Life Itself: A Memoir

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Roger Ebert is the best-known film critic of our time. He has been reviewing films for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and was the first film critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. He has appeared on television for four decades, including twenty-three years as cohost of Siskel & Ebert at the Movies.

In 2006, complications from thyroid cancer treatment resulted in the loss of his ability to eat, drink, or speak. But with the loss of his voice, Ebert has only become a more prolific and influential writer. And now, for the first time, he tells the full, dramatic story of his life and career.

Roger Ebert's journalism carried him on a path far from his nearly idyllic childhood in Urbana, Illinois. It is a journey that began as a reporter for his local daily, and took him to Chicago, where he was unexpectedly given the job of film critic for the Sun-Times, launching a lifetime's adventures.

In this candid, personal history, Ebert chronicles it all: his loves, losses, and obsessions; his struggle and recovery from alcoholism; his marriage; his politics; and his spiritual beliefs. He writes about his years at the Sun-Times, his colorful newspaper friends, and his life-changing collaboration with Gene Siskel. He remembers his friendships with Studs Terkel, Mike Royko, Oprah Winfrey, and Russ Meyer (for whom he wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and an ill-fated Sex Pistols movie). He shares his insights into movie stars and directors like John Wayne, Werner Herzog, and Martin Scorsese.

This is a story that only Roger Ebert could tell. Filled with the same deep insight, dry wit, and sharp observations that his readers have long cherished, this is more than a memoir-it is a singular, warm-hearted, inspiring look at life itself.

"I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."
-from LIFE ITSELF
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About the author

Roger Joseph Ebert was born on June 18, 1942 in Urbana, Illinois, and died on April 4, 2013. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was editor of the Daily Illini. He is best known for his film review column in the Chicago Sun Times since 1967 and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and Siskel and Ebert and The Movies. After Gene Siskel's death in 1999, Roger Ebert teamed up with Ruchard Roeper for the television series Ebert and Roeper and The Movies which began airing in 2000. Ebert's movie reviews were in more than 200 newspapers in the U.S. and worldwide by Universal Press Syndicate. He wrote more than 15 books, including his annual movie yearbook which was a collection of his reviews for that specific year. He became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize. In June 2005, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; he was the first professional critic to receive this award. He received honorary degrees from the University of Colorado, the AFI Conservatory, and the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Ebert died on April 4, 2013 at age 70. He had lost his voice and much of his jaw after battling thyroid and salivary gland cancer.

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Reviews

4.2
36 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Grand Central Publishing
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Published on
Sep 13, 2011
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Pages
448
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ISBN
9780446584982
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert awards at least two out of four stars to most of the more than 150 movies he reviews each year. But when the noted film critic does pan a movie, the result is a humorous, scathing critique far more entertaining than the movie itself.

I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie is a collection of more than 200 of Ebert's most biting and entertaining reviews of films receiving a mere star or less from the only film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. Ebert has no patience for these atrocious movies and minces no words in skewering the offenders.

Witness: Armageddon * (1998) --The movie is an assault on the eyes, the ears, the brain, common sense, and the human desire to be entertained. No matter what they're charging to get in, it's worth more to get out.

The Beverly Hillbillies* (1993)--Imagine the dumbest half-hour sitcom you've ever seen, spin it out to ninety-three minutes by making it even more thin and shallow, and you have this movie. It's appalling.

North no stars (1994)--I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

Police Academy no stars (1984)--It's so bad, maybe you should pool your money and draw straws and send one of the guys off to rent it so that in the future, whenever you think you're sitting through a bad comedy, he could shake his head, chuckle tolerantly, and explain that you don't know what bad is.

Dear God * (1996)--Dear God is the kind of movie where you walk out repeating the title, but not with a smile.

The movies reviewed within I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie are motion pictures you'll want to distance yourself from, but Roger Ebert's creative and comical musings on those films make for a book no movie fan should miss. 

