About the author: Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and managing editor of ClashDaily.com

View all articles by Steve Pauwels
  • http://ClashDaily.com/ Donald Joy

    Nice how you worked Ebert’s thumbs-up/thumbs-down into the bigger message about the Judgment we all must face. Plus, my vocabulary just increased by two words (‘splenetically’ and ‘irrefragable’) from reading that!

    He was a brilliant critic, despite the rest. I had not realized until after he died that he was the only person to ever win a Pulitzer for film criticism. His reward was on Earth, apparently.

  • http://ClashDaily.com/ Donald Joy

    “I consider myself Catholic, lock, stock and barrel,” he professed, “with this technical loophole: I cannot believe in God.”

    A bizarre, inane thing to say, for someone who was otherwise so intellectually acute.

  • fliteking

    He was a film critic and a liberal.

    He was not a genius.

    Why Ebert is idolized while so many good people pass virtually unknown to the world is beyond me.

    • sjplwc

      @ fliteking: I never said he was a genius. I said he wrote thoughtful reviews which helped me appreciate more fully film making in general and some specific films in particular. As noted, I took serious issue with most of his political stances. Agreed, there are lots of folks more deserving than Roger Ebert of acknowledgment (my two Marine Corps sons come to mind, among many others) — which is why I will likely move on from writing about him after this piece. However, Ebert did enrich my life in some ways, which I appreciate; and I think the decent thing is to go on record about that. His life/attitude also offered all of us a life-lesson/warning, as I mentioned at the end of the piece. I wanted to point that out; it was the most important aspect of the column; hopefully all of us will be stirred by that warning.

      • fliteking

        Correct, my comment was not pointed at you, although in hindsight I can see where it would appear that way.

        My response was due to the many other posts I have seen on other websites made specifically by liberals about Ebert. One particularly frustrating article compared Kyle to Ebert where the liberals found Ebert more important than the great American Kyle. (4:30 AM here, getting ready for work . . . but I believe article was on clashdaily, def on liberty alliance)

        On a side note, as time progresses I am no fan of most liberals, but as with others that passed, I Prayed on behalf of Ebert.

        Good article.

        • steve

          @ thanks, fliteking. No doubt when these celebrities pass some of the encomiums (encomia?) are a bit much. thanks for the back and forth. :o)

      • TheColoredHand

        You were wrong in one thing, Steve-may I call you Steve? He had always skewed left-certainly more so after Gene died. but even before his stroke, he was heavily liberal-check out his 4-yes, that’s right, FOUR different shows where he gave longer, elaborate, and of course fawning-to-the-max huzzahs for that “masterpiece” Fahrenheit 9/11! Good God, I thought he was going to place it above Citizen Kane as the most influential and beloved film in movie history!

        • http://ClashDaily.com/ Donald Joy

          TJ, can you provide a link re: Ebert’s fawning over Fahrenheit 9/11??

          • TheColoredHand

            Are you serious? Did you ever watch his show? When he partnered with Roeper, he featured it on four shows, giving rave reviews each time! YouTube it-Im sure its there, under Delusional movie critics loving Michael Moore!

          • http://ClashDaily.com/ Donald Joy

            I’m not challenging you on it, I just wondered if you could post a link, because I’m aghast at the prospect. I paid at lot of attention to Siskel and Ebert long ago, not much to Ebert & Roeper, but I concur with Steve that Ebert had a brilliant knack for more often than not being able to home in on what makes a movie “work” or not. I sure don’t relish the idea of using my presently frenzied time to chase down YT vids of Ebert slobbering over that communist p.o.s. Moore’s anti-American lies, no matter how creatively and skillfully packaged they are. I’ll take your word for it for now, until I am less busy later on.

          • TheColoredHand

            If you REALLY want me to find it for you, I will, but Im sure it wont take more that two shakes of a lambs tail! But I DISTINCTLY recall those episodes, as I used to watch him weekly, and I was more and more appalled how he’d sneak in his leftist messages from liberal films-like when Robt McNamara had his talking head movie of the “Vast military industrial complex” crap-oh, Ebert LOVED that one, too, btw!

        • steve

          I pretty much limited my exposure to him to his film reviews, not his other writings. However, even in that he did drop enough hints for me to conclude he was a Lib. I just didn’t know he was the screaming Lefty he turned out to be the past few years. :o(

          • TheColoredHand

            Yes, he was-there are MANY examples, but the best one is that on every show, he’d feature the lefty film as his “Pick of the Week”, and would NEVER review conservative -oriented films!

    • https://me.yahoo.com/a/CfsINEYDoex3fXYF.FLFCPOcXaFQros-#f30f8 jong

      I fully agree. I will mention two here that should have and never really did although they are not alone by any means of being ignored. Jack Kemp and Admiral Bill Crowe. I knew both gentlemen and neither was ever given the credit they deserved much less a article.

      • fliteking

        Both fine Americans . . . a resource we are running out of.

        • https://me.yahoo.com/a/CfsINEYDoex3fXYF.FLFCPOcXaFQros-#f30f8 jong

          Each day it seems another is gone with few to take their places. Instead we get Obama. We are truly in a world of s t

  • CabaneStrut

    A well-elocuted and cogent memoriam, Steve. Siskel & Ebert was ‘must see’ tv for me weekly, and I while I often disagreed with them on what makes an enjoyable film, they spared me many bad theatre experiences over the years. Criticism can be two things; instructive, and mendacious. Men like Ebert learned to navigate that line with discretion and class, mastering their craft.
    I have since written numerous movie reviews of my own, thanks to his inspiration. His theological journey has ended, alas.
    The balcony is closed.
    -Tim Petters

    • steve

      thanks, Tim. Btw, please say “hi” to Tod and Matthew for me.

