Hi Yo Silver, You Rock!

Posted at Jul 9, 2013 11:20 am in , , ,

The only gossip I’m interested in is things from the Weekly World News – ‘Woman’s bra bursts, eleven injured.’ That kind of thing. – Johnny Depp

Depp Tonto

Okay friends, so why all the hating on The Lone Ranger? And on Johnny Depp specifically? Those of you who know me well are not surprised to see me come to Scissorhand’s defense. But seriously, The Lone Ranger fit the summer action blockbuster bill just fine. Was it a little too long? Probably. Somewhat predictable? Sure, but aren’t all blockbuster movies?  More importantly, was it fun? Yes. Did it make me laugh? Yes. Full of crazy-ass special effects like all the superhero movies? No, but stuff did blow up, and anyway we’re talking Wild West in the 1800’s here (and not Will Smith’s Wild West). Most important: Did it end with an awesome action sequence set to the iconic William Tell overture? Yes!

My theory, not that you asked but whatever, you landed on my blog (bwah hah hah), is that we like to keep people in boxes. And sometimes, much as we might protest, we chafe at others’ success. Gilbert Grape and Benny and Scissorhands, et al, were marvelous and weird and eclectic and we felt special saying we dug the Depp man. He was cool, and if we liked his movies, so were we.  But then he had the nerve to start making blockbusters. As in, holy crap he’s even in a Disneyland ride, like how many times? I swear, everywhere I turned on that Pirates ride, there he was cackling away with his rum. And he owns his own freaking private island!

So since Depp’s now wildly successful, that must mean he’s a sellout. And therefore must be vilified by the same folks who used to think he walked on water. Nearly every regular person (not paid movie critic) I’ve talked to enjoyed this movie. Kids and adults thought it was fun and an enjoyable summer flick. I found Johnny’s usual deadpan, subversive humor as entertaining as always. I’ve seen many movies that were much less entertaining than this one, yet received much better reviews. Go figure.

Anyone who puts their creative endeavors out into the public sphere is obviously wide open for criticism: affirmative, destructive and everything in between. I have writer friends who never read reviews, or only read them with an adult beverage at the ready. In the end, as writers and artists, we’re all driven to tell our stories, hoping to connect with others and move them somehow, or at least help them forget their own worries and cares, if only for a short while. None of us can please everyone, and it’s best not to try. There will always be those who believe that popularity = crap, and those folks can’t be won over, not by Captain Jack Sparrow or Sweeney Todd or even Don Juan deMarco.

In the end, we put our best work out there and remind ourselves that for every scathing review, there are those quiet, appreciative readers and viewers, who watched or read, and said to themselves, “That was cool.” If we’re lucky, they might even tell others about our work. But even if they don’t shout our praises from the rooftops (or the blogosphere), it’s important to remember that these appreciative readers and viewers exist, and that for the brief time they intersected with us and our stories, they were our biggest fans.



14 responses to “Hi Yo Silver, You Rock!”

  1. Karalee Long says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet but intend to. How could I not see The Lone Ranger? …out of the pass come the thundering hoof beats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again. And I think Johnny Depp is one of our bravest and best actors whether he’s in a blockbuster or not. Thanks for shouting out how much fun the movie is. Sometimes the critics and the money guys really don’t get it.

  2. I saw the movie and liked it. It was a solid B for me. Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer were both good. I didn’t care for framing the story with the old Tonto telling it to the kid wannabe. I think if they had cut that the length would have been right. It didn’t add anything for me. I did have a major plot problem with the story, and that’s on the writer, not the actors. [spoiler]Why didn’t the bad guys kill the kid Tonto after he showed them the silver load? They decided once they saw how big it was that they had to kill everyone to keep it’s location secret. The kid was right there so why didn’t they start with him? It made no sense at all since they wiped out his village afterwards. And it could have been handled so easily if they had tried to kill him and thought they had but he survived the fall , or whatever.[/spoiler] Summer blockbusters don’t have to be all action and light on the story. “White House Down” delivered a smart story and plenty of action. However, I did enjoy when the William Tell Overture kicked in and The Lone Ranger rode to the rescue.

    • Lisa says:

      I noticed the same plot issue, Anna-Maria. My son really liked the framing of the story told by old Tonto. I don’t think he’d ever seen that particular device used before.

      White House Down is next on my list!

  3. Laura Deal says:

    I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve heard people didn’t like it, so I’m glad to see your defense of it. Anna-Maria’s comment should have a spoiler alert!
    Congratulations on the new website!

  4. John Sullivan says:

    While I am not so star-struck as you, I am pleased at Depp’s singularly strange characterization and rather enjoyed the parts others may have found extraneous. For me, the most evocative of his roles seem rooted in anomie, and the most memorable scenes include his Francophilic thespian oddities, overt bows to Chaplin, subtle homages to Brando and so forth. This is Depp’s, I think, fourth treatment of Native-ness (“The Brave,” “Dead Man” and “Arizona Dream”) and the only iconic one; imagine the artistic problems – to respect the icon, to honor without demeaning the conflicting realities of the Native experience, to give it all a sense of fun without inviting ridicule, etc. The framing narrative is a clever device – ourselves as the boy (doubly memorialized as the childhood manifestation of our parents) who finds himself unaccountably in contact with an archetype, not quite gone to seed, and learns the “true story” of the Lone Ranger’s preparation for apotheosis. The nostalgic narrative elevates into an experience of memory and so becomes a film about the magic of cinema. It’s all quite wonderful, I think. And if one remained for the credits, one got to see Tonto shuffle away into Monument Valley – the reference is to the conclusion of Chaplin’s “Modern Times” (1936). Perfect.

    • Lisa says:

      My friend, I think you should start a movie review blog 🙂

      And I loved those ending credits, too, and thought immediately of Chaplin, yet how Tonto walked away alone, unlike Chaplin. Poignant.

  5. Pam Mingle says:

    Well put, Lisa. Your blog looks very classy! I love having the Twitter feed option! Guess I might have to break down and see TLR.

  6. sheila says:

    Congratulations on your blog. You will be awesome and wonderful. Hugs

  7. Lisa Lombardi says:

    I too am a Johnny Depp fan. I got out of this movie just I expected, although I would have liked more the William Tell music. I wanted to be entertained and I was. Hard to find a movie with cowboys and horses that I do not enjoy…. throw some Johnny in there and it was a trifecta (sp?) for me!

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks, Lisa! I agree about the music, though in a way I spent the whole movie anticipating it, so when it finally crashed over the speakers, it was like, “Yeehaw! Finally!”

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