Thursday, March 23, 2006

'Capote' ...

Or, as Jack, His Ultra-Coolness, said on the Academy Award broadcast: Capohtay.

Well, it's a no-brainer that Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor. Damn. Damn, damn. Astonishing, that man's performance.

I've never read "In Cold Blood." I think it's in a box in my basement. My mom read it, back in the day. She read the entire thing in two days. She said she couldn't put it down.

So I'll go rummage through the box, and if I have it, it will leapfrog over the other books in the pile and I'll read it next, when I'm finished with the book on my bedside table.

As Capote's publisher says in the film, he believed this book would change the way people write. As a writer, I can't imagine making that kind of contribution to the literary world.

I often wonder about "famous" people: Do they know they're destined for fame? Or greatness?

L.A. Dave called as I was writing this and we talked about the film. He asked me if I felt sorry for Capote or did I believe he brought circumstances on himself. What a good question. But then, Dave's an entertainment writer. Good questions are his job.

And as I thought about my answer, I started to think about people of such pure genius and the difficulties they must have moving through life. Because who can they really relate to? And when you're famous, can you ever really trust people who would befriend you? Do you always wonder if they have agendas, if they're truly interested in you as a person or if they're interested in your money and fame and access?

So Capote befriended Perry because at last he had found someone with whom he shared the harsh circumstances of his childhood, yet he must have been at the same time repulsed to care about someone who had committed such despicable deeds. As he says in the film (a brilliant first screenplay), it's like they grew up in the same house, but Perry went out the back door and Capote went out the front door. Their lives started from similar stock and then diverged wildly, only to meet up again by fate, and Capote found himself hanging (no pun intended) the biggest success of his literary life on the death of his protagonist, a death which took too long to come, and exacerbated Capote's alcohol addiction.

Fascinating stuff. I can understand why people were pushing me to drop everything and go see it when it hit the theaters. I should have, then. But I didn't. Still, it's worth finding on a big screen somewhere for the fabulous vista shots. It's a truly beautiful film, visually, even if the subject matter is anything but.

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