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Four Years Later: Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Today is the fourth anniversary of film critic Roger Ebert's death. In remembrance, I'm posting my remembrance of his impact on me, an essay which originally ran at the now-defunct film site Cinespect, on April 6, 2013.


I had been expecting it. He hadn’t posted a new review to his website in a while (as a group of talented critics pinch-hit in his stead), his Twitter feed had slowed down, and a statement issued two days earlier felt less like a retirement announcement than like his own elegy—but Roger Ebert’s death on Thursday still hit me like a thunderbolt. I never met Ebert, never had an online exchange with him, and in recent years I would sometimes read his movie reviews in disgust or dismissal—how could he be so wrong, I’d think? Thirty-five years after Ebert and Gene Siskel’s Sneak Previews first started showing up on PBS stations, years after I’d discovered Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael, Manny Farber and James Agee, André Bazin and a host of academic film s…

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