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View Full Version : Rethinking Leo



JasonEvans
02-26-2007, 05:37 PM
I was really struck last night watching the Oscars how far Leo Dicaprio has come. Remember after Titanic when everyone associated with the movie was nominated/won Oscars except him? He was like a punchline to a bad joke after The Beach.

And then, back-to-back-to-back he has done The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Departed. I mean, that's as fine a run of movies/acting performances as we hae seen since Tom Hanks did Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13, isn't it?

Leo was singled out last night by Scorsese and by esteemed producer Graham King for his awesome work in recent films. He is already slated to appear in Scorsese's next epic, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Leo will play Teddy). Wanna bet he'll get a ton of Oscar buzz for that?

If you had to rank the great film actors under the age of 40 right now, he'd be right at the top of the list. It is just a stunning turn-around for a guy who really looked like a pretty face and nothing more only a few years ago.

-Jason "hmmm, top actors under 40 (maybe I should make it 50 to include Depp), that would be an interesting list" Evans

Clipsfan
02-26-2007, 06:17 PM
I think that you can go further back than The Aviator for excellent performances by Leo. I know that it's been several years now that he's been considered the top act in town among the younger actors. Catch Me if You Can and Gangs of New York helped him recover from the disaster that was his paid vacation known as The Beach. You got me thinking about other actors who would be in a similar category, and I'm not having much success thinking of them. Russell Crowe misses the cutoff by a couple years (he's 42), and other big box office draws have been on the comedic side recently, such as Stiller or Ferrell (as much as I liked Stranger Than Fiction, he's not in the same league by any means). Stiller isn't even close. Murphy appears to have started to resuscitate his career with Dreamgirls (although Norbit is sort of one step forward, two back), but he's also in his early 40s. I realize that I'm only listing actors who are also big draws, but that's where Leo is unique. He draws people to the boxoffice, and also puts on an excellent performance.

JBDuke
02-26-2007, 06:54 PM
I was really struck last night watching the Oscars how far Leo Dicaprio has come. Remember after Titanic when everyone associated with the movie was nominated/won Oscars except him? He was like a punchline to a bad joke after The Beach.

And then, back-to-back-to-back he has done The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Departed. I mean, that's as fine a run of movies/acting performances as we hae seen since Tom Hanks did Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13, isn't it?

Leo was singled out last night by Scorsese and by esteemed producer Graham King for his awesome work in recent films. He is already slated to appear in Scorsese's next epic, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Leo will play Teddy). Wanna bet he'll get a ton of Oscar buzz for that?

If you had to rank the great film actors under the age of 40 right now, he'd be right at the top of the list. It is just a stunning turn-around for a guy who really looked like a pretty face and nothing more only a few years ago.

-Jason "hmmm, top actors under 40 (maybe I should make it 50 to include Depp), that would be an interesting list" Evans

I have never understood the bashing of Leonardo DiCaprio. Ever since his back-to-back turns in "This Boy's Life" and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", way back in 1993, I've thought of him as a great young actor. He won critical praise for both of those efforts (and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the latter), as well as "The Basketball Diaries" (95) and "Marvin's Room" (96), before "Titanic" came along. He followed that with "The Man in the Iron Mask", in which I thought he was pretty convincing in the dual role, despite what the critics had to say about it. Then, after "The Beach", which was pretty bad - and not really his fault, he did "Gangs of New York" and "Catch Me If You Can", and did very well in both, IMO, before hitting the stretch you mention - "The Aviator" (another nomination), "The Departed", and "Blood Diamond" (another nomination).

So, here's a young man with 3 Academy Award nominations and 6 Golden Globe nominations (one win) and he's only 32 years old. Pretty darned amazing.

IMO, "Titanic" was such a monster hit that everyone associated with it, but most especially Leo, was overexposed, and it became trendy to bash the film and bash him for being in it. Yes, his character was a cardboard cutout, and the movie had its flaws, but I don't think it's nearly as bad as people make it out to be, and I think Leo did pretty darned well with what he had to work with in it. I think the reaction to "Iron Mask" was part of this backlash.

