DVD Patrol: Our favorite Johnny Depp movies

In the world of movies, there are a lot of actors who stick out and the list of movies often vary. One guy who has a resume second to none happens to be Johnny Depp. Depp has come a long way over the years and coming from a teen who was one of the first victims of a famous movie monster like Freddy Krueger, taking a role in “21 Jump Street,” to working in movies building a reputation for strong eccentric roles such as “Ed Wood,” “From Hell,” and “Alice in Wonderland” – Depp has definitely paid his dues and is still working entertaining audiences with what he does best. My team came up with this idea and they always make some great choices and I’m not too shabby myself. Here we go.


Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

It’s obvious that Johnny Depp is one of the best actors around. His ability to assume any mundane role and transform it into an original performance is nothing short of extraordinary in a movie industry filled with a cookie cutter sense of success. Depp has a talent for unconventional roles such as Sweeney Todd, Willy Wonka, Ichabod Crane and Edward Scissorhands. Drawing on his unique interpretation in the first Pirates of the Caribbean Depp he creates a persona in his character, Captain Jack Sparrow, whose frantic, yet fluid, body ticks, and easy going humor have become a trademark of the entire three movie franchise. The high budget films made by Disney include an array of A list actors, and yet Depp still manages to steal the stage. Depp told Hollywood reporters Disney executives didn’t  initially like how he exaggeratedly portrayed his character. It takes a special kind of actor who can be a first class Disney pirate one day and then a dramatic and compelling bank robber, as in Public Enemies, the next.  Suffice to say, Depp was right in the end and Capt. Jack has become a entertainment icon onto himself.

 The movie is the first of the trilogy and like so many other series the first is certainly the best. If you’re looking for some action, adventure and a character to remember then Pirates of the Caribbean is a great choice.


Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Long before he was known as Captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka or the Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp was recognizable more for his teen idol status on television’s “21 Jump Street” than for anything you might find in theaters. 

Tim Burton’s 1990 masterpiece “Edward Scissorhands” changed all that and, since then, Depp has become one of Hollywood’s most sought after talents.

When Avon saleswoman Peg Boggs (Dianne Wiest) ventures into the foreboding mansion which overlooks her small town, she discovers the strangely dressed and scissor-handed Edward, whose “father” the Inventor (portrayed by the legendary Vincent Price) died before putting the finishing touches on his creation. 

Taking him into her family’s home, Edward soon becomes the talk of the town, thanks to his amazing abilities trimming the local shrubbery while doling out some truly unique hair styles.

Things are running smoothly until Edward is maliciously led into a series of unfortunate events which turn the townspeople against him, forcing his return to the mansion on the hill.

Depp, as Edward, portrays the misunderstood creation of the Inventor to perfection, and the special effects employed throughout the movie were truly brilliant, not surprising when you consider Burton tapped Stan Winston (also legendary) for the job. A young Winona Ryder gives a fantastic performance as Edward’s love interest Kim Boggs as well, and the entire film benefits from good casting, acting and directing.

I must have watched this movie twice a week once it was released to HBO, the best place to find a good flick on cable television back in the early 90’s. I’ll admit I was unfamiliar with Depp at the time – not being a huge fan of “21 Jump Street” – but I was immediately impressed by his acting skills, especially when you consider the twisted direction of Burton, who gave the entire movie an eerie, out-of-this-world-yet-entirely-familiar, pastel suburbia quality that was almost disturbing in its presentation. A great movie filled with a number of memorable performances.


Sleepy Hollow (1999)

I’m not going to lie, I steadfastly refused to see Sleepy Hollow for years. Washington Irving’s tale scared the bejesus out of me, and just hearing the movie’s tagline - “Heads will roll” - was enough to send shivers down my spine.

Of course, when I finally did sit down to watch it, I realized I’d been a bit silly. Because, while it’s definitely a bit spooky, it’s hardly the slasher flick I’d feared it to be. In fact, I love the spin Tim Burton put on the gothic tale when he adapted it to the screen - turning it from a scary story into a cerebral supernatural thriller, with just a touch of romance.

Johnny Depp stars as Ichabod Crane, a New York constable whose scientific  approach to detection is challenged when he is sent to investigate a string of gruesome beheadings in Sleepy Hollow. He eschews the notion that the slayings are being carried out by the ghostly horseman the townspeople claim to be the culprit. Until, that is, he comes face to, um, (lack of) face with the headless apparition. Aided by the son of one of the Headless Horseman’s victims, he begins to unravel the mysterious events and their supernatural origins - all while becoming increasingly intrigued by the lovely Katrina (Christina Ricci), the daughter of a wealthy landowner, and dealing with a few demons of his own.

There are plenty of heart pounding moments in the film, which I’d describe as Sherlock Holmes meets a Grimm Brothers fairy tale with a dash of the Salem witch trials mixed in. Truly a great movie, with a fantastic performance by Depp. (Who does such a good job of playing eccentric characters. Not to mention the fact that he’s adorable.) If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out.


The Tourist (2010)

I’ll be honest. I’ve never been a big Depp fan but when a movie comes along that sticks out, you always have to take a look. As many movies as I watch, there are some movies that you see that are kind of like watching a root canal. Not in this case. Combinations working with other actors always helps too. In this case, Angelina Jolie. Depp plays Frank, who has just broken up with his lady love and decides he needs a change of scenery so he goes to Europe. Getting your mind off a relationship may never may be easy, but he’s about to get the ultimate distraction when he meets Elise (Jolie).

Elise is used to the finer things in life and knew an old friend that came in and out of her life for years. Elise’s friend also had a shady reputation and has always been on the radar of law enforcement. He told Elise to find someone who looked like him and that might throw the police off his scent. Elise was just the distraction that Frank needed and became infatuated with her. Of course, when strange people start chasing you and not just the police, it’s time to find out what is really going on. Can Frank find a way out?

Seeing Depp acting with a strong onscreen actress was just something I was glad to see. Another thing that gets me into a movie is curiosity. I really wanted to see how well they would work together and they did just that. Quite a fun ride. Take a look.

All of our choices can be found on DVD and have been featured here in the Patrol at one time or another. DVDs and news galore come back next time. There are a lot of good movies coming. The Toddster will be back.

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