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

For Willie Young, Bears contract extension more than just a simple business transaction

For Willie Young, Bears contract extension more than just a simple business transaction

BOURBONNAIS — Sometimes football is just a business. Sometimes it’s that and a lot more.

For Willie Young, the business side was taken care of late Friday night when the Bears added two years to his contract, projecting him as a Bear through the 2018 season.

The emotional side was still being taken care of on Saturday, when a former seventh-round draft choice was able to step back and realize what effectively a third NFL contract means to someone who was passed over time after time in the draft and never expected to be much.

“I’m slightly speechless right now but excited,” said Young, someone rarely at a loss for words.

“It means a lot,” Young said after a long pause, reflecting on how seventh-round picks rarely even make teams. “All the teams that passed me over ... My big thing is who I am and what the name on my back stands for.”

[MORE: Bears sign Willie Young to two-year contract extension]

Young was able to call his family and give them the news, “We’re going to be in Chicago a little while longer.”

Just as his entry into the league was shaky, his tenure in Chicago was seldom secure before this weekend.

When Young signed with the Bears in the 2014 offseason, leaving the Detroit Lions, he did so assuming that he was coming in as a starting defensive end. That changed when the Bears landed Jared Allen to position opposite Lamarr Houston. That season ended nevertheless with Young leading the Bears in sacks (10) before suffering a torn Achilles late in the season.

Allen was traded away last season, giving Young a job opportunity as he was coming back from Achilles surgery. Trouble was, the defense Young was returning to had changed completely, and Young was now a linebacker, now with coverage responsibilities and playing in situations.

Despite that second major change from what he’d expected, Young still managed 6.5 sacks, second on the Bears. That, combined with his work through the offseason to date, convinced the Bears that he was more of a fit than even he perhaps thought once upon a time.

[SHOP: Gear up for the 2016 season, Bears fans!

The result was a two-year contract extension agreed to late Friday night and added to the final year (2016) Young had from his initial Bears contract which locked him up only through the end of this season.

“It feels good to reward somebody that’s worked as hard as he’s worked and overcome the injury last year, and the leader that he is out there mentoring our younger players,” said GM Ryan Pace. “I feel really good about it. It’s good for our locker room, it’s good for our team.”

Where he once struggled to fit in – and was not reluctant to say so – Young now is securely ensconced as one of the starting outside linebackers in the Bears’ 3-4 scheme. When the Bears go to a 4-3 in nickel situations, Young lines up as the defensive end he had been for his career.

“There’s not a big difference [between 3-4 linebacker and 4-3 end],” said coach John Fox. “I think that [‘don’t call me a linebacker!’] was a little tongue-in-cheek. Some guys up to a point have had their hand on the ground, it’s a little bit of an adjustment. But there’s way more carryover They are involved in coverage a little bit more but I think he’s adapted to it quite nicely actually.”

Coach K, on Chicago welcoming back Tom Thibodeau: 'I'm proud of my city for doing that'

Coach K, on Chicago welcoming back Tom Thibodeau: 'I'm proud of my city for doing that'

Tom Thibodeau made his long-awaited return to the United Center on Friday, and the reception he received from the Chicago crowd pleased USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Thibodeau, who's been an assistant with USA Basketball since 2013, was the first coach introduced before the team's matchup against Venezuela and received considerable applause from the sellout crowd. It was Thibodeau's first visit back to Chicago in a coaching capacity since he was fired as the Bulls head coach following the 2014-15 season.

Both Krzyzewski and Jimmy Butler, who spoke at the podium following USA's 80-45 victory, were asked about the reaction from the crowd. Krzyzewski, a Chicago native, took the question and fired off a 90-second response about how the warm reception was warranted and how pleased he was to hear it.

He even joked that he and assistants Jim Boeheim and Monty Williams paid 5,000 fans to cheer when Thibodeau, now the head coach of the Timberwolves, was introduced.

"(Chicago's) an amazing sports town, loves its athletes and its coaches, and they should love Tom. Tom brought great basketball (to Chicago) when it was not going well," Krzyzewski said. "And then really injury-wise...especially with Derrick (Rose), if he had been healthy there could have been another (NBA championship) banner or two here. And the fans realize that."

Thibodeau arrived in Chicago in 2010, coaching a Bulls team that had advanced to the playoffs the previous season for the first time since 1998. He coached the Bulls to a 255-139 record in five seasons and won 23 playoff games. His team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, the same year the Bulls won 62 games and Thibodeau was named NBA Coach of the Year.

[MORE: Why Jimmy Butler wanted Dwyane Wade to sign with the Bulls]

In that five-year span Rose, who was named the league's youngest MVP in 2011, missed 213 of a possible 394 games, and the team dealt with myriad injuries to key players in Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol. Irreconcilable differences within the front office led to Thibodaeu's dismissal, but Thibodeau said Thursday that he was grateful for the eperiences he had during this time in Chicago.

And Krzyzewski reiterated how pleased he was that the fans understood the successes Thibodeau acheived.

"He’s the best, as far as preparation and team player and whatever, and the fans appreciate that," Krzyzewski said. "It was great. I love the fact that my town gave the guy who gave them his heart and soul for the number of years he’s been here and acknowledged that. That’s a great thing. I’m proud of my city for doing that."

Joe Maddon hints Cubs could have spot starter soon

Joe Maddon hints Cubs could have spot starter soon

Joe Maddon hinted that the Cubs could have a spot starter soon to give his regular five some rest.

The Cubs manager said it's "possible" the player could start as early as Sunday in the Cubs' series finale against the Seattle Mariners.

Maddon would not confirm who the pitcher would be, but he said the move will happen within the organization and not via trade.

"As we’ve talked about all along, attempting to try to give our regular five a rest in a particular moment, so we’re considering doing something right now," said Maddon on Saturday. "We’re not ready to announce it yet just to be honest, but we are considering."

Prior to the All-Star break, Maddon gave Adam Warren — who has since been traded to the New York Yankees as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade — a spot start to give his starters an extra day's rest.

As the second half of the season slowly winds down, Maddon knows how important rest will be moving forward, especially with the Cubs bound to be playing in October.

"When you get the opportunities, take advantage of it," he said.

Cubs starters hold a 3.24 ERA on the season, which is tied with the Washington Nationals for the league's best.

Kyle Hendricks leads the team and also has the third-best ERA in the MLB with 2.39.