Long ago before Nostalgia Critic, Angry Joe, & Channel Awesome, one man named Roger Ebert, paved the way of film criticism. He and another film critic, Gene Siskel, aired a televised movie review series called “At The Movies.” During their prime, they went on to become nationwide icons. Sadly, Siskel died of a brain tumor in 1999. As the show must go on, Ebert hired Richard Roeper as Siskel’s replacement in the year 2000. Six Years Later, Ebert was diagnosed with tumors located on his thyroid salivary glands, thus ending his tenure on the show, but this didn’t stop him to write movie reviews online. 2013 was a sad day for the entertainment industry, Ebert died from metastatic cancer. His legacy lives on.
For my 90th post on my website, I’ve selected this documentary about his life to show us movie goers and critics a sign of respect, because he was the marker of film criticism, if it weren’t for him, none of us would’ve never established our views as critics to see if something is good or bad to a certain individual.
I’ll have you know, this review doesn’t feature potential SPOILERS, because we all know what happens to Roger Ebert involving his entire life.
Thumbs Up: The Documentary shows us the life of Roger Ebert ranging from his childhood, to his television show with Gene Siskel, to the end of his show, due to a jaw related illness, and his last months to be alive.
You’ll be surprised that he was a former screenwriter during his early years as a film critic, turns out his script for a movie has received negative feedback. We all gotta start from the bottom, and someday, will eventually rise to the top. Failure is an option, it’ll happen someday during one person’s career.
We get more background fleshed out on Ebert’s friend/frenemy, with Siskel. Besides Siskel, he was also close friends with Martin Scorsese & Roger himself said that Scorsese is his favorite filmmaker of all time due to his iconic work. Ebert would often interview him on his movies to talk about certain pros & cons.
Fun Fact: Roger stated numerous times that his favorite movie of all time is Citizen Kane.
Roger praised Martin Scorsese’s film debut “Who’s That Knocking,” and he claimed that Scorsese will be the next Federico Fellini in ten more years. So he predicted the future, huh? Foreshadowing at its best.
Roger is one of the luckiest critics to meet celebs at exclusive red carpets and The Cannes Film Festival as he best describes it as The Super Bowl of Film Festivals.
For the first time in Pulitzer Prize history, Roger is the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for Film Criticism, so far he’s the only one to achieve that record.
A “Blink And Your Miss It” photo montage with Ebert’s birthplace, is shown in one scene.
Roger stated he watched over 10,000 films. As Vegetable from Dragon Ball Z once said, “Its Over 9000!”
Ebert’s personal life is also revealed that he was a flawed individual, struggling with his inner demons. His marriage with Chaz Ebert, is further explored she stated when they first met, they both have something in common.
Siskel & Ebert were one of Johnny Carson’s frequent guests to appear on his show several times.
A behind the scenes rehearsal clip of the duo shows them roasting and ussing at each other in a funny way.
A pivotal year that started Ebert’s career as a film critic was a fresh start which would forever cement his image. His first ever review for a Motion Picture, is a film called “Bonnie & Clyde,” starring Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway.
Gene Siskel’s fateful brain tumor, was prominently mentioned, it struck Roger personally. Chaz said that, “Gene was like the older brother he never had.”
Ebert’s cancer was also an important factor both professionally & personally effecting his life and career.
A Heartwarming Moment with Ebert officially opening his online blog filled with a glossary of his entire reviews from the past.
The Ending for the entire movie, is gonna be sad, for those who are very weepy, bring a couple of tissues.
Thumbs Down: The entire Documentary was very interesting, I never got bored throughout the entire duration of the film. I’ll give it extra points for preventing me from looking at my clock.
The Final Verdict: A FOR APEX!
In my opinion, Life Itself was excellent. This has got to be one of my favorite Documentary movies besides Super Size Me. If I were you, please go see this movie, you’ll be satisfied on why he’s the one that started it all for us film critics.
R.I.P. Roger Ebert, you will never be forgotten, and your legacy lives on. Thank you for inspiring us film critics from around the world. You’ve earned your respect as the cornerstone.