Roger Ebert, RIP

I can’t say that I ever spoke to Roger Ebert, but I can say I was once in the same room with him — specifically, the critics’ screening room in Chicago, where as the entertainment editor for my college newspaper I watched a terrible movie called Farewell to the King, and he and Gene Siskel were there as well, sitting, if I remember correctly, in the back of the little theater. Other critics were snarking and catcalling the screen (I mentioned it wasn’t a very good film), and either Siskel or Ebert (it was dark and I was facing the screen) told them to shut it. They shut it. After the movie was done I rode down in the elevator with him. And that was my brush with greatness, film critic style.

For all that I consider Ebert to be one of my most important writing teachers. He was my teacher in a real and practical sense — I was hired at age 22 to be a newspaper film critic, with very little direct practical experience in film criticism (not withstanding Farewell to the King, I mostly reviewed music for my college paper). I was hired in May of 1991, but wouldn’t start until September, which left me the summer to get up to speed. I did it by watching three classic movies a night (to the delight of my then-roommates), and by buying every single review book Roger Ebert had out and reading every single review in them.

He was a great teacher. He was passionate about film — not just knowledgeable about films and directors and actors, but in love with the form, in a way that came through in every review. Even when a movie was bad, you could tell that at least part of the reason Ebert was annoyed was because the film failed its medium, which could achieve amazing things. But as passionate as he was about film, he wasn’t precious about it. Ebert loved film, but what I think he loved most of all was the fact that it entertained him so. He loved being entertained, and he loved telling people, in language which was direct and to the point (he worked for the Sun-Times, the blue collar paper in town) what about the films was so entertaining. What he taught me about film criticism is that film criticism isn’t about showing off what you know about film, it was about sharing what made you love film.

I saw how much Roger Ebert loved film that summer, through his reviews and his words. By the end of the summer, I loved film too. And I wanted to do what he did: Share that love and make people excited about going to the movies, sitting there with their popcorn, waiting to be entertained in the way only film can entertain you.

I left newspaper film criticism — not entirely voluntarily — but even after I left that grind I still loved writing about film and went back to it when I could. I wrote freelance reviews for newspapers, magazines and online sites; I’ve published two books about film. Every year I make predictions about the Oscars here on the site. And I can tell you (roughly) the domestic box office of just about every studio film since 1991. All of that flows back to sitting there with Roger Ebert’s words, catching the film bug from him. There are other great film critics, of course (I also have a soft spot for Pauline Kael, which is not entirely surprising), but Ebert was the one I related to the most, and learned the most from.

In these later years and after everything that he’d been through with cancer and with losing the ability to physically speak, I read and was contemplative about the essays and pieces he put up on his Web site. Much of that had nothing to do with film criticism, but was a matter of him writing… well, whatever. Which meant it was something I could identify with to a significant degree, since that is what I do here. It would be foolish to say that Ebert losing his physical voice freed him to find his voice elsewhere. What I think may be more accurate was that losing his physical voice reminded Ebert that he still had things he wanted to say before he ran out of time to say them.

His Web essays have a sharp, bright but autumnal quality to them; the leaves were still on the trees but the colors were changing and the snap was in the air. It seemed to me Ebert wrote them with the joy of living while there is still life left. I loved these essays but they also made me sad. I knew as a reader they couldn’t last. And of course they didn’t.

I had always meant to send Ebert a copy of Old Man’s War, for no other reason than as a token of appreciation. I knew he was a science fiction geek through and through (he had a penchant for giving science fiction films an extra star if they were especially groovy in the departments of effects and atmosphere). I wanted to sign the book to him and let him know how much his work meant to me — and for him to have the experience of the book before the movie, whenever that might be. I tried getting in touch with one of his editors at the Sun-Times, who I used to freelance for in college, to get it to him, but never heard back from her. Later it would turn out he and I had the same film/tv agent, who offered to forward on the book for me. I kept meaning to send off the book. I never did. I regret it now.

Although he can’t know it now, I still think it’s worth saying: Thank you, Roger Ebert, for being my teacher and for being such a good writer, critic and observer of the world. You made a difference in my life, and it is richer for having your words in it.

