Am I the Only Person Who’s Growing Tired of Johnny Depp?

I imagine the subject material of this post will not sit well with a number of people, but I am interested to see just how outlandish my opinion is. Yes, as the title suggests, I am growing tired of Johnny Depp movies.

By no means am I suggesting he is a bad actor. I gave the dude major props for his performance in 2001’s Blow, a positive aspect of an otherwise pedestrian film (I once had a friend — who shall remain nameless — mention Blow in the same sentence as GoodFellas. This was simply mind-boggling, but I forgave it as one anomaly of a misguided view from an otherwise sane person).

I really don’t know what turned me against Depp. After all, who doesn’t respect Edward Scissorhands, and who didn’t like his performance in the first (forget the later installments) Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Ah, but maybe that last parenthetical remark will help us (me) answer this question. I saw the next Pirates film, Dead Man’s Chest, and strongly considered walking out of the theater halfway through. It was DREADFUL. Dreadful enough to erase most of the positive thoughts I had about the first film.

Then, after the novelty of Edward Scissorhands wore off, we got more of the done-to-death gothic and somewhat tongue-in-cheek Depp movies, often seeing him collaborate with Tim Burton (I was reminded of this tired trend with the recent release of Dark Shadows). Sweeney Todd. Sleepy Hollow. Corpse Bride. Enough is enough. Yes, dark thrillers are often excellent (a good psychological and gritty thriller is my favorite type of movie), but the Depp/Burton style is not. Then there was Depp’s (and Burton’s) take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which was, in all honesty, putrid. After this series of episodes, I didn’t even bother seeing the duo’s version of Alice in Wonderland.

Perhaps this is why when I dug back into the early 1990s to finally watch What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, I found myself counting down the minutes until the movie would be over. It was a complete slog, but maybe I was somewhat subconsciously turned against Depp, who — while normally not poor in his performances — basically sleepwalked through that movie and fittingly received unanimous praise in turn.

Like I said, I actually think Depp is a good actor, but for whatever reason — be it his repetitive films, the constant attention he receives, or whatever else — I just don’t enjoy watching his movies anymore. The Rum Diary? Please. The Tourist? Get outta here. Yes, Depp’s presence in (supposedly) slick capers/action-comedies turns me off as well.

I did still see 21 Jump Street despite his presence in the original TV show. And maybe I’m being a bit harsh; if he’s going to be in a film that offers something different in terms of both style and substance, and also has some other good names involved, I’ll give it a shot. So no, I suppose I’m not completely closed off to Depp. But the Sweeney Todds and Dark Shadows(es…?) of the world certainly aren’t helping him get out of my doghouse anytime soon. The bottom line is that while the man is not lacking talent, he is simply a tired act(or).

Is this an asinine opinion (surely not as asinine as thinking Blow is in the same league as GoodFellas)? Or is there something to this? I’m interested to see reactions to this factual observation opinion of mine.

And one last thing: Today is my birthday! And I’ve spent part of it doing one of my favorite things — writing about movies.

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About Tommy D

Clemson and UGA alum with a market research job in LA. And I kind of like movies.

Posted on May 19, 2012, in General Movie Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Happy Birthday Tommy D! And good point. Depp tries to be so ‘diverse’ and versatile in his films, trying his hand in playing so many different ‘eccentric’ characters, that he actually becomes very predictable over time (to the point of complete boredom). However, I am not at all surprised at his choice of films/characters. This is just who he is. Great acting is in his nature (born 9 June – a Gemini sign). But serious, ‘deep’ films coming from him? I’d say impossible. This is no DiCaprio. Sober ‘Donnie Brasco’ and ‘Public Enemies’ were like an exception rather than a rule, and ‘Blow’ and ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ (and even ‘From Hell’) had a drug-crazed appeal to him, again confirming his philosophy ‘to try a little bit of everything, without going any deeper’. The genre of horror, thriller and comedy are all attributed to him. In terms of points outlined, I’d compare him to the likes of Angelina Jolie (born 4 June) and Natalie Portman (born 9 June), who both have a string of frivolous films to be proud of, including ‘The Tourist’, ‘Mr. and Mrs Smith’, ‘Your Highness’ and ‘No Strings Attached’.

    • Interesting points about the Gemini actors. But at least Natalie Portman (for whom I have a soft spot) had Black Swan. And Closer. And The Professional. Depp, on the other hand, is not in as many films that have as much grit or critical acclaim.

