Who Owns the Night: Joaquin Phoenix or Mark Wahlberg?

Okay, this weekend we have Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix facing off in We Own The Night. If you've been watching the baseball playoffs, you've probably been told these "two brothers ... are about to ... COLLIDE!!!!" about 3,867,492 times so far. But I was wondering what would happen if they really did collide. Not in the messy, physical, brain-splattering way. More like a Cargill weekly box office breakdown sort of way. Film.com's Laremy Legel fed me some questions regarding these two actors and I was happy to oblige.

Who would you want as a wingman?

This is easy. You definitely want Wahlberg having your back. First of all, before he made it big in Hollywood, he like beat up people for fun or something. Dude is cut, at least appears like he towers over Phoenix and I'm pretty sure could take him in a fight. Also, Wahlberg always looks angry in his movies. Intimidation can't be underestimated. My strongest lasting image of Joaquin is his sniveling weakling emperor in Gladiator. He couldn't even take a half alive Russell Crowe. How is he going to take on the people I piss off on a daily basis? And believe me, I'd be testing the waters.

Who is the better actor?

This is also easy. I will say Wahlberg seems to get better and better with each movie and excels in supporting roles (I Heart Huckabees and The Departed feature his best work). But Joaquin is the better actor. He's someone I could buy in almost any role and he usually does something interesting every time out. If you look at the guy in Return to Paradise, Signs, Gladiator, and Walk The Line you are seeing four very different people. He still can't kick Wahlberg's ass, though.

Who would you rather have dinner with?

This is tough. But I'm going to give Wahlberg the slight edge. I could have a Guinness with the guy, wax poetic about Entourage, talk about the old days, the all or nothing days, the Marky Mark days ... I'd ask Wahlberg if he was ever tempted to beat up any of the New Kids on the Block, who to draft in the first round of my fantasy football league, what the ending to M. Knight's new movie is and how I get washboard abs.

Who do I want to face on the poker table?

Wahlberg (this means Joaquin wins, folks). Joaquin is locked up and shy, an introvert. If I want to know what someone's thinking, I'm asking him. If I want to rob a bank, I'm following his lead. My perception is he's got more of a calculating mind. Wahlberg isn't the Tasmanian Devil or anything, but he's more of a loose cannon I think. I get enough beers in the guy and I'm confidant I could catch him in a bluff and walk away with the keys to his car. Yo, Mark I'll be at the Hard Rock this Saturday brotha!

Who has made better career choices?

I have to chalk this one up as a tie. Both actors are in a good place. They've both been nominated the last couple of years and had decent sized hits. I consider Wahlberg to be more of a box office draw, but I don't think Phoenix will ever be a blockbuster kind of guy. He may appear in a blockbuster, but I think his skill is in choosing good projects. He's got taste, even if the movie is a failure. Wahlberg will still do a Shooter every once in a while, just to make sure he doesn't achieve full throttle success. It might hurt his rep.

So there you have it. A good old-fashioned cop-out tie. Brought to you from the makers of soccer.

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Dre writes three times a week for Film.com. We don't know what he does the other four days of the week and we don't want to find out. Email him!