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View Poll Results: Who do you like better?
Al Pacino 73 40.78%
Robert De Niro 106 59.22%
Voters: 179. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-07-03, 10:08 PM   #1
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Al Pacino or Robert De Niro

Who do you like better?
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Old 10-07-03, 10:31 PM   #2
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Al Pacino

No one can beat Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy. He is excellent in his oscar winning role of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. And, lets not forget Scarface, Donnie Brasco, Dog Day Afternoon, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Insomnia. Robert De Niro is wonderful, especially in Raging Bull, but just not as good as Al Pacino
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Old 10-07-03, 10:52 PM   #3
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When I first saw Taxi Driver, I liked deniro better, until i saw scarface! Pacino is much better, however he chooses some really really bad roles in some really really bad movies (i.e. gigli). Pacino proves it in Scarface, Godfather, Glen Gary Glenross (my 2nd fav. pacino role), and Donnie Brasco. Deniro is hit or miss for me. I hated 15 minutes. Meet the parents is overrated, same with raging bull. He's definitely a force though!
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Old 10-08-03, 05:45 AM   #4
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Al Pacino, ya just can't beat the gangstas in Scarface.
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Old 10-08-03, 08:28 AM   #5
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Man, this is a tough one, but I have to go with Al Pacino.

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Old 10-08-03, 11:29 AM   #6
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Tough one indeed, but I'm gonna' go with DeNiro. Close call becasue Pacino always plays Pacino. Also because DeNiro is my favorite living actor.
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Old 10-08-03, 01:56 PM   #7
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I'm gonna go with DeNiro. His good stuff for me is Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, and Jackie Brown. I don't think he gets enough praise for his performance in Jackie Brown.
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Old 10-08-03, 04:53 PM   #8
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DeNiro's been in better films (overall) than Pacino.

But Pacino is the better actor with more range.
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Old 10-08-03, 05:18 PM   #9
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Originally posted by slop101
DeNiro's been in better films (overall) than Pacino.

But Pacino is the better actor with more range.
This is where I disagree. If you had a collection of all of Robert De Niro's films and another person had a collection of all of Al Pacino's films you would find a lot more crap films in the De Niro pile. Sure, Al Pacino has made his fair share of crap too but not as much as De Niro. I'd say there are about 3 bad De Niro films for every 1 bad Pacino film. Sure Pacino has Gigli and Simone on his hands but De Niro has got lots of crap on his. I voted Pacino simply because I like him better as an actor.
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Old 10-08-03, 05:39 PM   #10
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There being 3 bad De Niro pics for every bad Pacino pic may have something to do with the fact that De Niro has some 30 more credits to his name than Pacino does.

When De Niro is off, he's merely dull or uninspired. When Pacino is off, he's usually mind-numbingly bad. Though you could argue that makes Pacino's bad pictures more memorable than De Niro's ....
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Old 10-08-03, 05:50 PM   #11
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Goodfella's is my favorite movie so I went with De Niro and loved Casino as well,this is really hard to choose between these two since both make great movies,but I think Pacino played a better part in Heat imo.
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Old 10-08-03, 06:15 PM   #12
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If Pacino was the same actor today that he was in the first two Godfather movies, this would be no contest. Unfortunately, Pacino is almost a cartoon now. He's had terrible performances.
DeNiro hasn't had any really bad performances (never saw Bullwinkle), but he's been doing more comedies over the past few years and he seems out of place in them.

Deniro gets my vote.

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Old 10-08-03, 08:44 PM   #13
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Wow, this was tight. I gave my vote to Pacino.
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Old 10-08-03, 09:31 PM   #14
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Old 10-09-03, 12:28 AM   #15
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De Niro

You've got your tough guy roles; Godfather 2, Taxi Driver, Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Heat, etc. that stand up to Pacino's best.

You've also got the recent lighthearted stuff that some like, some don't. I enjoyed Meet the Parents and Analyze This.

What seals the deal though is the role of Leonard Lowe in Awakenings.
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Old 10-09-03, 01:10 AM   #16
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Old 10-09-03, 01:27 AM   #17
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Old 10-09-03, 01:41 AM   #18
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De Niro's a better actor, but the poll asked who I liked more, so I voted Pacino.

