Michael Phillips, Neil Steinberg, Ignativy Vishnevetsky, Rick Kogan
Roger Ebert was the most famous movie critic of his generation, and one of the most respected. “The force and grace of his opinions propelled film criticism into the mainstream of American culture,” The New York Times reported after Ebert’s death in April. President Obama reacted to the news with a statement: “For a generation of Americans—especially Chicagoans—Roger was the movies. When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive—capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.”
How did a movie critic for Chicago’s second-largest paper win the Pulitzer Prize and become a national cultural icon? And how, late in life, did he become a figure of grace in the face of suffering? We’ll consider these and other questions with a panel that includes an Ebert competitor (Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune), a colleague (Neil Steinberg of the Sun-Times) and a protégé (Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of rogerebert.com and Ebert Presents: At the Movies). The moderator is Rick Kogan, a veteran of the Chicago Daily News, Sun-Times and Tribune and the author of 14 books, including a history of the Billy Goat Tavern.