Thursday, June 29, 2006

DiCaprio taking a long, strange trip

Turn on, tune in to Leo?

It seems our young Mr. DiCaprio, who met Timothy Leary before his death in 1996, will now play the LSD guru in an upcoming biopic.

I laughed for several minutes before deciding this might not be all that bad after all. In my mind, Leo has one hit and one miss when it comes to biopics. Scorcese's "The Aviator" was robbed of the Oscar for best picture, and Leo's manic moodswings as Howard Hughes had a lot to do with its success.

What he did to Jim Carroll in "The Basketball Diaries," however, was a completely different matter. I used to love that cheeky "These Are People Who Died" song by Carroll, but couldn't listen to it for years after suffering through that disaster. It took the Drive-By Truckers to save that song in concert as part of their blistering encore at the 40 Watt last year, but nothing can redeem the flick.

I have a feeling this one will turn out more like "The Aviator" though, because writer-director Craig Lucas is on board to oversee the whole thing. Though he's written many minor Hollywood flicks, I had never heard of him until he directed last year's oddity "The Dying Gaul." Starring Peter Sarsgaard and Campbell Scott, it's a surprisingly effective psychological drama about a screenwriter who gets in a three-way relationship with a woman and her film executive husband.

The Leary pic will evidently focus on his life between his enrollment at West Point in the early 1940s and his escape from prison in 1970.

Leo on acid? There's lots of room for fun here.

'Pittsburgh' calls Miller, Sarsgaard

I'm ashamed to admit it took me a few years to warm to "The Wonderboys." Despite it's perfect cast and script, I had to watch it four or five times before I came to love it. The dialogue is consistently sharp, and heck, even Katie Holmes fares well in it.

In that process I also discovered Michael Chabon's book, which is only slightly better than the movie. Now comes very welcome word that Sarsgaard and Sienna Miller will star in the big-screen adaptation of an earlier Chabon novel I'm unfamiliar with entitled "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh." Attached to write and direct is Rawson Marshall Thurber of "Dodgeball" fame; I guess everyone has to mature sometime.

The story, as far as I can tell, chronicles the last summer of a young man's youth and revolves around his eccentric circle of friends including Jane (Miller) and Cleveland (Sarsgaard).

I know I'm not alone here, but Sarsgaard is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors. Though he's had many great roles, my favorite would have to be his turn as Zach Braff's grave-digging sidekick in "Garden State."

As for Sienna Miller, to me she's so far just two things: An extremely pretty face and the woman who Jude Law cheated on with the nanny. Looking at Miller (which is far from a painful thing to do) just makes me have to ask: What the heck did the nanny look like? Sheesh.

Anyways, I've got Superman on the brain, so I'll have to go now and try to get some work done before hopefully seeing it tonight. I can't wait!


themarina said...

Sarsgaard caught my eye early on but it was "Shattered Glass" that sold me.

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah ... that is a truly great one, Marina, but very hard for me to watch ... Hayden Christensen was equally great in it, and he just scared the hell out of me as Stephen Glass

Sandra Ruttan said...

Wanted to say thanks for dropping by my blog, and I have a friend who could probably use your help!

It's a sad day when someone can't figure out what movies to watch.

Chelle Y. said...

Hi, it's been a long time since I've read your post. I come by a few times, but never had time to comment.

My "Thursday Thirteen" topic today was on my favorite baseball movies. I could use your imput, plus, if you have any more you could recommend, I would love to hear it. I love baseball and their movies. Hehe!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks for coming back, Chelle ... I checked out your list, and would have left a comment, but couldn't figure out how ... My favorite baseball movie that didn't make your cut is "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" ... a great doco about hammerin' Hank which was, I think, made by his daughter ... I recommend it highly

Chelle Y. said...

Thanks, I'll check that one out! I like my son to watch those kind of movies too. It's one thing to watch a fictional baseball movie, but to actually watch a movie about someone's life is even better, especially if it's a documentary.

Haris Zalkapli said...

Leo was great in The Aviator, but it seems that many have forgotten What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Probably it's because of Titanic.

1031 said...

Chabon is one of my favorite writers. Mysteries of Pittsburgh is his first novel, and it shows, but it's still pretty good. To be honest, though, I haven't read it in years. Didn't know they were going to be making a film of it. Very interesting.

Chabon's best novel to date, however, is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, a story about two Jewish cousins, the beginning of the American comic book and WWII.

Won Chabon the Pulitzer Prize, it did. (Rumor has it Natalie Portman is interested in portraying the main female lead in the film.)

Reel Fanatic said...

Kavalier and Clay has been on my to-read list for yeras, 1031, but I never seem to get around to it ... I'll have to move it to the top!

RC said...

i am excited about Mysteries of Pittsburg but am curious how it will transition over to film.

Leo's new role sounds very interesting and sounds like one that could really broaden his "film vocabulary" in a different angle, even though it's still a biopic.

--RC of