Johnny Depp, Ray Liotta, Paul Reubens, Jordi Mollà Perales,
Penélope Cruz, Barbara Rachel Griffiths and some awfully
attractive latin types ...Slurp!
by: Ted Demme
speaking? Blow's another long drug movie (ala
Traffic) that, at times, makes you wish ya had a little
bit of the snowy prop to use as a quick pick-ya-up and-make
ya-wanna-vacuum-the roof snack. But the story, based on drug
dealer George Jung of the Disco -n-coke era, is ultimately deep
enough to reap one's forgiveness in the end.
Depp captured the soul of poor, used, ne'er-do well, drug dealer
extraordinare George Jung. Watching Depp rise from Jump Street
to this performance should be inspiring to all young actors.
not to say Depp hasn't been great to gaze upon until now. It's
just that here he needed to hold the whole film together - he's
in nearly every scene - and he did without the help of scissory
appendages, headless horsemen or a simpleton brother.
a year or so ago when every "it" movie was Shakespeare
in disguise (Ten Things I Hate About You, Shake's
In Love) or even blatantly the Stratford-upon Avonshire's
quill (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo+Juliet)? This
season we have the oh-so-secret-behind-the-scenes-look-at-the-drug-business-kiddies.
Trafficking, distribution, the repercussions down the line...all
for your viewing pleasure.
oddly recurring phenomenon is the normally firm style beefcake
leads (Del Toro in Oscar magnet Traffic, and Depp here)
have rather paunchy bellies, pristine character accents, and
a dull laziness so common in real men.
course, Del Toro actually packed his tenderloin-like torso with
extra tacos and refried beans to ad his blubber. Depp, on the
other hand, looks like he snuck into Universal's back lot and
stole Carrey's under-Grinch wear. The
belly, at least. You could see the stuffing, which actually
looked all bumpy like a down pillow, through Johnny boy's cheesey
late seventies attire...
story goes...George Jung's (Depp) a regular guy. A lazy guy
in fear of getting a job...but a normal guy. He heads to California
in the late sixties and decides to plunge into the cannabis
plantius retail market. He hooks up with flamboyantly
happy boy Derek (Paul 'Don't even whisper it...or I'll f*&^kin
deck ya" Reubens... best known... as Pee Wee Herman). Together,
their business grows in bushels.
one cold, windy-city Chicago day, the cops get George and toss
him away for a couple of years.
to worry, prison's not really all that bad. It's the one place
an ordinary criminal and drug dealer can completely learn the
ropes about branching out, diversifying his distributions, and
make some pretty good connections for the future.
future includes cell-mate Diego (a now he's cute-now-he's-not-Keith
Moon-esque Jordi Mollà Perales). Diego introduces him
to a Colombian named Pablo Escobar. Shudder. Pablo is
like the evil Marilyn Monroe of drugdealers to this day! A drug
icon whose legendary bravado and notoriously open cocaine operation
- with the governments of several of the poorer central American
countries behind him - supplied 85% of America's coca for over
seven years (70's-80's) it seems. And I aint talking about the
dark, syrupy, sugary stuff either!
gets ultra rich and cocky. He marries into the cartel via a
Colombian, Mirtha (Penelope "Spanish name meaning: face
like a chicken" Cruz) which makes him a half gringo, but
still a gringo.
crosses galore and the inevitable end of the good luck trolley
car ride, lead George to his present state of affairs. You almost
feel bad for the guy towards the finale. But as Forrest says
"stupid is as stupid does" that, and, of course,
the real George Yung looked more like Templeton from Charlotte's
Web, then cutey pie Depp. So, a girl's emotions can not be held
is positively electric in this role. Sure, I love his angelic
powder donut facade atop a lean Slim Jim frame, but hormones
aside, damn if the boy can't act! Even without Burton behind
the scenes! Soon all will know as I've seen time and time again...this
guy's a classic "movie star" type. He's interwoven
so many different styles - character adaptations - together
in his career one gets giddy when they hear he's signed on to
a film...me at least. Rent Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Liotta has a unique roll here as George's all loving, forgiving
father Fred. He's a guy who just keeps on trying all his life
yet just keeps four car lengths behind the limo with the super
model in it...Liotta did a splendid, believable job and not
a clove of garlic or a wiseguy to be seen!
Cruz is just ugly! I only say it like that because the media's
always streaming that mock-publicity-brainwashing crap that
she's attractive. Yech. I'm no clamdigger, but, certainly, men
have better taste
than this? Yeah, she's got the never ending legs thing and that
skinny carcass men seem to adore, but she's just a deflated
version of Salma Hayek. And God knows we don't need another
one of those running around.
Reubens is one of my favorites. I admittedly still grieve his
alter ego, Pee Wee. I see anything with Paul's name attached
and enjoy it. Yes, even Mystery Men! Granted, MM
sucked, but the characters and the actors are just so cool.
editing is enjoyably reminiscent of a Guy Ritchie gig.
out and see this. It has some great performances, an interesting
(albeit, lloonngg) story, and it's super fun to watch Depp wear
the grossest hairdos ever sentenced upon the male population,
and in sherbert colored polyester wear to boot!
recommendation: Birthday cake...and blow....pops.