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How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

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How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Missa on Wed Feb 22 2012, 23:07

How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford
By David Haglund | Posted Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at 9:13 AM ET

One of the many annoying things about The Artist’s apparent march to Oscar gold—not only in the best picture category, supposedly, but, if you follow the prognosticators, best actor, best score, and maybe a few others, too—is that it has thwarted a showdown that fans of American movies and watercooler debate deserve: Brad Pitt vs. George Clooney, for all the marbles.
Instead we’ve got Clooney vs. Dujardin, or so they say—and that just isn’t as fun.

Clooney and Pitt have of course been twinned in the minds of the movie-going public since Ocean’s Eleven (though they became actorly rivals even earlier: Clooney was the runner-up for Pitt’s breakout role, J.D. in Thelma & Louise). A review of the sequel compared the pair to Newman and Redford—and if you follow Google to chat rooms and comment threads across the Internet, you’ll see the analogy pop up more than a few times. It’s an imperfect analogy for any number of reasons—first and foremost, there is only one Paul Newman, obviously—but it’s a useful one for pointing out how the general perception of Clooney and Pitt as actors has become thoroughly warped.

Clooney, it should be perfectly clear (and yet somehow is not, if those comment threads and chat rooms are any indication) is Redford. Pitt—well, like I said, there’s only one Paul Newman. But Pitt is much more like Newman than Clooney is.

George Clooney is a good actor, certainly. He commands the screen in a manner not totally unlike a Golden Age movie star. His range is not tremendous; he’s best when he can use the distant, elusive quality he never shakes anyway—witness his turns in Out of Sight, Three Kings, Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, the Ocean’s movies. Like Redford, he has turned to directing, with a particular interest in films that display an old-fashioned moderate leftiness (and an old-fashioned moderate loftiness).

And yet somehow it’s Pitt who gets saddled with the Redford comparisons. Sure, he’s slightly younger than Clooney, but not by much. He’s sort of blondish, I guess, like Redford—and his part in the Redford-directed A River Runs Through It was important for his career. Redford also played Pitt’s mentor in the forgettable Spy Game, for whatever that’s worth. But Pitt’s accomplishments as an actor put him in Newman’s class, not Redford’s.

People like to say that Pitt is a character actor in a leading man’s body, thanks to his standout supporting parts in 12 Monkeys, Burn After Reading, and Inglourious Basterds (his over-the-top turn as Tyler Durden in Fight Club may be a factor here, too). And there is some resistance, I think, to taking Brad Pitt seriously; he’s never seemed quite as sophisticated off-screen as the bachelor Clooney with his Italian villa and what have you. But it’s what’s on the screen that matters, and after Tree of Life and Moneyball—two movies in which Pitt delivers excellent, understated performances in quieter, dominant roles—his abilities as a leading man are indisputable.

Clooney, meanwhile, and to his great credit, attempted, in The Descendants, a character he knew he would be “uncomfortable” inhabiting, as he recently told James Lipton. Matt King, his character, must convey a sense of rootedness, of attachment—to the land, to his kids, even to the adulterous wife in a coma on a hospital bed. And Clooney can’t quite pull it off. Pitt, on the other hand, leaves a mark with a few stern words to his sons in The Tree of Life and makes driving around by himself and occasionally eating things somehow interesting in Moneyball.

And yet Clooney has a better shot at the Oscar, according to those who know. If it weren’t for that perky quasi-silent movie, his biggest threat would be Brad Pitt, and we would all be having fun Oscar arguments about which of these Hollywood friends and supposed rivals is really the superior actor. And the answer would clearly be Pitt.

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Missa
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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by melbert on Thu Feb 23 2012, 02:10

I don't care! I still love George better!

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Cinderella on Thu Feb 23 2012, 02:25

I agree, Melbert! I love George more! lol!
... I thought it was a bazaar article for some reason. Sorry, Mr. Haglund!

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by The next mrs clooney on Thu Feb 23 2012, 03:15

George is clearly the best in my mind. He actually does have great range as an actor and you just have to look at his different roles to see that.

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Michelle meyers on Thu Feb 23 2012, 05:47

clearly I like george better, too but i do have to admit they make a great team..... buddy movie?

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Katiedot on Thu Feb 23 2012, 06:44

I'd like to see the two of them together in a film.

I'd like to buck the prevailing trend and say that Brad is probably the better actor. He's got a greater range and while George is good at what he does, I could never see him being able to do the roles Brad has had, from beefcake in 300 (although of course that wasn't an acting tour de force!) to the role he played in 12 Monkeys.

Brad can master mindlessly stupid right through to scary or authoritative. George can't.

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Merlin on Thu Feb 23 2012, 07:24

Was Brad in 300? Blimey I didn't even notice him!

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Katiedot on Thu Feb 23 2012, 08:06

Ooh, there'sa reason for that Merlin. Apparently he wasn't in 300, he was in Troy. That's what I meant.

And after checking that, it turns out that I've unintentionally seen every film he's made since 1998 (except Moneyball and Tree of Life which aren't showing here).

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 23 2012, 08:35

don't know him so much
to say something

I like Mr Clooney Love4
of that I'm sure! Cool

it's me
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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by silly girl on Thu Feb 23 2012, 12:19

I think the comparison is valid in a way.....I see GC as Paul Newman and BP as Robert Redford....I was always a big PN fan as he had those eyes and more character in his face....never liked RR because like BP he was too pretty boy for me...

I said this on the Inside the Actor's Studio thread but as I tend to repeat myself I will say it again. GC had a two hour program where I think the students really learned something. There were more questions presented and answered. Whereas BP only got an hour and two questions from students (that we saw)....I just think G has done more than B so has a more rounded expierience...IMHO. Very Happy

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 23 2012, 12:48

guess G has really great skills in talking too

and really Not worthy Not worthy Not worthy A LOT TO SAY Very Happy

he is fast
really 10 out of 10 fast on mind working... FUF!


it's me
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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by Cinderella on Thu Feb 23 2012, 14:17

I think it’s because he spreads himself far and wide. He’s into many branches and not just acting. He started years ago and that’s why it seems he has more to say. I know this… I would love to talk to him! I could learn a lot from him if I ever had the chance! In the same context I would hope he would learn from me… AND I will not go any further with an explanation for that… lol!

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by macs on Thu Feb 23 2012, 14:36

Katiedot wrote:I'd like to see the two of them together in a film.

I'd like to buck the prevailing trend and say that Brad is probably the better actor. He's got a greater range and while George is good at what he does, I could never see him being able to do the roles Brad has had, from beefcake in 300 (although of course that wasn't an acting tour de force!) to the role he played in 12 Monkeys.

Brad can master mindlessly stupid right through to scary or authoritative. George can't.

interesting that I used to think the same thing.Though I never was much of a fan of Pitt, he's been a some movies that I really like and originally he seemed to me more versatile as an actor than Clooney (maybe he's still is, not sure anymore}. But over the years George has actually impressed me more and more actingwise, and I think now he's got better timing/he's really good to convey emotions without any words, etc. maybe he's less versatile but as far as doing it "low key", he's quite a master... Well still not sure who's better, I suppose it depend on which acting style you prefer, but i'd say George has largely more than filled the gap I was giving him on Brad originally.
funny enough I grew up more around Redford (his movies showed on TV more often than Newman's} so I got into Newman much later, but now it's pretty much all about him !

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 23 2012, 20:21

sorry
G is better
the best
IN ANY WAYS

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Re: How Pitt and Clooney Became Our Newman and Redford

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