5 Favorite Leonardo DiCaprio Flims

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of my favorite actors.  I was first introduced to him on the TV show Growing Pains where he played Luke Brower, but I became a huge fan after watching his performances on film. Today marks the actor’s 44th birthday so in honor of his birthd, here are five of my favorite Leonardo DiCaprio films.

5. Inception

I’ve mentioned this sci-fi heist thriller before. In the film DiCaprio plays Dominick “Dom” Cobb, a professional thief who steals secrets by infiltrating the dreams of his victims. He’s facing a murder charge due to his wife’s demise and as a result, is separated from his children.

DiCaprio brilliantly captures the emotions of the character. I’m glad that director Christopher Nolan didn’t give up on asking the actor to appear in the film. For years Nolan had been trying to work with the actor and met him several times, but was unable to convince him to appear in any of his films until this one. I hope that there will be more collaboration between the two of them.

4. Django Unchained (2014)

I’ve always wondered if DiCaprio would ever be in a Quentin Tarantino film, and I finally got my answer when this movie arrived. In it, the actor plays the main villain, “Monsieur” Calvin J. Candie, a charming and brutal owner of the Candyland plantation. This was the first time I watched the actor play a villain and he did an excellent job of portraying this character who appeared to be somewhat angelic on the outside but was the devil on the inside.

One scene in which DiCaprio shines is when Candie confronts Django and Dr. Shultz after learning that the pair have pulled an elaborate scam on him in order to retrieve Django’s wife Broomhilda. During the scene, the actor cuts his hand as the cameras rolled. But that didn’t phase him, as he continued through the scene, never breaking character. As a result, his real-life, bloodied hand made it into the final cut of the film, as you can see above.

3. The Departed (2006)

I enjoy Martin Scorsese-directed films and I love it even more when DiCaprio partners up with the director, specifically in The Departed. The actor plays Billy Costigan, an agent for the Massachusetts State Police who is deep undercover in the Irish-American mob in South Boston. After discovering that there’s a mole (played by Matt Damon) in the police force employed by the criminal organization, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues and the tension mounts leading to an awesome, climatic, ending.

2. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

This film is an adaptation of poet Jim Carroll’s juvenile diaries that chronicle his fall from a promising basketball player into the world of drug addiction. DiCaprio portrays Carroll in the film and it is his riveting performance that captures the poet’s fall from grace down into the rabbit hole and back to a sane existence.

1. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This was the first Leonardo DiCaprio movie that I saw. I was in ninth grade at the time and in my English Honors class we were discussing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! I loved the modern, yet still classic, take of the film and the actors did a fantastic job. I still have the two film soundtracks and the film on VHS. This remains one of my all time favorite movies.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting is amazing, showing that he has an immense range giving the variety of roles he’s portrayed throughout the years. It’s a wonder he has yet to win an Oscar. Regardless of awards, DiCaprio has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with onscreen.  What are your favorite films? Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page.

Gif Guess: Halloween Month Edition

We’re counting down  the days till Halloween. As the celebration continues here’s a new entry for my blog that I called Gif Guess.  Can you guess the following 31 horror/scif-fi/fantasy/gothic films by their gifs? Take a whack at it!

 

 

 

Reminiscing: TGIF: The 5 Best Shows From the Line-Up

For the month of September, we’re going to reminiscence on some favorite TV shows, movies, etc.  In today’s entry we’re looking at five of my favorite shows that aired on ABC’s TGIF.

It’s Friday night, and the mood is right. We’re gonna have some fun show you how it’s done, TGIF.

And with that opening theme, one of my favorite blocks of television began. Every week I eagerly awaited Friday evenings so I could watch ABC’s TGIF line up. From 1999 to 2000, Friday nights from 8 to 10 pm reigned supreme and featured some of my favorite shows growing up. Shows such as Full House, Perfect Strangers, Clueless and Dinosaurs hold a special place in my heart, but out of the many that came and went or were permanently part of the TGIF family, only five shows became my favorite.

