Roger Ebert
Overview
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic
Film criticism
Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films, individually and collectively. In general, this can be divided into journalistic criticism that appears regularly in newspapers, and other popular, mass-media outlets and academic criticism by film scholars that is informed by film theory and...

 and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
The Pulitzer Prize for Criticism has been presented since 1970 to a newspaper writer who has demonstrated 'distinguished criticism'. Recipients of the award are chosen by an independent board and officially administered by Columbia University...

.

Ebert is known for his film review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

since 1967, and later online) and for the television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

s Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews was an American film review show, running for over two decades on Public Broadcasting Service . It was created by WTTW, a PBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered on September 4, 1975 as a monthly local-only show called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, and was renamed in...

, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, all of which he co-hosted for a combined 23 years with Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted the popular review show Siskel & Ebert At the Movies from 1975 until his death....

. After Siskel's death in 1999, Ebert teamed with Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Richard E. Roeper is an American columnist and film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times and now a co-host on The Roe Conn Show on WLS-AM...

 for the television series Ebert & Roeper & the Movies, which began airing in 2000.
Quotations

Of what use is freedom of speech to those who fear to offend?

Roger Ebert's Movie Home Companion (1990 Edition), p. 735

The Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival|Golden Thumb is not as good as the Oscar, but it is a lot of fun.

"A Film Critic's Windy City Home' in The New York Times (13 February 2005)

Encyclopedia
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic
Film criticism
Film criticism is the analysis and evaluation of films, individually and collectively. In general, this can be divided into journalistic criticism that appears regularly in newspapers, and other popular, mass-media outlets and academic criticism by film scholars that is informed by film theory and...

 and screenwriter
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
The Pulitzer Prize for Criticism has been presented since 1970 to a newspaper writer who has demonstrated 'distinguished criticism'. Recipients of the award are chosen by an independent board and officially administered by Columbia University...

.

Ebert is known for his film review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

since 1967, and later online) and for the television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

s Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews was an American film review show, running for over two decades on Public Broadcasting Service . It was created by WTTW, a PBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered on September 4, 1975 as a monthly local-only show called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, and was renamed in...

, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies, all of which he co-hosted for a combined 23 years with Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted the popular review show Siskel & Ebert At the Movies from 1975 until his death....

. After Siskel's death in 1999, Ebert teamed with Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Richard E. Roeper is an American columnist and film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times and now a co-host on The Roe Conn Show on WLS-AM...

 for the television series Ebert & Roeper & the Movies, which began airing in 2000. Although his name remained in the title, Ebert did not appear on the show after mid-2006 after he suffered post-surgical complications related to thyroid cancer, leaving him unable to speak. Ebert ended his association with the show in July 2008, but in February 2009 he stated that he and Roeper would continue their work on a new show. Ebert's current show, Ebert Presents: At the Movies, premiered on January 21, 2011, with Ebert contributing a review voiced by someone else in a brief segment called "Roger's Office".

He has written more than 15 books, including his annual movie yearbook which is predominantly a collection of his reviews of that year. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. His television programs have been widely syndicated and have been nominated for Emmy awards. In February 1995, a section of Chicago's Erie Street near the CBS Studios
CBS Studios
Can refer to the following : *CBS, Television Network.*CBS Studio Center, a television and motion picture production facility in Studio City, California*CBS Broadcast Center, main New York City studio complex on W...

 was renamed Siskel & Ebert Way. In June 2005, Ebert was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

. He was the first professional film critic to receive such an award. He has honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

s from the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

, the AFI Conservatory
AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory is a division of the American Film Institute founded in 1969, located in Hollywood's Griffith Park. The school is the only existing Master of Fine Arts conservatory in advanced film education...

, and in 2007 the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

described him as "the most powerful pundit in America". As of 2010, Ebert's movie reviews are syndicated
Print syndication
Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights....

 in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and worldwide by Universal Press Syndicate
Universal Press Syndicate
Universal Press Syndicate, a subsidiary of Andrews McMeel Universal, is the world's largest independent press syndicate. It distributes lifestyle and opinion columns, comic strips and other content. Popular columns include Dear Abby, Ann Coulter, Roger Ebert and News of the Weird...

.

Since 1996, he has written a Great Movies series of individual reviews of what he deems to be the most important films of all time. This list and his associated reviews have now expanded to include over 300 movies. Since 1999, he has hosted the annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival in Champaign, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

.

Early life and education

Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois
Urbana, Illinois
Urbana is the county seat of Champaign County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,250. Urbana is the tenth-most populous city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area....

, the son of Walter H. Ebert, an electrician, and Annabel Ebert. His paternal grandparents were German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 immigrants and his maternal ancestry is Dutch and Irish. Ebert's interest in journalism began as a student at Urbana High School
Urbana High School (Illinois)
-History:Urbana High School's current building was built in 1914. It was designed by architect Joseph Royer who also designed many other area buildings such as the Urbana Free Library and the Champaign County Court House...

, where he was a sports writer for The News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

; however, he began his writing career with letters of comment to the science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 fanzines of the era. He became involved in science fiction fandom
Science fiction fandom
Science fiction fandom or SF fandom is a community or "fandom" of people actively interested in science fiction and fantasy and in contact with one another based upon that interest...

, writing articles for fanzines, including Richard A. Lupoff
Richard A. Lupoff
Richard Allen Lupoff is an American science fiction and mystery author, who has also written humor, satire, non-fiction and reviews. In addition to his two dozen novels and more than 40 short stories, he has also edited science-fantasy anthologies. He is an expert on the writing of Edgar Rice...

's Xero
Xero (SF fanzine)
Xero was a fanzine edited and published from 1960 to 1963 by Dick Lupoff, Pat Lupoff and Bhob Stewart. With a main focus on science fiction and comic books, Xero also featured essays, satire, articles, poetry, artwork and cartoons on a wide range of other topics.The articles and letter columns...

