I'll admit, I haven't read a Roger Ebert review in years, and then only when someone else brought it to my attention for some reason or other. I probably should have read more of his writing, since, in many ways, he successfully and effectively lived the life of my dreams, so I might have learned something from his example.
I did grow up a regular viewer of Siskel and Ebert (and, later, Ebert and Roeper), and I think my childhood was ever so slightly more cultured for it. I didn't watch the show for the reviews; I didn't need recommendations on movies that, as a kid, I couldn't even afford the tickets to on my own. I watched it for the clips. Regardless of how the thumbs went, it was always exciting to catch glimpses of movies I was already looking forward to or was curious about. But, over time, what I appreciated most were the looks at all the movies I would otherwise never even have heard of (and that was most of them). Again, I didn't expect I would ever see 90-95 percent of the movies covered. But, in a way, it was as though Ebert and his partners were watching them in my stead, and, through their show, I was able to get a condensed version of their experience. It was enough to provide me with a larger perspective on cinema, to give me a taste of what all was out there.
In a post-YouTube age, such a program is largely obsolete. Still, I sometimes miss having that appointed time during the week, when I would follow along and take mental notes, as Ebert and company ran through the week's new releases.
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