Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for December, 2011

And the winner of the 2011 GOOF Awards is…

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

When Charlie Sheen was in full-on meltdown mode last March, I heard from a number of readers who said the same thing:

Why don’t you just call it a year and give the GOOF to Sheen right now?

To be sure, Sheen was putting up GOOF numbers rarely seen in these quarters — and we’ve been chronicling the GOOFs (Greatly Overexposed and Overhyped Fool) since the first Clinton administration. It appeared Sheen would become the first repeat GOOF ever, in a landslide.

But it tells you something about the levels of insanity of our pop culture world that Mr. Sheen is NOT this year’s recipient.

A reminder: the GOOF is reserved for the most scandalous, shameless, silly and sinful national celebrities of the year. The first champions were Milli Vanilli. Past winners include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Rodman, Jerry Springer and Monica Lewinsky. (We stay away from the Jerry Sanduskys and Casey Anthonys of the world. Nothing to laugh about there.)

Also, in 2006, I gave the Lifetime Achievement Award to Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, so they’re no longer eligible for yearly GOOFs. (Not sure Lindsay in particular got that memo.)

As always, before we crown our winner, let’s pay tribute to the worthy nominees.

Rod Blagojevich

A little more than three years ago, Blagojevich was arrested. If he had immediately confessed, cooperated and come clean, he could have reached a plea deal and he’d probably be close to getting out of prison right now. Instead, he blustered and bungled his way to a staggeringly brutal 14-year prison sentence. And to the end, he keeps quoting Kipling’s “If,’ utterly unaware his actions are the very antithesis of the poem’s true meaning.

Jan. 26, 2009 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore

The First Couple of Twitter consistently annoyed us by flaunting their marriage on Social Media, with Kutcher Tweeting photos of his wife’s rear end and Moore scolding the tabloid press for daring to suggest Ashton would stray.

Then they split up. And Tweeted about it.

Demi Moore (R) and Ashton Kutcher

Any “Real” Housewife

It’s beyond me how anyone can sit through any of the “Real Housewife” shows for more than a solid minute. Every time I click across an episode, I see bejeweled, plasticized, boobicized, apparently lobotomized women of a certain age cradling goblets of wine while hurling insults at one another as the cameras zoom in for reaction shots that would embarrass the worst soap opera actress.

Kim Richards (Photo by: Adam Olszewski/Bravo)

Herman Cain

Oh Herman. We had such great admiration for you when you burst on the political scene. There was lots of refreshingly direct (if not particularly informed) straight talk — until the allegations of womanizing and sexual harassment. Then he started spinning like a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” and he kept on spinning until he “suspended” his campaign, citing the same old list of reasons everyone uses: it’s the media’s fault, his message is getting obscured and of course his family comes first.

Herman Cain (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Alec Baldwin

Another case of a put-upon, underpaid celebrity being abused by those overpaid and famous flight attendants. Instead of acknowledging that he just might have been partially to blame for the “Words With Friends” kerfuffle, Baldwin used Twitter to berate American Airlines and make fun of their flight attendants. Then he went on “Saturday Night Live” and portrayed an AA pilot as a clueless hick. Classy all the way, Alec.

Alec Baldwin (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

The Occupier

Yes, there’s ample reason to protest the system. And kudos to the movement for galvanizing the disenfranchised and garnering global media coverage. But far too many of the Occupiers came across as uninformed GOOF-balls who didn’t know how to clean up after themselves, let alone articulate WHY they were living in a tent city.

Occupy Portland protester (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Jennifer Lopez

There’s something almost endearing about J. Lo’s complete disconnect from reality. Her live show included a bizarre performance number featuring dancers who looked like her exes. After splitting from Marc Anthony, she took up with a backup dancer who looks like he graduated from the Federline School of Opportunism. When Lopez turned her appearance at the American Music Awards into a commercial for Fiat, John Legend Tweeted, “That had to be the most shameless thing I’ve ever seen in a performance.”

As for that ridiculous ad in which we’re asked to believe Jenny actually drives a Fiat and she’s all about her neighborhood roots in Brooklyn, we learned she filmed her segments for the ad in Los Angeles, and a double was used for the New York street scenes. Way to bring the authenticity baby!

Jennifer Lopez (AP Photo/Karel Navarro)

Anthony Weiner

Maybe that’s why he never changed his name.