1. Family Matters

This show introduced me to one of my favorite characters on TV, Steve Urkel. Who can’t quote “Did I do that?: or remember the Urkel Dance? Anytime Carl would tell Steve “Go home, go home, GO HOME!” I would laugh so hard. I loved Steve, because he was the first black nerd I was introduced to on television, and he was funny, smart, and caring.

I truly enjoyed watching the Winslows and their extended friends and family. It was an entertaining show and is in my opinion one of the best sitcoms of all time.

2. Boy Meets World

I remember watching the pilot episode not on TGIF but on Fox as it was part of the after school lineup (when I was a kid, the local stations would play cartoons in the afternoons during the weekdays). After watching it, I was hooked and stayed that way until the final episode of the series. I grew up right along with Corey, Shawn, and Topanga and watched them blossom into awesome adults.

I also fell in love with Cory’s quirky brother Eric and Mr. Feeny became one of my favorite father-figures on tv. I haven’t had a chance to watch Girl Meets World yet (I believe it’s on Netflix), but I’m sure it carried  the heart and soul of its predecessor.

3. Sister, Sister

Watching twin sisters Tia and Tamara Mowry on this show was always a treat. I loved how they broke the fourth wall either together or separately, by talking directly to the viewers about what was going on in the story line involving them and sometimes other main characters like Roger.

Roger, played by Jerome Isaac Jones aka Romeo of the 90’s R&B group Immature, (who I was also a fan of) was also one of my TV crushes. Jackée  Howard  and Tim Reid, who play the twins’ parents, perfectly complete the cast and make the show enjoyable to watch.

What makes this show particularly special for me is that I wrote to Tia and Tamara’s fan club and they sent me back an autographed picture of them that I still have hanging on my wall!

NEWSFLASH!  A Sister Sister reboot might be happening! 

4. Step by Step

This sitcom dealt with a blended family and was entertaining from the first episode to the last. Watching the family come closer together as they learned more about each other and embrace their differences made for great TV. One highlight of the show was cousin Cody and his scenes enriched each episode.

5. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I loved Melissa Joan-Hart on Clarrisa Explains It All, so when I found out she was starring in this new show I had to watch.

Sabrina was already having a hard time fitting in among her high school peers, but things got more interesting when she found out that she was a witch. As a high student who didn’t fit in, I could relate to Sabrina. By watching Sabrina chant spells to help out her friends or improve something about herself, only for the spells to backfire and learn from her mistakes, I learned that it was okay to be myself.

TGIF was an important part of my childhood growing up and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I will cherish the memories forever.  Viewers will be able to make new memories this fall as TGIF returns with a new look and new shows but still featuring that famous jingle on October 5th.

Reminiscing: 5 Fave Shows That Aired On UPN

For the month of September, we’re going to reminiscence on some favorite TV shows, movies, etc.  In today’s entry we’re looking at five of my favorite shows that aired on UPN.

 

During my high school and college years, I watched a lot of TV.  Nowadays I don’t watch much TV, guess I’m not as interested. But back in the day when the telly had my attention, there was one particular network which aired some of my favorite shows. It was the United Paramount Network aka UPN.

 

UPN was launched in 1995 and dissolved 11 years later in 2006. When it’s reign came to an end some of the shows that aired on on the network moved over to the CW (formerly the WB) network. During its time on the tube, UPN  featured a variety of shows in different genres such as sci-fi, sitcoms, dramas, reality, cartoons, sports, and more. Out of UPN’s vast programming, there were five shows that became my favorites to watch on the regular.

1. Half & Half (2002-2004)

Set in San Francisco, the show focused on the lives of two paternal half-sisters in their twenties, who were estranged in their childhood-Mona (Rachel True) and Dee Dee (Essence Atkins) Thorn. Now grownups, the siblings begin to reconcile their feelings about each other and develop a close bond while also dealing with other issues of adulthood such as dating, co-workers and bosses and dealing with each other as people.

Though I could relate to both sisters, I found myself relating more with Mona. Like her, I was raised by a single parent, Jewish, and growing up I was (and still am) the awkward, nerdy, black girl. I didn’t fit in with the black kids or anybody else. In Mona I found someone who was similar to myself and by watching a character who marched to the beat of her own drum, it gave me even more confidence to be myself.

