I’m a huge fan of Patton Oswalt. He’s a man after my own heart: He’s smart, funny and obsessed with the same kind of pop culture minutiae that we are at Unbound Worlds, yet still manages to appeal to a wide audience. If you’ve read his book Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland then you already know that he’s a huge movie buff. He spent part of his formative years working at a local movie theater, and has never lost his taste for film.
In a recent entry to his blog, Oswalt revealed that he had commissioned artist Jamie Follis a set of custom action figures inspired by sexploitation director Russ Meyer, a friend of, and sometime collaborator with, the late film critic Roger Ebert. Oswalt and Ebert had been in touch over the years, and the film critic had developed his own appreciation for Follis’ work.
Ebert was excited to hear about the Meyer-inspired take on Star Wars, but unfortunately, died before he could see the final product. Oswalt wrote that Ebert’s reviews had been influential in shaping his taste in film, and that he regrets that the critic won’t be around to enjoy Follis’ creation.
It’s a touching post. Like Oswalt, I too was inspired by Ebert (and his At the Movies co-star Gene Siskel) to check out films that I might not have ever given a chance. I didn’t always agree with either of them – as a matter of fact, Ebert often left me flabbergasted in the wake of one of his “Thumbs Down” reviews – but through their work, I developed a better understanding of the role that criticism can play in the world of art.