Richard Roeper Blog

Richard Roeper Reviews “The 24-Hour War”

November 17th, 2016

First, the talented and versatile director/producer Nate Adams and the terrific and always entertaining cynic/humorist/author/podcaster/actor/filmmaker/racing enthusiast/bunch of other stuff Adam Carolla teamed up for “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” a fascinating documentary about the legendary actor’s 35-year career as a serious race car driver and owner.

Now they pair up for “The 24 Hour War,” an equally gripping doc about the intense, oft-dangerous, high-stakes rivalry between the Ford and Ferrari dynasties, leading up to some epic battles of the 1960s at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Given their storytelling abilities and their passion for cars, I’m pretty sure these guys could give us an entertaining doc about the fiasco of the 1971 Ford Pinto, the heartbreak of the Pontiac Aztek–or why Hot Wheels were always cooler than Matchbox Cars.

“The 24 Hour War” is the definitive look at the high-speed, high-stakes feud between Ford and Ferrari, featuring some great archival footage, insightful interviews with legends such as Mario Andretti (who still has a movie star presence) looking back on the rivalry, and constant visual reminders of just how cool and gorgeous those cars were in the 1960s–and just how crazy the drivers were, to the point where they wouldn’t take the time to buckle up their seatbelts at Le Mans because it might mean losing a precious second or two of time at the start of the race.

Roeper Review: Three and a half stars

Wanda Unveils Plans for $8 Billion ‘Movie Metropolis,’ Reveals Details About Film Incentives

October 18th, 2016

TV Ratings: ‘The Odd Couple’ and ‘Jane the Virgin’ Hold With Returns

October 18th, 2016

Watch the official second trailer for “Assassin’s Creed” Starring Michael Fassbender

October 18th, 2016

Watch the official second trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

October 18th, 2016

October 18th, 2016

It’s a postseason ‘tradition’ as old as the Mayoral Bet: columnists in opposing cities will write humorous rip jobs–not of the other team, but the actual cities.

For example, when the Bulls squared off against the Lakers or the Suns or the Jazz in the NBA Finals, I’d mock L.A., Phoenix or Salt Lake City. When the White Sox played the Blue Jays in 1993, I ‘ripped’ Toronto, a columnist for the Toronto paper made fun of Chicago, and we ran both columns in our respective papers.

All in good fun.

Last week, in advance of the NLCS, Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune went after the city of Los Angeles in pretty nasty fashion.

I think Huppke’s a talented writer, but I wasn’t a fan of this particular piece. To me it came across as too broad, too cliched, too stone-fisted, when a lighter touch might have worked better. I’m sure some found it hilarious. All comedy is subjective.

Also, it’s the written version of a Comedy Central roast. Not to be taken seriously for a moment.

The L.A. Times Twitter response:

“Hey @chicagotribune, Fewer than 15 murders that day–slow news day?”


First, a word about the whole “slow news day” thing. I’ve heard that more than a few times in my career. I’d write a column or post a Tweet or do a radio segment about something relatively light, and I’d hear, “Must have been a slow news day!”

I’ve had to come up with ideas for more than 5,000 columns and untold thousands of hours of radio and TV segments. They weren’t all winners, that’s for sure! But I’ve never, ever missed a deadline or taken a day off because it was a “slow news day” and there was nothing to talk about.

Sometimes you write and talk about the most serious issues on the planet. Sometimes your goal is provide entertainment and diversion and maybe a laugh or two by focusing on something relatively inconsequential. Every general interest newspapers, online site, radio broadcast, TV show, etc., finds room for opinion pieces, sports, lighter features, etc., in addition to hard news. “Slow news day” is the crutch of the intellectually lazy journalist–and a tired, mushy line of criticism.

As for the Tweet about Chicago’s murder rate–how did we get from Cubbies and Dodgers to THAT?

The Times took down the Tweet and to its credit, issued a REAL apology and not one of those “If anyone was offended” non-apology apologies.

In the meantime, the Cubs took Game One of the NLCS, and the Indians hold a 2-0 edge over the Blue Jays in ALCS.

Can you imagine a Cubs-Indians World Series? Boy do I have a few things to say about the city of Cleveland…

October 18th, 2016

Great conversation this morning on “Good Day Chicago” with director Jordan Melamed and his father Leo, the legendary pioneer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Their relationship is the focal point of a fascinating documentary titled “Futures Past.”


“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” stars Tom Cruise and Colbie Smulders and fans in Donald J. Trump’s favorite country, CHIIIINA.

October 18th, 2016

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WHAT JUST HAPPENED? Richard Roeper Weighs In On Sunday’s Town Hall Meeting

October 18th, 2016

In the history of televised debates, the Sunday evening “Town Hall Meeting” at Washington University in St. Louis was the most surreal, the darkest, the strangest, the WEIRDEST event ever.

