It seems natural to begin with Life Itself, the book by and movie about Roger Ebert, because that was where my interest in movies began. Some accused his long-running TV show, Siskel and Ebert, of dumbing down film, but for me as a twelve-year-old it meant that film criticism was something that was accessible, and I was exposed to movies that otherwise I never would have known anything about. This led to me first getting a copy of Cinemania, a CD-ROM that was the precursor to the Internet Movie Database, with an index of titles, casts, descriptions, awards and reviews: not only all of Ebert’s but those of Pauline Kael’s as well, and through that I learned about film on a deeper level, and saw that it could be written about in a personal and subjective way. The titles of her first book says it all: I Lost it at the Movies. “I go into the movie, I watch it, and I ask myself what happened to me,” Ebert quotes her as saying in Life Itself, and he writes about feeling a similar sense of wonder when watching, especially in the days when going to the movies was an experience in an old-fashioned theatre with balconies, curtains and live performers.