I didn't always agree with him, but I loved to read his reviews, for he did such a fantastic job of expressing his thoughts. Indeed, it wasn't just his sound understanding of film that made Roger Ebert so special, it was his ability to provide such vibrant depictions of his reactions to the movies he watched. While I always found time to see how he sized up my personal favorites, his writing was of such quality that I was compelled to read his take on titles I had no interest in as well.
I always felt that he was very honest, and whether I shared his opinion or not, I never felt that he harbored any ulterior motives for rating movies as he did. In short, his work didn't seem as empty or contrived as much of what's out there. It was always refreshing to know that he was never going to use his platform to direct attention toward himself or tow any company lines. He was there to do a job, and he did it well. Too many critics seem to think their reviews are about them, and too many are too quick to echo one another when they compose their reviews. Now, Roger was very opinionated and he had unique ways of expressing himself, so there was a wealth of personality in his reviews, but that was merely a side effect. He wrote about the films and their stars, the directors, the writers, and the producers who fund it all. He wrote about their efforts lovingly, and he didn't mind going against the grain.
There can be no doubt that Roger Ebert treasured movies, and I think his passion was a boon to the very art he so cherished. He was good for the movies, no one can argue that, and his voice will be sorely missed. I'm sure there are countless people across the globe giving his legacy a big thumbs-up today, and he surely deserves it. Thanks, Roger.