Movies! Everyone loves movies, some more than others, for example Roger Ebert. Roger Ebert is the face of movie criticism, he was and still is the most popular movie critic that ever lived. Not only is he a great critic but he’s also a great writer in my opinion. He wrote 2 movies Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Beneath the Valley of Ultra-Vixens. He’s also written many books including an autobiography which would later be turned into a movie. He also had a type of cancer called papillary thyroid cancer, which took away his ability to talk. He also had a successful show with his friend Gene Siskel which was nominated for multiple emmys.
Roger Ebert’s first movie is Beyond the Valley of the Dolls which was made in 1970 and is about 3 girls who go to hollywood to make it big, but only find sex, drugs and sleaze. When it was first released by Twentieth Century Fox the movie made $9 million on a $900,000 budget making it a financial success. Since its release it has gained a cult following among many people who love 70s exploitation films. Beneath the valley of the Ultra-Vixens is about Lavonia whose only fault is enthusiasm and her unsatisfactory sex relationship with her boyfriend Lamar. In the course of curing Lamar so that he will straighten up and satisfy, Lavonia has a hot time with everybody in town. The movie had a crew of only 5 people and had a budget of $240,000. It had poor reviews when it came out with people saying it was "a pleasure for mentally retarded, sexually helpless and stupid". You might be asking why a 14 year old kid is watching a movie that’s all about sex. I'm watching it as a source of what someone who criticizes movies for a living can do when they have the chance to make their own film. They should be able to make the perfect movie cause they know what makes an amazing movie and what makes a terrible movie, right? Wrong, while some might see these movies as a fun sleaze fest others might think of them as some of the worst films ever made. It's all about opinion. His love for movies was so strong that even when he was diagnosed with cancer he didn't stop writing reviews or writing books.
In early 2002 Roger was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which is a type of cancer that affects your thyroid which is located at the base of your neck. He successfully got it removed in february of 2003. However he got it again in 2006, in june of the same year he got surgery to remove cancerous tissue near his right jaw. A week later his carotid artery bursted. He wasn’t able to speak, eat, or drink for some time resulting in a feeding tube. The complications made it so he wasn’t allowed to go on air for a long period of time. He returned to reviewing movies in may 2007, however he revealed that he lost his ability to speak. In 2008 he went under even more surgery to see if he could restore his voice, however it did not work. He ended up getting a prosthetic chin in order to cover all the damages made from the many surgeries he had received. In 2010 he got a computerized voice in order to communicate with people. Sadly he passed away on April 4th, 2013 due to complications with his cancer. He never stopped reviewing movies during that entire time unless it was necessary. He loved his job because he got to do what he loved which is reviewing movies.
On average he watched a little over 500 movies a year and has reviewed over 10,000 movies in his lifetime. He started his career as a film critic in 1967 at Chicago Sun-Times and worked there until his death. His first show he starred in was Sneak Previews which started in 1975. His co-star Gene Siskel worked for the Chicago Tribune which was his company’s competitor. At first Robert and Gene didn’t get along at all, it would normally take around 8 hours just to finish one taping of the show because of all the fights they had together. They both then went on to make a show with Tribune Entertainment called At the Movies in 1982, but after contract disagreements they both left the company to make their own show called Siskel & Ebert & the Movies. They rated movies with a simple thumbs up or a thumbs down. The “fights” were considered the best moments in the show, which is when they had disagreements on whether they liked the movie or not. In the whole time the show ran the only time Gene Siskel changed his mind about a movie after a fight was the movie Broken Arrow and chose to give it a thumbs down. Gene Siskel soon found out that he had a massive brain tumor growing. Sadly in February of 1999 after complications with the surgery for the removal of the tumor he passed away. However this didn’t stop Roger, from 1999-2000 he decided to go solo with his reviews. This show however wasn’t appealing to the audiences so they decided to add Richard Roeper. Their show Ebert and Roeper went from 2000-2008. I don’t remember many things from when I was 3 years old, but 1 thing I do remember is going to see Curious George in theaters. I also remember that someday in june of 2006 I got home from daycare and turned on the tv and sure enough Ebert and Roeper was on. The movie they were reviewing at the time by coincidence was Curious George. At that time i was absolutely baffled at why they would give my favorite movie at the time a thumbs down. I’m 14 now and I’ve probably seen that movie a hundred times now and I still love it, maybe it's the nostalgia factor, but in my eyes it’s still a good movie. I also remember them talking about a movie I had not the slightest clue was, that movie was Hard Candy starring Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson. Only just recently did I remember this, because about 3 weeks ago I watched it and I know i’ve never seen it before, yet somehow it seems very familiar. I narrowed it down to that i remembered the review and looked it up on youtube and sure enough that's exactly what it was. Some of my fondest memories are going home after daycare turning to ABC and just sitting there mesmerized at how 2 people could get so mad at just a tiny movie, but as I look back I realize I do this all the time with my friends. I see movies in more of an artistic standpoint, while my friends see movies as something that you just throw on and don’t need to care about. My favorite movie of all time is The Shawshank Redemption while lots of my friends favorite movie is Joe Dirt or Grown Ups. The way I look at movies now is all because I watched Roger at a young age and i guess you can say his style was just engraved into my mind.
He loved his job a lot, he got cancer but that didn’t keep him down. He wrote reviews in his hospital bed when he was allowed. He’s been my role model for as long as i can remember. His fights that he had with his co-stars always made me smile even when I was at my lowest. His job was his passion, he loved nothing more than to review movies and to write about them. You could look at the guy and think “Him, he’s your hero?” and yeah I’d say he is, because nobody I’ve ever met has influenced me more than Roger Ebert.