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Fame Audit: Leonardo DiCaprio

NAME: Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio
AUDIT DATE: January 14, 2003
AGE: 28
OCCUPATION: Actor, global pin-up
EXPERIENCE” 18 films since 1991


Before you can talk about Leonardo DiCaprio, you have to decide which Leo you're talking about. Is it Leo DiCaprio, the child actor who shone in This Boy's Life and What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, who was nominated for an Oscar, and who seemed to be, in the words of film critic David Thomson, "brushed with genius"? Or is it Leo DiCaprio, the Titanic star who was, for a few luminous years, the lust object of every teenage girl on all seven continents? (Okay, there might not be teenage girls on Antarctica. But if there were, circa 1998, you can bet they had Leo posters Fun-Tacked to the walls of their igloos.) Or is it Leo DiCaprio, the Gisele-dating, club-hopping, Page-Six frequenting, Elizabeth Berkley's boyfriend-beating ringleader of a ragtag band of Hollywood miscreants? Or any other of the angles of Leo DiCaprio covered in Hollywood Insider.

Of course, if you're talking about DiCaprio's fame, you have to talk about all three. You may, alas, also have to talk about David Blaine. But only briefly.

We should start by saying that DiCaprio is a very good -- even great -- actor. This is, after all, the reason for which he first earned his renown. Granted, after Titanic and its aftermath, this fact was easy to forget.

As of this past Christmas, though, Leo the Actor was front and centre once again. He starred in Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can, with mixed results. In Gangs, Leo plays a young ruffian named Amsterdam who's out to avenge his father's death and he manages to hold his own, but just by the scruff of his chinny-chin-chin.

In any case, Leo does his best to bring this role alive. Revenge parts, though, are notoriously unforgiving. Basically, all you get to do is squint a lot and bide your time. Biding one's time doesn't exactly make for compelling on-screen histrionics. In fact, it doesn't require much acting at all. This is how Charles Bronson was able to make three more Death Wish movies after he was clinically dead.

Leo's plight in Gangs isn't helped much by the fact that the object of his time-biding, Daniel Day-Lewis's William Cutter, is one of the great examples of on-screen histrionics in recent memory. In this context, it's hard to blame Leo for looking so bland. But that's what you get for breaking one of the oldest rules of acting. Number one, don't work with children or animals. Number two, never play opposite a man in a handlebar moustache and a stove-pipe hat. You'll get upstaged every time.

For a dose of vintage Leo, you have to check out Catch Me If You Can. In that film, you get Leo at the top of his game: charming, devilish, boyish, and seductive, often all at once. In one review we read, a critic noted how surprising it was that the twenty-eight-year-old DiCaprio could so convincingly play a fifteen-year-old. For us, the big surprise was: Leo DiCaprio is twenty-eight? Really? So that's how he gets into all those clubs. We just assumed he had a really good fake ID.

The funny thing about DiCaprio is that, while he's theoretically one of the most famous actors in the world -- Titanic and Gisele and all that -- he just doesn't seem that famous. He certainly doesn't seem as 24-hour, in-your-face ubiquitous as, say, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. In fact, we'd have forgotten all about him if it weren't for all those late-night sightings with David Blaine and Tobey Maguire and Lukas Haas. And while we're on the subject, isn't Lukas Haas, like, ten years old? And isn't Tobey Maguire, like, seventeen?

This might explain why all that distasteful "Pussy Posse" gossip hasn't seemed to sully Leo in the same way that, say, Charlie Sheen was sullied by all those hookers-and-coke stories. These days, you can't look at Charlie Sheen without thinking "hookers and coke," as though it was his favourite mixed drink. In fact, we used to think that even before those stories came out. Charlie Sheen has just always seemed greasy and gross. His name is "sheen," for crying out loud.

Whereas Leo -- and the rest of his P.P. -- seem more like your friend's rascally kid brother. (Okay, the rest of his P.P. save for David Blaine, who's always come off as a grade-A knob. Look, I'm standing on a pole! It's "magic"!) Sure, Leo gets into a little mischief. But what fifteen-year-old doesn't? Just take away his slingshot and ground him for a week.

Don't get us wrong -- we don't doubt Leo has an unsavoury side. For evidence, check out the recent issue of US Weekly in which he appears in two different paparazzi pics. In the first, he's at a party with the increasingly greasy/slimy Britney Spears. He's wearing a ballcap screwed on at a Flava Flav angle, which is fine...if you're Flava Flav. To make matters worse, he's flashing a gang sign. A gang sign! Leo's all up in the hizza, keepin' it rizzeal!

