The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Roger Ebert has passed on. The cancer had returned, was the last thing we heard from him. He wrote a final blog post that said he’d planned to keep fighting. But the cancer decided to take his life instead. There aren’t many ways to say goodbye to someone so beloved. I can say we once had a heated exchange about Crash winning, a conversation I now regret. But what I learned from it was that you never wanted to tangle with Roger Ebert. He was beyond brilliant and could cut you to the quick with a few words. I have been following him and reading him for more than twenty years. He was writing about films much longer than that. I hate to imagine a world without him in it. Roger Ebert changed the way we talk about movies. In many ways he popularized film criticism and ended up opening the door to a room that would eventually give birth to what you see now, “anyone can cook.” But once he was diagnosed with cancer the first time things changed. He then pioneered and changed the way people WROTE on the web about movies. His long film essays elevated the medium: it was no longer good enough simply to write a review. Moreover, you didn’t have to just stick to movie reviews. Look at how Ebert expanded film writing. I think he upped the ante and pretty soon there were better and better film essays everywhere you looked. Still, no one topped him. When he took to Twitter he owned it. He quickly became the best and most useful film critic on the site. He was never one to back away from nor fear technology. He dove right in, embraced the change. He loved the Cannes film fest and went until he physically could not go anymore. The only time I’ve ever seen him was walking through the Palais with Chaz, arm in arm. I saw him a few more times up and down the streets of Cannes and any time he’d pass you’d hear “Hi Roger!” from people who were walking by. Everyone knew him and read him. A life can’t be summed up so easily, not by someone like me anyway. But I can say that few people make you want to live more than Roger Ebert. He was always the guy holding the flashlight, showing you the way. I am sure he would appreciate this poem because this is the way, I’m sure, he felt. He didn’t want to leave. He wanted to fight for every last minute of life. Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, Dylan Thomas Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.