Shaka laka Tru! A Shaka laka Tru!

Ah, you gotta love the big dramatic game of chicken that comes with competing biopics. A few months ago, it was all about those competing Janis flicks and now there's two different Truman Capote pics in the works. The first one to make news was Every Word Is True, directed by Douglas McGrath and starring Toby Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Sandra Bullock. The other one is Capote, directed by Bennett Miller and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and will supposedly soon cast Samantha Morton and Chris Cooper in supporting roles. So which one should be put on the fast track, and which one should be left in cold blood? Let's compare.

The Directors
A battle between the unimpressive. Douglas McGrath directed Emma, but followed that up with Company Man and Nicholas Nickleby. Yawn. But the only thing Bennett Miller directed was the documentary The Cruise. Meh.

Winner: Whoever wins, we lose.

The Cast
The main fella: Toby Jones Vs. Philip Seymour Hoffman. In the immortal words of Joe in Reservoir Dogs, who the f*ck is Toby? Having your most impressive screen credit be that you were the voice of Dobby the freakin' House Elf in Harry Potter does not a Drew impress. Philip Seymour Hoffman, on the other hand, is a screen deity to me. He's a fearless actor, and one of a rare group of people that bring a smile to my face every time they pop up in a movie. He steals every scene he's in in movies like Almost Famous, Happiness, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk Love, Hard Eight, Scent Of A Woman, Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain, The Big Lebowski...I could go on but I'd wind up with carpal-tunnel by the end.

Winner: Hoffman (Capote), hands down.

Gwyneth Paltrow Vs. Samantha Morton. You may be surprised to hear this, but I'm actually a Paltrow fan from way back when she impressed me in Flesh And Bone. And she's Margot Tenenbaum, which goes a long way for me. She's a damn fine actress, really. My big gripe with her was that she won Best Actress for Shakespeare In Love, whereas the trophy rightfully belonged to Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth. Oh, and I'm personally going to put her head in a box if she makes any more comedies or thrillers that aren't directed by Wes Anderson or David Fincher, respectively. She's single-handedly killing the genres with thrillers like Hush and A Perfect Murder and comedies like Shallow Hal and A View From The Top.

Now I like Gwyneth, but I love Samantha Morton. In my book, she's one of the top five actresses working today. She throws herself into every role she's in, and can do more without saying a word than most actors can with a five page dialogue. And she always has incredibly short hair (sometimes none) in almost all of her flicks, so she can't behind a mane like certain overrated actresses. Every aspiring actress should study her roles in films like Jesus' Son, In America, Minority Report, and Sweet And Lowdown to learn from the master.

Winner=Samantha Morton (Capote).

Chris Cooper Vs. Sandra Bullock. If there was any question about my being a Chris Cooper fan, the deal was sealed when he was up against my beloved Christopher Walken for Best Supporting Actor and I wound up rooting for Chris Cooper. That's love. Walken was great in Catch Me, but Cooper in Adaptation was the bee's knees. I was so used to him playing quiet, internal roles (American Beauty, Lone Star), so the kooky extroverted John Laroche role really caught me off guard and kicked him up a notch in my book.

Then you've got Sandra Bullock. I'd almost feel bad for her if her movies weren't still raking in the bucks. Did you have any idea Two Weeks Notice made 90 million? I don't even know anybody's who's seen it...shows how sheltered from the real world I am. Then again, when you think about it, is creating a bubble where I'm protected from people who've seen Two Weeks Notice really such a bad thing? Anyway, she's cinematic pink cotton candy, for the most part her flicks are sickeningly sweet and give me bad gas afterwards.

Winner: Chris Cooper (Capote).

And there you have it. One tie and three wins for Capote, and the big fat nada for Every Word Is True. So if you're stuck on a desert island in a couple of years and have only one of these flicks to choose from, I'd say go with Capote. Or you could go make yourself a friend out of a volleyball, but trust me, they abandon you in your time of need every time.

Related tune: Tryin' To Love Two By William Bell (real audio via

posted by drew on 8/27/2004

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