Goodbye Mr. Ebert

By D.G. McCabe

Roger Ebert, 1942-2013

Sometimes we need a guide who notices the aspects of movies that we don’t.  Sometimes we need someone to point out why some movies stand the test of time and others fade away.  Sometimes we need someone to articulate artistic truths that we can sense but cannot describe.  Roger Ebert was such a man.

Mr. Ebert once wrote that the art of the motion picture was primarily about images.  While modern movies are an immersion, with the modern multiplex’s surround sound and 3-D capabilities, it is the images that catch our attention.  Mr. Ebert’s writing always began and ended with images.

I didn’t always agree with Mr. Ebert’s assessments.  One of his favorite films, for example, was an idiosyncratic and thoroughly dull documentary called “Gates of Heaven” (1978), which is about pet cemeteries and other, somewhat disjointed topics.  Whether I agreed with his reviews or not, however, I always appreciated his writing.  He left us with a massive volume of that, and we are all the better for it.

(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe