many others. Everyone else almost seems clueless by comparison. Within video game criticism, the methods are juvenile, much like the medium itself. Within film, I cannot see anyone who could come close enough to his level of understanding or openness. His death has been cycling through the news in repetition because people legitimately do care. It’s not about whether you agreed or disagreed with his opinions, but the process and soft methodology he used. I can only hope, one day, to create a sliver of his memorable prose.

Maybe it’s too much to say he rose above the movies themselves, yet they damn sure won’t be the same without him.

2 thoughts on "Roger Ebert & DoBlu"

  1. Tessie says:

    Very nice article!

  2. Christopher Zabel says:

    It was always fun to see Siskel and Ebert battle it out over a movie they disagreed over. Ebert’s wife was keeping the review show alive on PBS until about a year ago. I wonder if we’ll ever see movie criticism of that type again on television? Roger Ebert’s opinions were always very tough to predict. He didn’t seem to have a personal archetype for the perfect movie, instead he approached movies in a very flexible manner.

  3. Pingback: Seen in HD 142: Iron Man 3 Review, EA + Star Wars Games, Nintendo Trouble | Blu-ray reviews

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