Category Archives: Leo Month

Leo Month Finale!

Sadly, this is our last Leo Month post this year. We had a fun ride watching a bunch of different movies starring our favorite non-Academy-Award winner. We’re finishing off by reviewing Leo movies that we haven’t seen until now.

Leave a comment below which Leo movie is your favorite
and one that you haven’t seen yet!

Kurtis – The Wolf of Wall Street (2013):
I was hesitant about watching The Wolf of Wall Street, mainly because I’m just not a big fan of movies that use vulgarities in excess when it doesn’t add to the story and that’s what I thought Wolf was going to be like. I was wrong, I mean, it was vulgar start-to-finish, but it’s a movie about greed and excess and Scorsese took it to a level that was required to really drive the point home. The movie follows a young man by the name of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) as he rises to one of the top stock brokers in the world. He is obsessed with wealth and all the pleasures it can buy, and achieves his success through incredible corruption and crime.  The SEC finally catches up to him and everything crumbles around him, eventually serving 3 years in jail. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, who plays Belfort’s assistant Donnie Azoff, are absolutely hilarious in Wolf. The comedic pacing in this movie is fast and furious, interwoven into even the most serious scenes in the film.  One scene in particular, where Belfort is fighting with his wife, played by Margot Robbie, had me busting up laughing. DiCaprio yells in such a way that his voice starts cracking every couple of words and it’s perfectly delivered. While I don’t appreciate the excessive scenes of debauchery as much as someone else might (gay orgies in an apartment, orgies on an airplane, lines of cocaine done off a prostitutes posterior, etc.), the acting performances throughout the film are absolutely spot on and I was very impressed with DiCaprio’s performance in particular. He definitely deserved his nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Bottom Line: It’s not a movie I’m planning on buying, as I don’t know if it warrants repeated viewings, but Leo’s performance is out-of-this-world good and if you don’t mind a little (a lot) of debauchery it’s worth a rent.
Rating: 3.5/5

Morgan – The Departed (2006):
So this is probably going to send some people into shock, but I had never (until recently) seen The Departed. I feel like the last person in the world to have seen it. I mean, it’s even a shock to me, seeing as it has so many of my favorite people in it. It really doesn’t get much better than Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and Leo. And you can’t forget Alec Baldwin. (I’m weirdly in love with him). Anyways, as a whole I really liked the movie. Spoiler alert: I was pissed when Billy died, even though I knew it was coming. But I relished in the perfection of the ending when the real bad guy gets what he deserved. I think Scorsese did a brilliant job telling an intricate, interesting, and funny story. It’s a little long, and requires you to pay attention. But I think it’s something everyone needs to have watched at some point. It shows you a bit of a different side of Leo.
Bottom Line: So, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should crawl out from under your rock and be a little adventurous. Unless you’re given the choice to see The Beach. In that case, just don’t.
Rating: 4/5

Jordan – The Aviator (2004):
I watched this on Kurtis’s many recommendations. DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes the orphaned millionaire. You can tell even from the very beginning that he’s an obsessive and an eccentric. He spends three years and $4 million on the 1930 movie Hell’s Angels. But it paid off as it is becomes a huge success. The rest of The Aviator chronicles his risks and successes in the film and airplane industry. He is a perfectionist, who cares about the smallest details but can’t make decisions on the big issues. He courts big name movie stars like Katherine Hepburn and Ava Gardner. These two characters seem to be the only ones that can love the man behind the neuroses. (Cate Blanchett as Hepburn is probably my favorite part of the film.) Things only get worse when he crashes a plane on a solo flight. He locks himself in a room for three solid months. He only breaks free to finally stop PanAm from securing a monopoly on international air travel. There is small swell of hope at the end… until the final scene.
Bottom Line: The three hour run time is pretty daunting, but there is so much that happens in this one man’s life. Martin Scorsese is obviously a genius, even with the details of coloring the film to look like movies of the time period. So unless you’re super into biopics set in the 1930s, or want to feel sad for three hours, I’d say this is a skip. Don’t tell Kurtis.
Rating: 2.5/5

—————————————-Last Week: ’10s Leo Movies—————————————-

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#BWAHM (Leo in the 2010s)

We’ve made it the present! Leo has been in so many good movies recently that it was hard to narrow it down to our favorites! What’s your favorite ’10s Leo Movie? Answer in the poll down below.