In the second photo, he's skulking along some sunlit L.A. boulevard wearing the obligatory ballcap and Bono-shades, feigning a desire for anonymity. He's also wearing an oversized purple velour tracksuit and a pair of Uggs, those trendy slipper boots. Here, he doesn't look unsavoury so much as he looks like an actor on the set of Fraggle Rock, who's taken off his felt head and is headed over to the craft table.

All of which is to say that, despite being in the biggest money-making film of all time and spending the ensuing years trolling New York nightclubs in the company of dimbulb supermodels and rowdy brats, Leo, somewhat miraculously, still has a relatively clean slate. All his extracurricular shenanigans have yet to permanently skew our perception of him -- the way they've permanently skewed our perceptions of Charlie Sheen or Arnold Schwarzenegger. We can still go to a movie and enjoy Leo the actor without being haunted by Leo the party boy. And Leo the actor is still very damned enjoyable, as this holiday season proved.

So we say: Keep the fame. You've earned it. But remember: there are things you can be famous for, and then there are things you shouldn't be famous for. Great acting -- yes. Picking on poor Elizabeth Berkley's boyfriend -- no. You've hinted in interviews that you want to shed your bad-boy rep. If so, more power to you. We'll just add this: While you're shedding things, you might want to ditch that purple velour tracksuit, Gobo.



Fame Barometer

Current approximate level of fame: Brad Pitt

Deserved approximate level of fame: Jude Law

Full of It

Full of It (2007) New Line Cinema
1 hr. 33 mins.
Starring: Ryan Pinkston, Kate Mara, Teri Polo, Carmen Electra, Joshua Close, Cynthia Stevenson, John Carroll Lynch, Amanda Walsh, Craig Kilborn
Directed by: Christian Charles
This film is rated: PG-13
Rating: 1/4

Once a teen comedy...always a teen comedy. However, once a wretchedly lame teen, never get the gist of the concept. Speaking of concept, there’s none whatsoever behind the instantly forgettable Full of It, an empty-headed farcical nerdy showcase whose only “wow” factor is that it actually got made and distributed. Still, there’s something that can be said about this prepubescent piece of piffle in comparison to a hearty belch—it’s obnoxious, loud, smelly then soon will disappear into the thin air.

The woefully generic and blandly titular Full of It is the brainstorm (some may say brainfart) of director Christian Charles. Charles, who gave us the 2002 documentary Comedian, provides the audience with a very retro, outdated teen flick that looks like it may have been found within the rubbish located in filmmaker John Hughes’s cluttered garage. Painfully unfunny and about as pesky as a hardened zit, Full of It is yet another throwaway youth-oriented romp that dabbles in the tedious cliched sentiments about the hazards of high school life and the puckish protagonist that takes us on the ridiculously ho-hum journey into teen-ridden angst.

Screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore sketch out a labored and loony-minded premise that dips its toe in a lake of dullness. The direction by Charles is sporadic and cobbled together by a string of overly familiar gags and wacky winces. Predictably, Full of It goes through the motions of trying to present a slaphappy yet sophomoric vehicle that wants to be in the spirit of the omnipresent 80’s teen flicks that begrudgingly overstayed their welcome. Consequently, Charles never really establishes any noticeable rhythm with this notoriously giddy session of peer pressure awkwardness. Relentlessly stale and not staggering in any considerable warmth or wit, Full of It stumbles into a broad and banal showcase of teen-induced idiocy.

Mathematical genius Sam Leonard (Ryan Pinkston) is new to the scene at Bridgeport High School. As expected, he sticks out like a sore thumb and the bullies will have a field day with the dorky Sam. Wanting to rub elbows with the “desired” in-crowd, Sam yearns to do what it takes to become one of the “haves” while shedding his “have not” persona. Courtesy of a ruthlessly disillusioned guidance counselor (Craig Kilborn) he advises the desperate Sam to lie and be something he’s not in order to impress and assimilate within the school’s ruling clique. Sam’s brainy beauty Annie (Kate Mara, “We Are Marshall”) is against this particular intention to be something that her buddy is not in theory. Unfortunately Annie is as much an outcast as her pal Sam that she otherwise fancies on a different emotional level.

Nevertheless, something magically happens—you guessed it—our bookworm hero has a new lease on life where he’s finally living his exaggerated lies. Finally, Sam is popular at school and things couldn’t be better in terms of his new revitalized reputation. Suddenly, math isn’t his forte but he’s an athletic wonder in basketball that makes him cool with the guys. Also, being the campus ladies man doesn’t hurt either. Sam finds that drawing the attentions of such curvaceous prospects as the cheerleading Vicki (Amanda Walsh) and a sultry English teacher (Teri Polo from “Meet the Parents”and “Meet the Fockers”) has its definite perks. Still, all good things must come to an end and Sam will find out soon enough.

