Richard Roeper Blog

Archive for July, 2012

Bond Saves the Queen

Sunday, July 29th, 2012
For the casual fan of the Olympics who doesn’t care all that much about badminton or archery or canoeing or the equestrian events or handball or judo or rowing or shooting or synchronized swimming or weightlifting and you can stop me any time I get to a sport you DO care about, the Opening Ceremony is one of the few can’t-miss events.
And while the London Games didn’t quite match the insanely over-the-top Beijing opener from 2012 for sheer spectacle, there was no shortage of breathtaking pyrotechnics, uplifting musical moments–and some terrific WTF moments as well.
To wit (or not to wit): Rowan Atkinson’s inexplicably enduring Mr. Bean character’s “Chariots of Fire” comedy routine, which weaved some admittedly clever onstage schtick with a filmed bit straight out of the Billy Crystal Oscars catalog.
Everyone seemed to love Danny Boyle’s short film featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond. In tux and in chracter, Craig dodged the royal Corgis as he picked up the Queen at Buckingham Palace and escorted her to a helicopter, from which they parachuted into the Olympic Stadium.

Well. Of course it wasn’t really Craig and the 86-year-old queen jumping out of the helicopter, because that probably would have killed one of them. (Deadpan sentence inserted into a lengthy story from Reuters about the bit: “The jump was performed by a stunt double.”) The actual jumpers are expert skydivers Mark Sutton (who doubled for Bond) and Gary Connery. The photos of Connery in helicopter, waring the Queen’s salmon-colored dress and replica jewelry and sporting a white wig, are…disturbing would be the word.

It was a brilliant bit, mainly because Queen Elizabeth is largely regarded as the Least Humorous Person in the World, and the fact that she would even go along with it made it work.
But for the routine to have achieved true “Naked Gun” classic status, they would have had to have talked the Queen to go along with filming the payoff–a long shot of the stunt doubles landing, followed by medium shots of Craig and the Queen untangling themselves from their parachutes.
Now THAT would have killed.

Chik-fil-a controversy turned into: a modern-day episode of “Seinfeld.”

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

On the old “Seinfeld” show, they love to poke holes in the shields of the sanctimonious and the self-righteous. Remember the AIDS walk, when Kramer is bullied because he won’t wear a ribbon? Or how about the episode titled “The Couch,” in which Elaine says she won’t eat Pacinno’s pizzas because the owner of the chain donates to anti-abortion groups. Jerry keeps pushing her to be consistent with her stance, which leads to Elaine refusing to dine at Poppie’s restaurant and ending a relationship because of her new boyfriend’s views.

Meanwhile, there’s a metaphorical debate going on in Poppie’s kitchen, as Kramer and Poppie argue about when a pizza actually becomes a pizza.

KRAMER: What gives you the right to tell me how I would make my pie?
POPPIE: Because it’s a pizza!
KRAMER: It’s not a pizza until it comes out of the oven!
POPPIE: It’s a pizza the moment you put your fists in the dough!
That’s what the whole Chik-fil-a controversy turned into: a modern-day episode of “Seinfeld.” The most astonishing thing about the whole debate was that so many people couldn’t seem to understand the huge difference between a CEO’s religious views and a company actually practicing discrimination in the workplace.

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

After Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy reiterated his family’s views on gay marriage (“We’re inviting God’s judgment on our natrion”) on a radio show, a firestorm erupted, with elected officials in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago stating their opposition to further expansion of Chik-fil-a franchises in their backyards.

Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy

In Chicago, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) talked about the standards for “my businesses,” as if he’s some sort of kingpin in an HBO series who gets to rule on everything that happens in his ward.

“If you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want you in the 1st Ward,” said Moreno.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Chick-fil-a values are not Chicago values. They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

Really, Mr. Mayor? Have you seen the crowds at the Chick-fil-a on Chicago and Michigan?

Remember: all along we’re talking about the CEO’s views. If anyone has evidence of Chick-fil-a refusing to hire gays and lesbians or denying service to customers they perceived to be gay, please step forward. You’d think the problem would be so obvious here. If you’re going to keep Chick-fil-a out of your ward, your town, your city, are you going to poll the CEO’s of every other company wishing to do business with you? And who decides what a city’s “values” are anyway–the mayor gets to do that?


Separation of state and church notwithstanding, it must really rankle the mayor that the Catholic Church has such a strong presence in Chicago. We know the Church’s stance on gay marriage–and Emanuel has already told us, those aren’t Chicago values. After I said I didn’t agree with Cathy’s views but I staunchly opposed the ludicrous stances taken by Moreno, Emaneul, et al., and that it’s a slippery slope once we allow a government to arbitrarily decide which businesses can open, about 30 percent of the feedback I received was negative.

A sampling of Tweets:

“Not slippery. Forces them to shut up or face community sanctions. Spewing hate should have consequences.”
“I’m surprised at how off you are on this. A corp proudly touting their discrimination should be treated accordingly.”
“This isn’t just some guy’s opinion; he’s instilling his beliefs as company policy.”
“CEO’s that try to impose a radical, bigoted culture on their employees should not be welcomed ANYWHERE.”

OK. Deep breath.

Anyone who wants to marry anyone else, I’m all for it. It should be legal and socially acceptable in every corner of the world. Here’s hoping for that day. You want to boycott Chick-fil-a, protest in front of Chick-fil-a, tell the world to avoid Chick-fil-a, go for it and God bless. But are you going to take the same position regarding any company in which any executive has expressed similar views? If not, how are you not being selectively passionate about your cause? As the week wound down, a number of officials were backing down.

Rahm’s spokesman told us the mayor “never said he’d block the restaurant from coming,” while the mayor of Boston acknowledged that even though he’d fired off a grandstanding letter to Chick-fil-a telling them they weren’t welcome, he couldn’t actually prevent them from building a franchise.

To me the biggest disappointment was seeing so many liberals so quick to embrace government intervention because in this case it happened to mesh with their own views. How can you protest the next the time a conservative mayor or alderman wants to block a business because the CEO is adamantly pro-gay?

Every day as you go through life, you do business with people whose views aren’t the same as yours. If you insist on only dealing with those whose worldview mirror yours, you’re going to be like Elaine in “Seinfeld,” storming out of restaurants and breaking up with guys and wondering how you allowed Jerry to paint you into this corner in the first place.

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Will Ferrell, Zack Galianakis, and Bozo Stop at WLS

Saturday, July 28th, 2012


What a ‘stick in the mud’: TV Reporter gets stuck while on a story.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The four pieces I’ve written about the Colo. shootings can be found here…

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Latest in Colorado Shooting

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Watch More News Videos at ABC

2012 Presidential Election

Entertainment & Celebrity News

Escalator Fail

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

*We’d like to note (other than being embarrassed) the person in this video did not suffer any injuries.

What’s Your Animal Personality Type?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Test your personality; Man’s Best Friend or Most Feared Creatures of the Sea? Where do you fall?

My Result; Wolf.

Sarah Silverman on the Campaign Trail

Monday, July 16th, 2012

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