Now here I am with another milestone. Nine months ago I was leaving Northwestern Memorial Hospital after surgery for salivary-gland cancer. I was planning to be back in action in a few weeks, but unfortunately, there were complications, and more medical procedures resulted. I was in bed so long that I experienced serious deconditioning that led to a stint at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
I began my rehabilitation there, and I am continuing it, along with an overhaul of my general health, at the Pritikin Center in Florida. Also, because of a tracheostomy, my speaking voice is on hold until my upcoming completion surgery. I am feeling better every day and my wife, Chaz, says we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
During this difficult period it was important for me to write some movie reviews for the Sun-Times, and I was happy to continue my Outguess Ebert Oscar predictions contest. It also was important for me to make contributions to WLS-Channel 7, where I am film critic. At "Ebert & Roeper," with my encouragement, we are using a revolving selection of critics and filmmakers to spar with my partner Richard Roeper, and I tune in to the show, just like you, to be entertained and informed. After the autumn publication of Awake in the Dark and Movie Yearbook 2007, I have yet another new book being published this month: Your Movie Sucks, reviews of movies I hated.
I am happy to say my ninth annual Overlooked Film Festival will be held April 25-29 as scheduled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I'll be there, but friends and colleagues will take over the onstage Q&A duties. I'll watch from the audience. I think of the festival as the first step on my return to action.
This has been a long and unexpected ordeal, made better by many kind and gifted doctors and nurses, led by the incomparable Dr. Harold Pelzer and Dr. Robert Havey, and above all by the selfless and loving care of my wife, Chaz.
I plan to gradually increase my duties in the months to come. I still love writing about the movies. Forty years is not enough.