Tag Archive: johnny depp



No need to be complicated about this one.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Have a good weekend!


The Rum Diary


My interests cover a lot of ground, but I can’t say I’m anyone’s Hunter S. Thompson fan.  Don’t dislike the man, just not in my wheelhouse.  I ‘got’ Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas as one big acid trip (and a good Terry Gilliam piece) but that’s as far as it moved me.

So I went into The Rum Diary without any real expectations.  I knew with Johnny Depp again playing the Hunter doppleganger, this film was basically a prequel to Fear & Loathing, but that didn’t really shade me one way or another.  Coming out of the film I still feel nonplussed.

As much as anything, I thought this film was a great travelogue (for the most part) for Puerto Rico.  The story is about a struggling writer who finds his voice after spending many days and nights running wild and loose in 1960s Puerto Rico, but when you watch this film…you’re really just watching it.  Admiring how beautiful the beaches are, how the people have their own culture. As one character remarks, we can act like it’s ‘foreign’ but for all intents and purposes you’re technically still in America.

Depp by Johnny Depp standards is extremely low key in this movie.  No over the top makeup, not a huge stretch with the voice (especially since he’s done it before).  He’s not on autopilot but he’s blending in with this role.  Amber Heard has her moments where she’s a dead ringer for a younger and less curvy Scarlett Johannsen (and apple of the main character’s eye).  Aaron Eckhart is as close to a villain as this film has, he plays his part.  If this review feels middle of the road, that’s just how I felt about this film.

But, there is a nice sequence at the end of the second act which was as blatant as I can remember in recent memory on preying on the old ‘black man lusting after white woman’ stereotype.  I mean, it was really blatant!  So you have that to look forward to I guess.

It may have been a side effect of maturity as well as the cultural connection, but as I was going through my ups and downs with Maria, I found I was no longer leaning on my boys for love advice as much as I was leaning on the women I had become friends with.  Chief among those women was Alexis.  We had known of each other in the college days, but I don’t remember if we ever had any conversations.  She ended up married to another of the guys from school who I became closer to after graduation (and we’ll get to him next chapter).  Anyway I figured with the Hispanic and the interracial aspects I was dealing with, she would be a good person to bounce my thoughts off of.  And she was, even though that particular relationship crashed and burned to the ground. 

I’m a little tongue in cheek here, but I wasn’t completely sure why she liked me initially.  She hates sports (especially the ones I’m passionate about), she despises the geek jokes I shoot back and forth with her husband on a regular basis.  Oh, and I, ahem, used to have a bad habit of calling her Mexican (which Maria was) even though I knew Alexis was from Guatemala.  (There really isn’t a black version of that joke is there?)  I’m just guessing here, but I think a few things played heavily into my favor.  One was of course, I became really good friends with her husband, who like me, is ‘not a regular black guy’.  Two was probably my interest in the senoritas, in particular when young Ms. Alba first appeared on the scene.  It would be a half serious/half running joke that would go on for years about my affection for Jessica.  We all went to go see Sin City together, and I remember as soon as those cheeks showed up on the big screen, I leaned down the row with a 32 tooth grin whispering “I love her” to Alexis.  (Coincidentally, this was the first time I remember her giving me the platonic version of the “You Idiot” face). 

The third thing which didn’t occur to me until recently is that, as the years have gone on, she’s probably picked up on my positioning myself in the ‘sensitive artist’ camp as one of my guys puts it.  I’m a direct descendant of Michael obviously, but in this day and age I can also connect my work to guys in music like John Mayer (who Alexis gets full credit for turning me on to), and in the acting camp guys like Johnny Depp (who even when he’s playing macho types always finds a way to make it vulnerable).  Now I might be wrong on that one, but since I know she loves those cats, I don’t think I’m way off either.

Anyway over time we’ve definitely ‘bonded’ in our own unique way.  Like my closest guys, we can talk a little smack to each other; I’ve confided in her some of the things only Mi Familia knows.  It’s funny in a way; Alexis is the perfect example of alot of the KU females I’m cool with now;  we were around each other for four years, never talked, then later on we just become really cool.  Such is life I guess.

Now her husband is a whole other story.  I’ll tell that one next time…

Public Enemies



It’s my favorite genre by far, but at this point in the game it is damn near impossible to break new ground with crime drama.  Public Enemies is a really good movie on its own.  Michael Mann, Johnny Depp and Christian Bale doing a film about the true life story of John Dilinger.  If that sounds like it can’t miss, it’s because this is one of those rare situations where it really couldn’t.  Greatest crime flick ever?  No.  Greatest crime flick about that era?  No, I’d actually rank The Untouchables and Once Upon a Time in America as better movies of this time period of gangsterism.  Best film I’ve seen this year?  Probably. 

I knew enough about Dilinger’s story before going into the theater that nothing caught me completely off guard (a little disappointing).  It’s a tribute to Michael Mann’s storytelling ability and the work of the cast that I was entertained for nearly the entire movie.  On top of the two leads, there are a lot of great performances and great character actors in this movie.  There’s an old saying that for actors, you should play your role as if you’re the star even if you’re aren’t.  Marion Cotillard and Billy Crudup stand out because of their name value, but there were at least three or four other ‘That Guys” in the film who got a smile out of me, just for showing up and being in this picture unannounced.

We’ll see what the box office is when that comes out Monday, but all in all a solid piece of adult entertainment.  A little on the long side, but if you know Michael Mann that’s to be expected.