Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Dennis Farina: A Chicago original ]]> Lead story image

Dennis Farina always looked like he had just returned from a long vacation, and what’s it to ya? In reality, he was almost always working. With that seemingly permanent tan, the silver hair and the ever-present mustache, Farina was a striking presence on screens small and large, whether he was threatening an underling, hunting down a bad guy or making pitches for a cable provider. Farina went to Hollywood and made it big — but he never stopped being a Chicagoan. Family man, Chicago cop, TV cop, Bleacher Bum and long-suffering Cubs fan, Farina leaves us at the far-too-young age … ]]> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 17:18:19 -0600 <![CDATA[ Rising above perceptions of media bias ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: We’re all hypocrites on one level or another. I’ve tried my best over the years not to spare a Madonna or an Obama who trips up — yet I hear all the time from conservatives telling me I have “a liberal bias” and I’m “injecting your opinion into your writings and your radio show.” ]]> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 16:14:01 -0600 <![CDATA[ Anthony Weiner, Paula Deen and the art of the comeback ]]> Lead story image

Anthony Weiner? I was wrong about that guy too. When the sexting ex-congressman announced he was entering the New York City mayoral race less than two years after he resigned and gave a new meaning to “junk mail” (well, tweets), I immediately thought: too soon. Contrary to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-quoted belief about no second acts in life, almost everyone gets another shot at it — but you gotta put some distance between your downfall and your comeback. When Weiner resigned in the summer of 2011, I predicted he’d disappear from the public eye, repair his marriage, do a lot … ]]> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 17:24:14 -0600 <![CDATA[ Alec Baldwin’s rant makes an ugly situation even uglier ]]> Lead story image

An open letter to Alec Baldwin: Greetings! The results of the Life Lottery are in, and guess what? You won! Big-time. Your prize package is simply incredible, more than 99.9 percent of the planet’s inhabitants would dare even dream about. Forbes has you at No. 83 onits list of the 100 most powerful celebrities in the world, neatly tucked between the author J.K. Rowling and the actress Emma Stone. You made a reported $8 million last year, and many estimates have your net worth at $65 million. But wait, there’s more! You won two Emmys, three Golden Globes and seven … ]]> Sun, 30 Jun 2013 20:21:57 -0600 <![CDATA[ Roeper: Hollywood couldn’t make up anything as exciting as this Hawks season ]]> Lead story image

Wow. If that wasn’t the most thrilling championship clincher in Chicago sports history, what was? Michael Jordan’s game-winner against the Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals was a moment for the ages — but if the Bulls didn’t win that game, did anyone expect the Jazz to prevail in a Game 7? The Blackhawks’ stunning last-minute victory in Boston was... amazing. Special. A once-in-a lifetime moment. SPOILER ALERT! And the winner for Best Drama of 2013 goes to: The Chicago Blackhawks. All due respect to “Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men” and “The Walking Dead” on the … ]]> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 23:28:06 -0600 <![CDATA[ Jim Carrey’s ‘Kick-Ass 2’ grandstanding helps no one but himself ]]> Lead story image

Prediction: before the week is over, Jim Carrey will announce he’s donating at least a portion of his paycheck from “Kick-Ass 2” to some organization dedicated to eradicating gun-related violence. Because that’s the question Carrey’s going to have to answer again and again after he disassociated himself from the movie via Twitter, telling his 10 million+ followers: “I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence … “I meant to say my apologies to others involve [sic] in the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent … ]]> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 16:19:19 -0600 <![CDATA[ Pursuit of fame trumps most expectations of talent ]]> Lead story image

“This is America, where everyone has the right to life, love and the pursuit of fame,” Ryan Seacrest said. There may be no limit to the number of ways in which one can achieve fame in the 21st century. ]]> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 14:45:03 -0600 <![CDATA[ Kanye West isn’t living the ideas he’s rapping on ‘New Slaves’ ]]> Lead story image