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Old 10-09-03, 01:42 AM   #19
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Despite his string of crap lately, I have to go with Deniro.

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Old 10-09-03, 07:57 AM   #20
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Robert De Niro

He did a fantastic job as Leonard Lowe in Awakenings.
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Old 10-09-03, 08:11 AM   #21
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I love both, but I went with Pacino. If you compare the early films of both actors, you'll find that only DeNiro's performance in Godfather, Part II (1974) was the most constrained. Hate to say it, Robert DeNiro gained his stardom by playing characters who aren't quite right in the head - Taxi Driver (1976), Deer Hunter (1978), Raging Bull (1980), King of Comedy (1983), etc - while Al Pacino played an array of diverse characters during the "Hit Years": The Godfather I & II (1972, 1974), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
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Old 10-09-03, 08:40 AM   #22
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Old 10-09-03, 09:05 AM   #23
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Originally posted by kenny79
"She's got a ... GREAT ASS!!! And you've got your head all the way up it!"
Pacino all the way.. he's TEH MAN.
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Old 10-09-03, 10:12 AM   #24
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But what about the ultimate Dr. Jack breakdown: Pacino vs. De Niro?
-- Rob Adams, Boston

SG: I'll be honest ... this question sat in my "Potential Mailbag Questions" file for an entire summer. I was afraid to answer it. Wouldn't you be afraid? Pacino vs. De Niro? The two most famous, influential actors of the past 30 years? I feel like I'm about to walk on Mars ... I probably won't return safely, but I can't resist.

All right, let's break this down, Dr. Jack-style:

Breakthrough performance -- Pacino with Michael Corleone in "The Godfather"; De Niro with Young Vito Corleone in "Godfather II." Yikes. Pacino's part was more important, only because Michael evolved as a character from "good-hearted, wide-eyed pup" to "evil mob boss" in the span of three hours, and the scene where he kills Solazzo and McCloskey at Louis' Ristorante has to rank among the most difficult scenes to pull off. If Pacino choked with that part, "Godfather I" would have failed miserably.

As for De Niro, his performance in "Godfather II" was incredible -- he actually made you believe that he was the young Marlon Brando playing the young Vito Corleone. Read that sentence again. But it was a supporting part ... the movie could have survived without a home run performance from him. And remember, Coppola auditioned both Pacino and De Niro for Michael's part when he was casting "The Godfather," with Pacino winning out. That's just enough to give him the nod. EDGE: PACINO.

Defining performance -- "Godfather II" for Pacino, "Raging Bull" for De Niro (the two most important performances by a male actor in the past 30 years). De Niro learned how to box, he gained 60 pounds ... I mean, he became Jake LaMotta.

But I'm still going with Pacino here, only because that's the one movie where I always think to myself, "Good God, he is absolutely amazing in this" every time I watch it. Just an electric performance from start to finish, like watching Pedro at his peak: Four pitches working, 98 mph fastball, everything for strikes. The scene where Diane Keaton tells him about her abortion, and Pacino's face starts to shake ... that's an absolute acting clinic. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it. SLIGHT EDGE: PACINO.

Consistency -- Pacino's prime lasted from 1972 ("The Godfather") through 1983 ("Serpico," "Godfather II," "Dog Day Afternoon," "And Justice For All," "Cruising," "Scarface"), with a resurgence for most of the '90s ("Godfather III," "Scent of a Woman," "Carlito's Way," "Heat," "The Insider," "Any Given Sunday"). I always thought that "Scent of a Woman"'s success was the worst thing that could have happened to him -- after he won the Oscar, he basically played the "Scent of a Woman" guy in every movie after that. Hoo-hah!!!!!

De Niro's prime lasted much longer -- initially from 1974 ("Godfather II") through 1980 ("Taxi Driver," "The Deer Hunter," "Raging Bull"), with a resurgence in the late-'80s ("The Untouchables," "Midnight Run," "Awakenings," "Goodfellas," "Cape Fear," "This Boy's Life," "Bronx Tale," "Casino," "Heat"), and then another resurgence in the late-'90s when he started doing comedies ("Analyze This," "Meet the Parents"). Just a more interesting, consistent, complete body of work, capped off by his improbable comedy success over these last few years (much like Barry Bonds improbably finishing his 30s by belting 73 homers one season and hitting .375 the next).

