Roger Ebert seemed to like horror movies much more than Gene Siskel did. I remember his four-star rating for "Dawn of the Dead" was featured on the cover of the VHS rental, where bold lettering declared "A savagely Satanic vision of America". Gene Siskel, however, admitted that he left the movie within the first 15 minutes. Over the years, I read Roger Ebert's reviews and learned how to love movies. It wasn't that I shared his affection for movies like "On Golden Pond" or "A Room With A View", but he communicated his love of cinema so well that it changed the way I watched movies.
Eventually I learned to love more about Roger Ebert. He possessed a great intelligence and communicated so effectively, it was hard to not pay attention to his opinions. It was easy to tell from the way he talked about women in films that he loved and respected women, especially the way he was offended by the misogyny he perceived in slasher films. His review of "I Spit On Your Grave" was memorable because of his utter outrage at the film's demoralizing rape scenes and bloody revenge murders. I remember Roger as being one of the first commentators I noticed who seemed to accept all people as equal human beings, regardless of race, gender, class, or sexual identity--the parts of our personalities that people often get hung up on. In more recent years, after his surgery turned him into an avid blogger, I was always interested to read the opinions he shared there. It was a personal side of him that I had always been curious about, and it showed me what a kind, funny, and beautifully rational voice he was. He inspired me in the way he regarded both art and life, and he will continue to inspire me in the various forms of recorded communication he left behind.
Like many, many others in this world, I will greatly and sincerely miss Roger Ebert.