So, I don't think Leo has come that far at all. Practically ever since he first appeared on the movie screen, he's done exceptional work in association with some of the finest actors and directors of our time. He's had only a couple of missteps, but fewer than most, and I look forward to his work for years to come. He may end up with a body of work second to very few in the industry.

willywoody
02-26-2007, 07:47 PM
while the movie The Beach did not live up to the book it was 5000000000000000000 times better than The Departed. i liked the acting but the story and some other parts were terrible.

1. anyone notice the blood flies up well before the body splats when the detective is thrown over the roof?

2. if you are leo's character, are you going to 1) answer the cell phone in your house after you know your boss is dead? 2) waltz right into the police station and meet with matt damon's character? 3) not realize matt's character may have more than one back-up? 4) give matt your id on the computer?

3. what are the odds both matt and leo's characters end up with the same shrink? why is the picture she brought to matt's digs now back hanging on her wall when leo shows up? she seems plenty happy with damon but sleeps with leo, why?

4. damon just leaves the envelope out on his desk for anyone to peruse, and if he's so lax, then he notices it's been slightly moved in 0.1 seconds?

5. even if jack's in with the fbi and they set up the chinese mafia, don't you think they would be back with their automatic weapons to kick some ***? who doesn't set up surveillance on the back door of a site? i don't care if you have ten seconds to place the cameras, you would cover the exits. and didn't the fbi see cell activity coming from their own hq when everyone knew there was a mole in the dept?

6. why did marky mark waste damon? sure he thought he was an *** and maybe suspected him the mole, but people don't risk their lives on slight suspicions . and doesn't anyone in the police dept ever file assault charges when one of their coworkers starts pounding on them?

7. how many times is scorcese (?sp) gonna use the same songs for the soundtrack?

A-Tex Devil
02-26-2007, 10:12 PM
while the movie The Beach did not live up to the book it was 5000000000000000000 times better than The Departed. i liked the acting but the story and some other parts were terrible.

1. anyone notice the blood flies up well before the body splats when the detective is thrown over the roof?

2. if you are leo's character, are you going to 1) answer the cell phone in your house after you know your boss is dead? 2) waltz right into the police station and meet with matt damon's character? 3) not realize matt's character may have more than one back-up? 4) give matt your id on the computer?

3. what are the odds both matt and leo's characters end up with the same shrink? why is the picture she brought to matt's digs now back hanging on her wall when leo shows up? she seems plenty happy with damon but sleeps with leo, why?

4. damon just leaves the envelope out on his desk for anyone to peruse, and if he's so lax, then he notices it's been slightly moved in 0.1 seconds?

5. even if jack's in with the fbi and they set up the chinese mafia, don't you think they would be back with their automatic weapons to kick some ***? who doesn't set up surveillance on the back door of a site? i don't care if you have ten seconds to place the cameras, you would cover the exits. and didn't the fbi see cell activity coming from their own hq when everyone knew there was a mole in the dept?

6. why did marky mark waste damon? sure he thought he was an *** and maybe suspected him the mole, but people don't risk their lives on slight suspicions . and doesn't anyone in the police dept ever file assault charges when one of their coworkers starts pounding on them?

7. how many times is scorcese (?sp) gonna use the same songs for the soundtrack?

so.... much.... disagreement.... head.... can't..... take...... it.....

While I understand some people thought the plot was too contrived, and that might be a reason to ding it as Oscar worthy, I'm not sure most of these complaints are too hard to explain.

1. I don't know alot about falling bodies, but this doesn't seem implausible.

2. My take on DiCaprio's character at that point is that he wanted out ASAP. He had no reason to think Damon was the mole.

3. The shrink was certainly part of the plot contrivance. Probably not needed. I haven't seen Infernal Affairs to see if it had the same subplot. I can buy that complaint. But this movie leaves a lot to be inferred and Scorcese certainly inferred that Damon's character was having "problems in the sack" of some sort. He also didn't want her picture hanging up in the main room.

