It’d be impossible to name the greatest actors working today without mentioning Leonardo DiCaprio, but in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, his rep wasn’t so solid. There were undoubtedly moments of brilliance (What's Eating Gilbert Grape), but it was still possible that he was nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan heartthrob. And his performance in Danny Boyle’s The Beach had people believing this would be the unfortunate truth.
An adaptation of Alex Garland's novel, The Beach is about an American college student looking for new experiences in Southeast Asia. This leads him to a strange island that's far from paradise. Funnily enough, The Beach is a complete bore, which is hard to reconcile given how spastic DiCaprio is. At one point, his character is so wigged out, he imagines that he's in a video game. And it's one of the worst things in recent cinematic history.
DiCaprio's work was so bad, that it earned him a Razzie nomination. For a second, the direct-to-video graveyard yawned wide, ready to accept him.
Thankfully The Beach was the exception, not the rule. In '02, he made Gangs of New York, which established his relationship with Martin Scorsese. Together, they've done beautiful things.