Learning to Like Leo

I have to admit, I've never been a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. In fact, if he was starring in a movie, that was a reason for me to avoid seeing it.

Films like The Quick and the Dead, Titanic and The Man in the Iron Mask left such a bad taste in my mouth, I vowed to make sure my movies were all de-DiCaprio-nated.

But I overlooked my DiCaprio ban this fall to see The Departed, and I think I haven't been giving Leo a fair shake. Aside from a questionable Boston accent, he was pretty good as the undercover cop trying to bust Jack Nicholson's Irish mob gang.

Now he's starring in Blood Diamond, which is getting pretty good reviews. Although, from watching the trailer it sounds to me like the accent might be an issue again.

Still, I decided to take a closer look at Leo's filmography. Lo and behold, there are actually several DiCaprio movies that, upon reflection, I really liked.

  • This Boy's Life (1993) One of his earliest movies, as the son of an abusive Robert De Niro. I remember this film was overshadowed by Leo's performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Everyone thought he really was developmentally disabled after that movie.

  • Romeo & Juliet (1996) A retelling of Shakespeare's classic. Set in modern day America, but in the Bard's original dialogue. I thought Leo was a perfect Romeo. Aside from Leo, John Leguizamo is terrific in this too as Tybalt. Also with Harold Perrineau (Michael from Lost and the second two Matrix movies).

  • The Beach (2000) Leo finds a remote island paradise, then goes Lord of the Flies on everyone. Not an earth-shattering performance by any means, but I liked the story a lot.

  • Critters 3 (1991) Come on, who doesn't love the Critters movies???

I'm definitely putting Catch Me If You Can on my list of future rentals. And maybe even Gangs of New York too. As for Blood Diamond? Well ... don't rush me. One DiCaprio step at a time.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.