2. Moesha (1996-2001)

R&B singer Brandy starred as Moesha Mitchell, a typical teenage girl from a middle class African-American family living in the Leimert Park are of Los Angeles. Moesha’s father Frank works as a car salesmen and is a widower who marries Moesha’s vice-principal Dee. Moesha also has a younger brother named Myles.

The series focused on the experiences of Moesha along with her friends and family as they dealt with a variety of challenges and situations. I loved the fact that though Moesha was headstrong, independent and stubborn, she stood up for what she believed was right. What I also loved about the show was that it dealt with real-life issues that teenagers such as myself were going through. Issues such as teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, premarital sex, the death of a parent, and day-to-day issues teenagers faced at home and school.

One memorable episode featured former actor turned cult leader Andrew Keagan guest starring as Moesha’s childhood friend who she hadn’t seen in a long time. Once reunited, the two rekindle their romance, though some other folks don’t approve of the interracial couple.

3. Girlfriends (2000-2008)

This show focused on four ladies who are best friends, Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross), Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks), Lynn Searcy (Persia White), and Toni Childs (Jill Marie Jones)-living in Los Angeles, as they dealt with the daily issues such as careers, relationships, sex, family, and more. Girlfriends was my Sex In the City. It was really cool to watch four successful black women who came from different walks of life on my TV. I had never seen that before and watching these characters empowered me.

4. America’s Next Top Model (2003-present)

This was one of the first reality shows that I got hooked on. It introduced me to the fashion world and despite its problematic elements, I learned that there is more to modeling than just having a pretty face. Tyra Bank’s creation continues on with spin offs around the globe and finished it’s 24th cycle this year.

5. The Parkers (1999-2004)

This Moesha spin off focused on Moesha’s friend Kim Parker (Countess Vaughn) and her mother Nikki (Mo’Nique) as they attend Santa Monica College together. When she was a teenager, Nikki had Kim and was forced to drop out of high school. When Kim becomes an adult, Nikki makes the decision to go back to school much to Kim’s dismay. Throughout the series, their mother-daughter relationship evolves.

This show was always funny and constantly provided me with laughs especially on days when I needed them. I also enjoyed watching Nikki’s antics in each episode as she pursued her love interest Professor Stanley Oglevee.

While UPN is long gone, these shows and the many others the network aired continue to live on in syndication and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Reminiscing: 5 Favorite Classic Commercials From The 90’s

For the month of September, we’re going to reminiscence on some favorite TV shows, movies, etc.  In today’s entry we’re looking at five of my favorite classic commercials from the 90’s.

5. Miss Cleo

Before her business went down in flames, Miss Cleo reigned supreme on the tube. Her catchphrase “Call me now” remains one of the most well known in all of TV land.

4. Pepsi Cola

Not to be outdone by its sibling, Pepsi Cola also had some memorable commercials to promote it.  Not only were the Pepsi Girl commercials cute, they also had a musical component, namely the girl belting out Aretha Franklin. Fun fact: Did you know that the young lady featured in these commercials is Hallie Eisenberg, Jessie Eisenberg’s (a.k.a. Lex Luthor) sister? It goes without saying, that in the 90s, Pepsi outdid itself with its commercials.

3. Diet Pepsi
You got the right one baby...uh huh.

That catchphrase made famous by the late Ray Charles and his lady singers, made a smooth commercial. There was always a brilliant spin on how it was said as each new entry in the franchise showed up on our TV screens.

2. Budweiser Wassup!

Budweiser has had a lot of great commercials, but the Wassup! ones are some of the funniest and most memorable. The way this group of friends said “Wassup!” as they held their beer made the catchphrase a part of pop culture.

1. Got Milk?

The very first of the Got Milk? commercials was not only funny but also a lesson in U.S. history. I’ve always remember the answer to the question posed in the commercial . It also taught viewers the importance of having a glass of milk nearby!

Needless to say,  watching TV during the 90’s was mostly fun. In addition to having some of the greatest television shows of all time, we also had some of the best commercials. Click here to see more memorable commercials from the 90’s.

Welcome to L.A.: 7 Films Highlighting The City of Angels

Los Angeles’ heart and soul can be seen in the many films set in the city. Here are 7 favorite films that showcase the various, diverse aspects of the City of Angels.