Will Sam ever learn his lesson that being yourself and true to your form is the best policy? Plus, will he realize that the real love of his life is down-to-earth fellow misfit Annie and not the likes of bubble-brained babes such as Vicki? Can Sam learn to appreciate what he has in his non-flashy parents (Cynthia Stevenson and John Carroll Lynch) and accept his drab fate in life?

Imbecilic and utterly pointless, Full of It lingers on without so much a hint that its thinly veiled theme has run its trivial course. As the diminutive Sam, Pinkston is passable as the beloved nerd du jour that gets in over his head in an attempt to live a false existence that belittles his real life drudgery. It’s too bad that the movie couldn’t conjure up any striking distinction to Pinkston’s Sam where he actually has a colorful personality to enhance his underdog status. The movie, already unimaginative and disposable, suffers all the more since Pinkston doesn’t elevate the meager material beyond his hangdog look and pint-size body. As for attractive Mara, it’s inconceivable—even in a fetid fable about misplaced teenaged belonging—as to why she would waste her energy pining for someone like the dweebish Sam. This is the least of this interminable movie’s scattershot problems.

Even with the well-intentioned undercurrent message about honesty and accepting one’s identify no matter how unflattering Full of It is too dispiriting to even grace the shelf at the local video store hosting instantly dismissive high school flicks about socially challenged geeks trying to get over on society’s mean-spirited neglect. Ironically, Charles does a disservice in helming such a dimwitted dud that may endorse the entertaining notion of pounding to pieces the Sam Leonards of the world as opposed to sparing them the humiliation of secondary school scathing.

Not everyone can be good at comedy. Fortunately for us, we have Steve Carell whose winning brand of comedy is sure to satisfy everytime.

Boondock Saints

Boondock Saints (1999) Artisan Entertainment
1 hr. 37 mins.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flannery
Directed by: Troy Duffy

Usually in the straight to video (or DVD, depends on how you look at it) fare, we see basic recycled trash simply put on video to entertain on a boring night. It is rare that one sees something fresh, new and here comes the big one – ORIGINAL. There is something I like to call the ‘ Tarantino Syndrome”, where something original in the line of gangster flicks is usually correlated automatically to Mr. Quentin’s work. That is simply to demonstrate how much influence Tarantino had on the cinematic territory. Yet, this B-movie, “Boondock Saints” can stand alone as the first B-flick that is truly innovative and surprising.

The film situates itself in Boston, where two Irish brothers take it upon themselves to abolish the criminals of the underworld that threaten everyday civilization. They believe that they are on a mission from God, and will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. Yet, one detective (Willem Dafoe) will also stop at nothing to see these two murderers put behind bars. Then, once we are exposed to this set-up, morality plays a big part in the film.

Director Troy Duffy has assembled a good movie with nifty editing, great acting and a solid story (Yet, I must say that there is an actor who plays Italian crime boss Lacavetta who does the worst Italian accent ever, I mean horrible, and his acting even worse). Dafoe plays the detective who in a weird way admires these men for doing the things he wishes he could do, and furthermore questions his own beliefs in regards to their mission.

As aforementioned, it is a B-movie, but for what it is, it is a bold new film. Director Duffy has created a whole new sequence of film making, which is quite revolutionary. We all understand what flashbacks are, but all the action sequences in the picture are told from Dafoe’s perspective after reaching the crime scene. The only negative aspect I can say is that Duffy does an excellent job at prepping the audience for what is coming. He articulates the exact reason for the executions, and teases hard-core action fans with loads of weapons and ammo. But the down side is that we do not get to experience these action scenes first hand and are in a way disappointed.

If it sounds complicated, believe me it is not. It is somewhat new and inventive, but the film suffers in my opinion because of this. Compared to other action films, we are put in the action. Here Duffy focuses on the end result rather than on the means. Therefore we see a couple of shots being fired, and next thing we know, the room is full of dead people. And of course, all the action sequences are in slow motion, giving it a sort of balletic feel to it. The film is definitely worth a look. Willem Dafoe is always at his best, especially when his character makes fun of homosexual affection (do not be offended, watch first and then judge). But the film shines in my opinion on this new premise of filmmaking that uses the action as a backdrop and turns this formulaic piece into a fresh film that entertains and makes you wonder. Finally, Duffy lends a little Oliver Stone pop-culture spin-off in his end-credits. Make sure you watch the end-credits and you will see why. Duffy tries to incorporate society’s opinion into this frenzy giving the film another realistic attachment to an already worthwhile film.

