I found this profile of Roger Ebert inspiring. Ebert has lost his lower jaw and, with it, his ability to speak or eat normally. But he’s still living his life, still watching movies and reviewing them.
Movie criticism is something that is easy to make fun of (“if movies — or films as you’ve probably started calling them — were really so serious and artistic, would they really show them in a place where you could buy orange crush?” Fran Liebowitz once asked), but I’ve always had a lot of respect for Roger Ebert. He is a real scholar of film who nonetheless presented mainstream American with thoughtful recommendations on whatever dreck Hollywood produced that week. At his best, he displays some of the insight and erudition of Pauline Kael with none of the self-involvement. For a teen-ager like me, living in an isolated place, his bits (presented at the end of the show) on older movies by people like Orson Welles and Truffaut gave a glimpse of another world. In one of his books, there were various lists of “top ten movies of all time” and I tried to rent them all when we got a VCR.
I always loved that when Vincent Gallo called Ebert “a fat pig”, Ebert replied “although I am fat, one day I will be thin, but Mr. Gallo will still have been the director of The Brown Bunny.”