Last Friday night, Kanye West took performance art to a global level, with the video for “New Slaves” premiering on a total of 66 buildings from London to Sydney to Paris to Berlin to New York to Chicago. According to Vibe, the “Wizard of Oz-like projections” were scheduled to show up on the side of Wrigley Field, at the Field of Museum of Natural History and at 505 N. Michigan, among other locales. One YouTube video by Gowhere Hip Hop shows the video playing on the Crown Fountain wall at Millennium Park, while fans chat in the background. Another YouTube … ]]> Fri, 21 Jun 2013 06:34:02 -0600 <![CDATA[ Latest ‘Mad Men’ episode reads the tea leaves for current broadcast landscape ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: The late ’60s era for Don Draper and company sets the tone for today’s television viewing habits. ]]> Mon, 13 May 2013 19:33:19 -0600 <![CDATA[ Zach Braff, rich with ‘Scrubs’ money, pushes the limits of Kickstarter ]]> Lead story image

Zach Braff is a rich guy asking us for money. That’s the 10-word summation of why there was such a backlash against the actor best known for starring in the hit TV show “Scrubs.” Let’s click back to the beginning of the timeline. As you probably know, Kickstarter is the most prominent of the “crowdfunding” enterprises — websites where you can announce your project and set a deadline and a minimum funding goal, after which the public can send you money via Amazon payments. (Kickstarter makes its money by taking a little off the top, as does Amazon.) You know … ]]> Sun, 12 May 2013 19:23:27 -0600 <![CDATA[ Charles Ramsey: He’s funny, and we should enjoy him without guilt ]]> Lead story image

“The Troubling Viral Trend of the ‘Hilarious’ Black Neighbor.” —headline from The Slatest “Charles Ramsey is an Internet Hero for All the Wrong Reasons.” —headline from The Atlantic “Stop being sensitive, Charles Ramsey is a Hero and He Happens to be Hilarious” —headline from It didn’t even take a full day for Cleveland hero Charles Ramsey to become a viral video star. And as far as some commentators are concerned, we should be ashamed of ourselves for reveling in that. As far as I’m concerned, that opinion is a load of [BLEEP!], as Ramsey himself might put it. Somewhere … ]]> Wed, 08 May 2013 20:02:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Relationship woes for Pam and Jim on ‘The Office’ sour the sitcom romance formula ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: As “The Office” nears the end of its run, some topics should remain off limits. ]]> Wed, 08 May 2013 17:28:30 -0600 <![CDATA[ On so-called ‘Nerd Prom,’ Sarah Palin’s a hypocrite — who’s right ]]> Lead story image