  • Wes Walker

    I enjoy your writing, Steve, particularly your vocabulary. While your writing does what many do, and informs the reader, you often take it further, and bring us from an initial thought to your unexpected final one. Thanks!

    • steve

      thanks, Wes. :o)

  • ort

    Knowing Ebert was a rejector of salvation, made it all the more difficult to watch the casket being walked down the aisle, the organ music playing, and everybody celebrating the life of a man who is now eternally separated from God forever. It was just sad, watching all these people give Ebert this send off, when I knew his destination. I just keep thinking of the Rich Man in hell and it makes my stomach hurt.

    • steve

      yes, very sobering, indeed.

  • Winghunter

    His criticism was laced with so much Liberal crap that I couldn’t stand to hear the clown speak. I watch movies to be entertained and today, more often than not, the Liberal brainwashing of their forced political agendas ruins most movies. Sexual deviants, Feminazis, Collectivism, Black and Hispanic racism, portraying the white male as an idiot, etc, etc, etc… The Useful Idiots like Ebert have helped make this insanity come to pass.

  • 2War Abn Vet

    One thing has consistently held true with me regarding film critics; the more they disliked a movie, the greater the probability that I’d enjoy it.

    • steve

      I know lots of people say they find critics useless, but I have to say, with Ebert especially, I found myself agreeing with him more often than not when I saw a movie he either drubbed or pumped. I think he’s saved me some $$ and wasted time over the years.

    • Buford

      Try out Leonard Maltin, who might be called a film supporter rather than a critic. At times I disagree with his assessments, but have often been caused to view films based on some positive aspect that he would note. Rather than a flat pass or fail, Leonard’s approach is more of a ‘grade’ with stars going for merit. Recommendations often run towards genre, i.e. “if you like X, you will likely appreciate Z.”

    • Buford

      Try out Leonard Maltin, who might be called a film supporter rather than a critic. At times I disagree with his assessments, but have often been caused to view films based on some positive aspect that he would note. Rather than a flat pass or fail, Leonard’s approach is more of a ‘grade’ with stars going for merit. Recommendations often run towards genre, i.e. “if you like X, you will likely appreciate Z.”

  • nmgene

    When ever syskal and ebert voted thumbs down I went to that movie and it was usually a block buster. You could tell years ago that they were lefties.

  • pearl87

    I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I don’t mind offering some objective criticism of his professional abilities, and I think he was a very poor judge of movie excellence. In fact, if he disliked a movie it was almost an endorsement for me. Ebert (like most other critics) had an overinflated opinion of his own opinion. Instead of substantive evaluations using unbiased criteria, his reviews were subjective and largely worthless unless you shared his political views and disdain for decency and traditional values. Frankly, I’m convinced that Steve Pauwells is what RINO’s like to call “moderate”.

    • steve p

      pearl87 — wow. that’s a first. Never been called a “moderate” before — it’s an odd feeling. I guess you didn’t read what I wrote — whenever he expressed his political viewpoints I almost always disagreed with him. I did, however, often end up appreciating his opinions regarding the artistic merits or demerits of particular films. It’s like this, Pearl: just because someone is a political liberal, I don’t automatically assume they have nothing to offer in any other area. I suppose that makes me a “moderate”.

  • Andy Trimble

    It wasn’t even so much his thumbs up or down I looked forward to, but the chance to find out about fims I would probably have never heard of w/o his review.

    “Bottle Rocket” is one such film. It was immensely enjoyable, and I doubt I would have seen it had it not been for Ebert.

    I don’t have to agree with a person politically to enjoy their work. Paul McCartney comes to mind…

  • R. Bruce

    Roger’s statement that he could not believe in God would be more correct by saying he would not. Not a matter of intellect but a moral decision. Regardless of the admission that he was Catholic, not an atheist nor agnostic was not the issue, It was the rejection of Jesus Christ as his Savior and receiving his substitutionary atonement.

    • pearl87

      If I may also weigh in as a Catholic, it is completely self-contradictory to say you are “Atheist” AND “Catholic”. Like any Christian denomination, one fails to number among the ranks of the faithful without the requisite belief in Christ as God.

    • pearl87

      If I may also weigh in as a Catholic, it is completely self-contradictory to say you are “Atheist” AND “Catholic”. Like any Christian denomination, one fails to number among the ranks of the faithful without the requisite belief in Christ as God.

  • R. Bruce

    Roger’s statement that he could not believe in God would be more correct by saying he would not. Not a matter of intellect but a moral decision. Regardless of the admission that he was Catholic, not an atheist nor agnostic was not the issue, It was the rejection of Jesus Christ as his Savior and receiving his substitutionary atonement.

  • R. Bruce

    Roger’s statement that he could not believe in God would be more correct by saying he would not. Not a matter of intellect but a moral decision. Regardless of the admission that he was Catholic, not an atheist nor agnostic was not the issue, It was the rejection of Jesus Christ as his Savior and receiving his substitutionary atonement.

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