Anthropology Awaits

Thankfully, circumstances have made us unexpectedly busy for the next four days. So our recently misinterpreted fury (not directed at James in general, who for the most part is a competent critic, save for the piece in question) has been siphoned into more productive conduits. Please visit the fine folks on the left in our absence. We’ve got work to do.

In the meantime, we leave you with the following personality test. Between these two actresses, who do you prefer?


I’ll keep the lips sealed on my choice until the ballots are in. But from a sociological standpoint, I’m decidedly curious.


  1. c)

    Just kidding. Not sure what you are going for with this. Acting ability? Looks? Eating disorders? Overall, I’m in the Linney camp, I am a fan of the early Zellweger.

  2. The “early” Zellweger? Jesus, I’m old.

    I think Linney’s got more chops, she’s better looking and probably smarter. Which means she’s probably a much bigger pain in the ass. Color me masochistic–I’ll take her.

  3. If we’re talking acting: Linney all the way.

    If it’s looks: Zellweger when she’s not emaciated.

    And if it’s just an overall thing: Linney. Although it took a while to forgive her for David Gale…

  4. Well, if it’s a question of sheer skill, Linney wins hands down. She’s far more proficient at conveying thoughts and emotions, whereas Zellweger is always too self-conscious and seems to take an approach that says “I’ll make this look or say the line this way because that’s what an actor should do at this point.” I particularly liked Linney’s performance in Terence Davies’ House of Mirth — understated and incredibly effective.

    If it’s a matter of looks, I still prefer Linney. I think Jim Carey’s summary of Zellweger’s looks in Me, Myself, and Irene pretty much hit the nail on the head.

  5. By “prefer” are we talking snogging, coffee, or to watch acting?

    For acting and friendship, Linney. But Zellweger was lush & funny in the first Bridget and seemed somehow more easygoing to be with; although it might have been the character, or finally having enough calming fats & lipids in her bloodstream, as other times she comes across as being fairly high-strung & show-doggish & HUNGRY. If I were dating Linney, though, I would always be up against how unworthy I was.

    Can we just prefer Isabella Rossellini instead?

  6. After reading Franzen’s meta-review of Lorrie Moore, my normal meta- impulses are even harder to combat. So, here’s what I consider the problem w/ personality tests: anyone moderately intelligent will either answer the test’s questions according to his ego ideal, or focus on deducing what each choice signifies so his results will be accurate even his individual answers aren’t.

    If the test is public. the impulse to idealize onself is even stronger. So, in this case, Renee Zellweger, pucker-faced, anus-mouthed, mainstream sweet-n-tart, doesn’t stand a chance. To make the choice even more obvious: give Linney a b&w photo and misleadingly dark (ie, stage, not screen, actor) hair.

    (Personally, though, I’m not sure who I’d vote for. I really liked Linney in You Can Count on Me, but pairing her with Zellweger suggests some kind of mainstream/art house contrast I’m not sure really holds. Linney’s, after all, starred in such suck-a-thons as The Mothman Prophecies, Congo, and Love Actually. Zellweger, at least, played a writer in One True Thing, and dated another in The Whole Wide World. Still, I guess I’ll also go for Linney; is it shallow to prefer her because she looks more grounded?)

  7. Yeah, are we talking who’s the preferred thespian or who would I rather, ya know, um, do? Not that I’m sure the answer would be different. But I’m thinking maybe Renee. No, wait, Laura. No, Renee. Definitely. Um, no, hang on, Laura.

    Can I pick both?

  8. Are we talking about companionship here? If so, I’m going to go with Renee Zellweger on this one. She’s overexposed, yes, and irritating as-all-git-out in Cold Mountain, but the Texas accent ‘n’ button nose combination is still adorable.

    Laura Linney is pretty too, but I always think she’s too mannered in every thing she does. She took me right out of Mystic River, for example. You can see her “acting” at all times.

  9. No meta-analysis here: I fell, hard, for Linney the first time I saw her, in TALES OF THE CITY, then lived for a while in terror with the suspicion that my tastes weren’t in line with the world’s–and, if so, then she wouldn’t become a star and, if so, I’d never see her again. Then she resurfaced at last in some mediocre-but-watchable Richard Gere thriller (is there any other kind?) that also, as I recall, featured Ed Norton. She was trying too hard, not a great performance, I admit, but she was back and I was happy.

    Nothing against Renee, mind you, but LL gets my vote. Please notify me a.s.a.p. which personality defects I’ve hereby confessed to, in public, without qualification.

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