. In his senior year he was co-editor of his high school newspaper, The Echo. In 1958, Ebert won the Illinois High School Association
Illinois High School Association
The Illinois High School Association is one of 521 state high school associations in the United States, designed to regulate competition in most interscholastic sports and some interscholastic activities at the high school level. It is a charter member of the National Federation of State High...

 state speech championship in Radio Speaking, an event that simulates radio newscasts.

Along with journalism, one of his principal interest was his own Roger Ebert Stamp Company.

Regarding his early influences in film critiquing, Ebert wrote in the 1998 parody collection Mad About the Movies:
"I learned to be a movie critic by reading Mad magazine... Mad's parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it at Mad magazine."


After briefly attending the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

, Ebert received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...

, where he was editor of The Daily Illini and member of the Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta
Phi Delta Theta , also known as Phi Delt, is an international fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 169 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S...

 fraternity. One of the first movie reviews he ever wrote was a review of La dolce vita
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come...

, published in The Daily Illini in October 1961. After Ebert wrote an article on the death of writer Brendan Behan
Brendan Behan
Brendan Francis Behan was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English. He was also an Irish republican and a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army.-Early life:...

 for Chicago Daily News
Chicago Daily News
The Chicago Daily News was an afternoon daily newspaper published between 1876 and 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.-History:The Daily News was founded by Melville E. Stone, Percy Meggy, and William Dougherty in 1875 and began publishing early the next year...

editor Herman Kogan, Ebert was given a job as a reporter and feature writer at the Sun-Times in 1966. After movie critic Eleanor Keane left the paper, editor Robert Zonk gave the job to Ebert.

Career

Ebert began his professional critic career in 1967, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

. That same year, Ebert's first book, a history of the University of Illinois titled Illini Century: One Hundred Years of Campus Life was published by the University's press.

In 1969, his review of Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent black-and-white zombie film and cult film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and was completed on a USD$114,000 budget. After decades of cinematic re-releases, it...

was published in Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest
Reader's Digest is a general interest family magazine, published ten times annually. Formerly based in Chappaqua, New York, its headquarters is now in New York City. It was founded in 1922, by DeWitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace...

.

Ebert co-wrote the screenplay for the 1970 Russ Meyer
Russ Meyer
Russell Albion "Russ" Meyer was a U.S. motion picture director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer....

 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a 1970 American schlock melodrama film starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, John LaZar, Michael Blodgett and David Gurian...

and likes to joke about being responsible for the film, which was poorly received on its release but is now regarded as a cult classic
Cult Classic
Cult Classic is a Blue Öyster Cult studio recording released in 1994, containing remakes of many of the band's previous hits.-Track listing:# " The Reaper" - 5:05# "E.T.I...

. Ebert and Meyer also made Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens is a satirical sexploitation film starring Kitten Natividad and Ann Marie with a cameo by Uschi Digard. It was directed by American motion picture director Russ Meyer, and written by Roger Ebert and Meyer....

, Up!, and others, and were involved in the ill-fated Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians...

 movie Who Killed Bambi? In April 2010, Ebert posted his screenplay of "Who Killed Bambi?" aka "Anarchy in the UK" on his blog.

Since the 1970s, Ebert has worked for the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 as a guest lecturer, teaching a night class on film. His fall 2005 class was on the works of the German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder was a German movie director, screenwriter and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema.He maintained a frenetic pace in film-making...

.

In 1975, Ebert and Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Eugene Kal "Gene" Siskel was an American film critic and journalist for the Chicago Tribune. Along with colleague Roger Ebert, he hosted the popular review show Siskel & Ebert At the Movies from 1975 until his death....

 of the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

began co-hosting a weekly film review television show, Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews
Sneak Previews was an American film review show, running for over two decades on Public Broadcasting Service . It was created by WTTW, a PBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois. It premiered on September 4, 1975 as a monthly local-only show called Opening Soon at a Theater Near You, and was renamed in...

, which was locally produced by the Chicago public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 station WTTW
WTTW
WTTW channel 11 is one of three Public Broadcasting Service member public television stations serving the Chicago, Illinois market; the others are WYCC and WYIN. WTTW began broadcasting on September 6, 1955 and it is owned and operated by Window to the World Communications, Inc., a not-for-profit...

. The show was picked up by PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 in 1978 for national distribution. In 1982, the critics moved to a syndicated commercial television show named At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and in 1986 they left to create Siskel & Ebert & The Movies with Buena Vista Television (part of Disney). The duo was known for their "thumbs up/thumbs down" review summaries.
When Siskel died in 1999, the producers retitled the show Roger Ebert & the Movies with rotating co-hosts. In September 2000, fellow Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Richard E. Roeper is an American columnist and film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times and now a co-host on The Roe Conn Show on WLS-AM...

 became the permanent co-host and the show was renamed At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper.

On January 31, 2009, Ebert was made an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America
Directors Guild of America
Directors Guild of America is an entertainment labor union which represents the interests of film and television directors in the United States motion picture industry...

 during the group's annual awards ceremony.

Ebert ended his association with Disney in July 2008, after the studio indicated they wished to take At the Movies in a new direction. He and Gene Siskel's widow, Marlene Iglitzen Siskel, still own the trademark phrase "Two Thumbs Up." On February 18, 2009, Ebert reported that he and Roeper would soon announce a new movie review program. Ebert reiterated this plan after Disney announced the last episode of the program would air in August 2010.

Ebert stated in his August 18, 2010 "Answer Man" column that he was writing his memoirs.

