Roger Ebert did not get cheated by life. Not at all.
Sure, you could say he died too young, and that he suffered greatly in the last several years, enduring surgery after surgery to try to remove the cancer from his mouth and jaw, surgeries that eventually left him unable to speak, eat or drink except through a tube.
But Ebert packed so much living into the years he was on Earth, that when he died in 2013, he had a tremendous legacy to leave. He was, of course, one of the best and most-loved film critics of all time; he was a tremendous author, and lived live to the fullest, for better or for worse. He packed so much living into his years that he truly was content when he died.
The new documentary opening across the country this week about his life, directed by Steve James (of “Hoop Dreams” fame) and called “Life Itself,” shows Ebert in all his glory, warts and all.
I saw the film last week and loved it. James was given permission by Ebert to film the last few months of his life, and while some of the hospital care scenes are hard to watch, they’re necessary to show Ebert’s fighting spirit.
The interviews with Ebert’s friends, Bill Nack and Gene Siskel’s widow Melanie were especially terrific), are wonderful in showing what a garrulous personality he was, and how marrying his wife Chaz in 1991 changed his life for the better.
It’s really a well-done, poignant movie. Highly recommend it.
**Next up today, this is such a cute little video, sent to me by
loyal blog reader Sanford. It’s a girl and her dog named Bixby, hanging out, and Mom capturing one of the sweet little moments that make up life: Bixby giving his best buddy a “bath” one night last week.
**And so the World Cup is finally over, as Germany, who pretty much dominated the game possession-wise, scored late in overtime (sorry, “extra time”) to beat Argentina, 1-0 and win the title for the first time since 1990.
The result is apparently at least a little bit of good news for Brazil fans, who hate Argentina passionately (apparently it’s like Yankees-Red Sox times 10), but the real story now is, and should be, the incredibly wasteful spending on World Cup and Olympic venues by Brazil, while the sanitation, schools and hospitals in the country go criminally neglected.
I’m currently reading a terrific book “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil,” by sportswriter Dave Zirin, about the awful state of Brazil’s economy and infrastructure and the protests surrounding these two world events, and it’s truly disgraceful the way these two world events were “won” by the Brazilian government.
For a fantastic story about life for “regular people” in Brazil during the Cup, and why we didn’t see massive protests on TV, check out this fantastic Wright Thompson piece from ESPN.com.