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SimoneS

Life Itself: The Roger Ebert Story (CNN)

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CNN had been promoting this so much that I decided to watch it with every intention to turn the channel if it was too depressing, but it was compelling viewing so I stuck it out to the end. This was a beautiful unflinching tribute to Roger Ebert.

 

With all respect and genuine appreciation, two thumbs up! 

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CNN has been showing documentaries and producing its own documentaries over the last year or more. The last one I watched was Blackfish which was about SeaWorld's disgusting exploitation of killer whales. I barely got through that one. 

Edited by SimoneS

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if it was too depressing, but it was compelling viewing

Me too. I've been aware of this film for quite some time but had been afraid to watch it. (It was so hard to look at his face at the end.) But I came away unable to stop thinking about what fine people Roger and Chaz were/are and reminded once again of what a treasure Ebert was to film criticism. (Especially important to me as I minored in film in college back in the mid-late '70s.) His writing is such a pleasure to read that I think my next stop will be the source memoir itself. And besides all that, this was a beautifully crafted film. Thanks, Steve James, Chaz, and CNN.

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The crowd at the Chicago theater giving Ebert a final thumbs-up made my room suddenly super dusty. And then somebody was chopping onions. While having allergies.

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I was kinda struck by how much Siskel's widow looked like Siskel. Same coloring, same basic shape of features. I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd been id'd as a sibling. Some people really do choose mates that remind them of themselves.

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What a great documentary!  I know I'm coming into it with my love for Gene & Siskel already in place, and living in the Chicago area I can remember when the show first started out.  Of the two I always agreed more with Ebert, and have several of his books, and was heartbroken when he announced his initial illness.  

 

By the end I had tears just streaming down my face - Chaz telling the story about the DNR order.  I really really really miss him. 

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I'd seen lots of pictures of Ebert in the last few years of his life (and he ran more than a few on his excellent blog), but I didn't realize until Life Itself that the entire bottom of his mouth was gone, skin and everything. When he opened his mouth, you could literally see through it to his throat wrappings.

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I was always Ebert over Siskel myself and nothing in this doc changed my mind. It was a very emotional experience for me as well.   I did like the way it allowed Siskel's widow to express her negative feelings towards Roger so openly, probably because her feelings did change over time.  That sequence of Gene and Roger just squabbling behind the scenes was priceless. Of course it's part of what made them such a great team, like Gilbert and Sullivan.   Great to hear from Werner Herzog, but I wish Russ Meyer had been alive to participate in this.  

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