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.
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