You know what just occurred to me because I’m slow? Pirates 5 opens next weekend. You know what else opens next weekend? Baywatch. It’s Johnny Depp vs Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Sort of?
Sort of, because Baywatch is R-rated. So it’s not exactly an even game. Pirates is also an established movie franchise with banked audience familiarity from four previous installments. Baywatch, of course, has the familiarity – but on television; it has to prove that it can make the jump from small to big screen.
Johnny Depp was the biggest movie star in the world a decade ago. And The Rock is the biggest movie star in the world now. And they’re going head to head. Don’t you love that storyline? We’ll get to The Rock in the next post. Let’s focus right now, though it won’t be as fun, on Johnny.
Last week, The Hollywood Reporter called Johnny a “star in crisis”. This week he’s been smiling on red carpets and on talk shows and having his team leak stories to PEOPLE about how he’s “taking work seriously”. Last night was the Hollywood premiere. Yesterday he was on Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel Live. So he’s out there hustling, for himself, for that Disney money. How’s that working out for him?
Well, I suppose the MiniVan Majority is enjoying it? I imagine they watched his interview on Ellen and found it titillating when Ellen asked him about his body parts and his ass? And that they probably wouldn’t hold it against him that Ellen eventually had to throw out all the questions because he sucks at the game? Because he’s either trying too hard to look like he’s not trying because that’s what Johnny Depp still thinks constitutes “cool”. Which is how you know that he’s out of touch. You know what’s cool now? Nerds are cool. Trying and caring at the same time is cool. See Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
There’s nothing wrong with appealing to the MiniVan Majority. The MiniVan Majority has given Johnny Depp a career – and a lot of money that he’s pissed away. The problem with Johnny Depp, the disconnect with Johnny Depp, is that he plays like he’s esoteric – the tiresome eccentricity, the tiresome “outsider” attitude, the tiresome “rebel” dressing and posing – when what sustains him is actually the mainstream. You can’t get any more mainstream than BECOMING A RIDE AT DISNEYLAND. So when he shows up on Kimmel like he’s the ultimate rogue, it actually just reads, to everyone outside the MiniVan Majority, like he’s the ultimate cliché. Now that we know that you spend $30K a month flying your private bottles of wine around the world and have over 40 cars and your own island in the Caribbean, who else is going to believe your nostalgia about playing dive bars when you first moved to Hollywood and selling ballpoint pens in a f-cking parking lot no matter how many hats with holes you wear.