Richard Roeper: Working with Roger Ebert "like winning the movie lottery"


(CBS News) Speaking on "CBS This Morning" Friday, one day after Roger Ebert's death at age 70, Richard Roeper said working with the legendary film critic was "like winning the movie lottery every week."

Roeper, who co-hosted a review program on TV with Ebert for six years, and is now a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, said, "I got to watch more than a thousand movies with Roger Ebert and then argue with him about more than a thousand movies. Whether it was something like 'Jackass,' or some great piece of cinema from Martin Scorsese, he was equally passionate about the movies he loved and almost had more fun batting around the movies we hated."

Ebert loved championing smaller, lesser-known films and exposing them to a wide audience was one of the film critic's life passions, according to Roeper.

"In terms of Roger's influence on the movies, you know, you might not be able to kill a blockbuster that's opening on 6,000 screens, but the one thing he could always do is celebrate a smaller film. ... I think he loved doing that more than anything else," Roeper said.

On "CTM," Roeper lauded Ebert's cinematic knowledge, but also his ability to maintain a conversational tone with his audience. "(He could) talk to us like we were having a conversation at the diner right after the movies," Roeper said. "Such a great conversational style and think that just appealed universally across spans of generations."

Roeper said Ebert taught him to "root for every single movie before it started, and to be completely honest about the movie after it ended."

Roeper added, "The one thing about Roger and Gene (Siskel, Ebert's first TV partner who died in 1999), as you know, they always kept the show in Chicago and that was such a smart thing to do. They never reviewed movies for other critics or for Hollywood. They reviewed movies for the people who were watching their show and those who were going to spend the 10 bucks to see the movie that weekend."

For more with Roeper on "CTM," watch the video in the player above.