Wben I saw the words “RIP Roger Ebert” on Twitter, I knew I’d grown older at just that moment. Because, you see, I grew up with Mr. Ebert and Gene Siskel, and tuned in religiously to their TV show “At The Movies.”
That was Siskel and Ebert.
When Gene Siskel died of cancer in 1999, I felt as if a part me of passed on. But I still had Roger Ebert. As long as he was alive, I felt young. Throat cancer and stunted speech? No matter: he was still Roger Ebert to me.
See, Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel represent not just the dawn of the age of the blockbuster movie, but the emergence of the movie critic who mattered because of his or her reach via media. It’s safe to say that in the age before the Internet, what Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert said could give death or life to a motion picture.
Rare was the film that outlasted their tongue – but then there were those that did: the sci-fi movies of the Star Wars generation seemed to baffle the pair, and I cheered whenever one of them hit a box-office high, because it was in pure defiance of Siskel and Ebert.
But that was only proof of how much they mattered.
I know the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t have this, but why not a seat on the Board of Governors for the movie critic. Don’t fill the seat: leave it empty in memorial to a time gone by – the time of the film critic.
A time pushed into the past by the blogs, Twitter tweets, and vital videos of today. What’s so cool is that Siskel and Ebert, or at least Roger Ebert, had an impact there, too.
Roger Ebert RIP.