The Tweet of the Weekend comes from Sarah Palin, who had this to say about the White House Correspondents Dinner: “That #WHCD was pathetic. The rest of America was out there working our asses off, while these DC assclowns throw themselves a #nerdprom.” Whoa! There was immediate speculation Palin had been tippling the Pinot, or perhaps her Twitter account had been hacked. Since when does the former governor of Alaska and erstwhile candidate for veep talk like a trash-talking poker player at the Borgata circa 2009? Also, at what job is Palin working her ass off? She has a job? I know. Since quitting as governor of Alaska, Palin has earned millions putting her name on books, opining on TV, starring in a “reality” TV show, giving speeches, etc., etc. And of course she’s a mom. But a job? I don’t think she has a job. Does she have a job? Palin continued her criticism of the WHCD on Facebook, writing, “Yuk it up media and pols. While America is buried in taxes and a fight for our rights, the permanent political class in DC dresses up and has a prom to make fun of themselves. No need for that, we get the real joke.” Says the person that has been a member of the mainstream media or a pol since the early 1990s. Palin herself was a hit on the White House Correspondents Dinner party circuit way back in, oh wait, it was just two years ago, attending events hosted by Vanity Fair and MSNBC, among others. (Palin sent her daughter Bristol to the actual dinner. In 2009, then-Gov. Palin was scheduled to attend the WHCD, but she canceled when a flood hit Alaska and sent her husband Todd to represent her.) We do not know if it was Palin or one of her staffers who actually wrote the “assclown” Tweet. I’d like to believe Palin herself often talks like that behind the scenes, e.g., “Bristol, your new boyfriend is such an assclown I’m starting to miss Levi!” As for the whole “How can you make jokes when America has problems?” argument: Meh. There was much scolding of this sort on Twitter during the week of the Boston bombings. If you dared say something like, “Have a great day, everyone!”, you’d see responses like, “In case you haven’t heard, there’s a TRAGEDY IN BOSTON!” or, “Hey idiot, get over yourself and pay attention to the news.” Of course, if we take that mindset to its logical end, how can anyone of us ever enjoy a laugh when literally hundreds of millions of children worldwide don’t have access to clean water? If we spent every waking moment absorbing and respecting the harsh realities of the world, we’d all be so paralyzed with sadness we couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Weapons of mass distraction Palin’s laughable hypocrisy aside, I share her disdain for what the White House Correspondents Dinner has become. It’s become the D.C. version of the Friars’ Roast, with a late-night talk show host competing with the president to see whose team of writers can come up with better jokes. (Granted, the bar is lower for POTUS, but on Saturday night, President Obama clearly outperformed Conan O’Brien, who rattled off mostly lame jokes you could see coming down Connecticut Avenue.) Even more off-putting is the competition among news organizations to see who can land the biggest celebrity as a table guest. As Tom Brokaw so aptly pointed out last week, when Lindsay Lohan becomes a star attraction at your annual event, the joke’s on you. (Also, reporters lining up to get their picture taken with some actress or reality star is just cringe-inducing.) The prevailing hashtag and media label for the White House Correspondents Dinner is “Nerd Prom.” But when you’ve got John Legend, Sofia Vergara, Kevin Spacey, that “Gangnam Style” guy, Amy Poehler, Claire Danes, Kerry Washington, Gerard Butler, broken-legged Louisville hoopster Kevin Ware, Katy Perry and Hayden Panettiere working the red carpet at your event, that ain’t no Nerd Prom — that’s an event that’s going to be covered by “Extra,” “E!” and “Entertainment Tonight.” It would take a mighty act of professionalism and perspective for the organizers of the WHCD to realize how shameless and tone-deaf they look, and to announce they’re scaling back the event next time around. I think we have a better chance of seeing Sarah Palin getting a “No Assclowns!” tattoo before that will happen. ]]> Sun, 28 Apr 2013 20:56:54 -0600 <![CDATA[ When fame collides with real life, many times life trumps celebrity ]]> Lead story image

RICHARD ROEPER: Fame does funny things to people. Not just the famous people — also the people that come into contact with the famous people. ]]> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 17:09:25 -0600 <![CDATA[ So many new media updates from Boston depended on the old media ]]> Lead story image

Flawed as they were during this dramatic week, the TV networks, cable news outlets and newspaper websites still were the best sources for accurate information. ]]> Sun, 21 Apr 2013 20:30:39 -0600 <![CDATA[ Visit to Anne Frank museum catches Justin Bieber between history lesson and shameless narcissism ]]> Lead story image

If our respect for Anne Frank can be rattled by a pop star’s ignorant comment or a subsequent joke in a column, that doesn’t say much for our own set of beliefs. ]]> Fri, 17 May 2013 06:04:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ In movies and reality, Internet helps mean kids be meaner ]]> Lead story image

The whole thing starts with a fleeting moment of eye contact in a shopping mall. Early in the four-star movie “Disconnect,” two teenage skateboard punks (Colin Ford as Jason and Aviad Bernstein as Frye) cackle wildly as they witness the payoff moment of a nasty practical joke involving a weightlifter and a bottle of energy drink that no longer contains energy drink. (SPOILER ALERT. We are going to go deep into the storyline here.) As the boys are laughing it up, they notice a strange-looking kid staring at them. It’s pretty obvious he knows what they did. “What are you … ]]> Sun, 14 Apr 2013 21:32:51 -0600 <![CDATA[ RICHARD ROEPER: ‘Accidental Racist’ joins the ranks as the worst pop songs of all time ]]> Lead story image

Words — and music — cannot describe the epic bowl of awfulness that is “Accidental Racist.” Since it was released on Monday to a stunned American public, there’s been near-universal derision, with Twitter nearly exploding with criticism and the blogosphere blowing up with negative reviews. ]]> Sun, 12 May 2013 06:06:01 -0600