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5 Ways to Prep
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

By George Rose

May 25, 2017

This is just Johnny Depp on a normal day.

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2) Cutthroat Island (1995)

I was ten years old when this came out and I probably haven’t seen it in over 15 years. What I remember is loving this movie. It was pirates, treasure hunts, ships at war and a strong lead female. Even at that young age, I was very aware of Hollywood status and knew Geena Davis was a star (1988’s Beetlejuice, she won an Oscar in 1989 for The Accidental Tourist, 1991’s Thelma & Louise, 1992’s A League of Their Own). I loved her and I loved Cutthroat Island. What I didn’t know at the time was anything about movie stats. I do remember hearing ramblings that ocean-set films like this and Waterworld were “costly bombs” at the time but I didn’t know exactly what that meant. We didn’t have the internet in 1995.

My recommendation here serves two purposes. The first is because I remember loving the movie. It was fun, action packed, featured empowered women and was about pirates. I wasn’t aware it cost almost $100 million to make but only earned $10 million. Numbers like that make it more impressive that only eight years later Disney would risk $140 million budget on Pirates of the Caribbean. The second reason I recommend this is because it remains a cautionary tale of how you can’t rely on a child’s inherent love of pirates or the status of someone’s celebrity to guarantee success. Pirates 1 was lightning in a bottle, Pirates 2 rode the wave higher, Pirates 3 crippled a franchise and Pirates 4 took advantage of 3D and international markets. Pirates 5 is out of excuses. If it doesn’t make good money, like Depp/Disney’s Alice in Wonderland 2, then Johnny Depp and his merry band of pirates are done in Hollywood.




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3) Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Poor quality is not the only contributing factor to the Pirates franchise decline. Johnny Depp’s star power isn’t exactly what it used to be. He went from heartthrob in the 1980s to budding superstar in the 1990s to $20+ million earning worldwide megastar A-lister in the 2000s to lazy, desperate, broke, wife-beating has-been in the 2010s. It kinda sucks when it takes over two decades to become a global phenomenon and only a few years to fall from grace. It also sucks when you’re Amber Heard, a young actress that I never liked but never wished ill upon; she had the great misfortune of trying to get ahead in Hollywood by marrying Depp, fell victim to his domestic abuse and revealed to the world that one of our iconic actors was, in fact, a horrible douchebag.

Even though I am not inclined to support the prior works of a man that hurts women, it’s my job here to prepare you for how to best enjoy watching a movie that happens to star said wife-beater. Depp was once beloved and there is plenty in his filmography still worth watching, my favorite of which is Sleepy Hollow. It’s a Tim Burton retelling of the classic Headless Horseman story. It has just the right amount of horror, humor, gothic romance and Tim Burton twisted-ness! Even though it has nothing to do with pirates, it has plenty to do with the undead, which Pirates 5 is sure to have lots of. You may want to choose another Depp classic that you know will remind you of your love for him but Sleepy Hollow is my favorite.


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