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.

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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:

8 Under the Radar Chris Pine Films You Need to See

Chris Pine is best known for his role as James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek film franchise as well as portraying Wonder Woman’s damoiseau in distress, Steve Trevor.  Last month we found out that Pine will return as Trevor in the Wonder Woman sequel. As to how Trevor makes his return-since he was seemingly killed at the end of the first film-remains a mystery for now and I wrote a post discussing  3 Ways Steve Trevor Can Appear in the Wonder Woman Sequel.

In that post I promised those not familiar with Pine’s acting resume a post on eight of Pine’s films fans ought to watch that have flown under the radar. So here it is:

8. Small Town Saturday Night (2010)

If you’ve watched Into the Woods, any of his appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, or heard his duet with Barbara Streisand,  then you know that Pine can sing. In Small Town Saturday Night, the actor plays Rhett Ryan, a singer-songwriter living in a small town. He has dreams to make it big but his desire to follow them comes into conflict with his desire to be with the woman he loves. This film never came to theaters but it did arrive in DVD format in 2010. You can watch Pine sing “Someday Came Today” below.

7. People Like Us (2012)

Pine stars in this family drama as corporate trader Sam Harper. Harper’s in big trouble and, facing an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, he learns that his father has passed away and that he has a half-sister and a nephew. Drama ensues as Harper attempts to connect with his sibling and truths are learned in the process.

6. Stretch (2014)

I found myself watching this film after reading a review in which I discovered that Pine was in it though his role went uncredited. Which was strange considering that his character is integral to the full story. Pine plays an eccentric playboy who has an adoration for extremist hedonism, Roger Karos. And when I say adoration I mean it, just watch the clip below. The film’s streaming on Netflix so check it out.

5. Smokin Aces (2006)

This film has turned into a cult classic and I’ll be honest, when I first saw it, I didn’t know who Chris Pine was nor did I realize until much later that he’s in the film. Pine stars as Darwin Tremor-the eldest of the redneck, speed-freak, neo-Nazi punk hitmen trio, the Tremor brothers.

4. Blind Dating (2006)

You may have seen Pine in a couple of romantic comedies over the years-The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Just My Luck, or This Means War come to mind. But you probably haven’t  heard of Blind Dating.

In this romcom, Pine plays Danny Valdessecchi, an intelligent, handsome, charming boy who happens to have been born blind and is trying to find love. With the help of his brother Lorenzo a.k.a. Larry played by Eddie Kaye Thomas, Danny goes on a couple of disastrous dates and is about to give up altogether until sparks begin to fly between him and a nurse he meets at the clinic where he’s being tested for a risky experimental visual prosthesis that may restore his sight. The nurse Leeza (Anjali Jay) is an Indian-American, and is arranged to be married to another young man.

The film received mixed-to-negative reviews, and the publication City Weekly suggested that Pine receive a special award for “Best Performance in an Otherwise Inexplicable Film.” I’ll admit a lot of the jokes are corny but the film was still enjoyable so check it out.

3. Unstoppable (2010)

This action thriller film directed by the late Tony Scott is loosely based on the real-life CSX 8888 incident, and tells the story of a runaway freight train, and the two men-Denzel Washington and Chris Pine-who attempt to stop it. The interactions between Pine and Washington are integral to the film since their characters are on an out of control speeding train for the majority of the movie and both actors shine.

2. Carriers (2009)

In a world where many post-apocalyptic films feature zombies, this one doesn’t. Instead this film’s culprit is a realistic infectious virus that has spread worldwide, killing almost everyone. Chris Pine, who plays Brian, the older brother of Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci ), who along with Brian’s girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo ) and Danny’s friend Kate (Emily VanCamp) are making their way to a place from their childhood where they’ll hold up and wait for the virus to die down. As they travel they strictly follow a set of rules that they believe will keep them all alive and stop them from becoming infected, but just like in every post-apocalyptic horror film, things don’t go as planned.

Pine does a great job of playing a young man who comes off as cold-hearted SOB but he does what he does to protect his group (Watch the clip below to see what I mean.) The rest of the cast also give excellent performances. This film didn’t come out till 2009, hoping to ride on the coattails of Star Trek’s success, but many people missed it.

1. Hell Or High Water (2016)

Out of all the films I’ve listed, this under the radar film got the most buzz-in my opinion-concerning Pine’s skills as an actor.

Basically the film centers around two brothers: Toby Howard (Chris Pine) a divorced father, and his ex-con older brother Tanner Howard (Ben Foster).  A few weeks before the events in the film, the brothers’ mother passes away, leaving the family’s West Texas ranch to Toby and his sons. Unfortunately, the ranch is being foreclosed and in order to save it, the two brothers commit several bank robberies.

As their spree continues, the brothers’ attract the attention of two Texas Rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who’s forced into retirement and his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).  As the brothers near their goal, the stakes get higher.

Hell or High Water has five things that make it a great movie: the cast, humor, action, the story/setting/dialogue, and the soundtrack. Since I  wrote a whole post about the film I won’t go into any more detail about it. Instead you can read my review Hell or High Water, A Fantastic Modern Western here.

And on that note, I end my list. Chris Pine is a great actor and he’s one of the few actors (aside from Denzel Washington and Leonardo DiCaprio) that I try to watch all of the films (which I have yet to do so).  So my dear readers, have you watched any of these films? If so which ones did you enjoy and which ones did you dislike? What other films starring Chris Pine can you recommend? Leave your answers in the comments or on my Facebook page.