Kurtis – Shutter Island (2010):
This is a psychological thrilled that gets better with every viewing. It’s only then that you start to pick up on all of Scorsese’s intricate and subtle details. The story starts out simple and grows more and more complex as it moves forward, bringing you to the point where you don’t know what to believe. Leo plays Teddy Daniels, a detective called in to search for a missing inmate at Shutter Island, a prison for the criminally insane. It becomes clear that the authorities at the prison are withholding information from him and his partner (Mark Ruffalo) but Teddy keeps digging to find the truth. It’s a race to unravel the hidden truths of this place before Teddy goes crazy himself. It’s Leonardo DiCaprio in 50s clothes, when has that NOT made for a successful movie. Honestly, the first time I saw this in theaters, I left feeling somewhat underwhelmed. But now that I’ve seen it a few times, it stands amongst Leo’s best films. It has a great story, good cinematography, an awesome score, and enough small little foreshadowing details to keep you coming back looking for more clues. It’s a movie that invites you to participate with it, to be your own detective trying to solve the puzzle before the movie makes a reveal, and those are the best kind of suspenseful thrillers you could ever watch.

Jordan – Inception (2010):
Leo has been in some really amazing in this small time frame, but this is for sure my favorite. Judging my timehop in recent weeks (Inception was FOUR years ago?!), I could not stop tweeting/posting about it. I’m pretty sure I considered getting a totem so I could tell whether I was dreaming. And I say BWAHM whenever it even loosely fits. It’s not just me; every one loves this movie. Especially rappers.
If you haven’t seen it, I think you’re missing out. There is a slew of awesome actors (mostly Christopher Nolan’s favorites). Great action sequences, sweet graphics, a sick soundtrack, and a weird Matrix-y plot.
PLUS THE ENDING. AMERICA STILL WANTS TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, NOLAN.

Morgan – Inception (2010):
My favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie from the 2010s is Inception, hands down. When it first came out, I saw it in theatres twice within the same week. Embarrassing, I know. But it was so dang good that I didn’t even care. This is actually the movie that made me really like Ellen Page. Everything about this movie is incredible. First, I learned that Ellen Page rocks. Second, the rest of the astoundingly amazing and superior cast: Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ken Watanabe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Third, the soundtrack. Even though we (Jordan, Kurtis and I) joke around and imitate it (BWAAHHM), it really is epic and unlike other soundtracks from its time. And last but certainly not least, good ol’ Leo. He really delivered a perfect performance for this mystery/Sci-Fi thriller, and keeps you intrigued and entertained until the very last second. Inception was a true work of art, thanks to Christopher Nolan, DiCaprio, and everyone else involved.

 

Last Week: ’00s Leo Movies ————————————–——————— Next Week: Leo Month Finale

Blog Me if You Can

Now we’re really hitting Leo’s prime.

We’re looking at our favorite movies starring Leo in the 2000s.

Morgan – Catch Me if You Can (2002):
The 2000s were an incredible time for Leonardo DiCaprio. He starred in a number of films that have become awesome, must-see movies today. People would be shocked if you told them you had never seen Gangs of New York, The Departed, or Blood Diamond, to name a few. My favorite from the 2000s however, is Catch Me If You Can. It’s the incredible true story of one of the world’s most famous con-men in history, Frank Abagnale Jr. He begins posing as a Pan Am pilot to cash forged checks, until the FBI catches on, forcing him to move from disguise to disguise. It is a fast-paced story without a dull moment that is easy to follow and fun to watch. DiCaprio and Tom Hanks are a great duo, and of course, Amy Adams sucks. Just kidding, she’s actually okay in this movie, but I still hate her.

