Slatest PM: Roger Ebert Dead at 70

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 4 2013 4:57 PM

Slatest PM: Remembering Roger Ebert

52823959
Film Critic Roger Ebert attends the Variety Cannes Conference series 'The American Directors' discussion panel during the 58th International Cannes Film Festival at the Variety Beach Club May 14, 2005

Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

We'll See You at the Movies: New York Times: "Roger Ebert, the popular film critic and television co-host who along with his fellow reviewer and sometime sparring partner Gene Siskel could lift or sink the fortunes of a movie with their trademark thumbs up or thumbs down, died on Thursday in Chicago. He was 70. ... Mr. Ebert’s struggle with cancer, starting in 2002, gave him an altogether different public image — as someone who refused to surrender to illness. Though he had operations for cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands and chin, lost his ability to eat, drink and speak (he was fed through a tube and a prosthesis partly obscured the loss of much of his chin) and became a gaunter version of his once-portly self, he continued to write reviews and commentary and published a cookbook he had started, on meals that could be made with a rice cooker. ... It would not be a stretch to say that Mr. Ebert was the best-known film reviewer of his generation, and one of the most trusted. ... In 1975 he became the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize, for his Sun-Times reviews. His columns were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers in the United States and abroad, and he wrote more than 15 books, many by skillfully recycling his columns. In 2005 he became the first critic to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Advertisement

Chicago Sun-Times: "Roger Ebert loved movies. Except for those he hated. For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Roger Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative, or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers."

Earlier this week, Ebert announced the recurrence of his cancer, but struck an upbeat tone. "It means I am not going away," he wrote in a blog post late Tuesday. "I'll be able at last to do what I've always fantasized about doing: reviewing only the movies I want to review." The final line of that post: "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." Slate will have plenty more on Ebert and his legacy in a bit, but for now you can revisit this awesome oral history of Siskel & Ebert, and read some of Ebert's Movie Club entries in the Slate archives here.

Happy Thursday and welcome back to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

Keystone Hints? New York Times: "President Obama on Wednesday night laid bare the political dilemma he faced in deciding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada as he told a group of high-dollar donors that the politics of the environment 'are tough.' Mr. Obama appears to be leaning toward approval of the pipeline, although he did not specifically mention it to the donors. But he acknowledged that it is difficult to sell aggressive environmental action to Americans who are still struggling in a difficult economy to pay bills, buy gas and save for retirement. The State Department, which has jurisdiction over the proposed pipeline because it crosses an international border, issued an updated environmental assessment last month that concluded that the environmental and climate change impacts of the project are manageable. The department will hold a public hearing on the new environmental impact statement, on April 18 in Grand Island, Neb. But the review process is expected to last until summer."

Connecticut's New Gun Laws: Associated Press: "Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who four months ago broke the news to shocked parents that their children had been slaughtered in a Connecticut elementary school, signed into law Thursday sweeping new restrictions on weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines similar to the ones used by the man who gunned down 20 child and six educators in the massacre. ... The legislation adds more than 100 firearms to the state's assault weapons ban and creates what officials have called the nation's first dangerous weapon offender registry as well as eligibility rules for buying ammunition. Some parts of the bill would take effect immediately after Malloy's signature, including background checks for all firearms sales."

Rutgers Fallout: Reuters: "Thirteen Rutgers University faculty members have demanded the resignation of the university president, and the New Jersey state assembly speaker has proposed public hearings into the abuse of players by former basketball coach, Mike Rice.The faculty members sent a letter to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday demanding the resignation of President Robert Barchi, alleging the school had hidden facts about Rice for months and fired him only after practice videos, showing him abusing players verbally and physically, were made public. Rice was fired as the public university's basketball coach on Wednesday after the ESPN sports network broadcast videos showing him berating players with homophobic slurs over two years of practice sessions, grabbing and kicking them and throwing basketballs at their heads."

Update From Texas: NBC News: "Hours before a memorial service for a Texas district attorney and his wife who were brutally gunned down in their home over the weekend, Gov. Rick Perry announced his office was doubling the reward for information leading to the arrest of their killer from $100,000 to $200,000. The governor refused to comment on any leads investigators might be pursuing into the deaths of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia. Speculation has ranged from a lone gunman with a grudge to drug cartels to skinhead gangs; a federal source told NBC News, however, that no theory stands out."

The Craigslist Killer: Associated Press: "A self-styled street preacher was sentenced to death Thursday in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers posted on Craigslist. The jury that convicted Richard Beasley of murder recommended that he face execution. The judge had the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison. Beasley, 53, was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to use the promise of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm to lure them into robberies. Three men were killed, and a fourth who was wounded testified at Beasley's trial."

And No PM Is Complete Without ... : CBS News: "North Korea has moved a missile with 'considerable range' to its east coast, South Korea's defense minister said Thursday, but he added that there are no signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a full-scale conflict. The report came hours after North Korea's military warned that it has been authorized to attack the U.S. using 'smaller, lighter and diversified' nuclear weapons. It was the North's latest war cry against America in recent weeks, with the added suggestion that it had improved its nuclear technology."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Nov. 20 2014 11:08 AM “Food’s a Great Lens, but It’s Not the Actual Topic We Need to Address” Tracie McMillan on the story behind her piece “Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat?”