      You’re right about Depp. He touches on the surface of a lot of different types of roles and characters (although many of his film types are the same, especially the Burton ones), but really never digs deeper to that next level. A good actor to be sure, but nothing like an DiCapiro or even a Brad Pitt.

  2. Not sure what their birthdays have to do with it, but I totally agree with you Tommy D! He’s so overblown.

    When I saw the commercial for his new movie, Dark Shadows, I remarked to my dad that “Johnny Depp sucks.” The girl in front of me loved him so much she turned around and said he was great. I don’t get it and totally agree with you regarding him. Happy Birthday Tom.

  3. I would re-evaluate Portman actually. ‘Leon’ can be largely discarded – it was shot when she was still too young, and I still consider this film to be her best acting job to date. Depp also had ‘touches of brilliance’ when he was very young, e.g. ‘Arizona Dream’ and he also appeared in ‘Platoon’. I’d say the only other worthy film Portman was in is ‘V for Vendetta’. With regards to ‘Black Swan’ her character there is not any less crazy/eccentric/weird than any Depp’s past eccentrics, and actually in that film she truly portrayed her star’s ‘dual’ nature. I thought her performance in ‘Closer’ was bad, and I do not regard this film as super high in terms of a quality film in the first place, though I guess it truly appealed to Portman coz there is so much ‘infidelity’ in there.

    • I thought Closer was an OK film with a very good performance from her. She got an Oscar nomination for it. I do agree with you that Leon might very well be her best performance, but Black Swan was both a great acting job and a great film, IMO.

  4. I don’t think this was good acting. For one thing, Portman cannot cry on cue, and her ‘crying’ scenes are terrible both in ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Closer’. She has never been a great actress. I have no clue why she received an Oscar for her role in ‘Black Swan’ – I believe that move was to ‘compensate’ the amount of training and preparation she supposedly went through, and because the role appeared so difficult. I haven’t seen any instance of ‘great’ acting on her part in ANY of her films (save maybe some scenes in ‘Leon’). I think that even to compare her performance in ‘Black Swan’ with that of Vivien Leigh, for example, who also received an Oscar for her role in ‘Gone with the Wind’, is just laughable. I think her acting is also too ‘fake’, but then again needless to say these are my personal opinions.

    • I guess I just disagree. She’s certainly been in a number of mediocre to downright poor films, as you mentioned before, but I really thought her performance in Black Swan was excellent, and not just because of all the preparation. Her character was an emotionally stunted, timid, and frightened young woman undergoing a gradual psychological breakdown. I thought she brought a constant uneasiness to the film merely through her body language — no easy feat. And then there were the very brief scenes where we saw glimpses of her more sinister double. Playing opposites like this shows her range.

      Can she really not cry on cue? That seems baffling, especially since I can barely think of any movies where she doesn’t cry, and because she generally has a reputation as one of the best criers in Hollywood.

  5. Happy belated birthday!
    I’m with you on Depp wearing out his welcome. For many years I considered him one of my favorite actors and now I see his films as Johnny Depp in a new silly costume. You’d think the dude would have enough cash to only do films he wanted to…unless he likes doing shit movies?

  6. Him and Tim Burton are really starting to get on my nerves to be honest. nice blog :)

  7. Just stumbled across your blog and was catching up on your stuff. I cannot agree more about Depp. Not saying Secret Window was a good film, but I wish he would pick more of these roles. Just looking back on some of his roles of the past few years…

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    Corpse Bride
    2nd, 3rd, and 4th Pirates Movie
    Sweeny Todd
    Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (partially replacing Ledger i think?)
    Alice and Wonderland
    Rum Diary
    Dark Shadows
    Lone Ranger (2013)

    Maybe he loves playing eccentric characters, but they are all bad movies for one, and the performances that I have seen are not that interesting. Just playing Johnny Depp. (Actually I’ve started to feel the same way about Robert Downy Jr., which everyone seems to be upset with me saying.)

    • Thanks for reading! I actually see your point about Robert Downey, Jr. However, I think he’s actually a more captivating actor than Depp. It’s just that he’s been in quite a few forgettable movies. I’d like to see him do more stuff like Zodiac.

  8. what the hell are you talking about ?

    he is the best actor of his generation .. brando and geffory rush said that not just me

  9. I agree with you. He’s become full of himself and always has this “woe is me” worried look on his face in public. It’s like he tries so hard to be the average man and acts like fame is a burden to him. He has a lifestyle 98% of the population can only dream of and he’s made so many thoughtless comments about how fame is a terrible thing. If that’s how he feels he should quit acting and move to his beloved **** OFF island and do exactly that, **** OFF.

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