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Is Johnny Depp the next Nicolas Cage?

Is Johnny Depp the next Nicolas Cage? (photo)

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Nic Cage was incandescent in “Moonstruck.” Then something happened. The bad film choices, the bad life choices and, we cannot fail to note, the eccentric fudgesicle stories all sort of overtook what was once a very promising and serious film career. Let me put it this way: no one would question whether or not Meryl Streep or, say, Daniel Day-Louis was a vampire. I’m just saying that there might be a gravitas deficit with Nic Cage.

It may be too late for Cage to break out of this negative turn, but it is not too late for Johnny Depp. Cage and Depp have had not dissimilar careers, though Depp’s is, at the moment, far hotter. No one begrudges Johnny Depp for taking “the stupid money” — rumored to be over $300 million for playing Jack Sparrow — if that is what is being put on the table. He has kids — we get that; private school tuition — we get that.

But no one is forcing Depp to take the stupid roles that he has agreed to of late along with those piles of stupid money. That’s the problem.

Johnny Depp’s quirky characters charmed us in the beginning. But quirky lines, particularly when delivered in a faux British accent, eventually becomes cloying after a while. And it has been a while since Depp has really challenged himself and his audience on a role that didn’t rest on its quirky laurels.

Johnny Depp is an immensely talented, good looking actor, one of the few top box office earners in a decidedly post A-list digitally more democratic age. He doesn’t need to be doing quirky for the sake of quirky. That gets old and, further, even quirky roles lose their indie cred if repeated ad nauseum. Depp needs to bring his earning power and his audience along with him to more challenging work. We want Johnny to take our relationship with his work to the next level. Johnny Depp is so damn talented he could probably convince an audience to suspend their disbelief as he convincingly portrays a Rwandan woman. You know he could do it; you just know he could.

What has Depp to lose? Johnny may fail spectacularly in moving away from his signature eccentric niche, his comfort zone, that which has won him and the suits a fortune. That’s a risky proposition in a risk-averse town, turning 180-degrees. But Depp has earned the right veer radically left. Johnny Depp needs to too spend some of that well-earned Hollywood capital, and do it soon because his career, IMHO, is smelling kind of Nic Cage-y.

Risk is what makes the world turn. Risk — think off-Broadway, nightly — is what makes acting exciting. Taking risks is what we have come to expect of true independent spirits, of working without a net. And it is pretty damn difficult to use the term “independent spirit” in the company of a vehicle as soulless as “Pirates of the Carribean, 4.” Just saying.

Agree or disagree with Ron? Leave your own thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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