I'm pretty sure everybody that has had, at the very least, a sliver of interest in the movies and the language of cinema has a story to share about Roger Ebert.
Whether it was about influence, or insight, or passion, or disagreement, Roger Ebert was big time.
He loved movies so much, that it's inconceivable to think of any figure in these modern times, to exhibit the same anti-cynicism and commitment to cinema. Almost all of us are in a sort of ambivalent love affair with movies these days. For all the never ending enthusiasm and commitment to reach higher, there is always the death knell, the Holy Motors sign off. Which was quite convincing by the way (btw ya’lls).
Somehow, both views fit. But, it is fitting and sad, that Ebert, along with the rest of the classicist have now passed. These were figures of what can be now called, "the good old days". And we can cherish that, because its history has been written. A place exists for the past. It has happened, and it was witnessed. The future however, is always a place of uncertainty. Anxiety is birthed from the unknown. And humans, given a dose of evolutionary psychology, always feel mixed about that which cannot be controlled.
The beauty of Ebert was that the man always committed to passionate thinking. He was not afraid. Nor was he afraid to change his mind.
At his older age, he became a king of new media. With twitter, he could troll with the best of them. His stance against video games as art was legendary. Here was a man, not afraid of the consequences of thought, nor its expression. Nor was he scared of being bullied for thinking.
Bombarded by children angered by an opinion, he pressed forward with what I can only assume was a grin. Remember is beef with Vincent Gallo. The man didn't back down from insults. A classic game of "yo momma". And he did this with a smile. That's respectable. That’s heart.
And no other critic could circumnavigate the mainstream all the while, championing the independent quite like Ebert. Who will ever have that leverage? Who will ever care enough?
What a sincere love of something. It was poetic to witness. RIP Roger Ebert and thank you. My mother thanks you. She loved you.
See you at the movies; home theater actually, because we all know that's where this is all leading, right?
After watching a recent Hollywood film lauded as one of the great achievements of the year (the year would be last), I did what I do when I can't seem to figure out the hype from the fact. At the very least, my facts against mediocrity.
So, I turned into some reviews to hear the voice of the critic. Now, I only do this after the movie. Mostly, just to gauge the critical zeitgeist and maybe to pick up on points that I neglected, or tuned out possibly due to bias. In fact, often, I want to be proved wrong. I want to be moved to believe that the movie was a masterpiece and I was just being an asshole, or plainly, ignorant.
So, after flipping through a couple of these eloquent reviews, one phrase stood out from the rest, breathing fire into the cultural void of existence. "Gritty handheld style" was this very phrase.
Everytime I read something so asinine, I want to stop and call out to my maker. But the fact that this was repeated in no less then 5 reviews in back to back succession makes me think, that sometimes, people are in a haze of automation, devoid of anything critical, analytical, or imaginative.
Gritty handheld style in this particular case was nothing at all gritty. What the fuck does this describe? Realism? Well, in this particular case, not at all. Does it describe fortitude or determination. No. 50 million dollars with the best technical minds around making fiction never ever fucking equates to GRITTY. Ever. (well, actually, there are a couple cases historically. this is not one. and I'm assuming, the budget never crossed the 25million mark)
What it does describe however, is that all these clowns picked up the same description from wherever the hell, like 10 years ago, and decided to use it again, and again, and again, and thus removing any descriptive quality about it, in favor of press releasing a review. In today's language, this just fucking blows.
I call for an indefinite ban, and personal banishment for any hee-haw that uses the phrase, "gritty handheld style" to describe anything related to a film. They can however, use it to describe their latest iphone video of there cat licking its nuts. As long as the phone is not locked down on a tripod, and that it is in fact, gritty by definition.