Friday, June 12, 2009

A Johnny Depp movie retrospective

I had planned on doing this for Johnny Depp’s 46th birthday, but I’m a few days too late. I’ll do it anyway, because one doesn’t need an excuse to write a post about Johnny Depp. Besides, I’d seen a Brad Pitt one and figured Johnny Depp deserved one too.

So, I’ve gotten photos of Monsieur Depp in most of his film roles (holy crap, that’s a 25 year career) and arranged them from his earliest film to his latest films. There will be some spoilers.

1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street – Glen Lantz

Johnny Depp’s earliest film role, and all I remember is that I a) watched it for Johnny and b) Johnny dies a pretty memorable death.

1985 Private Resort – Jack Marshall

I’ve always thought this movie ought to have a disclaimer warning people not to watch it unless they find Johnny Depp supremely handsome. Otherwise, it’s a complete waste of time.

1986 PlatoonPrivate Gator Lerner

Depp doesn’t appear in the movie much, though a lot of successful actors had small roles in this movie - Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, and John C. McGinley (the evil doctor from Scrubs).

1990 Cry-Baby – Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker

Depp signed on to make fun of himself at the height of his teen-idol status. I don’t think a lot of actors do things like that anymore.

1990 Edward Scissorhands – Edward Scissorhands

This was Depp’s first collaboration with director Tim Burton, and it's regarded as his breakout film role, though let’s face it, he could have immediately chosen to cash in, and become a superstar. Instead he sort of turned into a bit of a character actor instead.

1993 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Gilbert Grape

Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his first Oscar for his role in this film, and I can’t help but wonder, which of the two actors will win his Oscar first?

1993 Benny and Joon – Sam

Johnny Depp pulled his best Buster Keaton/Charlie Chaplin for the role. He made it look effortless.

1994 Ed WoodEdward D. Wood, Jr.

This is my favourite Johnny Depp movie, and it’s one of my all time favourite films in general.

1995 Nick of Time – Gene Watson

This movie was interesting because it took place in real time, and Christopher Walken appeared in it (he’d later appear in Sleepy Hollow with Depp again), but other than that, it’s a pretty dreadful movie.

1995 Dead Man – William Blake

To be honest, I saw this movie very late at night, I was probably half asleep, and I was more than likely sick with the flu. So, I remember nothing. I should try and catch it again.

1995 Don Juan DeMarco – Don Juan/John R. DeMarco

Out of all the weird movies Depp has appeared in, this, to me is the weirdest. Every time I watch it I wonder why the hell Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway were in it. And Depp has a bad accent throughout most of the film.

1997 Donnie Brasco – Donnie Brasco/Joseph D. 'Joe' Pistone

Definitely one of Depp’s best, and I think his second Oscar worthy performance (Ed Wood was his first). Al Pacino was also flawless in this as well.

1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Raoul Duke

Every person I’ve recommended this to ends up hating it – and me.

1998 L.A. Without a MapHimself/William Blake

I watched this movie because of my David Tennant fixation, but it was pretty cool to see Depp in an unexpected cameo.

1999 Sleepy Hollow – Ichabod Crane

It scared me when I first saw it as a kid, but now, I watch it every time it’s on television.

1999 The Astronaut’s Wife – Commander Spencer Armacost

A lot of people don’t remember this one, but it was decent sci-fi. Charlize Theron starred as Depp’s wife, and it was the first film I ever saw her in anything.

1999 The Ninth Gate – Dean Corso

Films should either be creepy OR awful. Not both. Yeah, this was horrible.

2000 Chocolat – Roux

There was a lot of Oscar hype surrounding this film, but in hindsight, even though I loved it, it was very overrated.

2000 Before Night Falls – Lt. Victor/Bon Bon

Johnny Depp flirts with Javier Bardem.

2001 From Hell – Inspector Frederick Abberline

This could have been a truly great Jack the Ripper film, but it was more tedious than terrifying, and Heather Graham’s accent changed about five times over the course of the film.

2001 The Man Who Cried – Cesar

Depp appeared with Christina Ricci yet again (they have great chemistry) and Cate Blanchett is stunning. That’s all I remember.

2001 Blow – George Jung

I loved this movie, and I think Depp’s performance was underrated.

2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl – Captain Jack Sparrow

This wasn’t expected to be an automatic hit. An adventure story based on a Disneyland ride, with Johnny Depp playing a sexually ambiguous pirate. But, it worked, and it supposedly made Depp into a real star – and I guess, to a certain generation it did. His first Oscar nomination was well deserved.


2003 Once Upon a Time in Mexico – Sheldon Sands

Track 9 on the soundtrack, “Sands’s Theme”, was actually written by Depp, but was credited to ‘Tonto’s Giant Nuts’. Depp came up with it as a joke, and since he might actually be playing Tonto, I wonder if he’s been pursuing the role for this long, or if he’s just psychic.

2004 Secret Window – Mort Rainey

What happened in this film again? Oh, right. There was a twist at the end that I saw coming a mile away.

2004 Finding Neverland – Sir James Matthew Barrie

The movie took liberties with the historical events of J.M. Barrie’s life, and though it was good, it’s definitely the safest choice of Depp’s career.

2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Willy Wonka

If I’d seen this version of Roald Dahl’s novel as a child, I would have been terrified. Depp’s Wonka, unlike Gene Wilder’s, is downright creepy – that grin alone gives scares me. After digging for photos, I’ve only just noticed that Wonka’s eyes appear to actually be a shade of purple. It’s surprising the parents of the children in the film don’t grab their kids and run screaming from the chocolate factory before the tour even begins. If this was Depp’s intention (and I think it was), then he was brilliant.

2006 The Libertine – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester

I loathed this film immensely, but I think Depp gave one of the best performances of his life. He was cruel (“You will not like me.”), melancholy, sexy – pitch perfect.

2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Captain Jack Sparrow

It literally made over a billion dollars, and I admit, I loved it.

2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Captain Jack Sparrow

Yep, I loved this one too.

2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Sweeney Todd/Benjamin Barker

Depp was nominated for his third Oscar, and though many argue it’s a nomination he didn’t deserve, I disagree – it’s just a pity he was up against the juggernaut that is Daniel Day-Lewis.

2009 Public Enemies – John Dillinger

Depp’s upcoming film has him playing yet another real life character, but it’ll be intruiging to see what director Michael Mann brings to the big screen, and who knows, maybe this could be Depp’s fourth Oscar nomination.

2009 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus – Tony

Depp takes on part of the role that the late Heath Ledger was never able to complete. Though I’m excited about Depp and Terry Gilliam working together again, it will be difficult to watch knowing it’s Ledger’s final role.

In the works

2010 (?) The Rum Diary – Paul Kemp

2010 Alice in Wonderland – Mad Hatter

Depp and Burton’s latest film opens on March 19, 2010.

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