Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Almost time to Bet the House.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

From Publishers Weekly:


Bet the House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 Days on Sports, Poker, and Games of Chance Richard RoeperChicago Review (IPG, dist.), $19.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-56976-247-9

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roeper (Sox and the City) was inspired by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me to do his own 30-day challenge: “every day for 30 days, I would risk at least $1,000” gambling. From craps and blackjack, to slots, off-track betting, poker tournaments, online poker, the lottery, and more, he gives a day-by-day account, with wins and losses, such as “Day 8: Bankroll: + $4,980.” Shuffling a full deck of anecdotes, movie references, and memoir moments, Roeper deals in such topics as gambling addiction, high rollers, casinos of choice, Indian gaming facilities, celebrity and charity poker tournaments, luck vs. strategy, and sports upsets. Amid dreams and desperation, he recalls, “I have had insane fun and I have experienced freefalling, dangerous lows in various gleaming casinos on the Strip.” As a film critic, Roeper is certainly aware that his entertaining book could easily be adapted into an equally entertaining high-stakes movie. (Apr. 1)

Here comes the judge?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Howard Stern says he’s not ruling out the possibility of replacing Simon Cowell on “American Idol.” Howard hates to travel and it’s hard to picture him going to all those hotel banquet rooms in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, etc., etc., but he says the idea of getting paid a kabillion dollars for working only a few months at a time is appealing–and who better than Howard to rip into those that deserve to be ripped?

And if they’re looking for a couple of judges to join Stern at the table, here’s a trio that’s worked before in a judging capacity:


Who you callin’ asshole, asshole!

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

We all know celebrities live charmed lives, but that doesn’t mean there are drawbacks that accompany the great stuff, whether it’s dealing with paparazzi trailing your every move as you pick up your dry cleaning, fans pestering you for autographs while you’re in the restroom—-or doing a grueling publicity tour for your movie. I’ve been a reporter at junkets where an actor will sit for 30, 40, even 50 interviews in a single day, trying to sound peppy and engaged as one entertainment journalist after another asks the same questions. (“What was it like to work with Co-Star A?” “What’s your next project?” “Did you do any research for this role?” “What was it like to work with Director B?”)

Even more soul-sucking than the in-person junketeer experience is the satellite interview tour. You sit in a small, hot room with the lights bearing down on you, staring into the black hole of a camera lens while fielding questions from the hosts of “Good Morning Topeka!” and, “How’s it Goin’ Cincinnati!”

I’ve been the interview subject on a few of those tours, and it gave me a whole new appreciation for what these people go through. (Again, I know: they’re millionaires. They wanted to be famous. They asked for this. Still doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.) After about two hours, you’ve lost all track of who you’re talking to, which jokes you’ve already used, what your middle name is. You just can’t wait for it to end.

Mel Gibson was doing one of those tours recently to promote “Edge of Darkness,” and his plasma-screened image appeared alongside WGN-TV’s Dean Richards, who kept bringing up Gibson’s well-documented troubles.

Celebrities hate it when you bring up their well-documented troubles. Their publicists REALLY hate it when you bring up their well-documented troubles. Sometimes they’ll cut the interview short and usher you out of the room if you dare bring up the DUI or the messy divorce or the battery charge.

In this case, Gibson tried to deflect Richards’ queries, but Dean-o kept hammering away at him before ending the interview with a mention of Gibson’s movie. After they said goodbye, but with Gibson still on-camera and with his mike on, we hear a one-word comment: “Asshole.”

Gibson says he was directing the comment at his publicist, who supposedly was making faces at him. There is a moment near the very end when you see Gibson’s eyes dart offscreen, as if distracted. But I don’t know—-seems to me he’s calling Richards an asshole.

I don’t know Dean very well, but he’s always been nice to me. I’ve been a guest on WGN-TV a few times with him, and he’s always professional, courteous and fun to work with. (He’s also got great pipes. If you watch Cubs baseball or other programming on superstation on WGN-TV, you hear him doing voice-overs all the time.)

Does he push it a little bit with Gibson? Absolutely. But it’s better than the usual suck-up interview where the questioner doesn’t dare mention the elephant in the room. That said, I can see why Gibson would mutter “Asshole,” at the end of that exchange. The guy fucked up big-time four years ago, but one can understand it if he said, “That’s it, I’m done, I’m not talking about this shit in public for the rest of my life.”

We all gotta learn to let things go, whether it’s our mistakes or somebody else’s.

The complete list of nominees.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010


Beverly Hills, CA — Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced today (Tuesday, February 2) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and 2008 Oscar® nominee Anne Hathaway.