4. Why would Damon have been worried about that envelope? None of his office mates would have any reason to know what it was.

5. Why would the FBI be involved in the Chinese mafia sting? I saw it in September, but I don't remember there being any hint that it was an FBI sting too. That was all stateys. Jack Nicholson was simply an informant for the FBI which kept him out of jail - supplied them information when needed, etc. He wasn't a mole. He was smart enough to tape his conversation with Damon's character in case he could ever use it should Damon turn on him.

6. I thought it was pretty obvious that the "envelope" went to Dignam(Wahlberg's character) when something happened to DiCaprio.

7. Which song? Was it that distracting?

Anyway -- I certainly see how this movie can be frustrating. It's not Goodfellas or Casino. It's a story with contrived twists and turns that IMHO worked magnificantly. Put this script in the hands of a less adept director and it really could have been a disaster.

willywoody
02-26-2007, 10:48 PM
let's see if i this works as i'm having troubles posting a reply:



1. I don't know alot about falling bodies, but this doesn't seem implausible.

the camera was in way tight. the sound and blood should've been right on top of each other. it's really not even close in the movie and very disconcerting.

2. My take on DiCaprio's character at that point is that he wanted out ASAP. He had no reason to think Damon was the mole.

someone is the mole and why wouldn't the mole be on top of getting his cell phone. even if he wanted to get help i would think guy with 1400 on his SATs would use some precautions. oh wait, 1400 ain't what it used to be.

3. The shrink was certainly part of the plot contrivance. Probably not needed. I haven't seen Infernal Affairs to see if it had the same subplot. I can buy that complaint. But this movie leaves a lot to be inferred and Scorcese certainly inferred that Damon's character was having "problems in the sack" of some sort. He also didn't want her picture hanging up in the main room.

forgot about the impotence remark earlier on. fair enough.

4. Why would Damon have been worried about that envelope? None of his office mates would have any reason to know what it was.

it seemed very contrived and if i'm deep undercover i'm using every precaution there is.

5. Why would the FBI be involved in the Chinese mafia sting? I saw it in September, but I don't remember there being any hint that it was an FBI sting too. That was all stateys. Jack Nicholson was simply an informant for the FBI which kept him out of jail - supplied them information when needed, etc. He wasn't a mole. He was smart enough to tape his conversation with Damon's character in case he could ever use it should Damon turn on him.

fbi is on that surveillance, they state it at the start. but that has nothing to do with my argument on this point. the sloppiness of it all looked like reno 911, not state police. and to think jack's little thugs are gonna dupe the chinese mafia, sanctioned by their government, to buy bogus chips and not suffer consequences really irked me.

6. I thought it was pretty obvious that the "envelope" went to Dignam(Wahlberg's character) when something happened to DiCaprio.

that makes more sense. my wife and i must have missed that.

7. Which song? Was it that distracting?

friggin' "gimme shelter" for the third or fourth time it seems. the soundtrack was beyond lame. that has to be the worst version of "comfortably numb" ever. how about some thin lizzy or something if you have to use music of your youth. otherwise, i'm sure the frames or some other talented contemporary irish band would have contributed. most of the choices seemed rote even for a movie in the 80's.

Anyway -- I certainly see how this movie can be frustrating. It's not Goodfellas or Casino. It's a story with contrived twists and turns that IMHO worked magnificantly. Put this script in the hands of a less adept director and it really could have been a disaster.

i disagree. i just don't think enough attention was paid. but man, jack was awesome and even damon, who i could do without, and leo, who's alright in my book, put in fine turns. i just think that the characters kept making implausible decisions. the twists and turns were great, but if my life depended on it i wouldn't want any of those idiots around me.

willywoody
02-26-2007, 10:57 PM
and let it bleed was left off the cd.