76 Comments on “Roger Ebert, RIP”

  1. That’s sad. But for all that he had a hard row to hoe in his later years, he never stopped doing what he loved, and doing it superbly. I imagine he’s now settling into an aisle seat, next to Gene Siskel, and waiting for the next set of titles to roll.

  2. The most influential thumb since the Roman Colliseum.
    He will be missed.

  3. When I heard that Ebert had died, I knew it wouldn’t be long before you posted something thoughtful and reflective about him and his passing. He was an inspiration to me too, especially during these last few years when I got to know a little more about him through his writing.

    I’ll miss him.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  4. Reading about Ebert, I keep stumbling across words and phrases that throw a painful hitch into my chest. This came closest to making me lose it. I grew up in Chicago; I saw him on WTTW and in the newspapers every day. He was like Mr. Rogers, a person you never had to meet in order to know that they were making the world a better, more interesting place to be; a person you never had to have met in order to know that their passing had diminished our world just a little bit.

  5. Ebert is probably the greatest influence upon me as a reviewer, even though I originally got started reviewing by reading Spider Robinson’s work in Analog in the early 80’s. More than anything, Ebert always conveyed his deep and profound love for film in his reviews, and I try to convey the same deep love I have for reading SFF in my reviews. He taught me the virtues of clarity and brevity in communication when writing. I’ll miss him more than I can say.

  6. I rarely go to the movies, even if there’s a film I want to see (and I *always* checked to see what Ebert’s opinion before I passed judgement). But I checked his site almost weekly to see what he wrote about the movies because I enjoyed the writing. In 2010 he wrote about “Bill Cunningham: New York”, a film I had never heard of before reading his column. I could feel the joy in the way he wrote about that film, and the next day, I wound up at the Music Box for the Chicago premiere. I fell in love with that film: so much that I would pay to see it twice more in a theater.

    I always thought Chris Jones’s Esquire piece in 2010 was the point where Ebert 2.0 (meaning the fact that he was more than just an awesome film critic who was on TV and had cancer) went from “cool little secret” to “superstar”, where he wrote whatever the hell he wanted to, and it was always good, and the rest of the world found out how incredible he was.

    Today sucks.

  7. Roger Ebert was one of those “best friend you never met” kind of people. Someone you could admire, even idolize for his tremendous talent and sharp wit, and at the same time want, more than anything in the world, a chance to just sit down and have a cup of coffee with the guy.

    I was sad when Gene Siskel died — almost as much because of Ebert’s poignant farewell essay as because of his actual death — but somehow having them both gone is more than twice as sad. The two of them together taught me how to love movies. Every movie released from now on will be just a tiny bit more empty for not having been seen by Siskel and Ebert.

  8. I read somewhere that he still loved to cook elaborate meals for his friends just because he enjoyed the company.
    I’m glad I heard about his passing here.

  9. I have also been in the presence of Ebert, though mostly without knowing it. It was only at the end of a screening of the remake of “Fright Night” not so very long ago, that I realized on turning to exit the theater that the fellow with the then distinctive damage from his earlier cancer brush could only be Ebert, himself rising to join the milling masses exiting the screening.

  10. Y’know, if Ebert has a surviving spouse and/or children, you could always send a signed copy of OMW to them. It might mean a lot to them to know how much his own work inspired yours.

  11. I don’t know where I’m going to get reviews now. I didn’t always agree with Ebert, but our tastes ran along such similar lines that when we disagreed I could respect his reasoning.

    And right there you get why he was such an awesome reviewer: I’ve never even been in the same city as him, let along met the man, but I felt like I knew his taste in movies better than I do for some real world friends. All of his reviews were just so genuine.

  12. I too am saddened. I read his reviews for years, and attended one of his Overlooked Film Festivals in Champaign. He was a class act, and was never ashamed to really like something even if it wasn’t “high art”. Save us a seat in the balcony, Roger.

  13. A quote from Ebert in the article Joe Hass just mentioned:

    “To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didnt always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

    Here’s the rest of the article:

  14. My personal favorite saying of Ebert:

    “The movie created a spot of controversy in February 2005. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year’s Best Picture nominees and wrote that they were ‘ignored, unloved, and turned down flat by most of the same studios that . . . bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.’

    Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: ‘Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. . . . Maybe you didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven’t invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who’s Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers. . . .’

    Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks. But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo while passing on the opportunity to participate in Million Dollar Baby, Ray, The Aviator, Sideways, and Finding Neverland. As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.”

    He didn’t always have a razor tongue, but he always knew how to make words count.

  15. I feel a bit unworthy that my first thought was, “There goes the last major impediment to videogames being considered art.” But think of it as a tribute to the power of his pen.

  16. Sincerest condolences John. I’m only vaguely familiar with the man or his works (being from down under), but that aside, there’s been too much loss (or near misses) for you & me this week, by the sounds of it.

    A quick skim of Ebert’s “best of the year” shows a penchant for very ‘heavy’, some quite depressing movies, for a man who ‘just liked being entertained’. 1979 in particular must have been a tough choice for him between Alien and Apocalypse, though fully understandable (I mention that being a huge fan of the series, obviously, given my moniker). And my all time favourite sci-fi, Star Wars, gets passed over for 3 Women/An Unmarried Woman in 77/78….WT? *boggle*

    But here I am, criticising a movie critic’s choices, so that would probably raise a chuckle from Roger,given the personality profile I’ve gathered reading about him just this morning. RIP mate – the world needs more *real* critics who are not pretentious hypocrites, but rather lovers of their mediums and passionate teachers. Your Esquire quote is going in my philosophical ‘spank bank’ – a clear example of how John describes your style, down the earth and to the point, so it can reach the many, who’s needs should always outweigh those of the few. I just wish I could do what you guys do – I have so much stuff in my head, though they would probably just lock me up if I ever let it out, heh.

  17. Just the last two nights I directed my college freshmen English students to read several Roger Ebert film reviews to get a sense of what a good review looks like (they are soon writing one for me). And now for a moment of silence. . .

  18. I always thought of Siskel and Ebert as being a tag-team of critic and reviewer. They’re different ways of analyzing a film (or anything else) and thought they were a brilliant team, each bringing out the best of each other. Ebert will be greatly missed in our home. My wife called just now, and we talked about a couple of things for this evening, and she asked why I sounded sad. I told her that Ebert had died, and after a quiet moment, she said “That is so sad. I’m glad you told me, I would hate to have learned it from a headline next to some stupid ad.”

    My time as movie reviewer was long, long ago, and I learned much about how I should have done it from reading Ebert years after I’d quit. Very, very missed.

  19. I have a pet peeve about your obit, which I think most of his readers would agree with. He watched MOVIES, and reviewed them. Words like FILM and CRAFT and such pretensions have no place with what he did. Do you craft paper or write books?

    That said, he will be missed. I still remember watching him on S&E back before you were born (you young whippersnapper you) back when a thumbs up really could make or break a film. I don’t think he ever gave a completely negative review on TV. He would find something nice to say about something in the movie. But you could tell that he really enjoyed what he was doing. I’m sure that sometimes he would be ready to chew his leg off to get out of the theater sometimes, but I would bet that most of the time he would be thinking (and saying) ” Just think, I get paid for doing this”. He was one of the lucky ones who was able to get paid for what he loved to do, and would have done anyway.


  20. I traded email with Mr. Ebert and once got a shout out on his blog.

    I am in agreement with you Mr. John, everything I know about how to watch a move, I learned from Roger.

  21. Beautifully written, John. As was the Sun-Times obituary, a real love letter to the man and his life, which ends with this wonderful Ebert passage:

    “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoirs. “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

  22. Watching Roger and Gene argue about movies they disagreed on was quite educational. So was watching them argue about why they both liked or hated the same film.

  23. for many years Ebert would come to CU in Boulder, CO for the World Affairs Conference each year and disect one film for the week, when I was in high school I ditched and went to see Ebert talk about Casablanca, I don’t remember a lot, he talked about male movie stars having big heads (physically big), mirrors in movies & I remember him being very funny. I wish I had made time to see more of his lectures. Always like to read his work and see his show when it was on.

