The Nostalgia Critic captures the essence of Roger Ebert’s popularity perfectly: Roger Ebert was passionate about movies in a way that had never been seen on screen before. That passion, along with Siskel’s, inspired the general public to take movies more seriously, and that passion drove on even after Siskel’s passing. His passion entertained us; his love of cinema so obvious and so deep that even as he told us what he did or didn’t like, he still communicated the soul of the film in question.
And of course, he was also a good human being. Too often the greats look down upon the rest of us from their elevated status, but Ebert never did. He engaged with everyone on his blog, for instance; and he engaged with the Nostalgia Critic and gave the NC’s tribute a big thumbs up—he watched that video, and seriously considered its merits despite its low production values. That’s something not every celebrity will do, or even bother to do.
Of all things I loved about Ebert, I loved that part of him the most. He had humility.
Farewell, Ebert. I’ll miss you.