Put it this way: If you were trapped on a desert island and could import all of De Niro's movies or all of Pacino's movies, you'd probably pick De Niro (unless you couldn't live without "Scarface" and "Godfather I"). Just more to choose from. EDGE: De NIRO.

Believability as a cop -- Pacino was more believable as a detective; De Niro was more believable as a cop. So why didn't somebody write a movie where Pacino (as a detective) and De Niro (as a cop) banded together to solve a crime? Frankly, I have no idea. EDGE: TIE.

Most admirable misfire -- De Niro as a stalker comedian in "King of Comedy" (he just couldn't pull it off); Pacino as a Cuban drug dealer in "Scarface" (you forget, that movie absolutely bombed when it came out). Which movie will you remember 20 years from now? BIG EDGE: PACINO.

Range -- De Niro in a walk, mainly because he could throw anything at you -- Funny De Niro, Deadpan De Niro, Scary Mobster De Niro, Quiet Cop De Niro, Intense De Niro, Crazy Cop De Niro, Just Plain Crazy De Niro, Athletic De Niro, Killer De Niro, Quirky De Niro, Kindhearted DeNiro and so on. Pacino could only offer Quiet Cop Pacino, Abrasive Cop Pacino, Brooding Pacino, Crazy Pacino, Intense Pacino, Scary Pacino and Over-the-Top Pacino. There was never really Funny Pacino, unless we're talking in the Unintentional Comedy sense. Ironically enough, neither of them could pull off Romantic Pacino or Romantic De Niro (it always felt uncomfortable).

Four performances from the latter part of De Niro's career really set him apart: 1) "Midnight Run" (genuinely funny, genuinely likable, carried the movie on sheer personality, his most underrated performance), 2) "This Boy's Life" (as the meanspirited stepfather), 3) "Bronx Tale" (as the likable bus driver), and 4) "Heat" (without having much to work with -- that bank robber was a blank slate). I'm not sure Pacino could have pulled off any of those roles. EDGE: De NIRO.

(And that reminds me ...)

The Switch -- If you switched their careers and had Pacino play all of De Niro's parts, and vice-versa, who would have done a better job? De Niro wouldn't have nailed any of Pacino's over-the-top parts ("Scent of a Woman," "Heat," "And Justice For All"), and I can't imagine him pulling off the quiet, conflicted-about-possibly-being-gay police officer infiltrating the Manhattan gay scene in "Cruising" (it would have played like an "SNL" skit). He definitely would have taken Tony Montana and Michael Corleone somewhere (maybe not the same heights, but somewhere). And I think he matches anything else.

But Pacino with De Niro's parts? None of the comedy roles would have worked. "Cape Fear" and "Raging Bull" wouldn't have worked. He couldn't have played the young Vito Corleone. He probably could have handled the mob parts and most of the cop parts, and the only movie he would have improved was "King of Comedy." It just wouldn't have worked as well as De Niro with Pacino's career. EDGE: De NIRO.

Ability to avoid unintentional comedy -- Pacino takes the cake here. Ellen Barkin groping him in "Sea of Love," the dancing scenes in "Cruising" and "Scarface," the "She's got a great ass!" scene in Heat ... the list is endless. De Niro never made you laugh unless it was intentional. EDGE: De NIRO.

Most improbable character that somehow worked -- "Cape Fear" was one of those movies that you only watched once (a little too disturbing, a little too disorienting), but De Niro transformed himself for the role of Max Cady -- ripped body, long hair, Southern accent, tattoos, the works. Ten minutes into the movie, you didn't even remember that it was him. I got you now!

As for Pacino, he was handed one of the most impossible parts ever -- play a swaggering drug dealer with no redeeming qualities, adopt a Cuban accent, say everything from the side of your mouth, drop F-bombs every few minutes, have your character slowly become a coked-up maniac as the movie drags along, carry every single scene you're in, do everything in the most over-the-top fashion possible, and somehow keep the audience rooting for you in the final 20 minutes -- and somehow pulled it off, singlehandedly making "Scarface" one of the signature pop culture movies of the past 20 years.

