Roger Ebert was — is — a hero of mine. I’ve often thought that if I could be one tenth as clear, witty, insightful and kind, I’d consider myself a good writer.
I remember getting a copy of Microsoft Cinemania in the early 1990s, casually browsing the archive of Ebert reviews and realizing that here was someone who really, really knew how to write — and from that point on I was hooked. In the decades since then I don’t think I’ve rented a movie or gone to the theater without checking to see what Ebert had to say about it first. On the few occasions when he wrote something that moved me to respond directly he always answered my emails thoughtfully and kindly. That he took the time at all out of his incredibly busy life to answer fan emails is just one small example of his generosity.
Tonight I’m going to take AV Club reviewer Zack Handlen’s advice and watch Citizen Kane again with Roger’s commentary track. It’ll be good to hear his voice.