Roger Ebert, film critic extraordinaire and Pulitzer Prize winner, died last week after a battle with cancer. Immediately following his death, there were lots of quotes circulating online from Ebert which reminded me what a great writer he was. In writing about movies, Ebert was able often able to put his finger on the pulse of real life human behavior and articulate the human condition - both the happy and the sad. I forgot how funny he was, and his reviews are a joy to read even if you disagree on the rating.
Those interested in starting with the basics, check out his Movie Yearbooks - complete with movie reviews, essays, tributes, journal entries, and new additions to his popular Movie Glossary. If you are looking for critiques that might lead you to viewing of really good movies, try The Great Movie series. However, some of Ebert's best writing was in critiquing bad movies. If you aren't looking for movie suggestions, but just some hilarious examples of his writing check out Your Movie Sucks.
Roger Ebert also wrote a biography of Martin Scorsese. The two had a long history both critically and personally, and Ebert was one of Scorsese's most perceptive critics. This book was a culmination of over 40 years of reviews, essays, interviews, and friendship highlighting Scorsese's huge impact on American cinema.
Two years ago, Ebert wrote a memoir called Life Itself. Part of this memoir is a reaction to his losing his voice due to thyroid cancer complications in 2006. During this time, Ebert focused more on writing and reflecting back on his 40 plus year career.
From the serious to the sweetly bizarre, Ebert, an admitted rice cooker enthusiast and gourmet cook, also wrote a book called The Pot and How to Use it. Funny and practical, Ebert offers this as a guide to a useful kitchen item that just might be overlooked.
I am glad that there is a treasury of reviews to continue to look back upon and reread, but I'll miss him from here on out.