And if you don't like it ... well, (bleep) you, how's that? EDGE: PACINO.

Shamelessness about selling out -- Hey, it's not like Pacino hasn't taken a few roles just for cash ("The Devil's Advocate," "Godfather III," "Simone" and "Dick Tracy," to name four). But he always picked his spots, at least until recently, and every Pacino movie always managed to feel like an event, even if it sucked.

Not De Niro. The way he sold out over the past 15 years has almost been jarring: "15 Minutes," "Rocky and Bullwinkle," "Showtime," "The Fan," "Frankenstein," "Marvin's Room," "Great Expectations" and "Backdraft," as well as a number of below-average films that he inexplicably accepted ("Stanley and Iris," "Mad Dog and Glory," "Guilty By Suspicion," "Night and the City," "We're No Angels"). Bob, feel free to say no every once in a while. It's okay. BIG EDGE: PACINO.

Most influential line on pop culture -- De Niro has "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"; Pacino has "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." Which one do you use more? I thought so. EDGE: PACINO.

Wild card -- My buddy Gus (who's legally changing his name to "My Buddy Gus" next month) pointed this one out: In Pacino's movies, there's always a definitive scene that you remember, one of those Pacino Scenes where he basically tells the director, "When I'm finished with this take, we'll just send it right to the Oscar committee" (like the "I woulda taken a FLAME THROWER to this place!" from "Scent of a Woman,' or the final locker room speech in "Any Given Sunday"). No matter how bad the movie, Pacino always has that one memorable scene (even in "Devil's Advocate," which may have been the worst two hours of my life).

De Niro just isn't that type of actor; he's always better in understated scenes (like the scene in "Midnight Run" when he goes to borrow money from his ex-wife). If they were pitchers, De Niro would be Greg Maddux (steady and brilliant) and Pacino would be Randy Johnson (you never know what he's capable of next). Whatever the case, I think Pacino gets a small edge here, only because a collage of his best scenes would be more fun to watch than a collage of De Niro's best scenes. EDGE: PACINO.

Head-to-head matchup -- As we all know, Pacino and DeNiro shared one major scene together, the diner scene in "Heat," one of the five or six most exciting moments of my life as a movie fan (I still remember seeing it for the first time, thinking to myself, "Good God, is this really happening?"). That's also one of those rare scenes in a movie where you're flicking channels, you know it's coming up soon, and you'll hang around for 15 minutes just until it comes on ... and after watching that scene roughly 73,456 times on cable over the last seven years, I'm giving De Niro a slight edge.

Here's why ...

It was dead-even right until the end. Pacino did his "Brotha, you are going down" routine. De Niro did his "There's a flip side to that coin ... what if I have to take you down?" routine. And it was a dead heat. Both of them hit it out of the park. Except right at the end, Pacino broke into a slight smile, almost like he couldn't handle the moment -- either it was too intense, or he couldn't believe the scene just happened. Either way, it's always bothered me. His character never would have smiled in that scene at that particular moment. It didn't add up. And it was just enough to give De Niro the win. SLIGHT EDGE: De NIRO.

My stepfather's take -- Three things you need to know about my stepdad: 1) He's 100 percent Italian, 2) his favorite movies of all-time are "Godfather 1," "Godfather 2," "Scarface," "Analyze This," "Goodfellas," "Bronx Tale," and "And Justice For All," and 3) his two favorite actors are Pacino and De Niro. Going to him for a Pacino-De Niro breakdown was like going to Bob Ryan for the definitive take on Bird vs. Magic.

Anyway, I couldn't decide between the two of them, so I turned the decision over to him. Here's what he said:

"DeNiro vs. Pacino? (silence) Oh, boy. I don't think you want to do this. (More silence) Oh. Jeez. (More silence) You have to pick one? (Dead silence) Why would you want to do this? You can't win either way."

(After some prodding ...)

"(Bleep) ... I'd go with De Niro. Most of Pacino's best stuff came out 20 and 30 years ago ... De Niro keeps coming out with quality stuff. But that's no knock on Pacino ..."

