Roger Ebert was a master of mediums: As America's most famous film critic, he made his mark in newspapers, made his name on the TV show At the Movies, and then turned to the Internet, which gave him an undiminished voice at a time when he could barely speak. It's fitting, then, that the Internet should give something back today as we continue to process the sad news that Ebert has passed away at age 70. Here are ten videos from Ebert's career that celebrate the man in all of his glory: always eloquent, sometimes cranky, often celebratory, and forever worth watching.
Let's start with a famous one. Here's Ebert's famous pan of the Rob Reiner film North, a withering criticism so blunt yet prolonged that Ebert would name a book after it:
In this video, Martin Scorsese and Ebert discuss the greatest films of the nineties, and Ebert picks the documentary Hoop Dreams as his No. 1. Consider this some impressive foreshadowing, as Hoop Dreams director Steve James has spent the last several months shooting a Scorsese-produced documentary on Ebert's life:
Though Ebert and his colleague Gene Siskel were passionate about the movies they loved, they really came to life when they argued with each other. And they did it so well! Watch this hilariously bitchy outtake reel where Ebert gives as good as he gets:
They were even willing to settle their differences in the boxing ring ... well, a virtual one, anyway. Here's one medium that Ebert didn't quite master:
Siskel and Ebert became frequent guests of David Letterman over the years, and here's an early, surly appearance:
In 1999, Siskel passed away, and Ebert delivered a touching tribute to his friend on Larry King Live (just skip past the first minute and a half of King's weird prying about the cause of the death and Siskel's funeral):
Here's an absolutely adorable video where Ebert and Oprah Winfrey talk about a date they went on a long, long time ago ... a fateful date where Ebert encouraged Winfrey to syndicate her soon-to-be-a-phenomenon talk show:
After losing his chin to cancer, Ebert would later appear on Oprah with his wife Chaz, who read a touching excerpt from his memoir:
Though he couldn't speak anymore, Ebert engineered a riveting TED talk in 2011 about the act of speaking himself:
Why is film criticism important? "Because films are important," says Ebert. "To the degree that they glorify mindlessness and short attention spans, I think they're bad, [but] to the degree that they encourage empathy with people not like ourselves, and encourage us to think about life and issues, they can be good. They can also, of course, simply be purely entertaining, and there's nothing wrong with that."