Most critics can be taken with a grain of salt, but when Ebert loved a movie -- when he gave it a "BIG thumbs up!" -- it made me want to see it. I always looked forward to his year end lists of best and worst films.
One of the things I admire most about Roger Ebert was that when life handed him lemons...no it handed him manure...he kept on going. He battled cancer with the dignity of a prince. When it took his jaw, he kept making appearances anyway. When it took his voice he found a company that used his DVD commentaries (which also included Citizen Kane and Casablanca) to give his voice to his computer narration system.
Roger died today at 70. He will be greatly missed.