Saturday, March 11, 2006

Time for another pity party ...

Maxine also points me to Light Reading and Annie Proulx's Sour Grapes Rant

Philip Seymour Hoffman did not merely impersonate Truman Capote and 'Capote' was a much better written and directed film than 'Brokeback Mountain', which is one of those films you think less and less of the farther you get from it. Two guys meet, have sex, separate. Get married, meet again, have sex, separate. Meet again - well, you get the idea. 'Capote' even works as literary criticism. I hadn't realized until I saw the film that not only was the Clutter murder committed in cold blood; so was Capote's book. And Capote knew it. I even think 'Capote' makes a better point about homosexuality. The little guy knew how people looked at him and thought about him - and wasn't intimidated one bit by it. In his way, Capote was as tough any ranch hand.


  1. I don't think Proulx was being immodest..the tone of the piece does initially point in that direction, but hailing Truman Capote for who he was and appreciating Hoffman's performance are two very separate issues.

    She addresses this as much when she says:

    Hollywood loves mimicry, the conversion of a film actor into the spittin' image of a once-living celeb. But which takes more skill, acting a person who strolled the boulevard a few decades ago and who left behind tapes, film, photographs, voice recordings and friends with strong memories, or the construction of characters from imagination and a few cold words on the page? I don't know. The subject never comes up. Cheers to David Strathairn, Joaquin Phoenix and Hoffman, but what about actors who start in the dark?

    Capote may be a cinematically excellent film, but its merits cannot be judged by the histories of its protagonist. Similarly, to say that Jack and Ennis were somehow more resilient to societal pressures, and that that can be considered while discussing the films, is irrelevant.

  2. I haven't seen either film so am writing out of total ignorance of that aspect.


    (1) I think Annie Proulx's piece was graceless -- not even ironic or witty. I think she'll come to regret having written it, best to take it on the chin and be a good sport, as is about the one good thing left in professional sports: the loser or losing side is almost always graceful and congratulates the winner, however blind they may consider the referee or umpire.

    (2) I really enjoyed your perceptive juxtaposition and analysis of homosexual themes in these two films, Frank. This point would never have occurred to me, but makes a lot of sense, when you look at the two stories together. (With the caveat in my first sentence, of not having seen either film -- but have read "In Cold Blood, and I do have the collection containing "BM" in my unread book slew.)