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I guess I just like liking things

There’s a weird mix of thought processes that goes into these lists, a bit of “roles I remember the most about” stirred with “most enjoyable film as a whole” and a few other things tossed in. That is to say: there’s no specific formula I plug these things into, it’s more of a feelings-based deal. That’s why that whole kerfuffle with the repeated-but-not-exactly Stallone list happened the way it did. That’s why I tend to have explanatory stuff after ever entry on the lists, so you can see how it got there.

It gets even more murky when something that happened recently inspires the topic for the current list, even if the subject isn’t necessarily one near and dear to my heart, which is where we are today.  I think Leonardo DiCaprio is a fantastic actor. He’s done a lot of great stuff and I think he’ll only get better. That said, I have never once said, “Oh, hey, Leo’s in a new movie, I gotta go see that!” This list was inspired by my seeing Gatsby and Django this past weekend, one I saw because I thought my wife would like it and one because she was gone for several hours.

Whattya mean "Catch Me If You Can" didn't make the top ten?

Whattya mean “Catch Me If You Can” didn’t make the top ten?

10. The Aviator (2004) – Biopics can be a tricky thing, but I this one was interesting to me. Weirdly enough, it’s Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn that really sticks out in my memory here, but that’s most likely leftover Galadriel Effect.

9. The Departed (2006) – I wasn’t as gaga over this movie as everyone else seemed to be at the time, and I think it’s because I saw the original before I saw this one. I mean, this one’s fine and everything, but Little Miss Sunshine was my favorite of the nominees for Best Picture that year. I know I’m supposed to be all “Scorsese! WooOOO!” so I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings.

8. Titanic (1997) – This is the one that really put him on the map, right after all the other ones that did the same thing. I like this movie in spite of the romance storyline, for the same reason I found The Aviator interesting: the window it gives on historical events.

7. Gangs of New York (2002) – There are three things I remember about this movie: the violence, the ending shot, and Daniel Day-Lewis’s mustache.

6. Romeo + Juliet (1996) – I’ve been wanting to see this one again because it’s been so long since I have. I thought the modernization suited the story well when I saw it, but I’d be interested to see if I still thought so on rewatch.

5. Django Unchained (2012) – I still can’t formulate an opinion on this movie days after the fact. I mean, I liked it, but… I don’t know. I enjoy Tarantino films for some reason, but I can’t figure out where on the list this one goes – that’s the “Tarantino List,” not the DiCaprio list, since I’ve very clearly decided on its place on this list. Better than Death Proof, at least.  Leo and Cristoph Waltz are the highlights of this movie, to be sure.

4. The Great Gatsby (2013) – I really, really like this movie, but I’m willing to admit it’s because I don’t remember the book at all. I read it, of course, and I think even more than once, but it’s been a long time.  So a lot of the major gripes people seem to have with this one are things that didn’t bother me.  I thought Leo’s accent was odd, but by the end it was fine.

3. Inception (2010) – With apologies to the theme from Rawhide, this movie is great because “Nolan, Nolan, Nolan, keep them movies rollin’…” and that’s as far as I’m willing to take that song. I don’t get why people thought it was hard to follow, because Nolan did a great job of laying it all out very simply. Sure, I’ll give you that the ending is tricky, but there are some great theories on it which make the movie even more interesting, I think.

2. The Quick and the Dead (1995) – This Sam Raimi movie is one of my favorite Westerns, a list that isn’t really that long. Leo as a kid trying to prove himself alongside of Hackman, Crowe, and Stone is some great stuff.

1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) – This movie is the first I ever heard of Leo, and I thought his portrayal of a mentally handicapped boy was phenomenal. Any time I see Leo’s name pop up in relation to a movie, the impressiveness of his role in this film still generates positive feelings in me about his work.



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