Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
May 15, 2012
Losing the rum was probably a bad choice.
Kim Hollis: Since Johnny Depp became Captain Jack Sparrow and a box office powerhouse, what do you think has been his best decision, and what is his worst?
Edwin Davies: I think his best decision has been to keep on doing the weird, offbeat sort of things that he did before he was one of the biggest star in the world, especially because it has helped some pretty good films reach a wider audience (something like Public Enemies, for example, probably wouldn't have done half the business it did without his name attached, and even though it was a bust, The Rum Diary wouldn't have been made without him). I think that has done more to keep alive the idea that he's a sweet-natured guy who does right by the people he likes to work with, since it would have been all too easy for him to leave all that arty stuff behind and only make huge films for big-ass paychecks.
On the other hand, I think that he has occasionally done just that, most notoriously with The Tourist, which was a bad film that boasted a pretty lazy performance from Depp. At least with the second, third and fourth Pirates films - which I think are all deeply terrible films - you could tell that he was putting his all into the role. The Tourist was the first time you could tell that he didn't care and was just there to get paid, and I think that film might have done some damage to reputation as someone who always gave his all, no matter what the project.
Bruce Hall: The Tourist was Depp's biggest folly in recent years for many reasons, and some of them were even on camera. Other than that, I don't really have a problem with any of his recent choices. The unexpected success of Pirates of the Caribbean has given him the sort of freedom that few actors ever achieve, but you're always free when you're true to yourself, and next to his fondness for playing androgynous weirdos, it's been the greatest constant of his career. Johnny Depp has never been afraid to challenge himself, and I really respect him for it.
Brett Beach: I kinda concur with Edwin but I don't feel it was due to laziness. It was what I (with an assist from Leonard Maltin) refer to as the "Jennifer Jason Leigh in Backdraft syndrome," where a star known for quirky character business fails miserably playing "an ordinary person." (And if you've seen The Tourist, then you are aware SPOILER it's actually Depp's character playing at what an "ordinary person" is like END SPOILER). I would also debit Alice in Wonderland for being too obvious a choice for all involved.
For bests: I know it came out not long after (so I don't know if it had already started filming before POTC blew up) but I would choose Secret Window, for being a decent thriller and a biting black satire on divorce (it rung true at the time for me) and more recently Rango which is a great character turn by Depp, even animated.