Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Austin Butler
How to Watch: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is streaming on Starz, Hulu, and Prime Video.
DiCaprio’s performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is by far one of his most underrated. In his sophomore collaboration with Tarantino, DiCaprio stars as Rick Dalton, a has-been actor struggling to find work as Hollywood’s golden era slowly comes to an end. The film arguably marries the period piece with the slice of life, and brings forth different stories about different characters that find a unifying plot in its final act. Throughout it, we get to watch DiCaprio doing some of his most hilarious work onscreen, assuming the role of a man-child personified that’s still surprisingly vulnerable.
One scene that’s by far a standout in DiCaprio’s entire filmography sees the actor throwing an absolute tantrum in a dressing room after his character forgets one of his lines while shooting his latest project. From kicking everything in the room around, to screaming into a mirror, to repeatedly hitting himself in the face, DiCaprio withers into a teenage girl in this scene and manages to throw a hissy fit that’s both hilarious and remarkably impressive to watch. Emasculating a grown man into a puddle of insecurity is no easy feat, and yet DiCaprio manages to do just that and then some in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that you almost begin to feel sorry for his character. He manages to weave in the fear of aging, the fear of not having the talent you thought you possessed, and more vulnerability into this performance, building a procured persona out of a character you wouldn’t necessarily give the time of day otherwise. Oh, and he also plays around with a flamethrower in this one, just in case you weren’t already convinced. —Yasmeen Hamadeh
5. Inception (2010)