The Life Avionic

It's handsome young Leo vs. hoary old Bill at the holiday box office. But how different are their roles, really, and how different are their would-be blockbusters?


The Aviator

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou Public Triumph Sets aviation records, beds starlets, flies world's biggest plane Captures the jaguar shark on camera, earns film-festival accolades Private Despair Lives in germophobic solitude; saves pee in empty milk bottles Realizes his estranged wife and dead partner were the brains in his outfit Character Arc Rise and fall Fall and rise White Whale Spruce Goose Jaguar shark Cool Gadgets Flying boat, record-setting planes, underwire bra for Jane Russell Albino dolphin-cams, shipboard recording booth, mini sub Fashion Statement Off-the-rack Sears suits and tennis shoes Tux or blue Speedo-depending on the occasion Drug(s) of Choice Whole milk, straight from the bottle Campari and reefer Key Phrase "It's not safe" "I think she's a bull dyke" Nefarious Rival Airline mogul Alec Baldwin Fey magnate Jeff Goldblum Big Battles Stands up to U.S. Senate with Capra-esque speeches Fights off pirates-twice Response to Film-Premiere Paparazzi Neurasthenic freak-out and hand washing Punches out hectoring fan, more reefer Tests of Courage Repeatedly risks life for flying records Begs estranged wife for money; makes pass at Cate Blanchett (see below) The Cate Blanchett Hookup Factor Score! Steamy private flying lessons and cohabitation in the Hollywood Hills Shot down in flames! He loses the girl to his own son! The Willem Dafoe Factor Peddles tabloid photos of Hepburn-Tracy romance Speaks with funny German accent The Other Woman Kate Beckinsale makes Ava Gardner as sexy as a nun Effortlessly sultry Anjelica Huston keeps a shirtless Italian stallion as her boy toy Scene-Stealing Support Jude Law as Errol Flynn Albino dolphins! Biggest "Who?" Factor B-movie ingenue Faith Domergue Oseary Drakoulias (played by Michael Gambon): film financier or James Bond villain? Drives Underlings Crazy by . . . Risking entire fortune on overbudget planes and movies Running out of fuel and stranding his ship while pursuing jaguar shark Parallels to The Great Gatsby Fabulous life, depressing end Stands forlornly at end of darkened pier Parallels to Citizen Kane Audacious early promise is eclipsed by scandal and eccentricity Left unfulfilled by fame, clings to past glories Rosebud Childhood bar of soap in pocket Official Team Zissou ring Haberdashery Classic '30s fedoras and dashing aviation helmets Red knit stocking cap to cover bald spot Sequel Prospects? Moves to Vegas, grows out hair and nails, wears tissue boxes on feet There are always other fish in the sea 2004 Holiday Film Guide • It's handsome young Leo vs. hoary old Bill at the holiday box office. We compare and contrast. By Brian Miller MORE

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