Anthony Weiner (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries

The only thing more embarrassing than their whole “fairy tale” wedding charade was the fact that so many millions tuned in for the show, making it the most watched show in the history of E! television.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Hilary Swank

The two-time Oscar winner was roundly criticized for taking a huge payday to show up at the birthday celebration for Chechnyan dictator Ramzan Kadryov last October. Her excuse? She didn’t know who the guy was.

“I should know where I’m going,” Swank told Jay Leno. “I actually didn’t know Chechnya was separate from Russia.”

I love Hilary Swank. I believe she is a kind and decent person. Terrific actress as well. But…really? You didn’t know what you were getting into? So when you prep for a movie such as “Boys Don’t Cry” or “Million Dollar Baby,” you immerse yourself in research — but when you’re paid a six-figure fee to fly halfway around the world, you don’t bother to ask exactly where you’re going and why you’re going there?

Hilary Swank (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

Charlie Sheen

Last year’s GOOF winner stepped up his game in the spring of 2011. He shared his insane rants with the world via the Internet and his live tour, which consisted mostly of a chain-smoking Sheen rambling on about his ex-wives, his drug use, his movies from the 1980s and his various enemies. For about three minutes, the “tiger blood” schtick was an entertaining human train wreck.

And then it was just a train wreck.

Charlie Sheen (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Worthy contenders, one and all. But the runaway winner of the 2011 GOOF is…

Donald Trump!


Donald Trump (AP Photo/Jim)

Trump behaves as if he’s in a movie about a 12-year-old in a 65-year-old’s body. He may be the least self-aware human being ever.

Whether he was slapping his name on everything in his sight, calling his foes and critics “losers,” turning his complexion a bizarre shade of orange, boasting about his “great relationship with the blacks,” leading the birther charge, claiming he knew more about politics than those ignorant news correspondents or setting up a joke of a debate that had to be canceled because most of the candidates were smart enough to stay away, Trump was 2011’s most entertainingly grotesque personality.

He’s also the most cheerful liar on the planet. There’s little doubt Trump believes if he just says something, it has to be true.

When the Donald dropped out of the presidential race well before he’d have to embarrass himself on a debate stage or actually do any heavy campaigning in places such as Iowa and New Hampshire, his statement read: “This decision does not come easily…especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country.”

Reality: When Trump dropped out, he had the support of only 8 percent of potential Republican primary voters, which means that 92 percent thought somebody else would be a better candidate.

As the King of the Birthers, Trump should have been humiliated by the release of President Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate — but instead Trump told us, “I’m very proud of myself today.”

When Trump found himself getting roasted at the White House Correspondents Dinner, he sat there stone-faced like a bully who couldn’t believe someone would dare make fun of him.

And here’s Trump weighing in on longtime foe Rosie O’Donnell: “I feel sorry for Rosie’s new partner in love whose parents are devastate(d) at the thought of their daughter being with Rosie — a true loser.”

What a fantastic oaf this man is. What a fountain of material he is for the media. What an embarrassment he will always be.

What a great, great GOOF.

“Roe & Roeper to host CFCA Awards Show”

Monday, December 19th, 2011

After years of speculation and delays, “The Tree of Life,” Terrence Malick’s long-awaited film that took viewers from the beginning of time to 1950s Texas, proved to be worth the wait, according to the Chicago Film Critics Association.The CFCA gave “Tree of Life” four awards including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress for newcomer Jessica Chastain and Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.

THE TREE OF LIFE © 2011 - Fox Searchlight Picture

The violent neo-noir “Drive” won Supporting Actor for comedian Albert Brooks for his change-of-pace turn as a ruthless crime boss, and Original Score for composer Cliff Martinez. With two wins, “Drive” tied with “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” the moody indie drama about a young woman haunted by her experiences with a cult. Star Elizabeth Olsen won Most Promising Performer. Director Sean Durkin receiving the Most Promising Filmmaker award.

Martha Marcy May Marlene © 2011 - Fox Searchlight Picture

Michael Shannon was named Best Actor for his performance as a man tormented by visions of the possible apocalypse in the drama “Take Shelter.” Michelle Williams won the Best Actress award for her stunning turn as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.””The Artist,” the black & white silent comedy from France about an actor unwilling to make the transition to talkies won Original Screenplay for Michel Hazanavicius. Screenwriters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won the Adapted Screenplay prize for “Moneyball.” (This marks Sorkin’s second consecutive victory in his category. He won last year for “The Social Network.”) The Iranian drama “A Separation” won Foreign-Language Film. Chicago critics named the trippy comedy “Rango” Best Animated Film. “The Interrupters,” the powerful film following a group of people trying to stamp out violence Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, won Best Documentary.

