5 Questions with...Richard Roeper (Part 1)

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5 Questions with...Richard Roeper (Part 1)

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

February 17, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weekthe first installment of a special two-part edition of 5 Questions with as we interview one of the nations top film critics and media personalitieshes an author, TV star, sports enthusiast and an incredibly-popular syndicated columnist who appears on page 11 locally in the Chicago Sun-Timesplus, if there ever is such a thing one day, he clearly deserves an honorary doctorate in pop culture expertiseChicago is proud to call him one of its very ownhere are 5 Questions withRICHARD ROEPER!

BIO: Richard Roeper is a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the author of eight books, including Bet the House, to be published in 2010. He hosts "Starz Inside" on the Starz channel, and is a regular contributor to the Reelz Channel. Each week, his exclusive online, on-camera reviews appear on richardroeper.com, Starz, hulu.com, YouTube and other sites.

1) CSNChicago.com: Rich, thanks for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule (especially during Oscar season) to be interviewed for CSNChicago.coms 5 Questions with We really appreciate it to say the least. And away we go

With the Academy going back to having 10 Best Picture nominees for the Oscars starting this year (its been the standard five nominees over the past six decades), there has been plenty of positivenegative reaction to this shocking format change since it was announced last summer. What are your thoughts about this change now that the Best Picture nominations are out, compared to your thoughts when the initial big shake-up announcement was made last June?

Roeper: I think it was a smart move on the Academy's part. Without the expanded list of nominees, there's no way popular films such as "The Blind Side" or "District 9" would have gotten a nod. If it expands the audience for the telecast, that's good for the movie business. That said, it's pretty easy to determine the 5 'finalists' for Best Picture by looking at the five films that also garnered a Best Director nomination: Inglourious Basterds, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Up in the Air and Avatar. If one of those films doesn't win Best Picture, it would be arguably the biggest upset in Oscar history.

2) CSNChicago.com: Name the one film that had you laughing harder than any other youve ever seen and the one film that surprisingly brought you to tears, tell us how each of your two choices got to you?
Roeper: I never laughed more or harder at a film than I did when I saw "Caddyshack" for the first time. More recently, I laughed a LOT at a film called "Role Models. I also thought "The Hangover" had its moments. I can't say I'm moved to actual tears by many films, though I've certainly had a lump in my throat on dozens of occasions. Everything from "Kramer vs. Kramer" to "Terms of Endearment" to "Hoosiers" and "The Blind Side" -- all those films moved me.

3) CSNChicago.com: In your opinion, name the worst Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress winners in Oscar history and tell us why?
Roeper: Ordinary People over Raging Bull? Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction? Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? In all three cases, give me a friggin' break! As for Best Actor -- I love Al Pacino. I think he should have won Oscars for any number of films, from Godfather II to Dog Day Afternoon to Serpico. Scent of a Woman was not one of his best movies. It was a classic case of an actor winning a career award. "Worst" Best Actress? Katharine Hepburn of course is a legend, but she won in 1967 for a picture (and a performance) that does NOT hold up well at all: "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? The Oscar that year should have gone to Faye Dunaway for "Bonnie & Clyde" or Anne Bancroft for "The Graduate."

4) CSNChicago.com: Your Sun-Times colleague, former TV show partner and friend Roger Ebert will most likely end up being the most popular and highly-read film critic of all-time. Tell us what Roger means to you personally and share with us the best professional advice he ever gave you about becoming a film critic?

Roeper: Before I even met Roger, he was a role model for me as a writer and as a television personality. Personally, he's one of the smartest and most interesting people I've ever met -- and his bravery and toughness in recent years is just humbling to witness. The best advice he gave to me from the moment we started doing the show was to encourage me to act as his partner, not a guest on "The Roger Ebert Show. This is not to suggest I think I'm close to being his equal as a film critic -- only that Roger knew that for the show to continue to work, we had to be equals on the set, with each of us getting 50 percent of the airtime and 50 percent of the say on all decisions off-camera.

5) CSNChicago.com: Youve enjoyed massive success in your career, mainly due to your non-stop work schedule (columns, books, television, radio, multimedia, etc.) and a natural business savvy. Is there such a thing in your life called spare time and, if there is, what do you do with it?
Roeper: Family and friends comes first. My parents, my siblings, nephews and nieces, godchildren -- they're all in the Chicago area. No matter how busy I am, there's always time for family get-togethers. As for personal hobbies, if I'm not hanging with friends at an Irish pub, playing softball or making use of my season tickets for the White Sox, I'm usually at the poker table. I'm a semi-decent Texas Hold 'em player. I love to play in charity tournaments in the Chicago area, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was once at a table with three World Series of Poker bracelet winners, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle and Jason Alexander. A "Seinfeld" star, two Hollywood heavyweights and some poker greats? Heaven!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Rich, your highly-anticipated new book Bet the House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance comes out April 1st. Its hard to imagine this book was a labor of love since you most likely LOST money! Tell us briefly what compelled you to write about such an addictive, taboo topic like gambling?

