Get well, Roger

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I’m a little late here, but let me add my voice to the chorus of people wishing Roger Ebert a speedy recovery.

As you may have heard, he had surgery June 16 to remove a bit of cancer from his salivary gland. It was a relatively minor event and went smoothly. However, on July 1 a blood vessel burst near the site of the operation. (Details, some of which I have just paraphrased, are in the Chicago Sun-Times’ story about it.)

Ebert is recovering from the emergency surgery to repair the burst blood vessel and is expected to be back on his feet before too long. But this marks the first time in memory that major films are being released without Ebert’s reviews to read in the paper or online. When a vacation or a surgery is planned, he often can see the film early (he has that kind of clout) and still run the review in a timely manner. No one expected these complications, though.

So there’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” unreviewed by Ebert. Would he have given it three stars, like pretty much everything else these days? Yeah, probably. But honestly, I hardly care what he thinks of a movie. I just love reading his reviews, which are witty and insightful. Often I read something of his and think, “Yes, that’s what I thought, too. Except you said it so much better.” I wish I were half as good a writer as he is.

We in the movie critic world kid Ebert, but only because we love him. He was one of the early adopters of the Internet as a movie-lover’s tool. He’s a tireless defender of good taste and good manners. In person he is amiable and kind. I know everybody’s gotta go sometime, but I hope he still has a few years left in him.

(P.S. His wife, Chaz, published a statement on RogerEbert.com. It says in part: “I am asking you to pray for Roger during his period of recovery and to visualize him being enveloped in healing light.” What does that even MEAN?!)

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