Jordan – Catch Me if You Can (2002):
This is definitely the first movie I ever saw with Leonardo DiCaprio in it. Which means I probably saw it at age 12 or 13. And I saw it multiple times and all the special features (back when people actually liked buying DVDs). So this movie may just hold a sentimental place in my heart.
But I think it was also just a great movie. Even the opening credits are iconic! Leo definitely proved he could carry a movie. The other names in the billing don’t hurt: Stephen Spielberg, Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, John Williams. Sure, he soared in Romeo + Juliet and Titantic in the ’90s, but CMIYC solidifies DiCaprio’s career as the charming anti-hero in a period piece. I’m down to watch this anytime.
(Also, I feel the need to give a shout out to Blood Diamond, which I watched this week in preparation. Pretty solid movie about the Sierra Leone civil war and illegal diamond trade. Very graphic, violent, and sad. And I couldn’t get over Leo’s Afrikaner accent. Not my favorite, but still a good one. Of course, I love anything about Africa.)

Kurtis – The Aviator (2004):
This was a tough choice for me. I had it narrowed down between The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can and Gangs of New York. Ultimately, I decided on The Aviator because it is DiCaprio’s best performance of the three. The way he captured Howard Hughes’ eccentricities and descent into crazyville was absolutely perfect. The Aviator is a long biopic that showcases Hughes’ life from a twenty-something who made millions in the oil business to a perfectionist movie producer who took three years to complete his first film to a complete recluse separated from society. It’s complex and seeks to cover a lot of ground but even coming in at a nearly three hour run time, Martin Scorsese has a way of pacing this film that it doesn’t feel drawn out or slow. DiCaprio gives close to a perfect performance and elevates every scene he’s in. The whole cast gives solid performances, and Cate Blanchett shines as Katharine Hepburn.

Last Week: ’90s Leo Movies ——————————————————— Next Week: ’10s Leo Movies

I’m the King of the World!

It’s our second week of Leo Month!
We’re looking at the start of Leo’s career with our favorite movies from the ’90s!
Jordan – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993):
Okay admittedly, I hadn’t seen this movie before this week. And I had no idea what it was about until I had started it. But this definitely has to be one of Leo’s best films, not just during this decade. He plays a mentally challenged boy who is coming up on his 18th birthday. He always says what he wants and does what he wants, but you really can’t not love him. Johnny Depp (the true lead of the film) plays his protective older brother, Gilbert Grape. It’s such a sweet and sad movie about a weird family in a weird town. Leo definitely steals the film though. You forget that he’s the superstar from Titanic and The Departed. You just fall in love with this simple boy who wants nothing more than to climb the town’s water tower. I think this has become one of my favorite movies. (And it’s Johnny Depp in a non-Tim Burton role. That’s always a good thing.)
Kurtis – Romeo + Juliet (1996):
This was a quick decision for me, Romeo + Juliet is easily my favorite 90s Leo movie. Yes, Titanic is iconic and a pretty great movie in itself but director Baz Lurhmann’s reimagining of this Shakespeare classic is too good to ignore. The cinematography and set design turns the all-too-familiar love story turned tragedy of Romeo and Juliet into a post-modern masterpiece juxtaposed starkly against the original Shakespearean dialogue written in the 1590s. The story follows Romeo and Juliet navigating the feud between their two families that seems bound to keep them apart. The Montagues and Capulets are bitter enemies whose hatred and fighting shows no sign of ever being resolved which is bad news when these two meet and fall in love. They have to hide their love from the world because they know that their parents will not allow them to be together. They can’t stand the idea of having to live apart and the pressure their feuding families lead the two young lovers to take drastic measures. Both DiCaprio and Claire Danes capture the youthful innocence and rebellion of Romeo and Juliet perfectly, maintaining Shakespeare’s original vision for the heart of the characters and their message to the viewer. Everything about Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet is picture perfect, an innovative approach to a classic story that respects the source material enough as to not step outside its established essence.
Morgan – Titanic (1997):
So it’s probably pretty stereotypical, but I don’t even care. My favorite Leo movie from the 90s is Titanic. This movie is just such a classic. It’s one of the first movies that comes to mind when you think of great love stories. Everything about it is great. Kate Winslet is perfect; the innocent, seemingly unattainable aristocrat. Leo, of course, as the sweet and charming troublemaker, a little rough around the edges. Even the bad guy is perfectly played. It’s a little disappointing when you watch him escape the boat by sneaking onto a lifeboat with the women and children, but you feel a little better knowing that he still didn’t end up with Rose. And Rose taking Jack’s last name is just the icing on the cake. I think it was a real turning point in Leo’s career; something you could look at and say “That’s where it all started.” Also, it won eleven Oscars, so there’s that.