Style of critique and personal tastes

Ebert has described his critical approach to films as "relative, not absolute"; he reviews a film for what he feels will be its prospective audience, yet always with at least some consideration as to its value as a whole. He awards four stars to films of the highest quality, and generally a half star to those of the lowest unless he considers the film to be "artistically inept" and/or "morally repugnant", in which case it will receive no stars.
Ebert has emphasized that his star ratings have little meaning if not considered in the context of the review itself. Occasionally (as in his review of Basic Instinct 2
Basic Instinct 2
Basic Instinct 2, also known as Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction, is a 2006 German/British/American/Spanish thriller film and the sequel to 1992's Basic Instinct. The film was directed by Michael Caton-Jones and produced by Mario Kassar, Joel B. Michaels, and Andrew G. Vajna. The screenplay was by...

), Ebert's star rating may seem at odds with his written opinion. Ebert has acknowledged such cases, stating, "I cannot recommend the movie, but ... why the hell can't I? Just because it's godawful? What kind of reason is that for staying away from a movie? Godawful and boring, that would be a reason." In August 2004 Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

, in a column, criticized what he saw as a growing trend of leniency towards films from critics including Ebert. His main criticism was that films, citing Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2 is a 2004 American superhero film directed by Sam Raimi, written by Alvin Sargent and developed by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Michael Chabon. It is the second film in the Spider-Man film franchise based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man...

as an example, were constantly given four star ratings that they did not deserve. In his review of The Manson Family
The Manson Family (film)
The Manson Family is a 2003 American crime drama film. The film covers the lives of Charles Manson and his "family" of followers.-Overview:...

, Ebert gave the film three stars for achieving what it set out to do, but admitted that didn't count as a recommendation per se. He similarly gave the Adam Sandler-starring remake of The Longest Yard a positive rating of three stars, but in his review, which he wrote soon after attending the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes International Film Festival , is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres including documentaries from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is among the world's most prestigious and publicized film festivals...

, he recommended readers not see the film because they had access to more satisfying cinematic experiences. Uniquely he declined to give a star rating to The Human Centipede, arguing that the rating system was "unsuited" to such a film: "Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine."

Ebert has reprinted his starred reviews in movie guides. In his appearances on The Howard Stern Show, he was frequently challenged to defend his ratings. Ebert stood by his opinions with one notable exception—when Stern pointed out that Ebert had given The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the...

a three-star rating in 1974, but had subsequently given The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III
The Godfather Part III is a 1990 American gangster film written by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Coppola. It completes the story of Michael Corleone, a Mafia kingpin who tries to legitimize his criminal empire...

three and a half stars. Ebert later added The Godfather Part II to his "Great Movies" list in October 2008 stating that his original review has often been cited as proof of his "worthlessness" but he still hasn't changed his mind and wouldn't change a word of his original review.

Ebert has occasionally accused some films of having an unwholesome political agenda, and the word "fascist" accompanied more than one of Ebert's reviews of the law-and-order films of the 1970s such as Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American crime thriller produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan....

. He is also suspicious of films that are passed off as art, but which he sees as merely lurid and sensational. Ebert has leveled this charge against such films as The Night Porter
The Night Porter
The Night Porter is a controversial 1974 film by Italian director Liliana Cavani, starring Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling.- Synopsis :...

.


Ebert's reviews can clash with the overall reception of movies, as evidenced by his one-star review of the celebrated 1986 David Lynch
David Lynch
David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

 film Blue Velvet ("marred by sophomoric satire and cheap shots... in a way, [director Lynch's] behavior is more sadistic than the Hopper
Dennis Hopper
Dennis Lee Hopper was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant...

 character"). He was dismissive of the popular 1988 Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis
Walter Bruce Willis , better known as Bruce Willis, is an American actor, producer, and musician. His career began in television in the 1980s and has continued both in television and film since, including comedic, dramatic, and action roles...

 action film Die Hard
Die Hard
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film and the first in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by John McTiernan and written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza. It is based on a 1979 novel by Roderick Thorp titled Nothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the book The Detective, which...

("inappropriate and wrongheaded interruptions reveal the fragile nature of the plot"), while his positive review of 1997's Speed 2: Cruise Control
Speed 2: Cruise Control
Speed 2: Cruise Control is a 1997 action–thriller film, and a sequel to Speed . The film was produced and directed by Jan de Bont, and written by Randall McCormick and Jeff Nathanson, based on a story by de Bont and McCormick. Sandra Bullock stars in the film, reprising her role from Speed,...

("Movies like this embrace goofiness with an almost sensual pleasure") is the only one accounting for that film's 2% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 critical website.

Ebert often makes heavy use of mocking sarcasm
Sarcasm
Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt.” Though irony and understatement is usually the immediate context, most authorities distinguish sarcasm from irony; however, others argue that sarcasm may or often does involve irony or employs...

, especially when reviewing movies he considers bad. At other times he is direct, famously in his review of the 1994 Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner
Robert "Rob" Reiner is an American actor, director, producer, writer, and political activist.As an actor, Reiner first came to national prominence as Archie and Edith Bunker's son-in-law, Michael "Meathead" Stivic, on All in the Family. That role earned him two Emmy Awards during the 1970s...

 comedy North
North (film)
North is an American 1994 comedy film directed by Rob Reiner, and starring Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire, and Alan Arkin...

, which he concluded by writing that:
Ebert's reviews are also often characterized by dry wit. In January 2005, when Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider
Robert Michael "Rob" Schneider is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and director. A stand-up comic and veteran of the NBC sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live, Schneider has gone on to a successful career in feature films, including starring roles in the comedy films Deuce Bigalow:...

 insulted Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

movie critic Patrick Goldstein
Patrick Goldstein
Patrick Goldstein is a film critic and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, writing about movies in a column titled The Big Picture. Colleague Tom O'Neill describes him as the newspaper's "chief Oscarologist" as his column focuses largely on the doings of the Academy Awards.-Rob Schneider...

, who panned his movie Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is the 2005 sequel to the 1999 film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, from Happy Madison Productions. Rob Schneider returns in the role of a male prostitute Deuce Bigalow who visits his former pimp T.J...

, by commenting that the critic was unqualified because he had never won the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

, Ebert intervened by stating that, as a Pulitzer winner, he was qualified to review the film, and bluntly told Schneider, "Your movie sucks." Ebert and Schneider would later mend fences regarding this.

