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:
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.
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?