WELCOME TO LEO MONTH!

We’re back from summer hiatus! And we’re back with a bang!

For those of you into astrology, you know that the end of July marks the beginning for the Leo sign. But for the rest of us, Leo just makes us think of one thing: LEONARDO DICAPRIO. (Sorry, DaVinci.)

Really, we’re just finding any excuse to watch Leonardo DiCaprio movies. Because he’s greatest.  So for the next five Tuesdays, we will have special posts looking at the best and worst of our favorite post-Growing Pains star.

Let’s kick it off with a round of Trifecta!

Morgan:
Most Popular – Titanic (1997):
Uh DUH. This was Leo’s breakout role that finally landed him on the map. There really is no other choice for this category. And if you haven’t seen this movie, you either live under a rock, or were born in ’97, am I right?
Worst – Critters 3 (1991):
If we’re being completely technical here, Critters 3 would take this category. It received a 0% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, making it literally the worst.
Most Underrated – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993):
This is young Leo, even younger than Titanic Leo. He plays Johnny Depp’s younger, autistic brother. It’s such a great performance for his age. I also feel like he gets overlooked in this film due to Depp being the lead.

Kurtis:
Most Popular – Titanic (1997):
Now Leo’s been in a lot of huge, very popular movies over the years but for me it still comes back to Titanic. Titanic launched Leo’s career and it’s impossible to think about one without the other. It’s also a really great movie, one of those watch-on-a-Saturday-afternoon-on-TNT kinda movies. Plus… “Near, Far, Wherever, You Are…”
Worst – The Beach (2000):
Awful, just awful. Now, disclaimer, I haven’t seen this movie for a few years and should maybe revisit it, but from what I remember it was all around terrible. It’s a jumbled story wrapped in philosophical themes that just falls completely flat on its face in the last third of the film. J. Edgar is a close second for me, I’d avoid either of them if possible.
Most Underrated – The Aviator (2004):
I’ve always given this spot to Catch Me If You Can in the past, but I’ve realized The Aviator is a bit more underrated. Whereas a lot of people simply forget about CMIYC being a great movie, most people I talk to haven’t even watched The Aviator to begin with. It’s an amazing biopic following Howard Hughes’ descent in becoming a recluse, featuring one of DiCaprio’s most masterful performances of his career. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a go, it’s a long movie but it’s wonderfully paced and you won’t be disappointed.

Jordan:
Most Popular – Titanic (1997):
It’s one of the most popular movies of all time. Nothing else stands a chance.
Worst – J. Edgar (2011):
Kurtis and I redboxed this a while back. And it turned out to be a very similar experience to watching The Master. In theory, with great actors and interesting character arcs, you should get a good movie. Not the case. You only get instant regret.
Most Underrated – Romeo + Juliet (1996):
It doesn’t even land this in the Top Ten most critically acclaimed for Leo. but it should. So give this movie some love and rent it. Or show it to a ninth grade English class; that’s where I first saw it.