Currently Watching… Capote

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One night last week, I decided to watch a movie on Netflix.  I take my movie watching very seriously and hate wasting my time on something ridiculous. After browsing the new releases, I stumbled across Capote starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Check out the trailer here:

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Now, this might surprise you, but I’ve only been a fan of Capote’s since 2011. Even though I’m hugely supportive of many Southern writers and adore William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and Cormac McCarthy, I read my first Capote piece only last year.  Luckily, I started with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Trust me when I say the novella is a thousand times better than the movie.  After being blown away by the quality of Tiffany’s, I moved to In Cold Blood, easily one of the best books I’ve read in years.

Watching Capote taught me a lot about the man’s life, and I find him fascinating.  While I knew that he was considered a Southern writer and that he was friends with To Kill A Mockingbird‘s Harper Lee, what I didn’t know was that their friendship blossomed in a small town in Alabama less than 200 miles from the town where I was born and raised. Monroeville, Alabama is a city a stone’s throw from my father’s childhood home: Jay, Florida.  I grew up listening to stories of him playing basketball games in Brewton and Flomaton.  Seeing Monroeville on a map and understanding EXACTLY where Capote spent part of his childhood just blew my mind.

Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Tom McGuane and James Kirkwood

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The movie was phenomenal.  If you are a Capote fan, watch it.  If you are a fan of literature or writing, watch it.  More than that, it’s a movie about the creative process and about your success being tied to something very, very dark.  There’s an enormous struggle here.  Capote, like many artists, has a self-centered desire to be successful and to share a great work with the world, but his creative piece is tied to someone else’s crimes/failure/death.  We see that this struggle isn’t easy for him.  He lapses into alcoholism and depression; he tries to sever the ties between himself and Perry; he even runs away to Spain.  However, the book must be published, and the last chapter relies on the “ending” of Perry’s life story.  In Cold Blood is a tremendous book.  Coupled with this movie, the work is unparalleled.

What great movies have you watched lately?

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