"With Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese completely reinvented the way popular songs--instead of a made-to-measure score--can be used all the way through a movie to emphasize mood and action. He continues in that vein for The Departed, whose soundtrack is full of tunes by classic acts. If a theme emerges, it's great guitar work: on Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," on the Allman Brothers' "One Way Out," on Badfinger's "Baby Blue," and on Roy Buchanan's "Sweet Dreams." (Even the two selections from Howard Shore's score highlight that approach, with performances by Marc Ribot and Larry Saltzman on "The Departed Tango" and by Sharon Isbin on "Beacon Hill.") A couple of numbers also deliver slight twists: the version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is the live one from 1990, when it was performed with Van Morrison and the Band; and the Beach Boys' obscure 1972 song "Sail On, Sailor" isnít sung by its cowriter Brian Wilson. Thankfully, LaVern Baker and Patsy Cline help offset a very white, very male, very classic-rock selection. While it looks as if Scorsese stopped listening to music sometime around 1975, Beantown's Dropkick Murphys do contribute "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," a nod to the movie's setting."

--Elisabeth Vincentelli

dball
02-27-2007, 10:44 AM
Shouldn't be too surprising that Scorsese would pick the "Comfortably Numb" version with the Band

A-Tex Devil
02-27-2007, 11:11 AM
To each his own, I guess. To me, The Departed was up there with Usual Suspects, Memento, and Boondock saints in that while the plot itself was somewhat unrealistic, it was creative (although credit for that should go to the writers of Infernal Affairs), well done, and IMHO there were not any major holes.

The difference between the Departed and those movies, though, and why I think the Departed is on another level, is that Scorcese and the actors brought a sense of realism to the characters. Even if the plot was out there, the characters seemed very real and acted very real. Nicholson's character was based on a specific mob boss who I can't recall at this time.

mkirsh
02-27-2007, 01:36 PM
Interesting how intense the opinions are on this, you would think we were talking about stall-ball. Anyway, I'll add my $.02 to the mix - I watched this movie for the first time the other night with pretty high expectations, but was mildly dissapointed (as were the 2 others I watched this with). I will concede that the acting all around was excellent, and the plot and characters were very interesting, but I had some issues with the pace and storytelling and a few details I think were too big to overlook.

For a long movie, in my opinion there was a lot of background left out. Scorcese did a good job of succinctly showing Damon's rise through the police org and the development of his relationship with the shrink, but not sure I understand how DiCaprio's character became so tight with the Nicholson so fast, and I think his relationship with the shrink was kind of out of the blue.

I also thought that Damon was not careful enough to be a high level mole - making calls to tip people off in front of colleagues, the cell phone texting in the sting room, envelope left on his desk, etc all while there was an internal investigation going on seemed too much for me to beleive.

That said, this is a movie I think I'll watch again at some point in the future and may pick up some new details that make it more satisfying, but I don't think I can put it in the Usual Suspects category just yet.

willywoody
02-27-2007, 02:40 PM
i brought up the part about the envelope going to dignam with my wife this morning and she was pretty emphatic that it was not obviously the case. in fact didn't leo's character give the envelope to the shrink before he knew who the mole in the police dept was?

A-Tex Devil
02-27-2007, 03:22 PM
i brought up the part about the envelope going to dignam with my wife this morning and she was pretty emphatic that it was not obviously the case. in fact didn't leo's character give the envelope to the shrink before he knew who the mole in the police dept was?

**********Departed spoilers**********

Costigan definitely gave the shrink the envelope after finding out about Damon and told her not to open it until she found out he was dead or he called her and told her to open it (something like that).

He died, and Dignum (the only guy besides Sheen that knew the extent of the undercover operations) offs Damon at the end. While at the time Costigan gave the envelope to her, and the audience has no idea what was in it, it seemed obvious that its contents outed Damon in some manner.

After the final scene, I just assumed it must have also included something to the effect of "Find Dignum and tell him all this." You are right that they don't make it obvious, but it seems like a simple and reasonable explanation of why Dignum was there at the end. There are lots of open questions for the audience in this movie, though, that aren't really answered.