"The Artist" © 2011 The Weinstein Company

The CFCA will be handing out honorary awards to some well-known recipients to celebrate their contributions to cinema. Legendary actress Shirley MacLaine will receive the Commitment to the Craft Award.James Earl Jones will be presented with the Oscar Michaeux Award. The Commitment to Chicago goes to beloved character actor Dennis Farina. The Big Shoulders Award will be given to Chicago’s comedy institution Second City. Finally, the newly created Commedia Extraordinaire Award to acknowledge work in the often over-looked field of screen comedy, will be given to Jason Segel for his past achievements and for his efforts to bring the Muppets back to the big screen.

The Muppets © 2011 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The award ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 7 at Chicago’sBroadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at

Another movie awards season, another controversy

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Another movie awards season, another couple of controversies involving biopics.

First there was the dustup about whether Colin Clark really did have an affair with the leading sex symbol of her time, as portrayed in “My Week With Marilyn.”

Now come cries of foul over “The Iron Lady,” the upcoming movie about Margaret Thatcher in which the peerless Meryl Streep again demonstrates why she is the actress of her generation. She becomes Thatcher in a performance that goes far beyond mere impersonation.

You get the sense Streep could have been cast in the title role of “J. Edgar” and she could have pulled it off. (Make your own dress-and-pearls joke here.)

While some of Thatcher’s associates have praised the film, more than a few critics have condemned the dramatic conceit that has an elderly, somewhat doddering Thatcher carrying on conversations with her deceased husband. And some who know Thatcher are incensed by the movie.

“The film is indecent,” said Robin Harris, adviser and biographer for Mrs. Thatcher, in an article in the Daily Mail. (SPOILERS AHEAD.) “At no point in her life will Mrs. Thatcher ever be able to go out alone to buy a pint of milk, as she does at the film’s opening….At no point did protesters thump on her car windows…

“[Thatcher’s husband] was neither a joke nor a joker, as the film suggests. T[his] film has been cynically crafted to benefit the cast, producers and backers by ratings-chasing sensationalism.”

“The portrayal of Lady Thatcher as a demented old lady … is simply cruel,” says journalist Simon Heffer in the same article. “It is deeply intrusive — and the ultimate testament to the ‘creative’ world’s acceptance, and exploitation, of her dehumanization. Lady Thatcher in her heyday was a far more subtle character than she appears in the film, whose screenwriter seems to have swallowed every cliche and prejudice about our greatest living stateswoman.”

That’s why they call it drama

Heffer makes some legitimate points. As much as I admired Streep’s performance and the film as a whole, I was surprised at how much time was devoted to scenes involving a forgetful, sometimes delusional Thatcher puttering about her home, trading barbs with the ghost of her husband and struggling to maintain her train of thought when entertaining visitors. Thatcher’s remarkable story and the controversies she faced during her run as PM, while certainly addressed at length in the film, would seem to make for far richer dramatic material.

But in the end, it’s a movie — the visual equivalent of a stylized magazine article about a woman whose life cannot be contained by even an 800-page biography.

And it is fictionalized history. For all awards consideration, “The Iron Lady” will not be up for for Best Documentary, it will be up for Best Drama.

Z sad truth

Stop me if you’ve seen this movie before. Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano tells Joiner Martinez of Lider en Deportes he’s been working like a maniac to get in shape.

“I’ve been preparing like when I was rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach and exercising hard so I can arrive at spring training in optimal shape,” says Zambrano.

For every hour Big Z spends climbing mountains, he should spend two hours on a therapist’s couch.

Are the Cubs really going to give Zambrano another chance? Wasn’t it just last spring training when Zambrano said he had matured and had changed his ways?

Then the season started, and Zambrano returned to his selfish ways, eventually walking out on his teammates.

I don’t care if Zambrano shows up at spring training in better shape than a triathlete and he starts handing out lollipops to the media and individually apologizing to anyone who was on the team last year. By midseason, he’ll be screaming at umpires, berating teammates, beating up water coolers and blaming everyone but himself for his troubles.

Meet the new Cub, same as the old Cub.

Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Premiere: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Tom Cruise with fans at the 8th Annual Dubai International Film Festival--Andrew H. Walker /Getty Images

Left to right: Anil Kapoor, Brad Bird, Tom Cruise, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg--Andrew H. Walker /Getty Images

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