Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Leonardo DiCaprio!

I'd like to start off by wishing Leonardo DiCaprio a very happy birthday. (Didn't I already do that with the title?) I would also like him to know that a marathon of all his greatest movies (basically all of them) will commence sometime soon. (I would today, considering today is his actual birthday, but I wouldn't enjoy watching them all by myself. Hint: I'm all by myself.) In the meantime, I will evaluate a few of my favorite films of the brilliant actor.

Titanic - Not surprising that I listed this one first. Quite possibly one of the most romantic films of all time, James Cameron's epic has everything. From the obvious and endearing romance between the film's lovers, Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson (played by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the most perfect cinematic couples), to the extraordinary scenery and spectacular sinking scene. (Spoiler: The ship sinks.) Leonardo DiCaprio, at a ripe and gorgeous age of twenty-three, shines in one of his earlier roles as the dashing Jack Dawson. Paired with the stunning Kate Winslet (a year younger than her co-star), the couple's chemistry is mesmerising; I cannot take my eyes off of their passionate, indescribably heart-warming romance. While over the years this film has become a cliche for epic romances, and even as far as being branded "over-rated"... (preposterous!) Titanic will stand the test of time as one of cinema's more passionate romances. It's all topped off with a tragic, heart-breaking ending. Tears, both sad and ones when witnessing utter beauty.

The Aviator - Even though I watched this film only once (it's quite long), Martin Scorsese's masterpiece stands as one of my favorites. Here, Leonardo DiCaprio displays his undeniable talent, playing the eccentric Howard Hughes; here is where the wonderful actor truly deserved his Oscar win. Now I don't want to throw you off with that statement, as Leo did not attain his well-earned award. (Again, he lost to Jamie Foxx for Ray. I haven't seen that one, but I doubt it was any better than The Aviator. My opinion, that is.) I really must stress how amazing Leo was in this film, his greatest performance so far, in my opinion. Fortunately, he did receive a Golden Globe, his only one I might scornfully add, which has more worth than an Oscar, actually (to me, anyway). The Aviator features the elegance of the 1920s, my ideal time period; also, Cate Blanchett portrays Katherine Hepburn in a lovely performance which won her an Oscar. There is a reason the magnificent Martin Scorsese chose Leonardo DiCaprio as his go-to actor for many of his films.

Gangs of New York - Another fantastic Martin Scorsese film, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, a young man seeking vengeance for the death of his father. More specifically, he's planning to kill his father's murderer, known as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting. (I know it sounds like a Mafia name, but this is 1863. He's seriously a butcher.) While Leo is great in this film, the main attraction is Daniel Day-Lewis's magnificent performance as the sinister and menacing Bill "The Butcher". He positively glows in this film, providing one of the greatest acting performances of the twentieth century, and most definitely of 2002. Criminally, he lost to Adrian Brody for The Pianist. (Figures. Anything even remotely related to the Holocaust is Oscar gold. That's a whole other topic up for discussion, and will probably be judged by many.) Moving on, Daniel Day-Lewis is hypnotic as the intimidating butcher as he takes Amsterdam into his confidence, and would be deceived by him. Watching the Butcher behave, you'd think he knew all along that Amsterdam was the son of his deceased enemy, and scheming to kill him for revenge. A superb scene in the movie is the Butcher's excellent yet vile dialogue about killing the man who killed a poor little rabbit. His sarcastic tears were the peak of genius. Martin Scorsese, you done did it again.

Blood Diamond - Yet another disappointing loss for Leonardo DiCaprio, who was again nominated for his role as Danny Archer, a South African involved in the dangerous business of diamonds. (Here, they are far from a girl's best friend. Didn't you expect that pun? Is it even a pun? Anyway...) Danny, accompanied by an African fisherman, Soloman Vandy (played by Djimon Hounsou, in an astounding Oscar-nominated performance), and a charming journalist, Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly), fight the aggression of the government, in order to attain a diamond that will help Danny out of the chaos of Africa. Eventually, the three fight together for the cause of the atrocities of the blood diamond trade. To be honest, I haven't watched this movie in a while, and am getting all this information from a plot synopsis. (I'm ashamed. However, I will certainly watch it tomorrow!) I do remember enjoying this film very much, and am safe to call it outstanding. Yes, that's right, simply outstanding.

Inception - There's really no need to even explain this one, as I'm sure everyone has seen this mind-blowing blockbuster. (An $800 billion-plus box-office supports this assumption.) Inception, a movie about dreams within dreams within dreams, is absolutely breath-taking. The visual effects and all, Christopher Nolan's film is a modern masterpiece. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Cobb, a dream extractor, who is encountered with the impossible task of inception--planting an idea in someone else's head, rather than the typical extraction of it. From that, you can tell this movie is a bit puzzling and requires more than one watch. In fact, the more the better, for this movie will leave you speechless in the most stunning way.

Well, there you have it. Just a slice of the immense talent Leonardo DiCaprio possesses. And I must groan, again, on how this marvelous actor does not have an Oscar. I know those things are simply trinkets, to make its owner feel accomplished, but it's still nice to have one. At least I imagine it is. I'm sure Leo doesn't even care whether he has one or not, or whether he will ever get one for that matter. He acts because that's what he loves. Why else would he keep making movies? Unless my ideal vision of him is completely wrong and he is an arrogant, attention-loving prick. I feel horrible for even saying that! No, he is exactly how I picture him: humble, sincere, kind, intelligent. Yes, I see him as a perfect person. (And hope he indeed is.) Alright then, I figure I'll wrap up this post now. Happy birthday, Leo!

P.S. Leo's upcoming film, J. Edgar, is shrouded with Oscar buzz. Here's wishing him the best of luck this year, as well as for years to come!


  1. Valentino PortofinoNovember 12, 2011

    We'll do that marathon soon....if not before that....yours truly friend and a father figure.

  2. VeronicaIsMyNameNovember 12, 2011

    Just want to note that "Valentino Portofino" is my father, not some weird child molestor. Don't mind him, he's simply displaying early signs of demntia again.

  3. Is your father Italian ?

  4. VeronicaIsMyNameNovember 15, 2011

    No, he's just using one of his strange alternate identities.