Ebert has been known to comment on films using his own Roman Catholic upbringing as a point of reference, and has been critical of films he believes are grossly ignorant of or insulting to Catholicism, such as Stigmata
Stigmata (film)
Stigmata is a 1999 supernatural horror film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Patricia Arquette as a hairdresser from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who is afflicted with the stigmata after acquiring a rosary formerly owned by a deceased Italian priest who himself suffered from the phenomena...

and Priest
Priest (film)
Priest is a 1994 British drama film directed by Antonia Bird. The screenplay by Jimmy McGovern focuses on a Roman Catholic priest as he struggles with two issues that precipitate a crisis of faith.-Plot:Father Greg Pilkington, newly assigned to St...

, though he has given favorable reviews of controversial films with themes or references to Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and Catholicism, including The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...

, The Last Temptation of Christ
The Last Temptation of Christ (film)
The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the controversial 1953 novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis. It stars Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ, Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, David Bowie as...

, and to Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
Kevin Patrick Smith is an American screenwriter, actor, film producer, and director, as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and internet radio personality best recognized by viewers as Silent Bob...

's religious satire Dogma
Dogma (film)
Dogma is a 1999 American adventure fantasy comedy film written and directed by Kevin Smith, who also stars in the film along with an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Bud Cort, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Janeane Garofalo,...

. However, Ebert identifies himself today as an agnostic.

He often includes personal anecdotes in his reviews when he considers them relevant. He has occasionally written reviews in the forms of stories, poems, songs, scripts, open letters, or imagined conversations. He has written many essays and articles exploring the field of film criticism in depth.

Ebert has been accused by some horror movie fans of bourgeois elitism in his dismissal of what he calls "Dead Teenager Movies". Ebert has clarified that he does not disparage horror movies as a whole, but that he draws a distinction between films like Nosferatu and The Silence of the Lambs, which he regards as "masterpieces", and films which he feels consist of nothing more than groups of teenagers being killed off with the exception of one survivor to populate a sequel.

Ebert has indicated that his favorite film is Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

, joking, "That's the official answer," although he prefers to emphasize it as "the most important" film. He has insinuated that his true favorite film is La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come...

. His favorite actor is Robert Mitchum
Robert Mitchum
Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was an American film actor, author, composer and singer and is #23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male American screen legends of all time...

, and his favorite actress is Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

.
Ebert has expressed his general distaste for "top ten" lists, and all movie lists in general, but due to his participation in the 2002 Sight and Sound Directors' poll, he has revealed his top ten films (alphabetically): Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a 1972 West German adventure film written and directed by Werner Herzog. Klaus Kinski stars in the title role. The soundtrack was composed and performed by German progressive/Krautrock band Popol Vuh...

; Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

; Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

; Dekalog; La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come...

; The General; Raging Bull; 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey (film)
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel...

; Tokyo Story
Tokyo Story
is a 1953 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It tells the story of an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children. The film contrasts the behavior of their biological children, who are too busy to pay them much attention, and their daughter-in-law, who treats them with...

; and Vertigo
Vertigo (film)
Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

.

Nevertheless, Ebert has compiled "best of the year" movie lists since the 1960s, which have helped to provide an overview of his critical preferences. His top choices have been:

  • 1967: "Bonnie and Clyde"
  • 1968: "The Battle of Algiers"
  • 1969: "Z"
  • 1970: "Five Easy Pieces"
  • 1971: "The Last Picture Show"
  • 1972: "The Godfather"
  • 1973: "Cries and Whispers"
  • 1974: "Scenes from a Marriage"
  • 1975: "Nashville"
  • 1976: "Small Change"
  • 1977: "Three Women"
  • 1978: "An Unmarried Woman"
  • 1979: "Apocalypse Now"
  • 1980: "The Black Stallion"
  • 1981: "My Dinner with Andre"

  • 1982: "Sophie's Choice"
  • 1983: "The Right Stuff"
  • 1984: "Amadeus"
  • 1985: "The Color Purple"
  • 1986: "Platoon"
  • 1987: "House of Games"
  • 1988: "Mississippi Burning"
  • 1989: "Do the Right Thing"
  • 1990: "GoodFellas"
  • 1991: "JFK"
  • 1992: "Malcolm X"
  • 1993: "Schindler's List"
  • 1994: "Hoop Dreams"
  • 1995: "Leaving Las Vegas"

  • 1996: "Fargo"
  • 1997: "Eve's Bayou"
  • 1998: "Dark City"
  • 1999: "Being John Malkovich"
  • 2000: "Almost Famous"
  • 2001: "Monster's Ball"
  • 2002: "Minority Report"
  • 2003: "Monster"
  • 2004: "Million Dollar Baby"
  • 2005: "Crash"
  • 2006: "Pan's Labyrinth"
  • 2007: "Juno"
  • 2008: "Synecdoche, New York"
  • 2009: No ranking
  • 2010: "The Social Network"

Ebert revisits and sometimes revises his opinions. After ranking "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial" third on his 1982 list, it was the only movie from that year to appear on his later "Best Films of the 1980s" list (where it also ranked third). He made similar revaluations of 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and 1985's "Ran". The "Three Colors Trilogy" and "Pulp Fiction" originally ranked second and third on Ebert's 1994 list; both were included on his "Best Films of the 1990s" list, but their order had reversed.

From 1969 until Siskel's death in early 1999, the two critics were in agreement on nine top selections: "Z", "The Godfather", "Nashville", "The Right Stuff", "Do the Right Thing", "GoodFellas", "Schindler's List", "Hoop Dreams", and "Fargo." There would have been a tenth, but Ebert declined to rank the Holocaust documentary "Shoah" as 1985's best film only because he felt it was inappropriate to compare it to the rest of the year's candidates; his on-air partner Gene Siskel did choose "Shoah" in his top slot. Seven times, Siskel's #1 choice did not appear on Ebert's top ten list at all: "Straight Time", "Ragtime", "Once Upon a Time in America", "The Last Emperor", "The Last Temptation of Christ", "Hearts of Darkness", and "The Ice Storm." Seven times, Ebert's top selection did not appear on Siskel's; these films were "Small Change", "Three Women", "An Unmarried Woman", "Apocalypse Now", "Sophie's Choice", "Mississippi Burning", and "Dark City."