Sherak and Hathaway, who was nominated for an Academy Award® for her lead performance in “Rachel Getting Married,” announced the nominees in 10 of the 24 categories at a 5:38 a.m. PT live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives. Lists of nominations in all categories were then distributed to the media in attendance and online via the official Academy Awards Web site,

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees; this year that category features 10 nominees instead of 5, as has been the case since 1943.

Nominations ballots were mailed to the 5,777 voting members in late December and were returned directly to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the international accounting firm, for tabulation.

Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members this weekend at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.

All active and life members of the Academy are eligible to select the winners in all categories, although in five of them – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only if they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)

George Clooney in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Colin Firth in “A Single Man” (The Weinstein Company)

Morgan Freeman in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Matt Damon in “Invictus” (Warner Bros.)

Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones” (DreamWorks in association with Film4, Distributed by Paramount)

Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.)

Helen Mirren in “The Last Station” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Carey Mulligan in “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Penélope Cruz in “Nine” (The Weinstein Company)

Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight)

Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios)

Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Best animated feature film of the year

“Coraline” (Focus Features), Henry Selick

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox), Wes Anderson

“The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), John Musker and Ron Clements

“The Secret of Kells” (GKIDS), Tomm Moore

“Up” (Walt Disney), Pete Docter

Achievement in art direction

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Sony Pictures Classics), Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

“Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Art Direction: John Myhre, Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood, Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Art Direction: Patrice Vermette, Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Achievement in cinematography

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Mauro Fiore

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Warner Bros.), Bruno Delbonnel

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Barry Ackroyd

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Robert Richardson

“The White Ribbon” (Sony Pictures Classics), Christian Berger

Achievement in costume design

“Bright Star” (Apparition), Janet Patterson

“Coco before Chanel” (Sony Pictures Classics), Catherine Leterrier

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (Sony Pictures Classics), Monique Prudhomme

“Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Colleen Atwood

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Sandy Powell

Achievement in directing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), James Cameron

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Kathryn Bigelow

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Quentin Tarantino

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Lee Daniels

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios), Jason Reitman

Best documentary feature

“Burma VJ” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), A Magic Hour Films Production, Anders østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

“The Cove” (Roadside Attractions), An Oceanic Preservation Society Production, Nominees to be determined

“Food, Inc.” (Magnolia Pictures), A Robert Kenner Films Production, Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”, A Kovno Communications Production, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

“Which Way Home”, A Mr. Mudd Production, Rebecca Cammisa

Best documentary short subject

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan, Province”, A Downtown Community Television Center Production, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”, A Just Media Production, Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”, A Community Media Production, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

“Music by Prudence”, An iThemba Production, Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

“Rabbit à la Berlin” (Deckert Distribution), An MS Films Production, Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Achievement in film editing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), Julian Clarke

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Sally Menke

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Joe Klotz

Best foreign language film of the year

“Ajami” (Kino International), An Inosan Production, Israel

“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haddock Films Production, Argentina

“The Milk of Sorrow”, A Wanda Visión/Oberon Cinematogrà/Vela Production, Peru

“Un Prophète” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Why Not/Page 114/Chic Films Production, France

“The White Ribbon” (Sony Pictures Classics), An X Filme Creative Pool/Wega Film/Les Films du Losange/Lucky Red Production, Germany

Achievement in makeup

“Il Divo” (MPI Media Group through Music Box), Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

“The Young Victoria” (Apparition), Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), James Horner

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (20th Century Fox), Alexandre Desplat

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

“Sherlock Holmes” (Warner Bros.), Hans Zimmer

“Up” (Walt Disney), Michael Giacchino

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney), Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” (Sony Pictures Classics), Music by Reinhardt Wagner, Lyric by Frank Thomas

“Take It All” from “Nine” (The Weinstein Company), Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston

“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best motion picture of the year

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), A Lightstorm Entertainment Production, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

“The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.), An Alcon Entertainment Production, Nominees to be determined

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), A Block/Hanson Production, Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers

“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Finola Dwyer/Wildgaze Films Production, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), A Voltage Pictures Production, Nominees to be determined

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), A Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures/A Band Apart/Zehnte Babelsberg Production, Lawrence Bender, Producer

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), A Lee Daniels Entertainment/Smokewood Entertainment Production, Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers

“A Serious Man” (Focus Features), A Working Title Films Production, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers

“Up” (Walt Disney), A Pixar Production, Jonas Rivera, Producer

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios), A Montecito Picture Company Production, Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Best animated short film

“French Roast” , A Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films Production, Fabrice O. Joubert

“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” (Brown Bag Films), A Brown Bag Films Production, Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”, A Kandor Graphics and Green Moon Production, Javier Recio Gracia

