I am a fervent adorer of "Ocean's Twelve", as we know, but rather than launch into yet another passionate argument for the film's unappreciated brilliance, I'd simply like to re-iterate that its single flaw is this: a scene was not included that featured George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts sitting in a room together and LITERALLY reading from a phonebook, trying to one-up each other. A Hollywood Actor Royal Rumble.
Last week I was listening to a podcast with Grantland founder Bill Simmons and the site's resident film critic, Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Morris. Morris mentioned how Meryl Streep has openly admitted to competing with actresses in films. This led to a later discussion on how the infamous scene between Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro in the diner in "Heat" was essentially like a pickup basketball game, one on one, Jordan vs. Bird, which led to pitching an idea of re-visiting noted movie moments to ask "Who Won The Scene?" And this, as it must, got me to thinking.
Not necessarily about scenes and wondering who won them, but actorly competition, a full night of Hollywood's best squaring off in the ring, a stellar undercard and the monumental main event, live from Madison Square Garden.
Top 5 Actor vs. Actor Showdowns
Al Pacino vs. Denzel Washington
You want to get the undercard to a heavyweight title fight off to a fluffy start, and what better way than these two Oscar-winning titans hollering at each other for five rounds? But maybe it wouldn't just be hollering? Maybe the heat of battle would allow Al to re-locate his long-gone nuance and Denzel to internalize and, in turn, show us his soul. Or maybe not and they'd just holler, and five rounds of Pacino & Denzel hollering would be pretty cool.
Amy Adams vs. Rachel Weisz
I dare say it wouldn't have the pre-match buzz of our other bouts, but, trust me, this would bring the heat. Two chameleons, one American and one Brit, staring each other down and throwing elegant haymakers, gracefully swerving from sassy to charming to sexy to spinster to hippie to indie to classical to bawdy and back again.
Christian Bale vs. Michael Shannon
The intensity. Sweet Jesus, man, the INTENSITY!!!!!! They wouldn't touch (figurative) gloves, they would squint and spit and chew scenery. It would be exhausting in the best way possible.
Cate Blanchett vs. Kate Winslet
You're toast, Blanchett.
Daniel Day-Lewis vs. Meryl Streep
The main event. 15 rounds. No referee because he/she would just distract. A fury of tics and accents and costume changes and bone marrow embodiments. I'd think Streep might be the favorite, if only because Day-Lewis seems to require so much prep work and getting-into-character time. Unless he spent the months leading up to the bout prepping and getting-into-character. Still, no one has really ever counterpunched Day-Lewis, and Streep could counterpunch. But then, Streep has never had anyone get back up off the ropes. And Day-Lewis would get back up off the ropes. Let's call it even 'til we see it.