Film Critic Roger Ebert Dies at Age 70, Leaves a Legacy:
By Matt Click / April 4

Film critic and legendary writer Roger Ebert did more than just review movies. Ebert validated film criticism, and made it an art form in its own right. Ebert wasn't just a fan of movies -- he was a connoisseur of the craft. He was a man who understood films as well as -- no, better than -- the people making them. He was a  cinephile, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, an artist, a husband, and a humble, all-around nice guy.

Roger Ebert died today in his hometown of Chicago at the age of 70 after losing his long, difficult battle with cancer.

With his passing, I feel an era has come to a close. Film criticism nowadays is more prevalent and widespread than ever. There are more film critics employed now than there have ever been, and sites like Rotten Tomatoes and MetaCritic present film critique in an easy, accessible manner. But film criticism nowadays is centered on the aggregate -- not who liked or didn't like this film, but how many? The critical consensus on movies nowadays comes down to an online percentage, calculated automatically and distilled down to a base, manageable number.

Roger Ebert was the last of an old guard, the final vestige of a critical brigade -- the last celebrity critic. With a thumbs up or a thumbs down, Ebert could sway the opinions of the masses. His reviews were not distilled numbers -- on the contrary, they were pieces of art in their own right. Ebert saw film through the lens of someone who loved the medium, someone who grew up loving it, and he could talk about movies like he was born to do it. His passion for movies was palpable, through both his televised and written reviews. And if he hated a movie -- well, those reviews were some of his best.

I owe much of my understanding of film and film criticism to Roger Ebert. There's not a critic alive today that doesn't. He helped further the art, and made it matter to people. He will be sorely missed.

Ebert's final article was posted Tuesday, wherein he announced he would be taking a leave of absence. His final written words were: "Thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies."

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