Sunday, February 10, 2008

Johnny Depp Two-Fer Weekend ...

I like Johnny Depp. I'm not a rabid Johnny Depp fan, but I think he's a great actor with tremendous range.

This weekend, thanks to Netflix, I ended up watching to JD movies. The first one, well, let me just qualify everything I say from this point on by mentioning that I don't remember adding the movie to my queue. I watched the trailer on the DVD and didn't recognize any of the scenes. I'm a big fan of previews on DVDs. More often than not, I think, "Oooh! I want to see that!" and pause my DVD player and hop into my office to add movies to my queue right then and there, because I am terribly, terribly old and will forget to add them later. Actually, I'll not only forget to add them later, I'll forget the titles.

But this movie rang no mental bells. FYI, if you've been thinking about watching The Man Who Cried, I can tell you that while Johnny Depp is indeed a man and at one point does indeed cry, the movie is yet another victim of poor titling. The movie is really about Christina Ricci's character. She cries, too. So the title could have gone either way. But I guess it's more interesting to point out a crying man than a crying woman, because you know us: We cry all the time.

The cast is an indie-film dream team: Depp, Ricci, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Harry Dean Stanton. And while the central focus of the film is about Ricci's journey, it touches tangentially on the Holocaust, which made me think, "How many more period pieces do we need with a connection to the Holocaust?" I understand that it was a huge event in world history, but really? Do we need to keep making these movies? Isn't Schindler's List pretty much the final word? No film will ever do more justice to that cataclysm.

But my gripe isn't about the Holocaust connection so much as general bafflement as to why this movie was made. Who was the audience for this film? It was only ever released in a handful of theaters. It made a pittance at the box office. I know not all movie making is about money, but I didn't come away from this film feeling as though I'd just witnessed great art for art's sake, either.

Cate was amazing, as she always is. Is there an accent she can't do? Johnny (and his jaw line) was handsome and brooding, as usual. But it felt like a movie that was made without any thought as to who would see it in the end.

However, I can say this about it: It became a good foil for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which I didn't see in the theater, but which I should have, because damn, some of those scenes at sea would have rocked on a big screen.

Jack Sparrow is a brilliantly drawn character. (Though I would have liked to have seen Keith Richards on screen for more than the total minute that he appeared.) And I can't think of anyone other than Depp who could have pulled it off.

It did indeed feel like a nearly three-hour movie, but it was a fun three hours. And it was nice to see Bill Nighy's face for a few seconds, instead of that creepy tentatacled beard. Eeesh.


Blogger Mercurie said...

I know it's fashionable for some people to dis Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but I still love that movie. It's a whole lot of fun.

5:31 PM  

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