From Cory Rivard:
My earliest memories of my childhood include falling off my bike and severely hurting my knee (a scrape), being ridiculed on the school bus for STILL watching "Sesame Street," and having it nailed in my head that "Siskel & Ebert" were giving something 'TWO THUMBS UP.' I never really knew who they were, but I understood that those thumbs meant that a movie was supposed to be really good. These memories are the window to how a young boy would see the world in 1985. The message being that those two film critics share the same significance as my first boo-boo and my first bullying. You see, maybe once a year as a child you would see a trailer for a movie that starred "CRUISE" or "ROBERTS." But nearly every single week, a trailer would air claiming that these mysterious Siskel & Ebert people were raising their thumbs as a symbol for their high regard for a film. That means that to me, Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert were waaaay more famous than Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts.
Later in life, as a teenager, I discovered that at 1:30 in the morning every Monday, those same guys that have their names attached to every good movie ever made since I was a kid, hosted their own movie review show. I was drawn into the show immediately. I had finally found people who shared the same passion and put the same importance on movies as I did. Week after week, I would watch the show and it became like a film class for me. Those times spent watching that show shaped my views and the way I watch movies more than any book I've ever read or any class I've ever attended. And now, I'm still watching Ebert flip the thumb, every week at 1:30 AM.
The only difference is that now I'm directing my own short films, with aspirations of seeing a trailer for a film that I made, accompanied by "TWO GINORMOUS THUMBS UP" given by Ebert & Roeper.
So, with Mr. Ebert's recent health problems, I've devoted much time to reflecting on what Roger Ebert's work has meant to me. I look at a portion of his life in a nostalgic way, as I will never forget the feeling I had as a kid while watching all of those movie trailers. I look at another portion of his life as if he were my teacher. He helped me discover how much can be earned by devoting one's life to film, both spiritually and intellectually. I wish for a quick and healthy recovery for Roger. I wish his friends and family comfort in knowing that fans across the world are thinking about him.