“Logorama” (Autour de Minuit), An Autour de Minuit Production, Nicolas Schmerkin

“A Matter of Loaf and Death” (Aardman Animations), An Aardman Animations Production, Nick Park

Best live action short film

“The Door” (Network Ireland Television), An Octagon Films Production, Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

“Instead of Abracadabra”, (The Swedish Film Institute), A Directörn & Fabrikörn Production, Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

“Kavi”, A Gregg Helvey Production, Gregg Helvey

“Miracle Fish”, (Premium Films), A Druid Films Production, Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

“The New Tenants”, A Park Pictures and M & M Production, Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Achievement in sound editing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Paul N.J. Ottosson

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Wylie Stateman

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

“Up” (Walt Disney), Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Achievement in sound mixing

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro, Distributed by Paramount), Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Achievement in visual effects

“Avatar” (20th Century Fox), Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing) , Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

“Star Trek” (Paramount and Spyglass Entertainment), Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Adapted screenplay

“District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing), Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell

“An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics), Screenplay by Nick Hornby

“In the Loop” (IFC Films), Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate), Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher

“Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) , Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Original screenplay

“The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment), Written by Mark Boal

“Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company), Written by Quentin Tarantino

“The Messenger” (Oscilloscope Laboratories), Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman

“A Serious Man” (Focus Features), Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

“Up” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom Mc

The (s)hit list, continued.

Monday, December 28th, 2009

60. “Mr. Deeds” (2002)

Mr. Deeds

61. “Fly Me to the Moon” (2008)

62. “Tranformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009)

63. “See Spot Run” (2001)

64. “Rush Hour 3” (2007)


65. “Dumb and Dumberer” (2003)

66. “Thunderbirds” (2004)

67. “Harold and Kumar Escape…” (2008)

68. “The Man” (2005)


69. “The Shaggy Dog” (2006)

70. “Funny Games” (2008)

71. “New in Town” (2009)

72. “From Justin to Kelly” (2003)

From Justin To Kelly

73. “Monkeybone”

74. “Perfect Stranger” (2007)

75. “Guess Who” (2005)

76. “The Guardian” (2006)

77. “Over Her Dead Body” (2008)


78. “2012” (2009)

79. “Saving Silverman” (2001)


80. “Just Married” (2003)

81. “Taxi” (2004)

82. “Bewitched” (2005)


83. “Flyboys” (2006)

84. “Love Happens” (2009)

85. “Tomcats” (2001)


86. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (2003)

87. “Connie and Carla” (2004)

88. “The Legend of Zorro” (2005)

89. “The Wicker Man” (2006)


90. “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” (2008)

91. “Whiteout” (2009)

92. “Witless Protection” (2008)

93. “Step Up” (2006)


94. “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” (2007)

95. “Daddy Day Camp” (2007)

96. “Four Christmases” (2008)

97. “Because I Said So” (2007)

98. “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous” (2005)


99. “Swept Away” (2002)

100. “Deck the Halls” (2006)

Oprah announces non-retirement for 2011!!!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Oprah Winfrey isn’t retiring. Not this year, not next year, not in 2011. She’s just moving on, perhaps to California, maybe to a show on cable, perhaps to a Barbara Walters-type deal where she does specials, develops programming and occasionally returns to the type of show that made her world-famous and scary-rich. But she ain’t retiring any more than Jay Leno retired when he left “The Tonight Show.”

Or how about this. She’s retiring in 2011 because that positions her for…


She’d kick Sarah Palin’s ass.

Oh wait. Obama’s probably gonna run for re-election, right? So scratch the whole Oprah for President deal. (Years and years ago, I wrote that Oprah should run for mayor of Chicago. I was only half-kidding. These days, I can’t imagine her thinking that small. Mayor of the World, perhaps.)



Mayor Daley, perhaps jousting with the media just a bit, said with a nearly straight face he believes the criticism of Oprah’s Michigan Avenue shutdown-show might have contributed to her departure

“That became a big rhubarb in the Chicago press—-beat up Oprah,” Daley said Thursday night. “So you keep kicking people, people will leave, simple as that.”

Uh-huh. Methinks the mayor might be projecting a bit there.

I remember when Oprah arrived in Chicago in the 1980s to take over the “A.M. Chicago” hosting slot from a guy named Robb Weller, who went on to hosting duties at “Entertainment Tonight.” She was a raw talent who immediately connected with the Chicago audience and started taking away viewers from Phil Donahue, who had pioneered the morning show format in Ohio and taken it to national prominence out of the CBS studios in Chicago. But none of us could have envisioned that she’d ever reach such stratospheric levels. Even when I guested on Oprah’s show in the early 1990s, it was a pretty cool thing but for me it wasn’t nearly as exciting as my first time on “The Tonight Show” or even Conan’s program.

