12. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002)
Release Date: December 25, 2002
Chronology: Arrived after a return to sci-fi with A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Minority Report and rekindled a partnership between Spielberg and Tom Hanks that continued with The Terminal
Box Office: $165 million ($217 million, adjusted for inflation)
Oscars: 2 nominations, 0 wins
Premise: Catch Me If You Can is the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio), a young expert on cons who posed as a teacher, a pilot, a lawyer, and a doctor — all while being chased by tenacious FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks)
Over two hours?: Yes, indeed
John Williams Score?: Yes
Father Issues?: Yeah, Frank Jr. has plenty of issues with Frank Sr. (Christopher Walken), which he also carries over into his relationship with Carl
War?: No war
Special Appearances: Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Amy Adams, James Brolin, Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks, and Ellen Pompeo
Fun Fact: The officer who arrests DiCaprio’s character is played by the real Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Best Line: “For the last six months, he’s gone to Harvard and Berkeley. I’m betting he can get a passport.”
Verdict: Immensely entertaining. Much like Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean Eleven, the premise to the movie is very basic, but the flair added by a talented director (and the performances from a game cast) makes all the difference between a good movie and a great one. DiCaprio is funny and tragic as Frank and Hanks is enjoyable as the frustrated Carl. It could use a little tightening in its middle act, but Catch Me If You Can is fun enough that you don’t mind much.
Rating: 4½ stars / 5