(And he defended Pacino for the next five minutes.)

Final verdict: De Niro. Barely.
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Old 10-09-03, 10:24 AM   #25
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Originally posted by lesterlong
This is where I disagree. If you had a collection of all of Robert De Niro's films and another person had a collection of all of Al Pacino's films you would find a lot more crap films in the De Niro pile. Sure, Al Pacino has made his fair share of crap too but not as much as De Niro. I'd say there are about 3 bad De Niro films for every 1 bad Pacino film. Sure Pacino has Gigli and Simone on his hands but De Niro has got lots of crap on his. I voted Pacino simply because I like him better as an actor.
My friends and I were talking about this just the other day. We brought up how Pacino and DeNiro started out with great movies in the '70s to go on to mediocre to poor movies later.

Should we place the blame on the actors, though? Well, yes - but only a little. I think most of the blame should go to the industry and the film-makers themselves. Consider DeNiro's and Pacino's films in the '70s. Now look at the best films of the last 10 years (not just Bob and Al's) - I think you'd agree that they just don't make the same compeling cinema that they used to. These great actors just don't have the same choices they used to. I can't think of any roles for them to have taken that would reach the same level of their earlier films.

The film-makers they used to work with were true visionaries - now they just work mostly with hacks. What movies should they have been in to regain their former glory? I can't think of one.

Well, now I'm not so much going on about DeNiro vs. Pacino - they've both had great movies and bad movies - my point is that they've done their BEST work in the era before the "Jaws/StarWars" mega block-busters. Sure, they've been in good movies since but they sitll pale in comparison to what they did before. And for every "Glengary" or "GoodFellas" (which are more than 10 years old now, btw) that comes out, there are about a dozen superior movies from before the "block-buster" era.

Let's break it down:
(pre-Starwars - '70s):


Godfather (1972)
Serpico (1973)
Godfather 2 (1974)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Bobby Deerfield (1977)
And Justice For All (1979)

Wow, those are not just "good movies", those are some of the best films ever made.


Mean Streets (1973)
Godfather 2 (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
1900 (1976)
New York, New York (1977)
Deer Hunter (1978)

Wow, again, some of the best movies I've ever seen.

Let's move to the '80s, shall we?


Cruising (1980)
Author! Author! (1982)
Scarface (1983)
Revolution (1985)
Sea of Love (1989)

hmm... a couple of good movies, but...


Raging Bull (1980)
True Confessions (1981)
King of Comedy (1983)
Once Upon A Time In America (1984)
Falling In Love (1984)
Brazil (1985)
The Mission (1986)
Angel Heart (1987)
Untouchables (1987)
Midnight Run (1988)
We're No Angels (1989)

A couple of stinkers, but there's at least 5 or 6 classics there.

Okay, '90s:


Any Given Sunday (1999)
Insider (1999)
Devil's Advocate (1997)
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Looking for Richard (1996)
City Hall (1996)
Heat (1995)
Carlito's Way (1993)
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Godfather 3 (1990)
Dick Tracy (1990)

A few good films, better than the '80s, but nothing near the level of the
stuff from the '70s.


Analyze This (1999)
Ronin (1998)
Great Expectations (1998)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Wag the Dog (1997)
Cop Land (1997)
Sleepers (1996)
The Fan (1996)
Heat (1995)
Casino (1995)
Frankenstein (1994)
A Bronx Tale (1993)
This Boy's Life (1993)
Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
Night and the City (1992)
Mistress (1992)
Cape Fear (1991)
Backdraft (1991)
Guilty by Suspicion (1991)
Awakenings (1990)
Goodfellas (1990)
Stanley & Iris (1990)

A little bit of everything: good, bad, great and average - with only one or two films approaching the level of what he did earlier.

And in the last couple of years DeNiro's pretty much had all average to poor roles and Pacino's only good film was Insomnia ("Simone", anyone?) without much on the horizon for either one.

Sorry about all this, but I think it goes to prove my point about movies now. And these are only two actors - do the same comparisons with directors or major studios and you'll get the same exact results across the board.

Last edited by slop101; 10-09-03 at 10:47 AM.
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