Roger Ebert
America’s most trusted and best-known film critic Roger Ebert presents one hundred brilliant essays on some of the best movies ever made. 

Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, wrote biweekly essays for a feature called "The Great Movies," in which he offered a fresh and fervent appreciation of a great film. The Great Movies collects one hundred of these essays, each one of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love, analysis, and history that will send readers back to that film with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm–or perhaps to an avid first-time viewing.

Ebert’s selections range widely across genres, periods, and nationalities, and from the highest achievements in film art to justly beloved and wildly successful popular entertainments. Roger Ebert manages in these essays to combine a truly populist appreciation for our most important form of popular art with a scholar’s erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure aesthetic sense. Wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary Corliss, the film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, The Great Movies is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.

The Great Movies includes: All About Eve • Bonnie and Clyde • Casablanca • Citizen Kane • The Godfather • Jaws • La Dolce Vita • Metropolis • On the Waterfront • Psycho • The Seventh Seal • Sweet Smell of Success • Taxi Driver • The Third Man • The Wizard of Oz • and eighty-five more films.
Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert's I Hated Hated Hated This Movie, which gathered some of his most scathing reviews, was a best-seller. This new collection continues the tradition, reviewing not only movies that were at the bottom of the barrel, but also movies that he found underneath the barrel.

From Roger's review of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (0 stars): "The movie created a spot of controversy in February 2005. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year's Best Picture nominees and wrote that they were 'ignored, unloved, and turned down flat by most of the same studios that . . . bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.'

Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: 'Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. . . . Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers. . . .'

Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks. But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo while passing on the opportunity to participate in Million Dollar Baby, Ray, The Aviator, Sideways, and Finding Neverland. As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

Roger Ebert
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema criticism without peer.

Arriving fifty years after Ebert published his first film review in 1967, this second edition of Awake in the Dark collects Ebert’s essential writings into a single, irresistible volume. Featuring new Top Ten Lists and reviews of the years’ finest films through 2012, this edition allows both fans and film buffs to bask in the best of an extraordinary lifetime’s work. Including reviews from The Godfather to GoodFellas and interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Meryl Streep, as well as showcasing some of Ebert’s most admired essays—among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films—Ebert’s Awake in the Dark is a treasure trove not just for fans of this era-defining critic, but for anyone desiring a compulsively readable chronicle of the silver screen.

Stretching from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today, Awake in the Dark reveals a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm helped shape the way we think about the movies. But more than this, Awake in the Dark is a celebration of Ebert’s inimitable voice—a voice still cherished and missed.
Roger Ebert
No film critic has ever been as influential—or as beloved— as Roger Ebert. Over more than four decades, he built a reputation writing reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times and, later, arguing onscreen with rival Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel and later Richard Roeper about the movies they loved and loathed. But Ebert went well beyond a mere “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” Readers could always sense the man behind the words, a man with interests beyond film and a lifetime’s distilled wisdom about the larger world. Although the world lost one of its most important critics far too early, Ebert lives on in the minds of moviegoers today, who continually find themselves debating what he might have thought about a current movie.

The Great Movies IV is the fourth—and final—collection of Roger Ebert’s essays, comprising sixty-two reviews of films ranging from the silent era to the recent past. From films like The Cabinet of Caligari and Viridiana that have been considered canonical for decades to movies only recently recognized as masterpieces to Superman, The Big Lebowski, and Pink Floyd: The Wall, the pieces gathered here demonstrate the critical acumen seen in Ebert’s daily reviews and the more reflective and wide-ranging considerations that the longer format allowed him to offer. Ebert’s essays are joined here by an insightful foreword by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, the current editor-in-chief of the official Roger Ebert website, and a touching introduction by Chaz Ebert.

A fitting capstone to a truly remarkable career, The Great Movies IV will introduce newcomers to some of the most exceptional movies ever made, while revealing new insights to connoisseurs as well.
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