Bears

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

Bears could develop “twin towers” personnel package at WR with Robinson, White

Bears could develop “twin towers” personnel package at WR with Robinson, White

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Coaches are loath to give away competitive information, which can cover just about anything from play design to flavor of Gatorade dispensed by the training staff. But Matt Nagy offered an intriguing what-if personnel grouping that his offense could confront defenses with in 2018. It’s one that has been overlooked so far, for a variety of reasons.


The what-if personnel pairing is Allen Robinson and Kevin White as the outside receivers, a tandem that would put two 6-foot-3 wide receivers at the disposal of quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Bears have not had a tandem of effective big receivers since Alshon Jeffery (6-3) and Brandon Marshall (6-4) averaged a combined 159 catches per year from 2012-14.


White’s injury history has relegated him to found-money status in many evaluations, and he has typically been running at Robinson’s spot while the latter was rehabbing this offseason from season-ending knee injury.


But Nagy on Wednesday cited Robinson’s ability to play multiple positions and clearly raised the prospect of his two of his biggest receivers being on the field at the same time.


“The one thing you’ll see here in this offense is that we have guys all over the place in different spots,” said Nagy, who credited GM Ryan Pace with stocking the roster with options at wide receiver. “Ryan did a great job of looking at these certain free agents that we went after, some of these draft picks that we went after and getting guys that are football smart, they have a high football IQ and they’re able to play multiple positions.


“When you can do that, that helps you out as an offensive playcaller to be able to move guys around. Is it going to happen to every single receiver that comes into this offense? No. But we do a pretty job I feel like at balancing of where they’re at position wise, what they can and can’t handle, and then we try to fit them into the process.”


The organization and locker room can be excused for a collective breath-holding on White, who has gone through his third straight positive offseason but whose last two seasons ended abruptly with injuries in the fourth and first games of the 2016 and 2017 seasons.


White was leading the Bears in with 19 receptions through less than four full games in 2016, then was lost with a fractured fibula suffered against Detroit. The injury was all the crueler coming in a game in which White already had been targeted nine times in 41 snaps and had caught six of those Brian Hoyer passes.


White’s roster status has been open to some question with the signings of Robinson and Taylor Gabriel together with the drafting of Anthony Miller. All represent bigger deep threats in terms of average yards per catch than White (9.2 ypc.) at this point: Robinson, 14.1.; Gabriel, 15.1; and Miller, 13.8 (college stats).


But Trubisky’s budding chemistry with White was evident throughout the offseason. And the second-year quarterback has studied what Robinson has been and seen some of what he can be.


“We know he has great hands, he’ll go up and get it,” Trubisky said. “Explosive route-runner. The more reps we get, it’s all about repetitions for us, continue to build that chemistry. Just going against our great defense in practice is going to allow us to compete and get better.”


Folding in the expectations for an expanded presence at tight end (Trey Burton), “targets” will be spread around the offense. How often the Bears go with a Robinson-White “twin towers” look clearly depends in large measure on White’s improvement as well as his availability.


Opportunities will be there. The Kansas City Chiefs ran 51 percent of their 2018 snaps, with Nagy as offensive coordinator, in “11” personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers, according to Pro Football Focus. Whether White earns his way into that core nickel-wideout package opposite Robinson is part of what training camp and preseason will determine.


“[White] has had a good offseason and just like our team, he needs to carry that momentum into camp,” Pace said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now, he’s very focused. The real expectation, just be the best he can be. Focus on himself, which is what he’s been doing.”

Cubs bolster pitching staff with minor trade, foreshadow more moves coming

Cubs bolster pitching staff with minor trade, foreshadow more moves coming

The Cubs didn't wait long to make Joe Maddon's words come true.

Roughly 5 hours after Maddon said the Cubs are definitely in the market for more pitching, the front office went out and acquired Jesse Chavez, a journeyman jack-of-all-trades type.

It's a minor move, not in the realm of Zach Britton or any of the other top relievers on the market.

But the Cubs only had to part with pitcher Class-A pitcher Tyler Thomas, their 7th-round draft pick from last summer who was pitching out of the South Bend rotation as a 22-year-old.

Chavez — who turns 35 in a month — brings over a vast array of big-league experience, with 799 innings under his belt. He's made 70 starts, 313 appearances as a reliever and even has 3 saves, including one this season for the Texas Rangers.

Chavez is currently 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. He has a career 4.61 ERA and 1.38 WHIP while pitching for the Pirates, Braves, Royals, Blue Jays, A's, Dodgers, Angels and Rangers before coming to Chicago.

Of his 30 appearances this season, Chavez has worked multiple innings 18 times and can serve as a perfect right-handed swingman in the Cubs bullpen, filling the role previously occupied by Luke Farrell and Eddie Butler earlier in the season.

Chavez had a pretty solid run as a swingman in Oakland from 2013-15, making 47 starts and 50 appearances as a reliever, pitching to a 3.85 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 8.2 K/9 across 360.1 innings.

"Good arm, versatile, could start and relieve," Joe Maddon said Thursday after the trade. "I've watched him. I know he had some great runs with different teams. 

"The word that comes to mind is verstaility. You could either start him or put him in the bullpen and he's very good in both arenas."

It's not a flasy move, but a valuable piece to give the Cubs depth down the stretch.

There's no way the Cubs are done after this one trade with nearly two weeks left until the deadline. There are more moves coming from this front office, right?

"Oh yeah," Maddon said. "I don't think that's gonna be the end of it. They enjoy it too much."