Ebert has long been an admirer of director Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog Stipetić , known as Werner Herzog, is a German film director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.He is often considered as one of the greatest figures of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner...

, whom he supported through many years when Herzog's popularity had been eclipsed. He conducted an onstage public "conversation" with Herzog at the Telluride Film Festival in 2004, after a screening of Herzog's film Invincible
Invincible (2001 film)
Invincible is a 2001 drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog. The film stars Tim Roth, Jouko Ahola, Anna Gourari, and Max Raabe. The film tells the story of a Jewish strongman in Germany...

at the Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival. Herzog dedicated his 2008 film Encounters at the End of the World
Encounters at the End of the World
Encounters at the End of the World is an American documentary film by Werner Herzog completed in 2007. The film studies people and places in Antarctica...

to Ebert, and Ebert responded with a heartfelt public letter of gratitude.

In 2005, Ebert opined that video games are not art, and are inferior to media created through authorial control, such as film and literature, stating, "video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful", but "the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art". This resulted in negative reaction from video game enthusiasts, such as writer Clive Barker
Clive Barker
Clive Barker is an English author, film director and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer...

, who defended video games as an art form, stating that they have the power to move people, that the views of book or film critics are less important than those of the consumers experiencing them, and that Ebert's were prejudiced. Ebert responded that the charge of prejudice was merely a euphemism for disagreement, that merely being moved by an experience does not denote it as artistic, and that critics are also consumers. Ebert later defended his position in April 2010, saying, "No video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form." He also stated that he has never found a video game "worthy of (his) time", and thus has never played one. Cracked.com writer Robert Brockway responded by opining that this made Ebert unqualified to judge video games, and that debating Ebert on such a topic was comparable to "a structured philosophical debate on the importance of pacifism and restraint with a rabid badger: Your opponent is not only unqualified from the start, but it's obviously just out to attack you."

In a July 1, 2010, blog entry, Ebert maintained his skepticism that video games cannot ever be art in principle, but conceded that he should not have expressed this opinion without being more familiar with the actual experience of playing them. He reflected on the reaction to his blog entry, gamers' attempts to recommend to him games such as Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus, released in Japan as , is an action-adventure game published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. The game was released in North America and Japan in October 2005 and PAL territories in February 2006...

, and his reluctance to play games due to his lack of interest in the medium.

Views on the film industry

Ebert is an outspoken opponent of the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system. He has repeatedly criticized their decisions regarding which movies are "suitable for children." For example, Whale Rider and School of Rock
School of Rock
School of Rock, also called The School of Rock, is a 2003 American musical comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black...

were both rated PG-13 (not recommended for children under the age of 13), while he thought both were inoffensive enough for schoolchildren and contained positive messages for that age group. In his review of The Exorcist
The Exorcist (film)
The Exorcist is a 1973 American horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty and based on the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her...

, Ebert said it was "stupefying" that the film received a rating of "R" from the MPAA instead of an "X" (suitable only for adults). He has frequently argued that the MPAA is more likely to give an "R" rating for mild sexual content than for highly violent content. In his review of The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 American drama film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus. It depicts the Passion of Jesus largely according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...

, he was quoted as saying:
"I said the film is the most violent I have ever seen. The MPAA's R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic."

He also frequently laments that cinemas outside major cities are "booked by computer from Hollywood with no regard for local tastes", making high-quality independent and foreign films virtually unavailable to most American moviegoers.

Ebert is a strong advocate for Maxivision
Maxivision
Maxivision 24 and Maxivision 48 are thirty-five millimeter motion picture film formats, designed by Dean Goodhill in 1999. The system uses normal thirty-five millimetre motion picture film, capturing images on three perforations of film per frame...

 48, in which the movie projector runs at 48 frames per second, as compared to the usual 24 frames per second. He is opposed to the practice whereby theatres lower the intensity of their projector bulbs in order to extend the life of the bulb, arguing that this has little effect other than to make the film harder to see. Ebert has been skeptical of the recent resurgence of 3D effects in film
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

, which he has found unrealistic and distracting.

Film and TV appearances

Ebert is one of the principal critics featured in Gerald Peary
Gerald Peary
Gerald Peary is an American film critic, who has been a reviewer and columnist for the Boston Phoenix since 1996. He was formerly the Acting Curator of the Harvard Film Archive and is currently the General Editor of the University Press of Mississippi Conversations with Filmmakers Series...

's 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism is a 2009 documentary film dramatizing a hundred years of American film criticism through film clips, historic photographs, and on-camera interviews with many of today’s important reviewers, mostly print but also Internet...

. He is shown discussing the dynamics of appearing with Gene Siskel on the 1970s show Coming to a Theatre Near You, which was the predecessor of Sneak Previews on Chicago PBS station WTTW. He also expresses his approval of the proliferation of young people writing film reviews today on the Internet.

Ebert has provided DVD audio commentaries
Audio commentary
On disc-based video formats, an audio commentary is an additional audio track consisting of a lecture or comments by one or more speakers, that plays in real time with video...

 for several films, including Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

, Casablanca
Casablanca (film)
Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, it focuses on a man torn between, in...

, Dark City, Floating Weeds
Floating Weeds
is a 1959 film by Yasujiro Ozu and shot in colour by Kazuo Miyagawa, one of Japan's most highly regarded cinematographers. It is a remake of Ozu's own black-and-white silent film A Story of Floating Weeds ....