Roeper: See the above entry about poker! Actually, I've long been fascinated by the gambling world, from a number of perspectives: the mathematics, the adrenaline rush, the dark side, the government's hypocritical stance on different forms of gambling -- and how gambling is the REAL American pastime.

Roeper LINKS:

Official Richard Roeper website

Richard Roeper columnsChicago Sun-Times

Richard Roeper Fan Page on Facebook

Richard Roeper on Twitter

Terps pick Perry Hills as starting quarterback

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Terps pick Perry Hills as starting quarterback

The Terps have a starting quarterback for the beginning of the 2016 season, the same one who started the majority of the games during last season, when Maryland quarterbacks threw more interceptions than any team in college football.

First-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin announced Wednesday that Perry Hills won Maryland's preseason quarterback competition, beating out Caleb Rowe.

"After an open competition through the spring and the first two-plus weeks of training camp, we’re excited to move forward with Perry as our starting quarterback," Durkin in the announcement. "Perry has embraced this challenge from Day 1 and has put in the work and shown improvement every day. He’s grasped our offense and the way we want to do things and has shown tremendous leadership."

Hills started eight games last season but was part of a constant merry-go-round at the quarterback position when neither he nor Rowe proved capable of keeping the ball out of the hands of opposing defenders. The two combined for 28 of the team's 29 interceptions, which were far and away the most in the country.

Hills was better, statistically, last season, completing 50 percent of his passes for 1,001 yards and eight touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions, adding 535 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Rowe, meanwhile, completed 46.1 percent of his passes for 894 yards and six touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions.

CSN Preps Power Rankings: No. 2 Glenbard West

CSN Preps Power Rankings: No. 2 Glenbard West

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 1, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 26. View Edgy Tim's other football previews here.

School: Glenbard West

Head coach: Chad Hetlet

How they fared in 2015: 14-0 (6-0) West Suburban Silver Conference. Glenbard West made the Class 7A state playoff field. The Hilltoppers defeated Moline, Mount Carmel, Auburn, Cary-Grove and Libertyville to capture the title. 

Biggest storyline in 2016: Can the Hilltoppers repeat?

Names to watch this season: FB/DE Dionte Moorehead, LB Jackson Goleash​

​​​​​[PREPS: Edgy Tim's Countdown to Kickoff series]

Biggest holes to fill: Who picks up the offensive slack with the graduation of running back Sam Brodner (Wisconsin)?

EDGY's early take: Glenbard West returns 12 starters (five offense, seven defense) from its undefeated state title team last season, and whenever Hetlet has experience back on defense you can expect a strong year from Glenbard West.

Hilltoppers schedule:

Aug. 26 at Bolingbrook (7 p.m.)

Sept. 2 at Hinsdale South (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 9 at York (7:30 p.m.)

Sept. 17 vs. Downers Grove North (1:30 p.m.)

Sept. 24 vs. Lyons Township (1:30 p.m.)

Oct. 1 at Hinsdale Central (12 p.m.)

Oct. 8 vs. Oak Park-River Forest (1:30 p.m.)

Oct. 14 at Proviso West (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 22 vs. Addison Trail (1:30 p.m.)

Report: Tim Beckman volunteering as assistant coach at North Carolina

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Report: Tim Beckman volunteering as assistant coach at North Carolina

A year ago, Tim Beckman was fired as the head football coach at Illinois after an investigation, spurred by social-media accusations by former players, backed up claims of player mistreatment.

But Beckman is apparently back coaching up student-athletes.

According to a Tuesday-night report from the Champaign News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen, Beckman is serving as a volunteer assistant coach at North Carolina under head coach Larry Fedora.

Illinois plays North Carolina in its second game of the season under new head coach Lovie Smith.

In three seasons as the Illini head coach, Beckman oversaw little on-field success, his teams posting a collective 12-25 record, winning just four Big Ten games and making just one bowl appearance. On Mother's Day of last year, former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic sent out a lengthy string of tweets accusing Beckman of forcing players to play injured, demeaning injured players and threatening to take players' scholarships away. An investigation into the program found evidence supporting those claims, and Beckman was fired a week prior to the start of the 2015 campaign.

Beckman released a statement defending himself but ended up settling with the university for a one-time payment of $250,000.

The Illini have had two head coaches since Beckman's firing. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit was promoted to interim head coach for most of last season before agreeing to a two-year contract that made him the full-time head coach ahead of the Illini's final game of the season. Several months later, athletics director Josh Whitman in one of his first actions dismissed Cubit, then hired Smith a couple days later.

There's no telling whether Beckman, who worked alongside Fedora when the two were coordinators at Oklahoma State during the 2007 season, will be making the trip to Champaign for that game on Sept. 10.