so, because every summer my celebrity boyfriends have to go and dork out on yachts, this happened:
wait for it… there’s a gif:
yeah. that happened.
i’ve written again and again and again, in regards to my love/hateship with tommy cruise (most particularly as regards that INSIDIOUS W magazine spread the very thought of which still makes my brain cramp), how the men you love in your youth will always let you down.
sorry!!! APOLOGIES!!! couldn’t resist. but leo jack dawson dicaprio provides another VIVID example of this same inevitable progressive let-down, non?
if you are a woman of a certain age or a gay man then YEAH YOU DO because that image either hung in your bedroom or was held in your heart from approximately 1995 to 2000.
when baz lurhmann’s romeo + juliet came out, i was 15.
i was 16 when titanic was released the following year.
meaning: those movies were made for me and my friends (further discussion of that here).
as a celebrity commodity, leo was expressly manufactured for us.
but, as all of us who rented the basketball diaries for our slumber parties because we loved titanic learned, there were two sides to leo.
and the Serious Actor:
this hasn’t changed at all in the last 20 years, i would argue, it just looks different now and the gap between the two is maybe more pronounced…
part of dicaprio’s appeal as a heartthrob was always that, though undeniably talented and pretty, he was also a bit of a wildcard (READ THIS RIGHT NOW).
he seemed to have a livelier sense of humor than most of his contemporaries, a joie de vivre they lacked …
and he seemed just generally game. for whatev.
contrast him with who else was on offer…
DO THEY NOT LOOK LIKE THE MOST BORING LOT OF ALL TIME?!
and i say that as a luke perry lover (while we’re here, go look at these luke perry photos from dragon con in 2010).
what’s perhaps most striking in the contrast is dicaprio’s youth. these were the days when people in their 30s routinely played high schoolers…
point = made.)
in contrast, dicaprio usually played around the age that he actually was.
so that if you were in that teen titanic demographic, he was old enough to imagine as a boyfriend without being threateningly older. different without being too dangerous.
yeah, he’s looking a bit rough and there’s been a lot of talk about his weight gain this summer. frankly, i was more concerned that after years of famously using e-cigarettes, he seems to have taken up smoking again.
and his slide into marlon brando-esque middle age continues apace…
as laineygossip pointed out, dicaprio and justin bieber are mining the same age bracket. that is not the kind of company you want to keep.
then again, neither is this…
though there’s presumably a growing pains connection.
which explains if it doesn’t excuse.
george clooney famously once said (or if he didn’t then i’ve said he did enough times now that it’s pretty much the same as him having said it) that people freeze at the age at which they become famous.
i evoked that notion in the multi-part deconstruction of my dislike of j.tim, but it comes into play with the celebrities you do like as well.
i like dicaprio. i think he does some of the most provocative work of anyone in hollywood.
and somehow manages, whilst being extremely well-known, to disappear into roles in a way that a lot of equally well-known people simply cannot.
he is completely fearless onscreen.
he is also, it seems likely, a complete tool in real life. (i repeat: READ THIS RIGHT NOW).
i say over and over again that celebrities are mirrors and so, when we care, the question is what they reflect. if dicaprio isn’t a heartthrob anymore, what is he?
my father is always surprised by how old the actors and actresses he loved when he was younger have become. “they’re just a bunch of old people now,” he complains.
really, they’re not that old, but they are older. and the image of who they were doesn’t align with who they are. it’s the disconnect between the stable image and the instability of real life.
this is the natural progression of things. we are all getting older and we are, as a result, aging. just as dicaprio gets older, so do i.
still, there is a part of me that looks at the gap there- the vast, increasingly fraught distance between the lives of the artist and the heartthrob- and thinks he’s still as he was in 1996. and that same part of me wants to grab him by the lapels, look deep into those blue eyes that made my heart flutter when i was 16 and say, “dude, grow up.”