Depp captured the soul of poor, used, ne'er-do well, drug dealerextraordinare
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 fun to gaze upon until now. It's
just that here he needed to hold nearly every scene and he did
without the help of scissory appendages, headless horsemen or
a simpleton brother.
another long drug movie (a la Traffic)
that, at times, make 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 coke era, is ultimately deep enough to reap
one's forgiveness in the end.
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, lookslike he snuck into Universal's back lot and
stole Carrey's under-Grinch wear. The belly, at least. You could
almost see the stuffing 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.
George's 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
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 asplendid, 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.
Johnny Depp, Ray Liotta, Paul Reubens, Jordi Mollà Perales,
Penélope Cruz, Barbara Rachel Griffiths and some awfully
atractive latin types ...Slurp!
by: Ted Demme