  24. “I knew he was a science fiction geek through and through (he had a penchant for giving science fiction films an extra star if they were especially groovy in the departments of effects and atmosphere).”

    Not just a geek in the sense of liking or loving sf, but he was active in actual 1950s sf fandom.

    Link to one old post of mine about it:

    Link to Roger’s essay written as introduction for THE BEST OF XERO (Dick and Pat Lupoff’s great Hugo-winning fanzine of the fifties/sixties), and reprinted in ASIMOV’s
    about his time in fandom:

  25. Roger will certaintly be missed! I’ll see you at the movies,” were the last word’s Ebert wrote to his readers! RIP Roger!

  26. That is a nice remembrance. As sad as I feel, I enjoy reading my favorite writer’s thoughts about another of my favorite writers. Yesterday I read two blogs habitually. Tomorrow only one. No pressure, Scalzi, but I selfishly ask you to take care of your health.

  27. I’ve said this a couple of places, and I’ll add it here: along with Mike Royko, Roger Ebert was one of the big reasons I became interested in journalism as a kid. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, reading the Sun-Times was a part of my life almost from the time I could read, and those two were my favorites.

    During the summers before my freshman and sophomore years, I worked at the Sun-Times as an editorial assistant. Roger Ebert was unfailingly gracious and polite to someone at the bottom of the editorial hierarchy. He wasn’t in the office much, but when I saw him, he’d always stop and chat with me about my college and career plans. He was brilliant and snarky, a gifted and insightful writer, and a genuinely good person. The world feels just a little dimmer for me today.

  28. He was a knowledgeable and human voice in a crazy business. He will be very missed in this household and I’m sure in many others.

  29. It’s like the day that Jim Henson passed. He was one of those public figures you took for granted, like an extended family member you assumed would live forever.

    Reading one of Ebert’s reviews, you could tell if you’d like a movie or not. It wasn’t a matter of blindly following his recommendations; he was able to articulate the strengths and flaws and themes of a film in a way that simply let you know that you’d probably pass on this movie he loved, or enjoy one he’d panned.

  30. Sad to hear of Roger’s passing. Siskel & Ebert was a great show on film, my favorite. They established a format that hasn’t been surpassed since. Two thumbs up, Roger, wherever you are.

  31. This is a lovely tribute to Ebert.

    I remember interviewing the 22-year-old you for that first film critic job. In Woodward Park, of all places. The other finalist for the job had far more experience, but we were all in agreement that you seemed like a risk worth taking.

    Thanks for explaining the lag between the hire and your start date. I left The Bee that July, before you started work there, and when I became familiar with your sci-fi work years later, I wondered why I remembered the interview but couldn’t remember actually working with you.

    Love the Whatever, and your Twitter feed. (And, yes, churro waffles look amazing.)

  32. Although there is a big sadness in my heart that he had passed, reading your words uplifted me a little bit. It’s amazing how one man has impacted so many of us. Thank you for the post.

  33. dana1119 wrote:

    Watching Roger and Gene argue about movies they disagreed on was quite educational.

    QFT. I found on YouTube today the review they did on Blue Velvet — and frankly, I thought it was a wee bit rich of the co-writer of a revolting load of dreck like Beyond The Valley of The Dolls to chip anyone for “degrading women”. That said, it’s a very rare critic whose reviews demand serious engagement, even when you disagree with every word and most of the punctuation.

  34. The twitter comment you led with said it best: there is a hole that can’t be filled.

    I certainly never met the man. The closest I came was living in Chicago for two years while I attended UChicago. I am simply one of many, many people who was genuinely touched by his work, who recognized how truly great he was at what he did. Many of his reviews themselves were poetry (check out the one he wrote for Cloud Atlas, for instance). I often checked RottenTomatoes — either before or after seeing a film — but to me, the reviews were always divided into two categories: those written by Ebert, and those written by everyone else.

