Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I finally saw the film Capote last night.

Now, among other things, I’m an actor. I’ve been one for over 14 years now. I’ve studied and studied. I’ve rehearsed and evaluated. I’ve opened myself up. I’ve closed myself down. I’ve emoted. I’ve been good. I’ve supremely sucked. But all things considered, I believe myself to be a decent one. I’m not spectacular, but I’m not one of those clueless, pipe-dreamers that think they’re going to make it just because someone told them that they were “mad sexy and should be on TV” once.

No one has ever told me I was “mad sexy.” In fact, I don’t want to hear anyone say the words “mad sexy.” I’ll settle for sexy. Or mad.

But with the work that I’ve put in on my acting in the past, I think that I’ve trained myself into a very capable actor. In fact, I’m going to go out on a self-aggrandizing limb here and call myself just above average. At least I thought I was.

But then I see a film like Capote. I see our favorite seedy ball of man, Philip Seymour Hoffman, stretch his acting muscles.

And I think, “man, I’m in the wrong business.”

Seriously, how am I supposed to live up to that kind of performance? Philip is throwing off the curve, man! Normally I don’t care for actors “putting on” the mannerisms of the actual person that they’re portraying. It makes me cringe. It generally points up the fact that the actor is more interested in trying to “be” whoever-it-is than actually doing any real acting.

This isn’t the case with Philip. He took a character that is so very easily caricatured and played him with accuracy, subtlety and – most importantly – honesty.

I heard a lot about this performance before I saw the film. But I’ve heard hype like this before (Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball?). It usually comes from a need for critics to find the next great performance rather than actual fact. But I have to tell you, the film and Philip’s performance (I like to call him Philip because if he reads this then maybe I can trick him into thinking that we’re actually friends) was everything that the critics said it was.

And the rest of the cast is just right also. How do you go wrong with Chris Cooper and Catherine Keener (especially when she’s playing Harper Lee, author of one of the greatest books ever written)?

So, even though it makes me wish that I’d gotten a law degree, if you get a chance to see Capote, take it. You won’t be disappointed. Well, maybe you will, how the hell am I supposed to know what your expectations are?

I’m not a mind reader!

And after seeing Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, evidently, I’m not an actor either.

Damn you, Phil.

Fun Fact: Today isn’t just that day that I write a love letter to Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s also a “date that will live in infamy.”

Yes, it’s Pearl Harbor Day. And I will always remember “a date that will live in infamy.”

Oh, no, not the actual date. I mean the phrase. “A date that will live in infamy.” The “lives in infamy” part is the only thing that “lives in infamy” in my brain. I can never actually remember the date. I know that the quote from FDR comes with a date attached to it at the beginning… “December…something…nineteen-forty…something…a date that will live in infamy!”

How am I supposed to remember that date? Couldn’t somebody come up with a better way to remember it? I know that in fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. I know that in 1814 we took a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.

But all I get for the beginning of US involvement in the greatest war ever fought is “December…something…nineteen-forty…something…a date that will live in infamy!?”

Is that fair to the brave men and women who fought against tyranny?! No. So here, let’s solve this problem once and for all.

On December 7 we took a little trip
Along with FDR as planes attacked some ships
‘Twas nineteen-hundred and forty-one
Columbus sailed the ocean blue

Problem solved.

Thanks, WWII vets.

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