There’s not even a close second.

Reeling from the audio tape in which he bragged about the sexual assault method of approaching women, Donald J. Trump sunk to a new low, even for him, by parading three women who have publicly accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and/or harassment, and a woman who was raped by a man Hillary Clinton defended at a trial in 1975.

As the New York Times reported (link below), Clinton was appointed to defend the accused in the rape case, tried to get out of the case, but was denied that request by the judge.

Re: Bill Clinton’s accusers, there’s no attempt here to defend Mr. Clinton’s track record–but this is still the United States of America, and there is and should be a HUGE difference between accusations, actual criminal charges, AND convictions. (Often when I Tweet about a public figure who has been accused of a crime, I hear from people who make the leap of convicting those individuals, calling them “rapist” or “murderer” even though they were never convicted of such heinous crimes. You can’t go on and on about how America is the greatest country with the greatest freedoms–and then decide unilaterally who is guilty and who isn’t guilty.)

So Trump’s reaction to just the latest revelation of his piggish, boorish, decades-long history of demeaning women is to hold this fake ‘press conference.’

And that was just the precursor to the Main Event.

* * *
After the awkward greetings between Bill Clinton and members of Trump’s family, the candidates were introduced.

They stood a few feet apart. They did not shake hands.

Asked about the now-infamous audio of him bragging about his technique for seducing aka assaulting women, Trump once again passed it off as ‘locker room talk.’

What idiot in Trump’s camp advised Trump and his stooges to use that phrase? First of all, as someone who played sports for a long time and has covered professional sports (and is hardly naive about the manner in which SOME athletes talk), I don’t know what locker rooms Trump is talking about. Maybe he’s talking about the locker rooms of country clubs? Or it’s just a stupid, immature turn of phrase?

You weren’t in a locker room, sir. You were a man who was nearly 60 years of age, pathetically trying to impress a giggling lightweight entertainment reporter. (Sidebar: NBC suspended Billy Bush on Sunday evening. I don’t know Billy Bush. I’ve been interviewed by him a few times, and he was always well-prepared, gracious and professional. I don’t believe his career should be torpedoed over this controversy. Give him a little time off and let the man continue with his career.)

When we finally moved on, moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz did their best to keep the candidates from going over the time limit, interrupting each other and evading the questions.

Cooper seemed to almost disappear at times. Raddatz was far more assertive, but neither one was entirely successful at reigning in two of the biggest egos on the planet. (Not that I could do any better. Cooper and Raddatz are thoughtful, learned, dedicated and accomplished journalists. Moderating a debate, like hosting the Oscars or umpiring the World Series, is a thankless task. The best you can hope for is to not become the story.)

Trump held the mic close to his face like an unpracticed karaoke singer, which only served to amplify his odd sniffing. He paced about the stage, often looming behind Hillary, and couldn’t help but interrupt her again and again and again. Here is a man who clearly doesn’t know what to do when he’s in the same space with a woman who is so much smarter than him.

Clinton was much more focused, but on occasion she would laugh when laughter was not warranted.

When Trump talked about Clinton having “hate in her heart,” it sounded like a classic case of projection. Say what you will about Bill and Hillary–and I’ve written DOZENS of critical pieces about them over the decades–if you asked 100 people on the street who has more “hate in their heart,” Trump or Clinton, I’d be shocked if Trump didn’t get 90 percent of THAT vote.

And when Trump said if he’s elected president he would get the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Clinton’s ‘situation’–that was a ludicrous, legally ignorant, chilling statement you’d expect from a dictator-in-waiting, not the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

In the history of this country, has there ever been a major party nominee who has been so incredibly uninformed about the way things work if one is elected?

Trump seems to think that if he wins the election, he gets to pose for a photo op with an oversized check, fire everyone he doesn’t like, build a wall that literally can’t be built, set into motion a legal vendetta against his vanquished opponent just because and order up bombings like room service.

He’s astonishingly obtuse.

At the very end of the debate, an audience member asked each candidate to say something positive about the other.

Clinton complimented Trump on his children and their loyalty to him. Trump responded by saying he THOUGHT that was a compliment, was that a compliment, OK that was a compliment, and thanked her for that, and then lauded Hillary for being a fighter.

It was a rare moment, when the two candidates with nearly 140 years of life experience between them actually sounded like reasonable, mature human beings.

The third and final debate is scheduled for Oct. 19th in Las Vegas.

What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. It’ll stay with us for weeks, maybe years, to come.

Smashing Pumpkins & School of Rock

October 18th, 2016

Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin joined the kids at School of Rock in Elmhurst for a jam session on Saturday, Oct 8. Pretty cool!

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