My Wife's DiCaprio Disdain

Leonardo DiCaprio may win the Oscar tonight for Best Actor, he may not. Regardless, it will not change my wife’s mind.

I recently saw The Revenant alone. Lotta grimacing and grunting. Hugh Glass mauled by a bear was intense, but as far as cinematic depictions of humans attacked by wild animals, I prefer Chrissie Watkins clinging for dear life to the bell buoy off Amity Island.

Alone, for one very simple and compelling reason. My wife refuses to watch any movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. Her logic and reasoning?

“The man can’t act.” That’s a direct quote.

We love movies and I suspect we see more than most middle class American Midwest couples. We have the refillable popcorn bucket, the Carmike Cinemas rewards card and a penchant to sit close to the screen.

Easier to see, duh.

We go to chick flicks, bio pics, superhero tales, romantic comedies, summer blockbusters, suspense thrillers. We tend to stay away from slasher films.

We also watch a lot of movies at home. Certain directors whose work I admire. DePalma, Scorsese, Kubrick. Among today’s generation, I’ll pay good money for any Nolan or Shyamalan movie. I’m especially fond of Hitchcock, Wilder and early Spielberg. I’ve loved the noir genre since my very first professional job in the broadcast industry. Soft spot in my heart and high expectations for period pieces, set in the 1950s, 60s and increasingly, the 70s.

My all-time favorite performance is probably Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. (Long pause while eyeballing Tommy DeVito warily) “Get the f--- outa here, Tommy!”

Depp, Bullock, Marky Mark, J-Law, early Pacino. I’ll watch any Travolta movie. Who doesn’t like Hanks and Streep? McAdams seems to have come a long way since Mean Girls.

But DiCaprio? My wife would rather watch a blank screen. Claims the man has no depth, that he’s the same guy in each of his motion pictures. I feel sorta the same way about Keanu. Johnny Utah in Point Break is Jack Traven in Speed. Johnny Mnemonic and Neo. 

I kinda liked DiCaprio in Gatsby, Wolf of Wall Street, Django Unchained. He was solid inCatch Me if You Can, though Hanks and his horn rims stole that show.

Put me down as ‘meh’ on his bio pics. Believable and hackneyed moments as Howard Hughes and I still don’t understand DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover. Truly awful.

Which reminds me of the only movie during which we consciously and purposefully fled the theatre because the on-screen performance was so dreadful. I simply could not stomach Madonna as Eva Peron.

Go ahead and cry for me, Argentina. Please.

I think my wife’s DiCaprio disdain can be traced to Jack Dawson. She’s also not too fond of Kate Winslet or Celine Dion, so I suspect the combination of the three of them offering up their talent, time and treasure in the same cinematic work of art was simply too much for her finely tuned and intricately calibrated motion picture sensibilities.

Someone once said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s what makes it art. One man’s Rembrandt is another man’s crap. Sharks over grizzly bears. Anyone over DiCaprio.

I kinda hope DiCaprio wins, if for no other reason, so the poor bastard can get off the schneid. On the other hand, maybe Leo goes another 10 or 15 Oscar-less years. Then when he finally wins, the narrative can be truly revenant-esque... ‘DiCaprio back from the dead...’ 

Either way, I suspect my wife’s heart will go on.