Chicago Celebrities We’d Rather See At Games

From afar, I’ve admired what the Chicago Cubs are doing. Not just at the plate and from the mound, but also from a promotional standpoint. Rather than trot out any famous person who can afford a ticket with what they find between their couch cushions, the Cubs had players who appreciate where the team is now and put in blood, sweat and tears wearing the blue pinstripes to throw out first pitches in Games 3 and 4.

After Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and 2-time All-Star Kerry Wood kicked off each game, the Cubs utilized their new video boards at Wrigley Field with videos of the late Ernie Banks and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” That’s classy. That’s also what they should do from now on, but that’s a discussion for another day. (Never let Ryan Dempster do his impression of Will Ferrell’s impression of Harry Caray again)

Amidst the bat-flipping, opposing pitcher name chanting, and hardcore partying, we’ve seen the celebrity faces that we expected (some dreaded) to see at the ballpark. Billy Corgan and his new get-off-my-lawn attitude. Northside/Southside flipping John Cusack. And the worst front-runner on the planet, Jim Belushi (I cringe typing his name like he’s Voldemort). New assistant to Cubs President Theo Epstein (probably) Eddie Vedder has been fun. As an avid Pearl Jam fan, I get a kick out of him partying as hard as the players after each game.

It’s also hard to imagine that Bill Murray isn’t too far away, despite his media tour next week for the upcoming release of Rock the Kasbah. If anything, he could make it an epic cross promotion for his film and the MLB playoffs.

Bill Murray Harry

Vedder and Murray are awesome but it’s time to bring out the big hitters to the seats in Chicago, and not just at Wrigley Field. Last summer, I countered recently-outed heavyweight racist Hulk Hogan’s baiting for angry Blackhawks fans during the Stanley Cup with my own list of better celebrity hockey fans. Those mentioned in that list (CM Punk, Mr. T, Vince Vaughn, etc) get a hat-tip, but the following names will represent star power that we’d rather see regularly, similar to the likes at New York and Los Angeles events.

1. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford Chicago

We’re talking about Han Solo AND Indiana Jones here. How can you deny the idea of either baseball stadium in Chicago playing the “Imperial Death March” music announcing the Yankees lineup, then following it with a shot of Harrison Ford behind home plate with the Rebel Victory score over it? Maybe it’s a the geek in me, but any opportunity to implement Star Wars, especially with the new film coming out, is super sexy to me.

Note: I also refer to White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as #Baseball Jedi, so there’s that. 

Ford has Chicago in his blood, being born here and spending his college summers working on a boat in Burnham Park Harbor or managing the first Crate and Barrel on Wells. In an Michigan Ave Magazine interview, Ford said:

I’ve been out in Los Angeles for 35 years, and I think there are some things about my upbringing that reflect the values and the attitudes of the Midwest…. a kind of work ethic that I find particular to the Midwest. I can say that those were important, formative years for me, living in Chicago.”

Cool, Indy. I’ll buy you a beer next time you’re in town, if it gets you to a ballgame.

2. Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman Cubs

Currently featured in the new season of Fargo, Nick Offerman isn’t slowing down since the end of Ron Swanson and Parks and Recreation. Offerman isn’t shy about his baseball allegiance either.

There are many grown men and women who would scream like a 90’s tween at a Backstreet Boys concert if they saw the Joliet native, University of Illinois grad, and professional canoe craftsman down the foul line at a ballgame.

If he’s willing, during a the Crosstown Cup series, there’s plenty of bacon-on-a-stick awaiting his consumption at US Cellular Field.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 12.49.13 PM

Double-thick maple bacon. You know you want it, Nick…

3. Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson Chicago

Yep, X-Files fans, Scully is from Chicago. With The X-Files revival series coming soon to FOX, they’d be making a huge mistake not having Gillian Anderson at Wrigley Field fending off the paranormal and extraterrestrial that I’m sure some Cubs fans still believe will prevent the Cubs from going to the World Series…At least come out to a Men and/or Women’s basketball game at DePaul, where Anderson finished college…something she and I have in common.

4. President Barack Obama

President Obama Chicago

Partisan opinions aside, he’s the MF’n President of the United States. He’s also a hardcore sports fan, which I thoroughly laid out on his birthday, and loves his Chicago teams…

When his term is up, I would welcome the president taking in as much Bulls basketball, White Sox baseball, Bears football, and whatever as he wants.

5. John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly Chicago

Would you really argue with me on this? Who doesn’t want south side native John C. Reilly in their corner?

That’s exactly who you want in games against New York when Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and Beyonce are behind the opponent’s bench.

6. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert Chicago

For someone who has spent a lot of his career recently in New York City, Stephen Colbert has not been bashful at all about his time in Chicago. Leading up to the new Late Show’s premiere, Colbert dedicated multiple podcasts to his years at Northwestern and doing improv in Chicago. While interviewing Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez this week, the two bonded over their love for the city and living there. Most notably, as tongue-in-cheek as it sounded, Colbert predicted a Cubs World Series win…a proclamation he believes “in no way will come back to haunt” him.

If the NLCS goes to New York, I would be shocked if Colbert wasn’t in attendance. Heck, he should catch a weekend game in Chicago if the opportunity is there.

