This is a slightly different review than usual. Hope it makes sense and you get something out of it.

Hi everyone. Yeah, I was gonna do a review of this movie, but I decided to just read from my notes that I wrote, I think it was on the fourth. On Friday the fourth. So this would’ve been the night I had actually participated in the discussion, the group discussion that I participate in at the Anne Arundel County Public Library. So here were my notes about Life Itself, based on the memoirs of Roger Ebert. The movie is called Life Itself.

I watched Life Itself based on the memoirs of film critic, Roger Ebert. What a fantastic movie. It took me back to when I was in college. I used to take film criticism classes and film appreciation, that kind of thing. That’s when I first really thought about the way movies can be used to inculcate values in viewers and, in its most extreme forms, can essentially serve as propaganda.

Image via Magnolia Pictures.

Now, why I had that thought at that moment, I don’t know, but it’s just interesting.

Anyway, I go on to say …

The thing I admired about Ebert was the same thing I admired about Pauline Kael. Both seemed to judge movies based on what constitutes good story, well presented rather than an airy cerebral notion of what a movie should be. Okay. The scenes in which Ebert verbally sparred (sparred hard, I should add) with Siskel were hilarious. His blogging habit was something I could completely understand. He blogged for connection, which is exactly what I had been doing for years.

I started my first blog in 2006. It’s gone now, but that doesn’t matter. This is exactly what I had been doing for years. Yes.

Just on different subjects, scattered across different blogs.

I used to have five blogs. It’s a long story. No it isn’t, but I won’t bother to go into it yet.

Image via Indiegogo.

I’ll keep reviewing movies. Maybe I can finally become the film reviewer I considered being back when I majored in journalism a few thousand years ago.

That’s what I wrote the night that I watched Robert Ebert. Now, to that I will only add that this movie is truly inspiring and hits me at a very personal level. And a lot of the films that they kind of alluded to visually really hit me at a personal level. And to end one sequence with Citizen Kane was like, whoa, now we’re getting a bit almost meta here. But the one thing I wanted to say that really kinda struck me was I couldn’t believe how hard and fast Ebert lived as a journalist when he started out. It reminded me a great deal of John Belushi and actually Hunter Thompson, in a way. And it kind of spoke to me about what kind of people achieve things like this.

Image via Metacritic.

I mean, the man won a Pulitzer and he was an amazing writer, just like a reviewing machine almost in a way, but not mechanical. His heart went into it. And that was what struck me most. I mean, he just, he had a charismatic personality. Like those people, too. He was the kind of person who it seems drew people to him because he had that charismatic thing going. So I highly recommend everybody see this movie, especially if you’re a film lover. See this movie. Really, it’s great. Life Itself, based on the memoirs of Roger Ebert. Great movie. Two thumbs up.

Yeah. All right. You knew that was coming, right? Okay. Talk to you later.

Oh, and this is for Jeff. I finally spoke up! :)

PS: If you’d like to sign up for the next virtual discussion by Zoom of the film Beat the Devil, bookmark this page and sign up on March 18.

It’s fun. Really! :)

PPS: Watch the trailer!



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Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: