Patton Oswalt and Roger Ebert, Sittin’ In a Tree

Patton Oswalt had to drop out of this weekend’s Ebertfest Film Festival last minute due to the shooting schedule of his new movie, which sucks! But you know, these things happen. Not the end of the world! But Oswalt used the cancellation as an opportunity to write a lovely piece on his website about just how large an influence Ebert’s had on him, and it’s really wonderful.

But as far as my tastes in cinema go, it was the yearly editions of Roger’s Movie Home Companion, all through the eighties, which led me upwards towards Ozu and Welles, downwards to Sybil Danning in The Howling, Part II and sideways to Infra-Man (“When they stop making movies like Infra-Man, a little light will go out of the world.”) I know that for a generation before me it was Pauline Kael, but I missed out on her until I’d graduated college. For a suburban kid with no car and slim pickings at Erol’s Video Rentals (before it became Blockbuster) Ebert’s reviews made those video store visits count.

He ends by promising to make the festival next year, if they’ll have him. Which, of course they will. But it sure makes me want to go and see the long-awaited meeting of these guys.

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