Johnny Depp

Monday, March 8, 2010 4:10 PM By Simon

Here we go.

This, i dedicate to my sister. My dear, darling sister over at her book blog has a certain...obsession with Johnny Depp. Bless her, she just couldn't help herself after reruns of 21 Jump Street made it's way to her Youtube recommended page. So, partly out of interest, partly because I love the darling, I write this article. In an unrelated note, I also mention that I very much fancy the new book by Jonathan Lethem. Birthdays only come once a year, ahem.

(That's not Jack Sparrow

1)Cry-Baby: Oh, I know. Why not Edward Scissorhands, yo? But it's just so obvious. And this this is the Soviet Union of Johnny Depp's career (if it was World War 2). The unspoken hero, whether we like it or not. Sure, Scissorhands is what we all acknowledge, but it was just the frontman for Cry-Baby, who did all the work.

Okay, this metaphor is confusing me. Or is it an epic simile? Curses, I still have The Odyssesy shit in my head!

In Cry-Baby, Johnny Depp plays the leader of a gang of high school 'Drapes", who falls for a "Square" girl named Allison (played by Amy Locane). In a musical where he doesn't actually sing, Depp plays campy cool, a 50s-bad boy as imagined by John Waters, and plays it (I've always wanted to drop this somewhere without irony) fabulously. But more importantely, it is a precursor to the weird-ass shit he does later, something to watch before anything else, to ease one into the strangeness of, say, Alice in Wonderland. His career could've gone to the dreary romcom-king, the self-serious Oscar bait/thriller, or something else entirely. This movie, and this performance, paved the way for that something else.

2) Edward Scissorhands
Now, here we go. The real startup. Here, his first collaboration with Tim Burton takes a backseat to the half whimsical, half gothic-lite fairy tale of the story. Starring as an incomplete creature created by Vincent Price, who is suddenly thrust into the modern world of suburbia to meet his One True Love, Winona Ryder. Here, Depp displays the innocent, scarred archtype of Burton to Come as well as he would, both breaking the mold of a teen heartthrob and carving himself as one of the better actors of his generation, in a (I hate this word) daring performance, unflinching at the unflattering costume of his character, sensitive and childlike. Okay.

3) Benny and Joon
I've seen this a million times, and it never gets old. Here, Depp plays Sam, a weird dude who loves slapstick and iron-grilled cheese. He meets the titular Benny and Joon, a brother and sister (who are probably the stars of this film, but they are neither Johnny nor Depp) played by Aidan Quinn and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. He starts dating Joon, who's outright crazy to his quirky in what is probably the most adorable relationship in film history. Seriously, guys, watch the fucking trailer. But Depp steals the show, getting a Golden Globe nomination for his mastery of physical comedy. JebeezusIlovethismovie.

2) Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Oh, dear. As the eeeevally misunderstood barber, wrongfully exiled for having a hot wife, Sweeney Todd, returned with a vengeance to London, and hiding out with the lovestruck Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), Depp is, I think, at his most dark while still in a Burton movie (because gritty-dark like Donnie Brasco doesn't count. I miss those, though.) Displaying some impressive voicework for a guy who's never sung before, every note out of his mouth is dripping with contempt, sorrow, and wrath, released from the permanent snarl on his face. His noise scrunched, like he can barely stand the sight or smell of you. He cares for nobody but his missing family, his poor, deceased wife and his daughter Johanna, who is being held as a ward by the eeeeeeeeeeeeevaller rapist (ofhiswife!) Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman).

1) Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Agent Sands. Fuckmooks.

Ed Wood in Ed Wood, for the optimissm. Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, for warning me of the bat problem. George Jung in Blow, for the sideburns. Glen Lantz in A Nightmare on Elm Street, for the fountain. Mort Rainey in Secret Window, for the weirdness brought to the conventional. And, finally, John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine. For this.


D Swizzle said...


Now I might do a post on Teddy. Just for you.

March 8, 2010 at 7:20 PM
tony d said...

Sweeney Todd is the only recent Depp/Burton role that I've liked - that I said I'm big fan of Depp's in Donnie Brasco also

March 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM
Wild Celtic said...

I love Johnny Depp, also. He's rogue and handsome and delightfully odd. He's amazing in Secret Window

March 31, 2010 at 12:01 PM