Quite possibly the most recognizable and beloved movie critic of all time, Roger Ebert, passed away earlier today after a long battle with thyroid and salivary gland cancer that left him unable to speak for the last few years of his life.  Originally treated for the cancer, Ebert revealed two days ago that the cancer had returned.  According to a statement issued by his wife Chaz, they were preparing to move the Pulitzer winning writer to hospice care when smiled at everyone and passed away quietly.

I know a great many people who don't think highly of film critics.  Unfortunately, far too many people have laxed standards when it comes to cinematic entertainment today, for evidence look no further than Adam Sandler's past few films.  Movies are an art, and like any art there is not only room for, but a necessity for, criticism.  And Ebert, whether it be working solo or as part of the legendary team "Siskel and Ebert", combined a sharp wit with a casual reviewing style that helped make film criticism mainstream and respected.  If you ever doubt the mainstream impact of someone like Roger Ebert, just think for a moment whenever you give something "Two Thumbs Up".  While many would argue that the internet has given rise to anyone being considered a critic (I would be living proof of that), Ebert showed that though it may look easy, there takes a lot of understanding and insight to properly critique anything.   But he also showed an impressive knack to perform such criticism in a way that appealed to all audience members, both casual and fanatical, with qips such as,

"To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion."

The loss of a critic like Ebert is a loss to cinema that very many may not respect.  A film critic doesn't seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but Ebert achieved such a level of respect and noteriety that his reviews would regularly result is a direct response from the actors and filmmakers he praised or knocked down.  Criticism is a beautiful thing, making sure we continue to demand a high level of quality in whatever is being analyzed.  I think this world could do with all of us being a little more critical in our lives.  Unfortuantely, we've lost someone who showed how you can do it with humor and style.

Rest in peace Roger.

via CNN