, Crumb
Crumb (film)
Crumb is a 1994 documentary film about the noted underground comic artist Robert Crumb and his family. Directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O'Donnell and David Lynch, it won widespread acclaim, including both the Grand Jury Prize and best cinematography prize at the Sundance Film Festival...

, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a 1970 American schlock melodrama film starring Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom, John LaZar, Michael Blodgett and David Gurian...

(for which Ebert also wrote the screenplay, based on a story that he co-wrote with Russ Meyer
Russ Meyer
Russell Albion "Russ" Meyer was a U.S. motion picture director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer....

). Ebert was also interviewed by Central Park Media
Central Park Media
Central Park Media was an American multimedia entertainment company based in New York City, New York, that was active in the distribution of East Asian cinema, television series, anime, manga and manhwa titles in North America prior to its bankruptcy in 2009...

 for an extra feature on the DVD release of the anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 film Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies
is a 1988 Japanese animated war tragedy film written and directed by Isao Takahata. This is the first film produced by Shinchosha, who hired Studio Ghibli to do the animation production work...

.

On the day of the Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

, Ebert and Roeper typically appear on the live pre-awards show, An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Arrivals. This airs prior to the awards ceremony show, which also features red carpet
Red carpet
A red carpet is traditionally used to mark the route taken by heads of state on ceremonial and formal occasions, and has in recent decades been extended to use by VIPs and celebrities at formal events.- History :...

 interviews and fashion commentary. They also appear on the post-awards show entitled An Evening at the Academy Awards: The Winners. Both shows are produced and aired by the American Broadcasting Company
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

-owned Los Angeles station KABC-TV
KABC-TV
KABC-TV, channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, licensed to Los Angeles, California. KABC-TV's studios are located in Glendale, California...

. This show also airs on WLS-TV
WLS-TV
WLS-TV, virtual channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The station operates their full power digital operations on UHF channel 44, with their digital fill-in translator on VHF channel...

 as well as the network's other owned stations along with being syndicated to several ABC affiliates and other broadcasters outside the country. Ebert did not appear on the 2007 show for medical reasons.

In 1995, Ebert, along with colleague Gene Siskel, guest starred on an episode of the animated TV series The Critic
The Critic
The Critic is an American prime time animated series revolving around the life of film critic Jay Sherman, voiced by actor Jon Lovitz. It was created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss, both of whom had worked as writers on The Simpsons. The Critic had 23 episodes produced, first broadcast on ABC in 1994,...

. In the episode, Siskel and Ebert split and each wants Jay as his new partner. The episode is a parody of the film Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle
The film was originally to have been scored by John Barry, but when he was given a list of 20 songs he had to put in the film, he quit.#As Time Goes By - Jimmy Durante #A Kiss to Build a Dream on - Louis Armstrong #Stardust - Nat King Cole...

.

In 1996, Ebert appeared in "Pitch", a documentary by Canadian film makers Spencer Rice
Spencer Rice
Spencer "Spenny" Nolan Rice is a Canadian writer, director, producer, and comedian. He was the co-star of Kenny vs. Spenny along with Kenny Hotz.-Personal life:...

 and Kenny Hotz
Kenny Hotz
Kenneth Joel "Kenny" Hotz is an award-winning Canadian writer, director, actor, producer and photographer. He is a former South Park consultant/writer, creator/director/co-star of the Showcase and Comedy Central television show Kenny vs...

.

In 2003, Ebert had a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer
Abby Singer (film)
Abby Singer is a darkly comic tale that chronicles the life of Curtis Clemins, who is torn between the love of his life and accomplishing his dream. Originally released in 2003, there was a different version released in 2006 and a limited DVD release in 2007. The film had some film festival...

, in which he recited the white parasol monologue from Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film, directed by and starring Orson Welles. Many critics consider it the greatest American film of all time, especially for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure. Citizen Kane was Welles' first feature film...

.

Roger Ebert founded his own film festival, Ebertfest, in his home town of Champaign, Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

 and is also a regular fixture at the Hawaii International Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
The Hawaii International Film Festival is a film festival held in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It was started in 1981 by Jeannette Paulson Hereniko and has been held annually in the fall for two weeks...

.

On May 4, 2010, Ebert was announced by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences as the Webby Person of the Year having taken to the Internet following his battle with cancer.

On October 22, 2010, Ebert appeared on camera with Robert Osborne
Robert Osborne
Robert Jolin Osborne is an American actor and film historian best known as the primary host for Turner Classic Movies, and previously a host of The Movie Channel.-Life and career:...

 on the Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies is a movie-oriented cable television channel, owned by the Turner Broadcasting System subsidiary of Time Warner, featuring commercial-free classic movies, mostly from the Turner Entertainment and MGM, United Artists, RKO and Warner Bros. film libraries...

 network during the network's "The Essentials" series. Ebert chose the film Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 American film noir made by Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions and released by United Artists. It was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and stars Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison and Martin Milner. The screenplay was written by Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman...

to be shown.

Personal life

Ebert is married to trial attorney Charlie "Chaz" Hammel-Smith. Chaz Ebert is now vice president of the Ebert Company and has emceed Ebertfest.

Roger Ebert suffered from alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 and quit drinking in 1979. He is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international mutual aid movement which says its "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." Now claiming more than 2 million members, AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio...

 and has written some blog entries on the subject. He has been friends with, and at one time dated, Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

, who credits him with encouraging her to go into syndication. He is also good friends with film historian and critic Leonard Maltin
Leonard Maltin
Leonard Maltin is an American film and animated film critic and historian, author of several mainstream books on cinema, focusing on nostalgic, celebratory narratives.-Personal life:...

 and considers the book Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide to be the standard of film guide books.

