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Archive for March 23rd, 2015

Sean Penn won the Oscar for best actor in 2004 for the Clint Eastwood movie Mystic River. The other nominees were Jude Law (Cold Mountain), Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation) and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl). At the time of the Oscars I had seen and enjoyed all the films, Lost in Translation being my favourite, and my Pick for Best Picture and Best director, but that’s a story for another day. I think I would have been happy for any one of the actors to have won, but something deep down in me wanted Depp to win. It was his first nomination with two more to follow soon after; Finding Neverland in 2005 and Sweeney Todd in 2008. My disillusionment with the Oscars was at its hight at this time, the previous year they had handed best picture to Chicago and were about to crown The Return of the King, the weakest in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Pirates of the Caribbean was unashamed joyous silly fun, not the kind of film the academy recognises, and at the heart of it was Depp playing a charter like we had never seen before. Clearly this was a step too far and the ultra conservative academy were never going to award it, the nomination was enough.johnny depp Pirates-Of-The-Caribbean-The-Curse-Of-The-Black-Pearl

Fast forward just over a decade and I didn’t bother going to see Depp’s latest; Mortdecai. Why? I just couldn’t face it. Depp has become a caricature of one of his worst wacky characters. His eccentricities and acting up to 11 were perfect for Cry-Baby (1990) and Ed Wood (1994) as was the weirdness and vulnerability of Edward Scissorhands (1990). But by the time we get to Mad Hatter in I Alice in Wonderland (2010), Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows (2012) and The Wolf in Into the Woods (2014), we had seen it all before so many times it was just getting old. And thats without getting into The Tourist (2010) and The Lone Ranger (2013). johnny depp cry baby

I am not the type of person to review or even condemn a film before I have seen it, but I know I won’t like Mortdecai and am not prepared to put myself through the pain. The trailer is essentially the best bits re-cut to make them look even better/funnier to convince people to see the film. If the trailer is that bad I can only imagine how bad the film is. What makes it so disappointing is he is an actor capable of greatness. Transcendence was a flawed movie but he was very good in it, the same is true of Public Enemies. Then we think back to his earlier work, the aforementioned early collaborations with Tim Burton as well as films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Donnie Brasco (1997), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), the underrated Roman Polanski film The Ninth Gate (1999) and Blow (2001).johnny-depp fear and loathing in las vegas

At any time in the 90’s I was always excited by the prospect of a Johnny Depp film, even if it wasn’t great, it would be interesting and nine times out of ten he would be good in it. Now when I hear of a new Depp movie I wonder what silly voice he will put on and how ridicules it will be. I haven’t given up on him as a actor, but I will always think twice before going to see one of his films.  

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