Week in Review – Keener and DiCaprio

This week I watched all of Nicole Holofcener’s films so that when I watched Enough Said I would have seen her other films for comparison. The really interesting thing about her films (and reminded me of David O. Russell) is that all of the characters played by Catherine Keener (and in Enough Said by Julia Louis Dreyfuss) are fairly socially and personally oblivious. What most people would recognize as un-diagnosed Aspergers is what these women are all characterized with. Its not necessarily a bad thing but it makes me wonder about the quality of the actor in this case considering they all feel the same. In David O. Russell’s filmography Ben Stiller’s character in Flirting With Disaster is identically characterized to Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings and American Hustle. In both cases I wonder who the artist is. 

Either way, Holofcener’s films did impress me a lot. She deals with similar themes in her films around womanhood in society but she takes different stabs at it in each film: friendship in Walking and Talking, sisterhood, motherhood, body image and a little bit of race in Lovely and Amazing, class, sexuality and control in Friends With Money, integrity and death in Please Give, and aging and relationships in Enough Said. The five films together are an interesting treatise on womanhood if incomplete in terms of the diversity of womanhood (particularly with race and GSM communities). 

I also saw Wolf of Wall Street and from there began watching Scorsese’s filmography which led to another series of DiCaprio’s performances. I started with the Scorsese films from the 2000s and then went to finish the rest of DiCaprio’s from those years (since I’d already done five of his).  Scorsese seemed to be on a one bad film for every two great films basis since 2000 although I wonder if that goes back further (because that would include Casino, Goodfellas, After Hours, New York New York, and Mean Streets so he must have skipped a year somewhere). 

The interesting thing about Leo is that, with only one technical exception (Don’s Plum was released in 2001 but filmed in 1995), he has only worked with great/very established directors for the past 13 years. Danny Boyle, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Edward Zwick, Ridley Scott, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino, and Baz Lurhman. He has been incredibly selective with his parts and he hasn’t really given a “bad” performance in the past 13 years which is something  most actors can’t claim to. 

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