There's an interview with George Clooney in the latest issue of Esquire. I've read a few pieces on the guy and this one hits the usual talking points - his aunt Rosemary, his strong relationship with his father, his loyalty to his friends - but he also takes a few swipes at fellow actors Leonardo DiCaprio (apparently someone should tell him he's not very good at basketball) and, somewhat interestingly, Russell Crowe:
"He picked a fight with me. He started it for no reason at all. He put out this thing saying, 'George Clooney, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro are sellouts.' And I put out a statement saying, 'He's probably right. And I'm glad he told us, 'cause Bob and Harrison and I were also thinking about starting a band, which would also fall under the heading of bad use of celebrity.' And that's when he really went off on me. 'Who the fuck does this guy think he is? He's a Frank Sinatra wannabe.' He really went after me. And so I sent him a note going, 'Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the fuck is wrong with you?"
The two ended up ironing things out when Crowe sent him a book of his poems as an apology (though that could also be viewed as an escalation of hostilities), so that's nice. Still, Clooney is right. This kind of stuff is exactly the thing all of us ugly people (in the truest Frank Zappa sense of the term) need to help distract us from the futility of our meaningless lives.
Whatever your personal opinions of these men, the only way to settle this is through the detailed analysis of scientific data. So let's get to it.
Academy Awards: Clooney - Two (Best Motion Picture for Argo, Best Supporting Actor for Syriana) Crowe - One (Best Actor for Gladiator)
Winner: Clooney. Even though Crowe had a nice three-year string of nominations from '99 to '01 (The Insider, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind), Clooney tops him in that category as well, and really should've gotten another for Good Night, and Good Luck (or The Informant!, for that matter).
Best Movie(s): Clooney - Syriana, Out of Sight, From Dusk Till Dawn, Good Night and Good Luck, Up in the Air, The Descendants Crowe - L.A. Confidential, The Insider, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Cinderella Man, Les Miserables
Winner: Crowe. Two of his (L.A. Confidential and Master and Commander) are among my favorite of all time. Although From Dusk Till Dawn gets points for excessive rewatchability. And Salma Hayek.
Worst Movie(s): Clooney - Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, Batman and Robin, The Peacemaker, Intolerable Cruelty, Ocean's Twelve Crowe - A Good Year, Broken City, The Next Three Days, Robin Hood, Les Miserables
Winner: Push. A lot of Clooney's dogs came early in his career, but his latter ones (Ocean's Twelve) were much more high profile. Meanwhile Crowe has been sleepwalking through roles for the better part of a decade.
Legal Entanglements: Clooney - None that I could find, aside from the fact he's so handsome it should be a crime, am I right? Crowe - Various altercations of a fisticuff nature, culminating in his pleading guilty to assault after throwing a phone at a NYC hotel concierge in 2005.
Winner: If your sole criterion for this category is, "Upstanding example of civic responsibility," i guess you'd go with Clooney. If, however, you're basing your answer on "Guy I'd like on my side in a fight if we were only armed with telecommunications devices," You'd have to stick with Crowe.
Romantic History: Clooney - Heh. Yeah. After a four-year marriage to Talia Balsam in the late 80s (fun fact: she remarried Mad Men's John Slattery and also plays his wife on the show), Clooney vowed never to wed again. Since then, he's been linked with *deep breath* Lisa Snowdon, Kelly Preston, Vendela Thomessen, Lucy Liu, Celine Balitran, Renée Zellweger, Elisabetta Canalis, and Stacy Kiebler. And those are just the ones he's had his picture taken with. Crowe - Famously destroyed Meg Ryan's marriage to Dennis Quaid yet somehow never suffered the same career backlash she did. He was married to Danielle Spencer in 2003, but they split last year.
Winner: As a married man, I must say neither of these men should be admired for their romantic escapades. Indeed, both are likely wracked with despair because they lack the stability of a long-term, monogamous relationship. The poor, poor bastards.
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Who Would Win In A Fight Between Their Most Badass Characters? In terms of raw violence, this comes down to a throwdown between Seth Gecko (From Dusk Till Dawn) and Bud White (L.A. Confidential). Both are well-versed in street tactics and fueled by particular rage issues (Gecko has a perpetual Gibraltar sized chip on his soldier, White holds special hostility for abusers). Gecko's quicker, but White has size and appears to have a greater capacity for absorbing damage. In the end, I think White would win. And that gives me an excuse to post this:
The Winner: Hell, I don't know. Both of these guys are rich as Nazis and even if they never worked another day in their lives, they could lounge in their cavernous mansions while being served fresh blue whale steaks by an endless parade of submissives costumed as extras from their highest grossing movies. The whole thing reeks of publicity stunt, and I can't wait for the announcement that Crowe has been cast as the bad guy in Ocean's Fourteen.