A few words on a man of many.

I’ve written hundreds of sentences tonight about the impact of Roger Ebert, on both my life and the filmgoing experience, at large.

I discarded them all.

They used many big words, pulled many great tricks, and ultimately didn’t amount to much. However, selfish as this may seem, I will comment that with his passing I feel many roles — journalistic mentor, utter inspiration, human standard of intelligence & decency — have been ripped from my life.

Ever since I first glimpsed his work — reading small fragments of his effusive “Toy Story 2″ critique, aged three — I’d always hoped that one day, Ebert would read a Ryan Michaels review. Should the course of my life end up as I aspire, perhaps he’d even see a Ryan Michaels film. With his passing, I suppose I must move on from a pursuit that’s sustained me as long as I’ve held conscious thought.

But no matter. As long as our planet has a good pair of eyes, a healthy curiosity of art, or an abiding respect of passion and warmth, the work of this humble little Chicago man will be read and respected.

The very last sentence of his final published blog spot reads, word for word, “I’ll see you at the movies”. How prescient. Although today may have been the last time we woke up together, he’ll be there with me as long as I live.

1942-2013.

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