The Big Screen: Looking for man behind the mask

July 25, 2013 

>Does anyone else remember the days of good Johnny Depp movies? Before he became Captain Jack Sparrow and exploded from a famous indie actor to Hollywood leading man? In the last few years, he seems like a caricature of himself, or at least Tim Burton's caricature of Johnny Depp. Long gone are the risky "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"-style projects, the floodgates have officially opened.

John Turturro complained that after playing a bowling pervert named Jesus in "The Big Lebowski," everyone asks him to repeat the part. His reply: He will when a script as good as the Coen brothers's comes along. Depp has neither complained nor retreated from being typecast into these eccentric, over-dressed, heavily made up characters. What's worse, it's as if he and Hollywood are pretending we won't figure it out. But it's all Sparrow. Sparrow in a candy factory. Sparrow in a vampire costume. And now, Sparrow on a horse and saddle.

The story begins in 1930s San Francisco. A young boy who is obsessed with the Lone Ranger asks an aged Tonto (Johnny Depp) to tell the true story about the Lone Ranger and his Indian sidekick. We meet John (Armie Hammer), who before becoming the famed cowboy was a passive lawyer. John's brother has been brutally murdered by the villain Butch Cavendish (William Ficthner). Tonto takes him under his wing and teaches him how to avenge his brother's death.

There's a lot of big chase scenes intermingled with the development of Tonto and the Lone Ranger. But when you've seen one train scene, you've seen every train scene. Once we roll around to No. 3, we've already lost interest. I like both Depp and Hammer. Depp is quirky and fun to watch, and Hammer is a rising action star. But "The Lone Ranger" script falls flat, and the actors neither rise to their full potential nor do they ever form a real partnership.

And by the time the movie rolls around to the credits at the 2.5-hour mark, we'd lost interest long ago. And although I'm not a fan of "Pirates of the Caribbean" beyond the original, can we get Sparrow back to his boat already?

The Los Banos Enterprise is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service