Because my life has basically played out like Stuff White People Like predicted it would so far, I often engage in excessively arbitrary and trivial debates with those that I care about. It turns out when you aren't worrying about food and shelter you have plenty of time to discuss the relative merits of actors with similar-sounding names -- who knew? -- and it's in that vein that sometime last week I began sizing up Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. The Bills don't have too too much in common. They're both middle-aged -- Paxton is 56 and Pullman is 58. They both have the same first name and a last name that starts with P and features two syllables. They both have brown hair And they've both had similarly enduring and memorable careers.
For some reason, though, I've always pitted them against each other in my mind. They're contemporaneous, they look somewhat similar and their names are almost identical (they both go by Bill and not William, even!), so -- me at least -- I can't help but compare them. All of that leads to one big question. Which Bill P. -- Paxton or Pullman -- has had a better career?
Before you answer (and please vote in the poll way down below), let's lay out the respective cases, part of which I'm relaying after crowdsourcing the question with aforementioned ones that I care about.
One the one hand, you have Paxton. He hasn't been a leading man all that much during his career -- indeed his roles in Twister and on the HBO drama Big Love are the only ones that jump to mind immediately. But he's made up for that with a string of incredibly memorable supporting roles. Think of Chet Donnelly in Weird Science, Private Hudson in Aliens, Morgan Earp in Tombstone and wily submarine guy in Titanic. Those are classic movies, and they wouldn't be quite so classic without Paxton's presence.
On the other, you have Pullman. He has, at least in my view, been more of a leading man over the years. He was Lone Starr in Spaceballs and President Thomas J. Whitmore in Independence Day. He was in A League of Their Own, Newsies and Sleepless in Seattle in supporting roles as well, though none of those turns seem quite as iconic as, say, Paxton's Private Hudson. (Interestingly enough, Pullman also starred in a movie about gunslinging lawman Wyatt Earp -- cleverly titled Wyatt Earp -- just a year after Paxton was in Tombstone. Parallels!)
I'm glad both actors have been a part of my moviegoing experience, and I'm genuinely curious to see who people side with, so again, please vote in the poll below. But before you do so, take in each actor's most iconic moment.
Bill Pullman's Independence Day Speech
Bill Paxton's 'Game Over, Man'