Imagine having the best VHS product on the market when DVD hit. That’s Roger Ebert when the internet awoke. Many of his peers scoffed at this new technology, this Wild West of voices and questionable ethics and legitimacy. He could have easily harumphed and taken the high road. He didn’t. He embraced it. He participated. In many ways he was the conduit between the old guard and the new one. All the while doing his thing in his own special way and taking full advantage of this new platform to broadcast his voice. Even after he lost his voice.
There’ll never be another one like him. There was never one like him before. No critic was able to balance the credibility with the mainstream approach. All the while being directly in the forefront of the medium. Healthy, sick, alone, or paired with Gene Siskel and the army of impostors that followed. He was one of a kind, and at the most pivotal crossroads in film history. That isn’t an exaggeration.
I have a very small connection to the man as he name-dropped me in his review of Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium and though he got the facts wrong his ability to share his platform more than made up for it. I didn’t agree with him all that much but I loved to read him. And will continue to until my own exodus. Thumbs enthusiastically up!