In Defence Of A Little Leo

Aviator_Poster.jpgIf you’re like me, in the 90’s you got real sick and tired of hearing the name Leonardo DiCaprio jumping forth from every teenage girls lips every 10 seconds. Just reading his name completely turned me off… not to mention I HATED Titanic, so that didn’t help either.

Having said that, an undeniable truth began to jump out at me a couple of years ago that I have fought against admitting, but is no less true from my denials. What is this great truth? Leonardo DiCaprio is one hell of an actor.

Yes, Leo has been in some dud movies, but I’ve always said that the public FAR overestimate the impact an actor has on the quality of a movie compared to it’s director (see future post on this topic). Even in the dud films, when you isolate Leo’s performance from everything else, you realize he’s doing a pretty good job with the character he’s been given.

The film that finally made me jump up and give this man his due was Catch Me If You Can. It’s not an easy task to star opposite Tom Hanks and hold your own. But he did, and did it well.

I remember shocking myself a few years ago when I heard a rumor that Leo was going to be cast as the older Anakin in Attack of the Clones… and actually LOVING the idea. Seriously, can you imagine how much better that character would have been? (No disrespect to Hayden Christensen intended).

There is a reason guys like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese keep calling this guy for their films… he’s just that damn good. And early word on The Aviator is that it’s excellent, and some critics are already whispering the word “Oscar”.

Yes, I’ve done my fair share of Leo slamming in the past, but now, a little more grown up, I finally have to admit he’s for real.

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5 thoughts on “In Defence Of A Little Leo

  1. We have something in common here now John, because it was also “Catch Me If You Can” that changed my mind about Di Caprio, he did stand his own, I forgot that Tom Hanks was even there! I love Hanks by the way, so I meant no disrespect there either. I have seen Leo in his earlier films, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “Marvin’s Room”, and I thought his performance was always up to par, I just wasnt into him, until yes, Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can”.

    As for Leo doing the Anakin role, he was also the only other actor I can think of that can provide the same angst to the character, although I do feel now that Hayden (at least in my eyes) has become Anakin Skywalker.

    I loved Leo’s riveting performance in “The Aviator” and I really, really want him to win that Best Actor this year.

  2. Agree with Nicole. Leo DiCaprio has always been a good actor. I was impressed by his acting when I saw Gilbert Grape in theatres. In fact, a friend of mine thought the movie actually used an actor who was mentally handicapped – yup, Leo was that convincing. For further proof, check out Basketball Diaries and Rimbaud Verlaine. I had seen all of these movies upon theatrical release and then came Titanic…tho I still think he’s a good actor, I admit that I haven’t seen anything else of his since that giant of a movie.

  3. Leo DiCaprio has always been a good actor. The whole ‘teen dream’ thing was what turned people off to him, not that he was a bad actor. Look at ‘This Boy’s Life’ or ‘Gilbert Grape’. He was actually excellent in ‘Titanic’ – it’s so much harder to play the believable ‘good to the core’ guy than people think. He was just EVERYWHERE afterwards and acting like a jackass, so people got really sick of him. But it never made him a bad actor.

  4. I too agree that DiCaprio is a good actor. He probably would have been better than Christensen, but, really, he made the wise choice in not doing the role (supposedly Lucas did want him for Anakin). Consider how terrible Natalie Portman, Ewan McGreggor and Liam Neeson have been in the Prequels. Lucas has the amazing ability to suck out the life from the performances of most great actors.

  5. I have to agree with you about Leo – last week while seeing the Incredibles, there was a big poster in the lobby for The Aviator. I pointed it out to my girlfriend – saying how I was looking forward to seeing that one. She stated she really didn’t like DiCaprio.
    I thought about that for a sec, and realized that I really do like him. He just a good actor.

    I even liked The Beach…right up until that part where it turned into the ‘running through the jungle’ video game.

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