Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Episode 117 (May 31, 2024)

Love me, love me, fish tank you love me. Load Bearing Beams takes you to Verona Beach, America to talk about Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. The year is 1996, and two great business families are feuding in the streets, but that won’t stop our two child protagonists from falling in big-eyed love with each other and hastily getting married to please the Lord.

Laci, Matt, and their pal Screen Time Kota (@screentimekota on TikTok) have a lengthy discussion about this candle-heavy movie. It’s beloved by a generation of angsty teens, but does its choice to use Shakespeare’s actual dialogue work on screen? Is young Leonardo DiCaprio’s boyish performance an asset or a fatal miscasting? And how do we feel about all of this as adults who are significantly older than the little babies at the center of the movie? Also, will Laci ever be able to stop making fun of Matt’s English major ass?

Time stamps:
04:11 — Our histories with this movie and Shakespeare in general
15:17 — Pre-movie predictions
23:39 — History segment: Brief history of William Shakespeare, his play Romeo & Juliet, and career overviews of director Baz Luhrmann and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes
35:21 — In-depth movie discussion
01:21:20 — Final thoughts and star ratings

Artwork by Laci Roth.

Music by Rural Route Nine. Listen to their album The Joy of Averages on Spotify (, Apple Music (, or YouTube (


Songs by Rural Route Nine in this episode: 

“Your Ambition” – 

“Winston-Salem” –

“Snake Drama” –

“The Bible Towers of Bluebonnet” –


“Leonardo and Juliet” by Alex Ross | Slate (1996) —
“Baz Luhrmann Talks ‘Elvis’ with Maureen Down” by Maureen Down | The New York Times (2022) —