I was out in the car today, flipping through XM channels and pausing at Taylor Hicks's ''Do I Make Your Proud.'' And began thinking about Ben Kingsley.
During the 1982 Oscars, you may recall, Kingsley's performance in ''Gandhi'' was nominated, against among others Dustin Hoffman in ''Tootsie.'' A friend of mine argued that Hoffman should win, and not only because he gave a good performance. In addition, my friend insisted that Hoffman could have played ''Gandhi'' well, while Kingsley couldn't have done ''Tootsie,'' so Hoffman was obviously the better actor.
Well, having watched Kingsley in the years since, I suspect he could have been very good and funny in ''Tootsie.'' (One piece of evidence: His performance on ''The Sopranos.'') But that doesn't matter, since Kingsley got that ''Gandhi'' Oscar anyway.
So where does Mr. Hicks come in? Because ''Do I Make You Proud'' is such a big piece of cheese, it's like a gigantically recycled, overdone (and far less likable) version of ''I Don't Want To Miss a Thing.'' And that brings us the Taylor-Tyler test. I don't think Taylor could do ''I Don't Want To Miss a Thing'' was well as Steven Tyler. But I think Steven Tyler could sing ''Do I Make You Proud'' better than Taylor does.
And, having written this all out, I am thinking that in the car I should just focus on my driving.