    It’s perhaps worth saying that Ebert is one of only two celebrities whose death has hit me with any force (the other was Satoshi Kon, a 46-year-old Japanese filmmaker who died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer). Suffice it to say, it’s rare that I develop any kind of emotional attachment to someone I’ve never met. He was just that amazing… and truly, he’s left behind a hole that just can’t be filled.

  35. This is a great remembrance. I met him only once, but even if I hadn’t, he would have left a lasting impression on me, and not just because he gave a shout-out to my blog on three occasions (well, okay, that did create a more personal connection that if I had just read his reviews or watched his TV show).
    And I agree with at least one other person who mentioned that you should send the book to his wife Chaz. I’m sure she’ll be touched by the gesture.

  36. I’d heard he’d stepped down but hadn’t heard of his passing yet. (I don’t keep up with the news very well.) A fitting and timely remembrance of an influential man. Great post.

  37. Just 2 days ago I was reading his “leave of presence” post and was saddened by that, and now the news of his passing… Such a great loss. I just ordered his biography, felt like it was time to read it again.

  38. As a young film student, Siskel and Ebert were a guilty pleasure for me. Guilty because, at least where I was, professors didn’t have a lot of respect for popular critics who appeared on TV. Pleasure because they were so good at showing what it was that made a film art and what made it dreck, and doing so in a way that was entertaining.

  39. Aw.

    I always had a huge amount of respect for his work. If he didn’t like a movie, I generally didn’t bother seeing it. And if I did go see it despite his thumbs down, I usually had to admit that he was right.

    I’ve never found a single reviewer anywhere near his caliber. I’ve turned to checking and getting an aggregate of reviewers and crossing my fingers.

    Ebert had a great eye, a great skill, for seeing films.

  40. For those of you too young to remember, before the internet you did not have as much access to movie reviews. I remember watching Siskell and Ebert regular as a kid.

    That being said, there was a horrible sci-fi movie called ‘Dark City’ that came out in the late 1990s. It was so bad people in the theater were booing. Ebert picked it as the best film of the year. I respect his opinion, but this one made me look cross eyed at him.

  41. His love of the making of art shone through, but the thing that really set him apart was that he respected readers so much. That was what I loved most about him. He’ll be dearly missed.

  42. Great write up. I met him once at a screening at Sundance in 2006, right before he got sick. He was the nicest person in the world. He will be missed.

  43. I was doing some research when I came across this: Robert Ebert published his first film review in the Chicago Sun on April 7, 1967. That means he’s been telling us what was worth seeing for forty-six years now. He and his thumb will be missed.

  44. Beautifully put John, thanks.

    2 important lessons to take from this:
    Always try to do your best, you never know the impact you might have on the larger world from your small perch
    Don’t wait to let the people who helped you know that they made a difference and how much they meant to you. I missed a couple of chances myself and have vowed to never let it happen again.

  45. John, it’s my first time reading your blog. I’ll just agree with the others who suggest you send the book. Roger won’t know but you and Chaz will. Otherwise it may continue to gnaw at you.

  46. Scalzi, you’ll kick yourself about the book whether you send it or not.

    For all of us; I’ve written letters to spouses expressing my condolences, wishing I’d written to the subject to thank them. Write to Banks, to Pratchett, to … those whose work you admire. They don’t have to be dying yet (well, actually, they all are dying, that’s what we all do.) You’ll feel good for having done so, they’ll feel great for having helped or entertained you. It’s a form of applause.

  47. Ebert had a couple of stories in Ted White’s magazines back in the 1970s. Was he a SFWA member?

  48. I worked in the same building with Roger Ebert for a few years and used to eat in the same Thai Star restaurant kitty corner from the offices on Erie street. I met Roger there and also met his wife, Chaz (I think I’m correct in the spelling) when they were dating and rumor was they were marrying.
    Low-key, respectful, derisive of himself as a “star” worthy of giving autographs at the time.
    When I first moved to Chicago in ’77 every Saturday late aft early eve we would watch on Chicago’s WTTW, now the most viewed not for profit station in the nation, Siskel & Ebert on Channel 11. The “thumbs up or down” thing they did was quite helpful and became part of movie ads, but it was always preceded by a sometimes nearly screaming match but always a debate worthy of our time.
    I remember when Gene Siskel first appeared on the show with bandages around his head and as a health educator it didn’t sound or look good. I had also met Gene while walking home from work one evening, and he was on his way to the old CBS studios to do his own solo critic gig. (They both had them in addition to WTTW and the Sun-Times and the Tribune.) he was about 6’2 or more and he was not overly friendly when I told him how much I enjoyed his show. When I asked how he knew it was a good movie as we were walking, he said, “When I like it!” It was quite abrupt. But when he died we all mourned as did Roger.
    We wondered what would happen to the show and it was the talk of Chicago.
    The show was never the same, how could it be?

    But when Richard Roeper joined Roger I felt as did others that it was a long way from what it was. But Richard grew into it with Roger’s patience and help yet I understand there was a conflict of interest situation with other work each of them was doing and that had to end.

    Recently a resurrection of the show was tried but I understand that because of inadequate funding it could not be sustained.

    Roger Ebert was a man who we will remember did things “his way”, and when cancer cruelly took away his voice, he battled on with the help of Chaz and in his own description, many others.

    Thank you for including this tribute and others about him. He was a part of Chicago, a place I have called home for 36 years, and, helped raise our children in the city with my wife.

  49. I, like Joe Hass, above, was never a huge fan of the movies. I’ll occasionally see something if the mood strikes, but I’ve never been one to sit in a theater for the experience of being At The Movies. That said, I’m an avid reader of Roger’s site. If I’m bored, or down, or just in need of a bit of inspiration, I like nothing more than to click on his reviews and just take it all in. His writing style is such that, regardless of subject, I simply enjoy feeling like I’m part of his orbit. Just today I found myself wandering over to his webpage, clicking on old movie reviews. I’ll miss that connection and am deeply saddened that we’ve lost him.

  50. There’s an editorial cartoon tribute (nice article, too) in today’s Chicago Tribune that I just had to try to link here. Hope I get it right–if I don’t it’s worth looking up for yourselves: link

  51. Wonderful eulogy for Mr. Ebert and his work. He will be sorely missed.

  52. guess: here was a horrible sci-fi movie called ‘Dark City’ that came out in the late 1990s. It was so bad people in the theater were booing. Ebert picked it as the best film of the year. I respect his opinion, but this one made me look cross eyed at him.

    I’d say Ebert had it right.

  53. Sad to see him go. Although I have to say every time i look up reviews of films i think are bad, he always really likes them! Respect to him for having the courage of his convictions though.

  54. Regarding Dark City, one of my all-time favorite movie memories is seeing it at Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival on a gorgeous Champaign night, in a old-timey theatre on an oversized screen with special film stock. It was mind blowing. Later, I passed Ebert in the urinals of men’s bathroom. Surprisingly, I didn’t strike up a conversation as we voided our bladders. Kind of wish I had. He probably would have said something short, sweet, and inspirational.

    Ebert is one of the top 4 influences on me as a writer. His writing is simultaneously dense and clear. Sometimes I revisit his reviews just to savor their tone and cadence. The other three influences I admire are Scalzi, for his pithy exposition and dialog, Hemingway for his staccato rhythms and earthiness, and my freshman English teacher Mr. Stelk, who kept working with me despite my stubborn refusal to tighten up my prose. Yeah, I’ve struggled with being too wordy.

  55. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I think he was losing his grasp in (at least) the last few years. Too many too straightforward movies with easily and artificially defined black and white morals were getting 4 stars. And as someone above mentioned, there was this whole thing about video games. I don’t want to discuss whether it is or isn’t an art, my point is aiming at the fact that he was commenting the topic, expressing a very harsh opinion, even though he admitted that he has NEVER played a single video game. How could I respect and trust judgment of a man who is making claims on a topic he has no experience with? How would I know that he was paying enough attention to the movies he watched? .There were often errors in many of his remarks when it comes to foreign films.

  56. [Deleted because the comment adds nothing of value to the conversation – JS]

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