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Life Itself: Cedar Lee/Joey's Italian Bistro

97% Rotten Tomatoes

This is a film about my all time favorite movie critic- Roger Ebert.

He wrote straight from the heart--simply and elegantly, and at his best, captured the very essence of the film.

Ebert was a tireless proponent of independent/foreign films and built a huge following in the film community. However, when tragedy struck in the form of cancer, his writing expanded to include his thoughts on "life itself" and his stature rose and grew far beyond the film community.

"Life Itself" is  produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Steve James, who also directed the highly acclaimed doc, Hoop Dreams.

"Life Itself" is a joy. It celebrates colorful characters, an indomitable spirit and a generous mind.--NY Daily News

"A perfect biographical documentary, possibly one of the classics, this is a lovingly and brutally honest portrait of a famous film critic in the final days of his life. I sincerely can't think of any way that it could have been better." (Sundance 2014)

7:10PM MOVIE at Cedar Lee

Meet us in the lobby ahead of time, look for us in the theater, or catch up with us near the outer doors after the film.

9:15PM DINNER/DISCUSSION at Joey's Italian Bistro on Lee Road (approximate time)

Just in case you don't connect with the group after the film, proceed over to the restaurant and ask to sit at the "Movie Group" table.

We will just walk there.


Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF, a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, LIFE ITSELF, explores the legacy of Roger Ebert's life, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America. (C) Magnolia...

R, 1 hr. 52 min.


Visit the First Time Moviegoers page .

The $5.00 yearly fee goes toward charges incurred for using the MeetUp website. You can access PayPal or pay your fee to the Organizer at the event.

In the world of Independent films, it is recommended that you check back a few days before the event to make sure the movie, restaurant, location or time has not changed



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  • Elaine S.

    I am so sorry to have missed it but I was unexpectedly ill (migraine). I'll have to see it on my own.

    July 15, 2014

  • Bill B.

    I enjoyed the movie and especially enjoyed meeting and talking with people at the restaurant. I think it was an excellent event and look forward to the next one.

    July 14, 2014

  • Vivian

    At my table we also discussed his wife, Chaz, and how little we really learned about her life before Roger. here is the the tiny bit I have been able to find. "60-year-old Chaz Ebert was born on October 15, 1952, into a large family on the west side of Chicago. She won a scholarship to the University of Chicago but didn’t accept it. She went to the University of Dubuque, and she was a civil rights activist. There she met her first husband, Merle Smith, and had two children Josibiah (aka Jay)and Sonia. She went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison for a BA in sociology, and then graduated from the DePaul College of Law. She was a litigator at the important firm Bell, Boyd and Lloyd. After 17 years she and Merle were divorced."

    4 · July 13, 2014

    • Susan W.

      Thank you Vivian for that research. I had wondered that same thing this morning. Ebert's courage and perseverance to the end gave me a renewed courage.

      1 · July 13, 2014

    • Bill B.

      Thanks Vivian, I didn't know anything about Chaz.

      July 14, 2014

  • Vivian

    The movie was interesting in many ways. Ebert was amazingly brilliant. The segments about some of his reviews made me want to go back and see lots of movies again. I was a fan of the TV show and unaware of his written reviews. i will have to go to his website to read some.

    1 · July 13, 2014

  • Renu

    Although, it showed some of Roger's negative sides, on the whole, it was an affectionate portrait made by the people who loved him. If you love film and film history--this is a must-see. Enjoyable evening and fun discussion. Thanks to all who came.

    1 · July 13, 2014

  • Christina J.

    The movie was wonderful. Joey's Italian Bistro was a very harried meal. The waiter seemed to be in a hurry to get us out of there.

    1 · July 12, 2014

  • Renu

    The movie actually starts at 7:10pm. Since, most sat. nights are quite busy at the Cedar Lee, please arrive at the theater a little early and sit where it is most comfortable for you. The best way to interact with other members of our group is to join us at the restaurant.
    After the movie, we will wait outside the entrance of the Cedar Lee for a few minutes--and then walk to the restaurant.
    If you do not connect with us after the movie--please proceed to the restaurant and ask for the "movie group". There will be 2 or 3 separate tables reserved for our group at Joey's.

    July 12, 2014

    • Karen

      I really enjoyed the film and learned a lot about Roger Ebert. A great time and great conversation afterwards--as always!!

      1 · July 12, 2014

    • Karen

      Thanks 'Renu for organizing!

      1 · July 12, 2014

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