I loved Chicago. I loved the cold. I loved the history. I loved the deep dish pizza. I loved the lights at night. I loved the Wrigley Building. I loved the ladies in fur coats. It's a beautiful, real city, filled with unique people, historic buildings and bars that stay open until 4 AM. And great music. And again, it's cold.
While I was visiting a few years back, I randomly opined to a man in a hotel elevator that I stupidly lost my gloves and that my hands had turned purple ("Look at them! I might be dead."). He laughed, and when I started thinking, "wait a second...who is this guy?"...he introduced himself as Michael Keaton. He was all bundled up for the snow, but I should have recognized those eyebrows. After observing that broad smile, he asked me why I was in Chicago. I said, "I'm co-hosting Ebert & Roeper." It was a surreal moment.
And of course, it was a wonderful moment. Telling Michael Keaton that I might be a walking corpse (Beetlejuice!) and the honor of sitting in for the brilliant Roger Ebert back when the show was "Ebert & Roeper" was exciting and interestingly enchanting. Producers David Plummer, David Kodeski and Don DuPree couldn't have been any more accommodating, sharp and understanding of letting a person be who they are (I've been on other shows where they tell you to act "perky" or some such nonsense -- they did none of that). The same goes for Richard Roeper, one hell of a sparring partner and entirely cool even if we didn't see eye-to-eye on Bong Joon-Ho's The Host. I think we might disagree on many movies, but he was funny and low key and amused by that, and quite simply, that makes for better television. He got that.
So I'm sad "At the Movies" with A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips is ending. I'm honored to have been a part of that institution and grateful they allowed me to choose Baby Doll as my DVD pick. And I will take Richard up on the "Kim Morgan Film Festival"...