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December 3rd, 2016

Max’s View

The Revenant
*1/2
Leonardo DiCaprio has pulled a complete McConaughey-180.

A McConaughey-180 is a term that I just made up for a celebrity who starts his career as a lightweight pretty boy known for doing chick flicks. Then, through a series of amazing performances (“Dallas Buyers Club,” “Bernie,” “True Detective”), he transforms himself into a respected actor.

Ten years ago Matthew McConaughey was universally loathed by every guy in America. Now he’s so cool that he makes me want to buy a Lincoln MKS.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s McConaughey-180 has been even more remarkable. At the turn of the century, Leo was known to guys as the blond kid who’s in the movies that your girlfriend makes you watch.

After 15 years working with the most talented directors in Hollywood, DiCaprio isn’t just well-respected – he’s the best. “Django Unchained” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” are my one and two favorite films of the decade. And if those movies aren’t your taste, maybe you love “The Departed” and “Inception.” Either way, it’s a known fact that the man makes great movies now.

I don’t think DiCaprio is the best actor, though. He does not have a ton of range. What he does really well, though, is play crazy. Leo’s characters are always outrageous enough to make things weird and interesting but not so insane that your mom refuses to watch.

In “The Revenant,” I think Leo might have taken his crazy-act a step too far.

I don’t recommend this movie to anyone, least of all my mom.

If you read “The Odyssey” and thought “this book is all right, but it would be nice if Odysseus really faced some hardships and wasn’t such a powder puff,” this movie is for you. If you thought “who wrote this book? Homer or Ghandi? I need a little more graphic violence in my revenge stories,” this movie is for you.

But it isn’t for me. “The Revenant” is just three hours of a hideously injured man grunting and crawling and suffering. Whether it’s good or bad is subjective. But I don’t think anyone is claiming that this is a fun night at the movies.

They say “The Revenant” is based on a true story of a wounded man fighting his way through the wilderness on the American frontier. But I’m pretty sure it is only loosely based.

One time as a kid I fell through the ice of the little pond at the foot of Hubbard Park. Only my lower legs were submerged and for only a minute. Still, I had to shuffle home and defrost in a warm bath for an hour before I could feel my feet. My point is: there is no darn way that DiCaprio’s character could have spent that much time wading around in icy water and lived to tell the tale.

But, hey, amazing actors make lousy movies from time to time. Even Matthew McConaughey. Did you see “Interstellar?”

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