Wednesday, June 18, 2003

EXPERT OPINION: Cosmo Macero of the Boston Herald has solicited my determination -- and yours -- on a vital issue of major national importance: Who's hotter among the over-50 set: Sigourney Weaver or Susan Sarandon?

I am happy to take on the challenge. Here's my first cut at the problem:

Let's start with a simple fact: Susan Sarandon has had at least three movies in which she is sexier than Sigourney Weaver has ever been on screen: Bull Durham, Atlantic City and White Palace, where she's doing the hippity-dippity with James Spader all over the place. All three feature really nice, memorable, sensual performances from Big Red. Then Sigourney's Half Moon Street and Heartbreakers enter the picture, and then we can get into the whole debate about whether Lt. Ripley in the Alien series can be viewed as sexy while kicking a lot of ass, and whether there's anything sexy about a death-penalty-fighting-nun.

There is no rational way to decide this -- it's all a matter of taste. Some guys go for smoky redheads. At the same time, my mother is a redhead, which steers me pretty clearly in the opposite direction.

And there's something to be said for Sigourney Weaver's WASP-power-bitch persona, and the way characters of hers like the caustic, adulterous Janey in The Ice Storm and especially archetypical career woman Katharine Parker in Working Girl just use their power and standoffishness to make you want them, that you know they'll only give into temptation on their own terms, that you are never the one in control. And Lieutenant Ripley is clearly always in charge whenever she's on screen.

I've got no quarrel with Susan Sarandon or her politics, but there's something about some of her characters that's so deliberately and overtly sexual as to turn me off a little. Like she's trying too hard or something.

But Sigourney? She can come to my key party anytime.

Readers, any thoughts? Do I have this all wrong? Click on the Comments below, and let me know. We've got a debate to solve.

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