Archive for December, 2010
Johnny Depp is arguably the biggest movie star on the planet (besides Will Smith), but my theory is that nobody wants to see Johnny Depp unless he’s wearing a crazy costume and lots of makeup. To prove this theory we have to start when he became a truly large box office draw–2003.
2003– Costumed/raccoon-eyed Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. That movie made $305 million and spawned a franchise.
2003-Relatively regular faced Sands in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. That movie made $55 million. This isn’t bad, but to be fair, he was not the main draw of that movie. It was a sequel to Desperado and Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek were the main stars.
2004- Regular faced J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland. That movie made $51 million. That doesn’t seem like a huge hit, but actually it is the one exception to my theory. This movie does count as a success because it was made for only $25 million, and got Johnny his second Oscar nod. (Tangent: I saw this movie at the CREST Theater in Westwood with my two friends and ADAM SANDLER and his wife! I was too chicken to say anything though. But when I finally got the nerve after the movie was done, he had left.)
2005- Weird wigged, pale strange character Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That movie made $205 million. Huge hit.
2006/2007- Jack Sparrow reprised in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. Both huge hits. Pirates 2 made $423 million and had the biggest opening weekend total of all time ($135 million) up until that point. Pirates 3 made $309 million (not too shabby) and made $139 million opening weekend.
2007- Pale, strange wigged Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd. It made $51 million. Not a HUGE hit but it was a musical so it wasn’t expected to do THAT well. And it got Johnny his 3rd Oscar nod. And I love this movie. So overall success. (Tangent–this poster of Sweeney Todd hung above our toilet in my college apartment. We would imagine that he was looking at us peeing saying creepily, “Is that yo’ penis?”)
2009- Normal faced John Dillinger in Public Enemies. It has made $97 million. Sounds like a success but it’s budget was well over $100 million. And it was a critical failure. It contributed to the heads of Universal getting fired that year.
2010- Crazy faced/wigged Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. That movie made $334 million in the USA and over $1 billion worldwide. I hated this movie but it was a huge hit.
2010- Normal faced Frank in The Tourist- That movie pretty much bombed commercially and critically with an opening of over $16 million, which is especially weak considering his co-star was biggest female star in the world Angelina Jolie.
The interesting point this brings up is that people seem to think of Johnny Depp as this amazingly handsome sex symbol, but they find him sexier (and pay more money to see him) when he’s hiding behind tons of makeup, a weird accent, and orange hair. Given that he abandoned his sex symbol status (he was one on 21 Jump Street) to play Edwards Scissorhands, I think it’s safe to say that Johnny wants it that way.
—Also I’m going to add on Little Fockers to the list of movies that should be good but is not. It’s cast is awesome (except for Jessica Alba) and John Hamburg (Meet the Parents, Zoolander, I Love You, Man) wrote it , but early reviews say it’s terrible, and I have to say, from the commercials, it looks like they are right.
On John Travolta’s Imdb trivia page it says, “Close friends with Dakota Fanning.” Interesting. Here is a hypothetical conversation between them:
(Keep in mind my John Travolta sounds a lot like Danny Zuko)
John: Hey yo Dakota…how’s it going?
Dakota: Hello Jonathan.
John: Aww geez Dakota I told ya, call me Johnny!
Dakota: (Sighs) Hello Johnny.
John: Now that’s what I’m talking about (high fives himself)
Dakota: Why are you calling me?
John: Hey ya, I’m just bored is all. Kelly’s out with the kids and I gots nothing to do. Wanna come over?
Dakota: (Signs) I’m in the middle of a book John.
Dakota: Alright John I’m gonna go now…
John: Oh c’mon Dakota I’m just jerkin your chain is all geez! Stop being such a prissy pants! Amirite? (he looks around for approval)
Dakota: John, if you want to be worldly you have to read.
John: Hey I’m worldly. In fact I just flew my jet to Bermuda just last week. Got a sweet looking tan. You wanna come over and check it out?
Dakota: No John, I don’t want to come over just to look at your tan.
John: Hey whatever, your loss. (Pause)
Dakota: John, is everything ok?
John: What? Of course everything’s ok! Why wouldn’t it be ok? I’m John Travolta. Right? It’s all good. It’s great. Yea man, it’s groovy.
Dakota: Are you sure?
John: Of course I’m sure. I’m totally great. I’m just jiving you know…geez (points and mouths “get a load of her” to his invisible buddies)
Dakota: You seem tense about something.
John: Yeah right! What do I have to be tense about?
John: (Long Pause then drops his accent) I…I just…I just feel like there’s this emptiness in my life. This…like…void. You know? I tried filling it with aliens and dianetics, but that didn’t work and I tried filling it with airplane flying and dressing in drag, but that didn’t work either. I try to put my energy towards my family, but I’m not getting so much out of that either. I just…I’m at a loss.
Dakota: (Long Pause) First off, John. I’m so glad you’re being forthright about this. The first step to making any meaningful life changes is to express your feelings and thereby validate them. Desmond Tutu taught me that. Honestly, I think you have to stop putting so much pressure on yourself to fulfill this mental construct you’ve created and just live the life that you’re living instead of the life that you think you should be living! But you know that! Fuck! You’re John Travolta. Say that.
John: (in a low voice) I’m John Travolta.
Dakota: No, that’s that what I asked. Say “I’m John Travolta.”
John: (still in a low voice) I’m John Travolta.
Dakota: Damn it man! Have some balls!
John: I’M JOHN TRAVOLTA!
JOHN: I’M JOHN TRAVOLTA!!
Dakota: SAY IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
John: I’M JOHN FUCKING TRAVOLTA!!
Dakota: (Long pause) Feel better?
John: (Takes a deep breath) Yeah. Yeah. (Long pause) Thanks Dakota.
Dakota: No problem John. I’ll talk to you later.
– Do people think Ashton Kutcher is a respectable actor? Cause whenever I see him I think “Dude, Where’s My Car” which is perhaps a bit unfair, but so far in the realm of film he’s done nothing to change my mind. Which is why I’m curious why Natalie Portman signed on to do Friends with Benefits (or is it No Strings Attached?) with him. She’s a serious actor who has always shown discretion in choosing projects, and so maybe in choosing to do this light piece of commercial trash she is making a conscious decision to reach a wider audience (which Kutcher does reach). By doing a movie with Kutch, and having it do well at the box office, maybe it gives her the clout to have studios spend money on more expensive artistic-fare like V for Vendetta.
– The promos of SNL this season are far funnier than the episodes itself. Case and point
– Did Nicolas Cage sign on to Season of the Witch just so he wouldn’t have to get a haircut after he filmed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
– I’ve been working for the past few months at The Onion’s AV Club (http://www.avclub.com) and have been writing a lot on their “Newswire” section. Check me out!
Until Tomorrow— (more…)