1. Drive (2011)

One of my favorite Ryan Gosling films, this movie showcases the city at night with Gosling at the helm cruising through the streets of downtown L.A. With an epic soundtrack backing the nightly beautiful and gritty scenes that harken back to the films of the 80’s.

2. Rush Hour (1998)

This buddy cop action comedy gives viewers insight into Los Angeles from the perspectives of both an Angeleno and a tourist. Watching Jackie Chan become familiar with the city when he escapes from Carter’s (Chris Tucker) custody multiple times is great, and later when Carter gives him a personal tour after they team up, the touristy areas of L.A. get their time in the spotlight.

3. Collateral (2004)

In this film, Jamie Foxx plays cab driver Max who becomes the hostage of his fare Vincent, (played by Tom Cruise) a contract killer.  This crime thriller captures the scope and depth of the city in a way that other films haven’t. Collateral showcases L.A. at night and with director Michael Mann highlights the city’s evening visuals with his use of the Viper FilmStream High-Definition Camera a first for a major motion picture.

4. Training Day (2001)

The portrayal of the veteran corrupt cop (played by Denzel Washington who won an Oscar for his performance) whose showing the rookie (played by Ethan Hawke) the ropes in South Central L.A., highlights the distrust many citizens of Los Angeles feel toward the LAPD.

5. Clueless (1995)

A favorite 90s film of mine, this modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma depicts the stereotypical “valley girl” in all of her glory. Shotouts to the City of Angels included the showcasing of mall culture at the Westside Pavilion, as well as the Los Angeles freeway in the driver’s ed scene.

6. Die Hard (1988)

A must-watch every Christmas, this action hero film starring Bruce Willis as the now legendary John McClane, highlights Los Angeles’ media culture. The building where all the action takes place, Fox Plaza, has been featured in at least four major motion pictures released by Fox.

7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The city of Los Angeles is annihilated in a nuclear attack by Skynet, while landmarks such as the cement waterway of the L.A. River, and the Elysian Park are also featured in the film.

With that I end my list. What are some of your favorite films showcasing Los Angeles? Leave your comments below or on my Facebook page.  Also check out more films that give Los Angeles love at the following links:

http://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/film/los-angeles-movies-50-films-that-best-capture-the-essence-of-la

http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/movies-that-define-los-angeles#.sgPPDxAm

Happy Birthday Chris Pine! 8 Fun Facts About the Actor

Today marks Chris Pine’s 38th birthday. To celebrate here are 8 fun facts about the actor.

1. Legacy

Pine comes from a family of actors. His maternal grandmother Anne Gwynne was one of the first horror, scream queens and was also a favorite pin-up model amongst the soldiers. His father Robert played Sgt. Joseph Getraer in the TV series CHiPs, while his mother Gwynne Gilford starred in the sci-fi film “Masters of the Universe.”

2. Production Assistant

When he was a teenager, Pine worked as a production assistant on Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion. In an interview with Hero Complex, he said that he did a variety of jobs and that working on the film solidified him wanting to be an actor.

3. Education

He has a degree in English from UC Berkeley and also studied acting at the University of Leeds in England and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

4. Film debut

The actor’s film debut was in 2004 when he starred as Nicholas Devereaux, Princess Mia’s (Anne Hathaway) love interest in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.  During a Q&A for Entertainment Weekly back in 2016, Chris mentioned that he was open to doing a third entry for the series.

5. Avatar fail

Pine auditioned for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar but he lost the part to Sam Worthington. According to Chris it was the worst audition that he’s ever done.

6. Pals

Before they starred in Star Trek together, Pine and costar Zachary Quinto were already well acquainted with each other because they shared a lot of mutual friends and worked out at the same gym.

7. The Youngest

When he was 28, the actor became the youngest actor to play a lead in Star Trek.

8. Mistaken identity

A lot of times, the actor gets mistaken for other celebrities. Specifically fans have confused Pine with Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and even Ryan Reynolds!

And those ladies and gentlemen are the facts! Happy Birthday Chris!

Check out my other Chris Pine related articles: