The people’s critic: remembering Roger Ebert

Film critic Wesley Morris, writing for Grantland:

They were not the first to hold movies to some broad, high standard — but they were the first to do so in our living rooms. The show became famous for evaluating films in the same way the Romans passed judgment on defeated gladiators: with their thumbs. But, really, what Siskel and Ebert instilled in the civilian filmgoer was perception. Movies had a surface that could be penetrated and explored. They taught us how else to watch.

There’s been many, many tributes to Ebert’s sad passing, but Morris’s for me was virtually pitch perfect (little surprise given he’s a rare film critic that’s won a Pulitzer.) A mix of pop enthusiasm and serious politics (Ebert championed many minority filmmakers, from Spike Lee to Justin Lin), Roger Ebert changed the game of film criticism. I doubt we’ll ever see another film critic with his impact for a very long time.