“So on this day of reflection I say again, thank you for going on this journey with me. I’ll see you at the movies.”

This is a sad and significant day for I think everyone who loves movies and film criticism. One of America’s most respected film critics, Roger Ebert, has, after a long battle with cancer, joined his old colleague Gene Siskel in that big grand movie theater in Heaven, where they will continue giving thumbs up and thumbs down to everything they see.

Even if I have never believed in Heaven in such a way, I’d love to think it’s true. After all, Roger Ebert has been such a huge influence on the person I am today and his writing has inspired me in so many ways that I can’t even begin to describe it. I am going to miss going to his blog every week to decide whether or not I should go see some of the new films in the cinema. I am going to miss hearing his thoughts on all the new junk and all the new masterpieces. I am going to miss knowing that he’s still around to share his fascinating views on film.

When I started writing on the blog, I would often joke about how I wanted to become the next Roger Ebert through my film reviews. Now that he is gone, I realize how much I don’t want that. Really, Ebert was one  of a kind and any attempt to replicate him would be a sin greater than most. Every time a new film was released, I would wonder how many stars Ebert would give it. It has, ever since I first heard of Ebert, been a goal of mine to meet the man in real life. This is a chance that will now never come.

I have followed Roger Ebert avidly ever since I was introduced to him via YouTube, The Nostalgia Critic and IMDb some time around 2008. Since then I have collected some of his books, read nearly all of the reviews on his website and watched more episodes of At The Movies than I can count. Roger Ebert was, and will always remain, one of the biggest influences on my life, my writing and my passion for movies. May he rest in peace and may the legacy of Siskel and Ebert not soon be forgotten.

R.I.P Roger Ebert. June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013