The gospel according to Roger Ebert

By Melissa Hardiman

By Melissa Hardiman

Wisdom is not in fashion these days.

I try to follow the example Robert Duvall’s character, a man named Boss, provided in Open Range. Roger Ebert said in his review, “He is the center of the story, the man for whom values are important, and whose response to this violent situation is based on what he believes is right, not what he believes will work.”

He opens the review saying, “One of the many ways in which the Western has become old-fashioned is that the characters have values, and act on them. Modern action movies have replaced values with team loyalty; the characters do what they do because they want to win and they want the other side to lose.”

I am old enough to have witnessed the shift in values. I write about this shift in this blog, and it fails to draw a crowd. I remind myself of what Boss would do. I thought yesterday might be the first time in the years I have published this blog that nobody would look at it. However, it got three views late in the day.

One of the many ways in which the Western has become old-fashioned is that the characters have values, and act on them. Modern action movies have replaced values with team loyalty; the characters do what they do because they want to win and they want the other side to lose.—Roger Ebert

These days the emphasis is on wanting the other side to lose. People who will not play the game on those terms are usually excluded from the game. We see plenty of examples of that, particularly from large businesses.

Roger Ebert provided us with more moral guidance, than any of the institutions I know of that claim to provide that service. For young people who share Boss’s point of view Mr. Ebert’s reviews are inspirational.

 

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