Save Johnny Depp!
Last week I published a piece called Save Armie Hammer! about how we should save Armie Hammer (and this was before news surfaced that he may be playing Ant-Man). So, as another part of my doomsday preparation for The Lone Ranger being a terrible film, here’s a second piece explaining why we should save someone in its cast.
Remember that time when Johnny Depp was good? That was an interesting day.
Depp used to be known for giving wonderful performances in interesting films, like Finding Neverland and at least the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. He channeled Buster Keaton in Benny & Joon and sang his way proudly through Sweeney Todd all the way through to an Oscar nomination. He used to be on every girl’s binder throughout my middle school and we all were waiting for the next big thing from Johnny Depp.
So… what the hell happened?
I think we have two separate entities to blame here. The first is oversaturation. Depp is bloody everywhere, decorating our marquees with big budget films of varying quality but mostly a poor one. He seems to be constantly in something, most of them involving scurvy. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and Depp never gives us a chance to miss him. You’d think a guy with his own private island would be more selective of his roles but….. nope.
The second is Tim Goddamn Burton, who I think now qualifies as my archnemesis. I have seen the vast majority of things Tim Burton has made (the only real notable exception being Big Fish) and I think I’ve only enjoyed one of them, which is one he didn’t even come up with. It was Sweeney Todd, for the record. Burton hasn’t had a new idea since Beetlejuice: The Most Overrated Film Ever, and now he’s dragging Depp down with him by throwing him in absolutely everything he makes, which seems to be a movie every month or so. Burton has been in creative stagnation since the first time he threw shears on Depp’s hands, and because of him all I think of when I think Johnny Depp is a truly dull Alice in Wonderland.
I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to seeing Johnny Depp in something. The only movie of his that I’ve liked in almost a decade (Rango, which was incredible) was one that I only watched because it came highly recommended by Cracked and purposefully avoided when it came out because Johnny Depp’s name was on it.
And now he’s in The Lone Ranger, which I see poised to be a John Carter-esque catastrophe that loses a ton of money. I recognize that I’m going to look like a real fool if this movie turns out to be good, but I’m sticking to my guns for the time being. And not only is he in The Lone Ranger, but he’s playing lolly-sucking Tonto of all people! With a dead crow on his head…
I fully comprehend that Depp has Native American blood in him, but there is no way his Tonto is not racist. It is Johnny Depp. In Redface. With Whiteface over it. With a dead crow on his head. If I ever invent a time machine, the first thing I’m doing is going back to the production meetings where people okay’d this. Where Disney execs and director Gore Verbinski looked Johnny Depp and the costume department dead in the face and said, “Yes, this. This is fine.”
Now, I only defend Johnny to a certain point. He really only seems to have two characters: Mumble Guy and Captain Zany. Mumble Guy often has a phony British accent and can be seen in such films as Edward Scissorhands and Jack Sparrow Does Stuff: Also Some Other Pirates, if we’re being honest. Captain Zany has always gotten on my nerves, because he’s the same in every damn movie, from being a really obnoxious and terrifying Willy Wonka to being a really obnoxious and terrifying Mad Hatter. I’ve never thought Depp to be the best actor around, but he deserves better than the most racist thing I’ve seen since Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen put on a minstrel show.
So what do we do? How do we save Depp?
Well, our boy has always seemed far more interested in character work, which is strange for such a good-looking dude, but more power to him. Let’s find him some supporting work somewhere, take a bit of the pressure off from constantly headlining. Alec Baldwin has made an entire career out of doing that sort of thing and things have been working out great for him. Hell, get him in another Robert Rodriguez movie. I’d love to see him show up in a Machete flick.
Actually, there it is! There’s my solution. Make him the villain in something. I’m tired of being told I’m supposed to like this guy. Make me hate him. Let him have fun fighting Superman or something. I’d watch it. Every actor worth their salt has done their due diligence and played a bad guy. Brad Pitt kills those roles, and the main difference between him and Johnny Depp is that I like him. Make Johnny Depp the villain and we might just have our boy back.
Seriously, though, watch Rango.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future film and television writer and current formulator of an underground society meant to take out Tim Burton. But you didn’t hear this from me. Comment below if you think I’m wrong, and be sure to follow and subscribe above.
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Good day, sir!