There’s another movie I’d wanted to see about the life of Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun Times movie critic and part of the Sneak Previews duo with Gene Siskel from the Chicago Tribune. Their syndicated movie review show ran for years and I always enjoyed their insights and recommendations. Their combative style and adversarial natures were fun to watch, both cocky and sure that their opinion was the absolute right one; each jockeying to get in the LAST WORD! As a movie buff, I have them to thank for many of the movies I’ve seen and have been alerted to – always knowing that a “two thumbs up” meant GO and SEE it!
It was sad seeing Roger’s debilitated state at the end, losing nearly his whole throat and jaw to cancer, his lower face almost tragically comical in expression. Gene died a decade before of cancer, in his early 50s. Through it all, Roger’s mind was certainly unimpaired and with a keyboard to communicate, he lasted through a lot – more than I think I would have. He found love late in live (at 50) and had nearly 20 years with his darling (Chaz), who he had met at A.A. – and he reminded us all to enjoy every moment. “See you at the movies!” was one of his final missives. Indeed. The final words from Chaz about the moment of his passing were quite heartfelt and touching – the pain and helplessness and final release of someone beloved to you. To the haunting sounds of Dave Brubeck, surrounded by hands joined in love, they let him go. Death is still jarring and shocking and surprising! But, it was nice to see it portrayed with such grace, dignity and LOVE.
How far the cinema has progressed since his first foray at review writing in the 60s – amazing! I’m reminded of how powerful and long lasting and touching creatives can be – whether it’s through the movies, through art, through writing. I’ll probably never be in a movie – but writing or creating art? I can do that. This has inspired me to start writing/blogging again. Things that last long after you’re gone and make someone’s life a bit happier, it’s all good. Make it so.