Do you know any other B-movies that turned out surprisingly good? Visit Hollywood Insider for more in-depth reviews like this one.

Acting Types

Acting Types

The Star

They become an actor for fame, money and attention. They love being famous and the publicity that goes along with it. Demonstrate a desperate need for attention, and to establish who they are in real life. Choose roles on how much they will be paid and how it will affect their public image, or their image of themselves. Terrified of performing on a stage. Need multiple takes when filming. Tremendous egos and confidence, yet insecure at times. Generally make horrible, simplistic films based on the same character archetype over and over again. Prone to sequels, celebrity mates, and substance abuse problems. Usually give awful performances, with occasional flashes of greatness. Often began acting as a last resort, or to escape from something. Usually grew up poor. They do massive box-office all over the world, and often need only one name. When people talk about a “Celebrity Culture” these are the people they are talking about. On any given day there about 75 of these people in the world.

The Actor

They become an actor because they love to act. Period. They love every aspect of it. The process of becoming someone else appeals to them. They like escaping from who they are, unlike the Star who promotes who they are. They like to disappear in the role. They love the live theater and performing for an audience. Have wanted to be an actor for as long as they can remember. Often come from a showbiz family. Broadway is important to these types. They have a certain snob factor. They feel they are the “Real” actors. Take it all very seriously, use the word “Craft” when talking about acting.

The Artist

By far the most talented and interesting of all the acting types. Multitalented with a definite point of view on life. Usually they paint, write or are musically inclined. Almost always they will or want to direct as well as act. Have absolutely no regard for what is commercial. Their art is never influenced by current trends and what would make a lot of money. They are only interested in the visions in their heads. Will not answer to any executive or suit. They only care about what other artists think. Can play many different types of characters. Very rarely in the public eye, and when they are they are uncomfortable with it. Extremely loyal to the people around them who help and share their visions.

The Accidental Celebrity

These are “actors'' who came to the profession through accidental means. Either they were part of a big news story, use status from another position, or just kind of appear on the scene. Like any other group some are talented and some are not. This group generally has the most natural “real person” vibe. This group does celebrity endorsements, TV (interviews as themselves, or playing themselves on sitcoms) and cameos in films.

If you’re interested in becoming an actor, don’t forget to stay on top of the latest movie entertainment news.


In questo sito potete trovare informazioni, biografia, discografia, testi ed altro su un grande cantautore, Enzo Jannacci, per anni purtroppo ingiustamente sottovalutato e dimenticato, e che solo ultimamente è stato riscoperto.

Di recente la casa editrice Stampa Alternativa ha pubblicato, nella collana "Sconcerto", un volume dedicato ad Enzo Jannacci, intitolato "Ci vuole orecchio - Jannacci raccontato" e scritto da Guido Michelone, autore di molti saggi interessanti ("I Simpson: una famiglia dalla A alla Z" o "Invito al cinema di Roberto Rossellini").

La casa editrice Einaudi ha pubblicato, nella collana "Stile libero", un cofanetto con un libro ed un DVD su Enzo Jannacci; il titolo è "Parole e canzoni" ed è curato, come gli altri usciti precedentemente, da Vincenzo Mollica.

Alessandro Bellapasta ci ha segnalato che è stato pubblicato recentemente un libro scritto dalla grande Franca Valeri, "Tragedie da ridere (Dalla signorina snob alla vedova Socrate)" a cura di Patrizia Zappa Mulas; in questo volume, tra i vari testi umoristici scritti dalla Valeri, vi è presente anche l'atto unico "La cosiddetta fidanzata" in cui recitò con Enzo Jannacci.

Il 7 settembre 2005 è morto Sergio Endrigo, grandissimo cantautore, amico di Enzo Jannacci che nel 1963 era stato suo tastierista durante una tournée. Il club Tenco gli aveva reso omaggio nel 2001 con una serata in cui le sue canzoni erano state eseguite da alcuni suoi colleghi come Paoli, Vecchioni, Lauzi, Cammeriere e appunto Enzo Jannacci, che aveva interpretato la bellissima "Io che amo solo te" accompagnato dal figlio Paolo alla fisarmonica.

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Questo sito e' stato realizzato da Vito Vita; le immagini sono state scansionate da Romeo Borinato; alcune copertine nella sezione discografia sono state scansionate da Enrico Bellino (

Enzo Jannacci e l'autore di questo sito (Foto di Vincenzo Ricotta - Aprile 2000, Folkclub, Torino)

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