Today, I along with millions of viewers saw the remarkable Roger Ebert on Oprah, and heard his voice for the first time in over 3 years. He has been unable to speak as a result of countless cancer surgeries over the last 8 years. I am still so overcome by the humanity of the guy and his lovely wife Chaz, that I can barely write about him.
Ten years ago, after Gene Siskel died, I--along with several other lucky film critics across the country--was invited to sit in the balcony with Roger, thumb to thumb. I lasted about a year; it was the pinnacle of my career. In that time I came to know Roger beyond his brilliance as a critic. Above all, what struck me was how extraordinarily generous, unpretentious, open, and exuberant he was in debate. He exceeded all reasonable expectations of just how down to earth he might be, one on one, considering his position in the universe of film criticism. He is the sun, and we are assorted satellites, burnt out stars, and black holes. But Roger has always had his eye on the movies and not himself; his love of,and voracious appetite for film and ideas leaves us hungering for more.
There is much more I could say about what I learned of the man during that time, but for now I will pass along something Roger has made available on his twitterpage which cinephiles will LOVE! I did. Just before the release of Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND this week, take a look at the very first ALICE IN WONDERLAND, (1903).
Thank you, Roger, once again.
Cut and paste this link: http://j.mp/bvv031