Point of View
Roger Ebert: A True Film Critic
By LaDale Anderson
Apr 13, 2013 - 7:49:52 AM

UNITED STATES—Anyone can review movies, but that doesn’t make you a film critic.  Roger Ebert was not only a movie lover, but someone who truly appreciated the art form known as film criticism.  When it comes to cinema, it takes a keen eye to notice certain qualities in a movie.  To understand its intention, the acting accolades and the impact the picture has on the audience.  A true critic does not analyze a movie for pure enjoyment, its deciphered for the audience to understand its relevance.


Cinema studies is an art form within an art form.  Loving movies is one thing, but to understand their manifestation is another thing.  Roger Ebert is one of the many rare film critics who I absolutely respect for his body of work, as a kid watching this guy debate with Gene Siskel on their talk show about movies was quite a revelation for me; furthermore reading his reviews in the Chicago Tribune was another treat, that allowed me to understand his impeccable writing abilities.  


Film Critic Roger Ebert

Every critic has their own style of writing.  I like to consider myself a film critic, not just because I love movies, but because I studied cinema and I am actively pursuing it as a career.  To say I hated this movie because”¦.is not enough.  Also as a critic, its okay to disagree with the masses, very rarely do you see that with a critic, but Ebert wasn’t one afraid to go against a grain.  If he found a movie worthy of the spectator’s money he would vie for it, but more importantly he’d argue why it was worth it. 


Some critics are not able to deliver a decisive reasoning by behind their decision; Roger Ebert was not one of them.  To this day he has a quote that perhaps resonates with critics across the country: “No good movie is ever long enough and no bad movie is ever short enough.”  It’s such a true saying.  When you see a bad movie, you’re constantly checking your watch or phone to see when it’s over, and it never is!  With a good movie you become so engulfed into the picture you lose yourself to a degree; you almost wish you can continue to see this plot unfold and learn more about the lives of these characters.


His ability to showcase a wide range of cinema including blockbusters and indie art pictures were important.  So many of us get engulfed in the big summer movie, we forget about the small pictures that have an even bigger impact on the audience and the social arena.  Roger Ebert taught me that true film criticism should showcase a social calling.  There should be some sort of effect or message to the masses because of this movie.  Every movie has a message, even the worst of worst, sometimes it takes a bit of deciphering to discover just what that message or ideology is, but its there.


This was a man that would have long drought conversations with his colleague Siskel, or other guest critics on board as to why this movie was ”˜important’ to the public sphere.  You could always tell to a degree when he wanted to discuss the picture even longer, but because of the powers of television they had to move on to another picture.  Film criticism is about highlighting both the good and the bad in a picture.  I honestly don’t believe there is a thing as a perfect movie, there are great pictures, but every movie has flaws to some degree, but some stronger elements will force those mistakes to appear minimal at least. 


What so many should understand is that Roger Ebert was a: teacher.  He was teaching so many of us up and coming movie buffs and cinema studies students the art form known as film criticism.  It’s a decisive study to understand with variations between film criticism and film theory. 


One deals with the inner workings of a picture that is not tangible to the viewer, the other analyzes the social arena of cinema and how other pictures may impact a particular pictures effect on the spectator.  While complicated, Ebert is a genius whose work will forever be praised.  While he may no longer be with us physically, his spirit and thoughts will live with movie lovers forever.  That’s TWO THUMBS WAY UP!!

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