A supporter of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Ebert publicly urged liberal filmmaker Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

 to give a politically charged acceptance speech at the Academy Awards: "I'd like to see Michael Moore get up there and let 'em have it with both barrels and really let loose and give them a real rabble-rousing speech." During a 2004 visit to The Howard Stern Show, Ebert predicted that the then-junior Illinois senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 would be very important to the future of the country. During a 1996 panel at the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

 at Boulder
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is the county seat and most populous city of Boulder County and the 11th most populous city in the U.S. state of Colorado. Boulder is located at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of...

's Conference on World Affairs
Conference on World Affairs
The Conference on World Affairs is hosted annually, around the second week of April, at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.-History:...

, Ebert coined The Boulder Pledge, by which he vowed never to purchase anything offered through the result of an unsolicited email message, or to forward chain emails or mass emails to others.

He is critical of the Intelligent Design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

 movement. He has also stated that people who believe in either creationism or new age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 beliefs such as crystal healing
Crystal healing
Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique that employs stones and crystals as healing tools.The practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to chakras, or places crystals around the body in an attempt to construct an "energy grid", ...

 or astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 are not qualified to be President. Regarding his belief system, he doesn't "want to provide a category for people to apply to [him]" because he "would not want [his] convictions reduced to a word" and states, "I have never said, although readers have freely informed me I am an atheist, an agnostic, or at the very least a secular humanist—which I am".

On April 25, 2011, he achieved one of his long-time goals: winning one of the weekly caption contests in The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

magazine after more than 100 attempts.

Thyroid cancer

In early 2002, Ebert was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer
Thyroid neoplasm is a neoplasm or tumor of the thyroid. It can be a benign tumor such as thyroid adenoma, or it can be a malignant neoplasm , such as papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic thyroid cancer. Most patients are 25 to 65 years of age when first diagnosed; women are more affected...

. In February of that year, surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the nation's preeminent academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. It is the second tallest hospital in the United States and the fourth tallest hospital in the world...

 were able to successfully remove the cancer with clean margins. He later underwent surgery in 2003 for cancer in his salivary gland, and in December of that year, underwent a four-week follow-up course of radiation to his salivary glands, which altered his voice slightly. As he battled the illness, Ebert continued to be a dedicated critic of film, not missing a single opening while undergoing treatment.

Ebert underwent further surgery on June 16, 2006, just two days before his 64th birthday, to remove additional cancerous tissue near his right jaw, which included removing a section of jaw bone. On July 1, Ebert was hospitalized in serious condition after his carotid artery
Carotid artery
Carotid artery can refer to:* Common carotid artery* External carotid artery* Internal carotid artery...

 burst near the surgery site and he "came within a breath of death". He later learned that the burst was likely a side effect of his treatment, which involved neutron beam radiation
Neutron radiation
Neutron radiation is a kind of ionizing radiation which consists of free neutrons. A result of nuclear fission or nuclear fusion, it consists of the release of free neutrons from atoms, and these free neutrons react with nuclei of other atoms to form new isotopes, which, in turn, may produce...

. He was subsequently kept bedridden to prevent further damage to the scarred vessels in his neck while he slowly recovered from multiple surgeries and the rigorous treatment. At one point, his status was so precarious that Ebert had a tracheostomy performed on his neck to reduce the effort of breathing while he recovered.

Ebert had pre-taped enough TV programs with his co-host Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Richard E. Roeper is an American columnist and film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times and now a co-host on The Roe Conn Show on WLS-AM...

 to keep him on the air for a few weeks; however, his extended convalescence necessitated a series of "guest critics" to co-host with Roeper: Jay Leno
Jay Leno
James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno is an American stand-up comedian and television host.From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ,...

 (a good friend to both Ebert and Roeper), Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
Kevin Patrick Smith is an American screenwriter, actor, film producer, and director, as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and internet radio personality best recognized by viewers as Silent Bob...

, John Ridley
John Ridley
John Ridley is an American film director, actor, and writer.Ridley got his start as a stand-up comedian. He eventually was hired as a writer for sitcoms such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Martin...

, Toni Senecal
Toni Senecal
Antonia "Toni" Senecal is the producer and host of Toni On! television travel series which is broadcast on NYC Life on Wednesdays at 12:30am and 9pm, Fridays at 1:30pm, and Saturdays at 11am...

, Christy Lemire
Christy Lemire
Christy Lemire is the film critic for The Associated Press and co-host of Ebert Presents at the Movies with Ignatiy Vishnevetsky. She also co-hosts the weekly online movie review show, What The Flick?!....

, Michael Phillips, Aisha Tyler
Aisha Tyler
Aisha N. Tyler is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and author, known for her regular role as Andrea Marino in the first season of Ghost Whisperer and voicing Lana Kane in Archer, as well as her recurring roles in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Talk Soup, and on Friends as Charlie...

, Fred Willard
Fred Willard
Fred Willard is an American actor, comedian, and voice over actor, best known for his improvisational comedy skills. He is known for his roles in the Christopher Guest mockumentary films This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and For Your Consideration as well as...

, Anne Thompson, A.O. Scott, Mario Van Peebles
Mario Van Peebles
Mario "Chip" Cain Van Peebles is an American director and actor who has appeared in numerous Hollywood films. He is son of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.-Life and career:...

, George Pennacchio, Brad Silberling
Brad Silberling
Bradley Mitchell Silberling is an American television and film director. He is married to the actress Amy Brenneman, who he met on the set of NYPD Blue and with whom he has two children, Charlotte Tucker and Bodhi Russell...

, and John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp, previously known by the stage names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds...

. Michael Phillips later became Ebert's replacement for the remainder of Roeper's time on At the Movies, until mid-2008, when Roeper did not extend his contract with ABC.

In October 2006, Ebert confirmed his bleeding problems had been resolved. He was undergoing rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago , ranked the "#1 Rehabilitation in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 is a rehabilitation hospital located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It also operates a network of alliance hospitals and outpatient and day rehabilitation...

 due to lost muscle mass, and later underwent further rehabilitation at the Pritikin Center in Florida." In May 2007, Ebert blogged that he had received a bouquet of flowers from actor Rob Schneider
Rob Schneider
Robert Michael "Rob" Schneider is an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and director. A stand-up comic and veteran of the NBC sketch-comedy series Saturday Night Live, Schneider has gone on to a successful career in feature films, including starring roles in the comedy films Deuce Bigalow:...

