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Leo Rising
#1
I've begun revisiting the early films of Leonardo DiCaprio.

Out the gate THIS BOY'S LIFE, GILBERT GRAPE, QUICK & THE DEAD, BASKETBALL DIARIES he's like this powerhouse mix of River Phoenix and Monty Clift.

I hadn't seen GRAPE in like 20 years and I was astounded how much it emotionally wrecked me. I think it's up there with  the alltime melodrama tearjerkers. The cast is fantastic: Depp when his instincts were more exciting than annoyingly eccentric, Juliette Lewis in dream girl mode, Crispin Glover and a subtly great old reliable John C. Reilly. The movie belongs to Darlene Cates - a real world find similar to Gary Poulter in JOE - but Leo is uniquely impressive and his chemistry with everyone helps make the story such a moving affair.

BASKETBALL DIARIES I have a love hate relationship with the adaptation. I worship the book, so it's frustrating how the movie doesn't capture the specific time and place or hoops culture undercurrent. However, it does capture the doing dumb shit teen delinquent shenanigans and how when you play sports at that age, you're such a tight unit rolling together. As a private school baller, with an artistic temperament/secret dreams, I identify with almost everything except the coach trying to fuck me or succumbing to heroin addiction. It has moments of being Leo's MEAN STREETS thanks to a breakout Wahlberg.

QUICK & THE DEAD is a superfun B Western riff with Leo in full swag mode for the first time. His death scene is kind of great.

TOTAL ECLIPSE was the early one I could never get into, but I look forward to giving it another chance.

THIS BOY'S LIFE is one of my favorite movies ever. Each go-around I can never believe Michael Caton-Jones was nothing more than a journeyman. The escalating Leo-DeNiro scenes are pure dynamite.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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#2
And of course, without THIS BOY'S LIFE we wouldn't have this MST3K host segment in which Mike Nelson knows a thing or two about a thing or two.





I'm not gonna raise any sissies, I'll tell you that right now.
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#3
WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is still Leo's best job of acting, in my opinion. I honestly thought that he was a for real mentally challenged actor, he was that convincing. Excellent movie overall, too.
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#4
Leo has had so many great movies it's hard to keep count. I think he's become like the new Nicholson. His only real stinkers are Total Eclipse and The Revenant. The former more than the latter. I genuinely GREATLY dislike that movie. It's just two hours spent with pretty despicable people. Artsy fartsy nonsense. The Revenant is just cheesy. Funny that's the one he won an Oscar for. Should've been for Wolf of Wall Street..
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#5
Spike teased BASKETBALL DIARIES around the time of HOOP DREAMS, saying Leo was absolutely unconvincing on the court. However, he looks the way I imagine Carrol playing. Less convincing was Wahlberg doing Rock n Jock style reverse jams. It takes you right out of what is supposed to be a gritty early 70's. The B Ball scenes authentically fall short of even 'The White Shadow'. And there's only one token early scenes of Leo and crew bullshitting about the game or talkin' hoops like if the 5 of them could beat Wilt Chamberlin. You don't get the obsession and how it took something as powerful as junk to overtake and destroy this joy and passion.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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#6
Gilbert Grape is a classic.

And I LOVE The Quick and the Dead with all my heart.

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#7
My favorite DiCaprio movies are Gangs of New York and The Departed. Full stop. With Titanic being next I'd guess..
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#8
In the late 80's, River Phoenix was very passionate about "The Basketball Diaries". I think he was carrying a dog-eared copy at the Academy Awards. I like to believe there's an alternate reality where he made the movie with Gus Van Sant right before or after IDAHO.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#9
(07-15-2019, 12:14 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is still Leo's best job of acting, in my opinion.  I honestly thought that he was a for real mentally challenged actor, he was that convincing.  Excellent movie overall, too.
I remember at the Oscars, they showed Leo's clip then cut to him in the audience and I was taken aback. I think my personal fave performance of his is WOLF OF WALL STREET, but there are several contenders, including GRAPE (this was also made back when Johnny Depp could play recognizable human beings).

Leo's had a helluva run. Outside of THE REVENANT, which I think is suffocated by Innaritu's humorless, pretentious, scolding approach to filmmaking, he's made some incredible movies. I'm partial to his 2010 Bereaved Husband Blockbuster double feature of INCEPTION and SHUTTER ISLAND. Leo's at Peak Anguish in those movies.

Most underrated? I vote for CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.
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#10
Oof. I can't stand Grape. I feel like his performance rings false and comical every time. I've always believed Leo to be at his best in stuff like Catch Me If You Can (which I love) and Wolf of Wall Street (which I like). Romeo + Juliet was another one in which I appreciated him.

I guess I get the impression that his performance is greatly improved when it seems like he's having fun with the work. So, not Revenant.

Oof.  I can't stand Grape.  I feel like his performance rings false and comical every time.  I've always believed Leo to be at his best in stuff like Catch Me If You Can (which I love) and Wolf of Wall Street (which I like).  Lurhman's Romeo + Juliet was another one in which I appreciated him.  

I guess I get the impression that his performance is greatly improved when it seems like he's having fun with the work.  So, not Revenant.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

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#11
Grape is....ok. But this is coming from someone who doesn't have much appreciation for movies like Gilbert Grape. I find movies where actors are ACTING WITH A CAPITAL A....grating. Stuff like I Am Sam. But then....I'm mostly into movies for pulpy fictional stuff. Oddly....I'm not that wild about Inception despite being a huge Nolan fan. I think it's his worst movie. Which means it's still not BAD. It just doesn't work for me very well for some reason..
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#12
See, I didn't think DiCaprio was acting with a capital A in that. Usually I'd agree with you, but Leo's performance in that didn't strike me as a Simple Jack situation. It might play differently to me now.
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#13
With Mangy here. Leo was killing it in GRAPE without being showy.

If you want showy 'ACTING, GENIUS!!!!' type stuff, look no further than ROMEO + JULIET. I can't stand that movie, mainly because everyone is screaming their lines and mugging excessively. There's no subtlety or nuance to the film at all.

Count me as a fan of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN as well. Just a fun, fun movie.
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#14
Gilbert Grape is just simply not my type of film. Though....I'll certainly concede that OF those types of films...it is among the genuine feeling. That's for certain.

I need to give Catch Me If You Can another chance..
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#15
(07-16-2019, 12:33 PM)fraid uh noman Wrote: Gilbert Grape is just simply not my type of film. Though....I'll certainly concede that OF those types of films...it is among the genuine feeling. That's for certain.

I need to give Catch Me If You Can another chance..
I'm curious to see it again now that I know who Leo is. When I saw it, I had no idea, and I'm sure that affected my opinion.
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#16
Back to THIS BOY'S LIFE:

I can't find a clip or even a gif, but there's this subtly great little scene where De Niro + DiCaprio are both oh so perfect.

The family is gathered around watching the news and the story is the acquittal of Lana Turner's daughter for killing her mom's abusive gangster boyfriend. Leo is in the back drinking a glass of milk and staring daggers, murder in his eye; dreaming of giving Dwight a similar fate. DeNiro turns in his chair and looks back at him, sensing what he's thinking. At first he looks worried, then he gives this little fuck you smile, like daring Leo to try it.

That moment is their whole relationship.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#17
That movie came out the same year as Grape. I recall seeing it later and really liking it, although I always get it confused with DeNiro's other '93 film A BRONX TALE.

I don't think I've ever seen CRITTERS 3, but now I want to:

[Image: awesome-behind-the-scenes-photos-from-ho...ies-29.jpg]
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#18
DiCaprio remains the only movie-star we have.

The real ending to Big...
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