Top positive review
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Worth reading for any fan
on June 29, 2015
I spent many years going through Ebert's list of great movies and getting them on Netflix. He aided my cultural enrichment over the years. This book is much like this reviews: an honest accounting of what he feels and how he thinks. He's a great writer and vividly draws his life, especially the Normal Rockwell-esque Americana of his youth and his infatuation with London. You can see the highs as well as the lows.
I appreciate the story of a person who simply pursues something they love and finds a way to make it work. Ebert ended up being an all-time great movie critic not because he loved movies, but because he loved to write. Along the way, he fell in love. This is an interesting twist on the "do what you love" pablum so often handed out to young people. It's worth thinking about.
If I could critique, parts of the book are a bit scattershot, like the same stories being told in multiple sections. It almost reads like he repurposed some blog entries as chapters in the book. Of course, this is fine, as chapters are work and flow well (like, well, columns). The chapters on old stars like Lee Marvin and John Wayne may be lost on younger folk who found Ebert because of his website. The Russ Meyer chapter is great, although, of course, his work is downright tame compared to what we can get today within seconds. But that's the point. Ebert is an old-fashioned guy from a different world and a different time. Even then it's impressive how he leveraged the internet to gain a new audience - something only briefly touched upon here.