, with a note signed, "Your Least Favorite Movie Star, Rob Schneider". Ebert took this as a kind gesture despite his negative review of Schneider's Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is the 2005 sequel to the 1999 film Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, from Happy Madison Productions. Rob Schneider returns in the role of a male prostitute Deuce Bigalow who visits his former pimp T.J...

. Ebert described the flowers as "a reminder, if I needed one, that although Rob Schneider might (in my opinion) have made a bad movie, he is not a bad man, and no doubt tried to make a wonderful movie, and hopes to again. I hope so, too."

After a three-month absence, the first movie he reviewed was The Queen
The Queen (film)
The Queen is a 2006 British drama film directed by Stephen Frears, written by Peter Morgan, and starring Helen Mirren as the title role, HM Queen Elizabeth II...

. Ebert made his first public appearance since the summer of 2006 at Ebertfest on April 25, 2007. He was unable to speak but communicated through his wife, Chaz, through the use of written notes. His opening words to the crowd of devout fans at the festival were a quote from the film he co-wrote with Russ Meyer, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: "It's my happening and it freaks me out." Also in April 2007, in an interview with WLS-TV
WLS-TV
WLS-TV, virtual channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The station operates their full power digital operations on UHF channel 44, with their digital fill-in translator on VHF channel...

 in Chicago, he said, "I was told photos of me in this condition would attract the gossip papers — so what?" On April 23, the Sun-Times reported that, when asked about his decision to return to the limelight, Ebert remarked, "We spend too much time hiding illness." Fans at his website have remarked his public appearances have been inspirational to cancer victims and survivors around the country.

On the road to recovery

Ebert returned to reviewing on May 18, 2007, when three of his reviews were published by the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

, and he returned to his website, a role that his editor had shouldered during the critic's illness. Thereafter, he slowly worked back to his previous output of 5–6 reviews a week plus a "Great Movies" review. He also resumed his "Answer Man" column. In a July 21, 2007 commentary on a rebuttal to Clive Barker
Clive Barker
Clive Barker is an English author, film director and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer...

, he revealed that he had lost the ability to speak, but not to write. He also lost the ability to eat or drink, and uses a feeding tube
Feeding tube
A feeding tube is a medical device used to provide nutrition to patients who cannot obtain nutrition by swallowing. The state of being fed by a feeding tube is called gavage, enteral feeding or tube feeding...

. He posted reviews of the 2006 film Casino Royale
Casino Royale (2006 film)
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond...

and the 2007 films Zodiac
Zodiac (film)
Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. The Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros...

and Ratatouille
Ratatouille (film)
Ratatouille is a 2007 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the eighth film produced by Pixar, and was directed by Brad Bird, who took over from Jan Pinkava in 2005...

with a note that he was in the process of going back and reviewing some of the movies that were released during his absence. He attended the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
2007 Toronto International Film Festival
The 2007 Toronto International Film Festival was a 32nd annual film festival held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It ran from September 6, 2007 to September 15, 2007. The lineup consisted of 349 films from 55 countries, selected from 4156 submissions...

, while awaiting surgery that was hoped to restore his voice. Ebert adopted a computerized voice system to communicate. He initially chose to use a voice with a British accent that he named "Lawrence", but then switched to a high quality voice with an American accent included with Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

 named "Alex". According to Ebert, he does not miss the activity of eating or drinking so much as the camaraderie of dining with friends.

Ebert underwent further surgery on January 24, 2008, this time in Houston, to address the complications from his previous surgeries. A statement from Ebert and his wife indicated that "the surgery went well, and the Eberts look forward to giving you more good news..." but on April 1, his 41st anniversary as a film critic at the Sun-Times, Ebert announced that there had been further complications and his speech had not been restored. He wrote, "I am still cancer-free, and not ready to think about more surgery at this time. I should be content with the abundance I have." His columns resumed shortly after the April 23 opening of his annual film festival at the University of Illinois. During his various surgeries, doctors carved bone, tissue and skin from his back, arm, and legs, and transplanted them in an attempt to reconstruct his jaw and throat, though these transplants would each be unsuccessful, and eventually removed. As a result of these procedures, his right shoulder is visibly smaller than his left, and his legs have been scarred and weakened. On April 18, 2008, it was announced that Ebert had fractured his hip in a fall, a result of the weakening of his body following the unsuccessful tissue transplants, and had undergone surgery to repair it.

Current health

, Ebert has a full-time, live-in nurse attend to him when needed. Although doctors have asked him to allow them to make one more attempt to restore his voice, Ebert has refused, indicating that he is done with surgery, and will likely decline significant intervention even if his cancer returns, as he feels that the last procedure he underwent did more harm than good. Regarding his death one day, he has written:
Ebert employed a Scottish company called CereProc
CereProc
CereProc is a speech synthesis company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, founded in 2005. The company specialises in creating natural and expressive-sounding text to speech voices, synthesis voices with regional accents, and in voice cloning....

, which custom-tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless customers who record their voices at length before losing them, and mined tapes and DVD commentaries featuring Ebert to create a voice that sounds more like his own voice. He used the voice they devised for him in his March 2, 2010 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey. It ran nationally for 25 seasons beginning in 1986, before concluding in 2011. It is the highest-rated talk show in American television history....

, in which he discussed his methods of coping with the loss of his voice and his other post-surgical difficulties. By January 2011, Ebert had been given a prosthesis for his chin created by University of Illinois craniofacial doctors and other specialists. The prosthesis, which took two years to fabricate, is worn by Ebert on Ebert Presents: At the Movies, in a medium shot of him that is used for the "Roger's Office" segment.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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