THE SPORTING EQUIVALENCY: WILLEM DAFOE
No way we bought him as James Franco's dad, but we still liked Spider Man.
One of the funniest three-second gags in Family Guy history is Stewie freaking out about Willem Dafoe sleeping under his bed. Wouldn't you? The master of cinematic intensity—side note: did you know he owns a restaurant with John C. McGinley? Odd—turns 53 today and as a result, we're turning The Sporting Equivalency on him. Who's he like in the major sports?
Willem Dafoe's MLB Equivalent: Darin Erstad
Read this report from The Houston Chronicle's Astros bloggers. Typically, beat guys know the team best; the entry claims that Darin Erstad, who just nabbed a starting role in Space City, is one of the most intense players in baseball. We'll buy that. Then consider: dude is pretty good; he had 240 hits (!) in 2000 and has a ring with the '02 Angels. Seems like Dafoe, who's legitimately gotta enter into conversation about "best actor of his generation" but probably never does. He was in Platoon and Spider Man; that's some broad acting chops.
Willem Dafoe's NBA Equivalent: Allen Iverson
Questionable? Perhaps. Here's the logic: Iverson literally never stops working; you know how many times a night the guy goes to the rack, despite usually being one of the smallest people out there? Dafoe's the same way. He's been active since 1980, and has five movies in 2008 alone. He's tireless and intense, like The Answer. Bonus: neither has grabbed the brass ring; Iverson went to the 2001 NBA Finals, willed a Game 1 win, and then lost and Dafoe has been nominated for an Oscar twice (Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire) but has yet to snag the lil' gold guy.
Willem Dafoe's NFL Equivalent: Bill Belichick
When Dafoe voiced Gill in Finding Nemo, people were shocked: 'twas a heroic role (!) for the typical villain. If Belichick did a voice in Finding Nemo, you'd be shocked too. You wouldn't want the Patriots coach sleeping under your bed, either (he'd keep you up all night talking about the 3-4). You know who beat Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor in '86, when he was up for Platoon? Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters. We can't argue with that per se (maybe Woody Allen's best film), but Hannah and Her Sisters beating Platoon in anything seems a little like Giants over Patriots, doesn't it? It never should happen, but when it actually does, you kinda saw it coming?
Willem Dafoe's Olympic Equivalent: Paul Hamm
He's from Washburn, Wisconsin. Dafoe's from Appleton. He once said of his perception among movie fans: "Weirdness isn't my game. I'm just a square from Wisconsin." We don't buy that for a second, but the cheese connection and similar intensities equate these two.
- NCB: Teams, systems and players to watch
- Derrick Rose on what it means to rep Chicago
- The Mag: Fashion Forward
- Harvick embraces role as Earnhardt's heir
- The unlikely backstory of NASCAR's most promising new drivers
- The Mag: How to crash
- The Mag: Athletes' kids finding prep success
- Mag: Inside the NCAA's Eligibility Center
- The Mag: The top 20 recruiters
- The Mag: The stories behind Georgia State football
- The Mag: The journey of Alexi Ogando
- Roenigk: Mark Ingram is tough to bring down
- Mag: Singletary's reshaping of Niners
- Mag: The rise of the Blackhawks
- Olney: October baseball is amazing
- The Mag: Ron Artest on himself
- The Mag: Pros share the best advice they got
- Bergeron: A look at the side careers of eight athletes
- Player X: In praise of quiet, rich owners
- Mag: Packers are best franchise in sports
- Reilly: Rocco didn't beat Tiger, but you'd think he did
- Simmons: It's hard to say goodbye to David Ortiz
- Blowing $66,000 on a College World Series game ... yeah, that qualifies as a meltdown.
- Racing needs to find a way to let drivers attempt to win both Indy and in Charlotte on the same day.
- The Gamer: Mike Swick and Rampage Jackson are avid gamers
- Bill Curry brings Georgia State football to life.