Andrew Osborne’s Brush With Greatness #8: Memorial Edition

One man’s continuing effort to catalogue every famous person he’s ever encountered.

CE3K:  In 2002, I attended the Sundance premiere of On_Line, a movie I’d co-written with and for director Jed Weintrob.  Just getting into the festival was a total gas (and a story all by itself) — but the unquestionable highlight was entering the packed Park City movie theater for our first showing, searching for my parents, and realizing Roger Freakin’ Ebert was sitting at the end of their row.  It seemed the iconic (yet cozily familiar) critic had been in the audience for the previous screening at the venue — some high-profile premiere — and I was afraid he was going to get up and rush off to some other A-list affair before the lights went down for our little indie.

But instead he stayed — and so I had to politely excuse myself as I stepped over him to get to my parents, who were playing it cool but had definitely noticed their neighbor down the row.

On_Line never sparked a fierce bidding war at the fest, but Roger Ebert did wind up reviewing it — and even though it wasn’t exactly a rave, I like to think it would have rated at least a “mild thumb’s up” back in the days of Sneak Previews.  Yet even if he’d given us a flat-out “Your movie sucks!” pan, just knowing the big man actually watched the whole thing (and took the time to write about it!) will always be one of the major highlights of my so-called career.  R.I.P., Roger…I’ll save you the aisle seat.


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