Roger Ebert has always been my favorite film critic. He is a brilliant writer who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, the only film critic ever to do so. I've been watching and reading his work since the days of "At the Movies," his TV show with the late, great Gene Siskel.
As much as I love his positive reviews, his negative reviews are even better. I remember laughing out loud at the end of this one for M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. If you ever get the chance, read his awesome compilation of negative reviews, Your Movie Sucks
I was aware of his cancer diagnosis several years ago, and I remember reading his blog and praying for him. I even posted a few comments to encourage him.
I was glad to see he was back in business and writing again; his Chicago Sun-Times film review website is always the first place I turn for excellent film reviews. I've also been following him on Twitter; his tweets are funny and poignant, biting and sarcastic. He attacks and praises people, passes on links to great poetry and music, and snarks about politics. He's a really fun guy to follow.
The web has been abuzz with the publication of a story on him in the current Esquire Magazine. It's a great read. Talks all about his cancer surgeries, his current health, his career, his marriage... I highly recommend that you take the time to read it. The cover photo is getting a lot of attention, because no one has really seen what Ebert looks like these days, with his lower jaw removed. It's jarring and hard to look at. But I think it was a brave thing to allow... Ebert is vulnerable and open, with his image as well as his illness, his life and his work.
And, of course, Ebert blogged about the piece and his reactions to it. I love his words about the cover shot:
When I turned to it in the magazine, I got a jolt from the full-page photograph of my jaw drooping. Not a lovely sight. But then I am not a lovely sight, and in a moment I thought, well, what the hell. It's just as well it's out there. That's how I look, after all.Characteristic Roger Ebert. Telling it like it is. As long as he's writing, I'll be reading.