According to one urban legend, Oprah took control of her show after a dispute with the general manager of the ABC affiliate in Chicago, who wouldn’t give up one of his parking spaces for her. I don’t think that one’s true—-but I do believe the story about how my pal Roger Ebert was the one who convinced her that syndication was the route to national exposure and possible fortune.

Roger, Oprah. Oprah, Roger.


As I write this, dawn has broken in Chicago. After I did a live spot on the CBS affiliate in Chicago in which I pointed out that Oprah’s total weight gains and losses over the last 25 years equals the national debt (it was a JOKE!), I cruised past the Harpo Studios, where some fans were already lining up for the Friday morning show. Lining up in the dark, God bless ’em. (There was also a considerable media presence. Oprah’s one of the few TV stars who merits constant coverage from the competition, such as it is. In Chicago, she’s on ABC-7, but WGN, Fox, CBS and NBC were covering her Friday with as much verve as Channel 7.)

For anyone who works in the Chicago media, Oprah’s departure means we’ll finally, finally, FINALLY stop hearing from friends, acquaintances and friends of friends of acquaintances asking, “Can you help my Mom get tickets for Oprah?”

For some 600 Chicagoans, the end of the show could mean the end of a job. That’s how many staffers report to the Harpo complex every day for work. The neighborhood where Harpo is located is going to suffer quite the blow if the studio shuts down.

As for the show itself: I won’t miss it much because I hardly ever watch it. I’m not the target audience. I’d occasionally tune in or TIVO when Oprah interviewed a newsmaker, or when the show made news because of some wacky episode, e.g., Tom Cruise’s couch-dancing.

I’d go after Oprah when she touted another fad diet, embraced that bullshit known as The Secret or indulged her monumental ego to the point of insanity. I hated that shit when she gave away the Pontiacs and some members of the studio audience nearly fainted with greed, and nobody pointed out that PONTIAC was giving away the Pontiacs, not Oprah, and by the way: everyone owes about $7,000 in taxes, so good luck with that.

I also praised her for commanding the small screen like few ever have. I expressed admiration for her myriad good deeds, her love of reading and the Oprah Book Club, and the fact that she stayed in Chicago all these years when it would have been easier to take the show to the West Coast.

You don’t really see Oprah out and about in Chicago these days; her restaurant is long-gone, and she’s hardly a regular at White Sox games. Once she goes to California, I doubt we’ll see much of her here. But, like Michael Jordan and Siskel & Ebert, like Harry Caray and Walter Payton, like the Tower formerly known as Sears and the Daley dynasty, Oprah will always be an iconic part of The Chicago Story.

From the Dept. of Bad Timing.

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Note to Matt Drudge: Probably not the best day to run the ad you have on the top of your site.


Cheadle wanted no part of this wager.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

All right, it’s time to unveil my Cheesy Mustache theory regarding three of the biggest movie stars in the world.

It is my contention that some time ago, perhaps during the filming of “Ocean’s Thirteen,” Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon made some sort of wager saying that by 2009, each of them would have to star in a movie while sporting an incredibly cheesy mustache. The loser would have to…I don’t know, maybe break out into song for no good reason the next time he was on “Oprah”?

Here’s Brad in “Inglourious Basterds”


And here’s Matty in “The Informant!”


And finally, here’s Georgey boy in “The Men Who Stare At Goats,” opening Friday.


I rest my case.

Teach your children well.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

On Tuesday morning, it was my privilege to participate in a very cool thing: OfficeMax’s “A Day Made Better” national teacher appreciation event.

Here’s the deal. If you’re a teacher, or you have a friend or relative who’s a teacher, you probably already know that nearly every teacher in the country regularly dips into personal funds to buy teaching supplies. A friend of mine who taught for years in the Chicago Public School system was always running out to the store to buy supplies, or hitting up friends for anything and everything that could be put to use in a classroom.

On average, a teacher spends about $1,200 a year in personal funds on classroom supplies. In recognition of the extraordinary efforts put forth every day by thousands of teachers across the country, OfficeMax has a day in which 1,000 teachers each receive surprise deliveries of $1,000 in school supplies.

A number of celebrities participate in the event, including Selena Gomez in Los Angeles.

Snapshot 2009-10-07 14-50-31


In Chicago, I was part of the team making a surprise visit to the teachers and pre-K students at Goethe Elementary in the Bucktown neighborhood. The kids were adorable, the teachers were thrilled—-and they’re already using the supplies found in that giant box.

What a great day.



Kanye interrupts Obama…

Monday, September 14th, 2009

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