The reason I put it above (just barely) Usual Suspects (which holds a dear place in my heart) is that I felt it had really had everything -- call it the Decathlete of gangster movies. As good as the Usual Suspects was, and it's a top 3 movie in my personal best list with Memento and the Departed, I honestly didn't feel nearly as invested in the characters. The Usual Suspects was cool, it had good dialogue and it still had the best payoff I've ever seen. But I've never heard a whole theater of people gasp in disbelief with audible and distraight "Oh No's" the way they did as Martin Sheen is falling off that building.

Bostondevil
03-03-2007, 09:15 AM
Getting back to great actors under 40 -

Matt Damon - guy does not get enough credit for his work, he can do drama, he can do action, he's funny in the Ocean's series, OK, maybe Stuck on You was a stinker but I bet he could do comedy, I'd love to see him in one of the roles Luke Wilson always seems to get.

Guy Pearce - why don't we see him more? Although I'm not sure how old he is, he may have hit the 40 mark. If we say under 45 I think we definitely have him and Johnny Depp.

Ryan Gosling - great potential, gotta see more though.

BluBones
03-03-2007, 02:52 PM
I was really struck last night watching the Oscars how far Leo Dicaprio has come. Remember after Titanic when everyone associated with the movie was nominated/won Oscars except him? He was like a punchline to a bad joke after The Beach.

And then, back-to-back-to-back he has done The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Departed. I mean, that's as fine a run of movies/acting performances as we hae seen since Tom Hanks did Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, and Apollo 13, isn't it?

Leo was singled out last night by Scorsese and by esteemed producer Graham King for his awesome work in recent films. He is already slated to appear in Scorsese's next epic, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Leo will play Teddy). Wanna bet he'll get a ton of Oscar buzz for that?

If you had to rank the great film actors under the age of 40 right now, he'd be right at the top of the list. It is just a stunning turn-around for a guy who really looked like a pretty face and nothing more only a few years ago.

-Jason "hmmm, top actors under 40 (maybe I should make it 50 to include Depp), that would be an interesting list" Evans

A big part of this is that he realized the impact his after-hours persona was having on his image. Remember when gossip about Leo clubbing was as common as Paris exposing something? You don't see that anymore. He wanted to be taken more seriously and realized that if you are in the papers twice a week partying until 5am it won't happen.

JBDuke
03-04-2007, 01:10 AM
Getting back to great actors under 40 -

Matt Damon - guy does not get enough credit for his work, he can do drama, he can do action, he's funny in the Ocean's series, OK, maybe Stuck on You was a stinker but I bet he could do comedy, I'd love to see him in one of the roles Luke Wilson always seems to get.

Guy Pearce - why don't we see him more? Although I'm not sure how old he is, he may have hit the 40 mark. If we say under 45 I think we definitely have him and Johnny Depp.

Ryan Gosling - great potential, gotta see more though.

Guy Pearce will turn 40 in October of this year.

Indoor66
03-04-2007, 08:35 AM
It seems to me that, together with his reduced party boy persona, his appearance has also matured and he is not such a pretty boy. I mean that he has matured physically and, though good looking, he has developed a "rough edge" to his appearance that was not there before. Maybe like the way Redford matured....

Clipsfan
03-07-2007, 06:02 PM
A big part of this is that he realized the impact his after-hours persona was having on his image. Remember when gossip about Leo clubbing was as common as Paris exposing something? You don't see that anymore. He wanted to be taken more seriously and realized that if you are in the papers twice a week partying until 5am it won't happen.

The best part of all those rumors/stories were the tales of beach parties with massive cocaine piles and models. Did those stories start dying down around the time he started dating Giselle, or significantly after? Did that relationship lead to his nightlife changing?

WI Dukie
03-11-2007, 12:13 PM
I took Dignum's taking out of Damon to hint that Dignum was some sort of mole himself. Possibly taking out Damon to protect some of the mob guys.

willywoody
03-11-2007, 03:40 PM
that's a good explanation. hadn't thought of that.