More Chicago Celebrities You’d Rather See:

John Landis, Director – Animal House, Blues Brothers

Robert Zemeckis, Director – Back to the Future Trilogy

Patricia Arquette, Actress – Boyhood, True Romance

Common, Hip-Hop Artist & Actor – Selma

Fred Savage, Actor & Director – The Wonder Years

Ben Savage, Actor – Boy Meets World

Chloe Bennet, Actress – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Mandy Patinkin, Actor – The Princess Bride, Homeland

Gina Rodriguez, Actress – Jane The Virgin

Michael Pena, Actor – Ant-Man, The Martian

Frances McDormand, Actress – Fargo, Almost Famous

Shonda Rhimes, Writer – Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy

Michael Madsen, Actor – Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill

Jennifer Morrison, Actress – House M.D.

Michael Mann, Director – Heat

Tom Berenger, Actor – Major League

Dan Castellanata, Actor – The Simpsons

Bruce Dern, Actor – Nebraska, The Cowboys

Andre Braugher, Actor – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Wood Harris, Actor – The Wire, Remember the Titans

Bob Balaban, Actor – Moonrise Kingdom

Jennifer Hudson, Singer & Actress – Dreamgirls

Chi McBride, Actor – Boston Public, The Terminal

Craig Robinson, Actor – The Office, Knocked Up

Jay Chandrasekhar, Actor & Director – Super Troopers

Jim O’Heir, Actor – Parks and Recreation

Did I miss anyone? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

Academy Awards Picks 2015

Awards season has flown by, hasn’t it? The Golden Globes and their weirdness feel like yesterday…

Louie Golden Globes

Wait, that was like a month ago? Wow. It has also felt like a quiet season too, in terms of big upsets and such…hold on a sec…

SIT DOWN, KANYE!

Back to the show…

Besides the actual awards being announced, I can’t wait to see what Neil Patrick Harris has up his sleeve. There are few hosts who are as much of a showman as NPH. Multiple Tony Award shows, the Emmys, and now the Oscars…? He’s just a Golden Globes away from his own Hosting EGOT. NPH be criticized and scrutinized like everybody ever to host it, but I expect nothing short of something Legen…wait for it

If you need a reference of what to anticipate, check out one of my favorite award show opens of his.

The Picks…

Last year everything felt predictable. The Dallas Buyers Club boys, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, took Best Lead and Supporting honors EVERYWHERE. Cate Blanchett did the same, like most Woody Allen characters do. Then Lupita Nyong’o and 12 Years a Slave, while not necessarily consensus favorites, didn’t surprise anyone with their wins.

This year isn’t so easy, and that’s a good thing. 2014 (and early ’15) was an excellent year in film and made it fun going to the movie theater every week. Why the Academy went with just 8 nominees for Best Picture is beyond me, but every film in the running is very deserving…

So was Guardians of the Galaxy.

Peter Quill MF

Anywho…

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper – American Sniper 

Benedict Cumberbatch – Imitation Game

Michael Keaton – Birdman or ( The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

My Pick: Eddie Redmayne

It’s a loaded category. Benedict Cumberbatch was flawless in Imitation Game. Controversy over the man he depicted aside, Bradley Cooper rocked the “Punisher” logo he wore HARD. Steve Carell made everyone’s skin crawl (although I was more interested in Channing Tatum’s performance). And Michael Keaton carried the suspense of a bomb you were anticipating to explode…without the timer.

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking though was too special to deny. While I would love to see the award go to either Keaton or Cumberbatch, it’s Redmayne’s to lose at this point. His transformation into Hawking has won at nearly everything and fun fact…

The SAG winner in this category has won 100% of the time in the last decade.

(I do have to mention that I felt David Oyelowo was horribly robbed of a nomination in this category. Every bit as deserving as Cumberbatch, Keaton, Carell, and Redmayne…You can figure out who I left out.)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything 

Julianne Moore – Still Alice 

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl 

Reese Witherspoon – Wild

My Pick: Julianne Moore

I know…Nothing too controversial here. Moore has won in nearly every awards show that matters. Cotilard won the New York Film Critics Circle award…and good for her. Moore is as every bit of the accolades for her role in Still Alice, and it’s amazing that this will likely be her first win in 5 tries. But if there was a sleeper pick to make here, I would take Felicity Jones. You couldn’t ask for a better compliment performance to Eddie Redmayne’s than Jones.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood 

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher 

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

My Pick: J.K. Simmons

I feel bad for Edward Norton. He put out arguably his best performance of a great career in Birdman, but J.K. Simmons was just. too. good…

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Laura Dern – Wild

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep – Into The Woods 

My Pick: Emma Stone

Yeah, I can’t play the favorite on this one. Patricia Arquette has been cleaning up at award shows all season and I really don’t understand it. Yes, she was moving…but she wasn’t a showstopper like Emma Stone was.

Best Picture

American Sniper

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Boyhood 

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma 

The Theory of Everything 

Whiplash 

My Pick: Birdman

I understand that this has turned into a 2 horse race between Boyhood and Birdman in terms of odds, but Birdman was clear and away the better film to me. I was more interested in how Boyhood was made than the actual product. Richard Linklater should, and probably will, win Best Director for presenting an entire childhood in 3 hours, but there wasn’t much of a story and the performances didn’t wow me more than the gimmick…

Birdman, on the other hand, is filled with performance after performance that grabs you by your collar, unpredictable, and has you at the end of your seat. Watching Boyhood, I just waited for Mason to finally grow up…but I loved the soundtrack.

That’s just me though…

Who are you picking to win tonight? Let me know and let’s talk about the show on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.