Roger Ebert, who has grown to legendary status, especially after the moving piece on him in Esquire (I also suggest a touching piece by Will Leitch on Deadspin), will show off his new speech device on today’s Oprah. I don’t want to say new “voice” because as anyone can tell from his writing, Ebert never lost that. In fact, it’s only become stronger over the years. The more serious I’ve become about movies over the years, the more I’ve come to respect him.
Hit the jump for my personal thoughts about Ebert over the years and a sneak peek of his appearance on Oprah this afternoon.
In 2002, I watched an episode of At the Movies where he reviewed The Powerpuff Girls Movie and how he thought it was insensitive film because it came out less than a year after 9/11. At the point I said, “I’m done with Roger Ebert! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” because I thought (and still do) that a) he should know that production on the film probably began before September 11th, and b) that all movies must no longer feature destruction of buildings because violence from extremists gets to dominate our culture and how we, and our children can enjoy escapism and action.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that no matter how much I may disagree with him about a movie (and I still do about Powerpuff Girls), I have to respect his craft of a writer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find his written review of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, but I think he’s one of the people everyone should follow on Twitter (where he writes about more than just movies) and he’s an idol among everyone who truly loves cinema and the art of writing.
Check out the video below of Ebert demonstrating his new speech technology (reconstructed out of all his DVD commentaries and “At the Movies” episodes) for his wife Chaz, and be sure to check your local listings so you can see him on Oprah where he’ll be talking about the Oscars.