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MailTribune.com
  • An open letter to a supposed Applegate dweller

  • Dear Johnny Depp,
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  • Dear Johnny Depp,
    So it looks like "The Lone Ranger" hasn't done your career any favors, huh?
    I'm sure you're doing quite well, what with the French estate, the wonderful children and whatever gorgeous woman you will choose to spend your evening with, despite the savage reviews heaped upon this stinkbomb. Also, from what I understand, the flick is on its way to costing whatever studio was dumb enough to sink $200 million into a franchise featuring a character known to roughly 3.5 percent of the population.
    It happens, man.
    Although.
    It seems to be happening to you quite a lot lately.
    I'm not talking about the chucking-millions-of-dollars-down-the-crapper-on-a-horrid-movie thing. The press is asking stupid questions like, "Is Johnny Depp still a bankable star?" Of course you are. All it takes is one hit and you're back on track, star-wise.
    According to IMBD, your last decade of work has made a lot of Hollywood goons very, very rich. Including yourself, though I'm not locking you in with the goon crowd. "Alice in Wonderland" raked in more than $1 billion worldwide and is the 14th highest grossing movie in history. So congratulations on that, Mr. Depp.
    Problem is, "Alice in Wonderland" was a god-awful movie. It wasn't totally your fault. I guess you did fine giggling and dancing through this headache-inducing pile of computer-generated trash. Someone needs to take whatever script Tim Burton is holding in his hands right now, pat him on the back, thank him for "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" and "Edward Scissorhands" and put him out to Goth pasture.
    Same thing with those last two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Jack Sparrow was a genius creation, but stretching comic relief across nearly 12 hours of movie is a bit much. In a way, you can be credited with ending Orlando Bloom's career. The "Pirates" movies were meant to be his showcase, but no one remembered that dude the moment Jack Sparrow hopped on screen.
    Since 2005, you've given us nothing but CGI-heavy kids movies and one really boring gangster movie in which you somehow underplayed John Dillinger. "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" (2005) might be one of the top 10 worst movies of the past 20 years. I have never met a single person who liked it. Same with "The Tourist" (2010) and last year's "Dark Shadows," which is another Burton debacle.
    Sure, "Sweeney Todd" (2007) had its moments, but it's nothing I want to hurry back and rewatch. Again, you did a fine job resurrecting Hunter S. Thompson in "Rum Diary" last year, but that movie suffered serious pacing issues and managed to make Thompson rather dull. This leaves more kiddie fare such as "Rango" (2010) and "Corpse Bride" (2005) to round out your last eight years of work. Not very good.
    But even worse, none of it is interesting.
    Johnny, I assume you have enough money. Unless you're planning on buying your own island to start a Jack Sparrow cult, I don't see why you need to cash anymore $20 million checks to star in "Willy Wonka 2: Veruca's Revenge."
    Why not check in with smart people who know how to use your once-in-a-generation talents? You filmed "Dead Man" locally with Jim Jarmusch. Hands down, "Dead Man" was one of the great modern westerns.
    What happened to the guy who was so brilliant in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and "Donnie Brasco"? I mentioned "Edward Scissorhands," but let's not forget the work in which you played slow-burn, understated characters so well. The movies were tagged "quirky," but your talent was to provide the realistic heart amid the quirk. I think that's why people connected with you so strongly. We all feel like the only sane person in our goofy lives, and you managed to capture that on screen.
    I've heard legends 'round these parts that you were once seen zooming around the Applegate in a fancy sports car. If you're still around Southern Oregon, I'd suggest you take a ride to the top of Mount Ashland and clear your head. Get back to doing Johnny Depp things again.
    I know you still have it in you. But I don't know how many "Lone Rangers" I can take before I start looking at the "Gilbert Grapes" and "Fear and Loathings" as outliers and the "Willy Wonkas" as the depressing reality.
    Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.
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