Movie Jail: This week’s defendant is…Johnny Depp!

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Movie Jail

This is Movie Jail, a unique maximum security prison that houses some of the worst writers, directors, actors and producers from Hollywood and beyond. Their crimes? The offenses vary from convict to convict but most of these inmates have contributed negatively to the film world to some capacity and his or her misdeeds have covered a long enough period of time that the authorities had to intervene. In each column a defendant is put on trial, arguments are made, and then it is up to YOU, the jury, to decide if the person is guilty or not guilty of crimes against cinema. Their lives are in your hands, dude.

The Defendant

Johnny Depp

The Case

The Prosecution: Nick of Time, The Astronaut's Wife, The Ninth Gate, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 through whatever, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist, Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, yes you heard correctly: John Christopher Depp II is on trial for Movie Jail. After The Lone Ranger's abysmal showing, (with critics and in theaters) the prosecution feels it is definitely time to consider putting the actor behind bars. Mr. Depp's popularity and his career in the 90s and into the early 00s (pretty much from Cry-Baby to Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl) is very interesting. His talents as an actor and his taste for quirky roles helped the actor create a loyal fan base, but he was never really considered an A-lister during that time. Some of his more mainstream films were hits (Donnie Brasco, Blow, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) but they were never huge and he also had some duds like Nick of Time, The Ninth Gate and The Astronaut's Wife.

It's his smaller/odder films and roles that many "true" fans will point at as to why they love Mr. Depp. From his first collaboration with Tim Burton in Edward Scissorhands to his physical comedy in Benny & Joon and the previously mentioned What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, it was clear to many people that Mr. Depp was an incredibly gifted actor.

The jury is probably double checking to make sure they a're still reading the prosecution's argument since there's so many compliments being tossed Mr. Depp's way but his history is important to this case. Because if this was 2003 there would be no way Mr. Depp would even be up for discussion for Movie Jail. He had some stinkers (who hasn't?) but even in those films the actor was always a treat to watch and it generally seemed like Mr. Depp just loved to act.

However two movies had a major impact on Mr. Depp's career: the first Pirates of the Caribbean and 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was a box office smash and Mr. Depp portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow was praised by critics while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was Mr. Depp's fourth film with director Tim Burton and it was their biggest hit together at the time. Mr. Depp also received his first Oscar nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean. Fans celebrated because Mr. Depp was finally getting the recognition he deserved. It was at this point though the prosecution feels that Mr. Depp's "kooky" roles and his frequent work with Mr. Burton (who is currently sitting in Movie Jail by the way) started to hurt the actor's career instead of help.

You'd think that since Mr. Depp is so talented he wouldn't just stick to playing different versions of Captain Jack Sparrow but that is exactly what has happened. The casual movie goer may have thought, "Johnny Depp, what a revelation!" when they saw the first Pirates of the Caribbean but any movie buff already fully knew what Mr. Depp was capable of as an actor. We know Mr. Depp can act circles around most of his fellow thespians yet many of the projects he picks now are big budget films that have Mr. Depp once again playing a silly, oddball character. Unfortunately even the films where he isn't wearing ridiculous contacts or a silly hat (The Tourist, Public Enemies) have been underwhelming. Aren't there meatier and better roles for Mr. Depp available or is he just too comfortable playing dress up with his friends? He doesn't even take roles in films that are clearly Oscar bait besides 2004's Finding Neverland.

The jury might feel like the prosecution is coming after Mr. Depp only because of The Lone Ranger but that film and his role in it is a perfect example of how things have gone wrong for the actor.  As for his upcoming films? Transcendence should be different from the actor's usual films as of late but Into the Woods sounds like more of the same and he also has another sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice In Wonderland 2. Does that inspire any confidence in the jury whatsoever? The prosecution doesn't feel it's necessary for Mr. Depp to spend a significant amount of time in Movie Jail but we do believe Mr. Depp is guilty of these charges. A slap on the wrist and some time served is all we ask. And maybe restraining order against Tim Burton.

Johnny Depp

The Defense: Cry-Baby, Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Dead Man, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Rango, The Rum Diary

Ladies and gentlemen, my client is not your typical Hollywood actor. Sure he's had some big hits and been nominated for awards but Mr. Depp has always picked roles he was interested in, not necessarily for the money or what critical acclaim may come with it. His duds listed by the prosecution were more than likely paycheck films but that was also when Mr. Depp wasn't quite a household name like he is today and he never phoned in his performance. If you really look at his films after the first Pirates of the Caribbean you'll notice that the actor has worked on projects that are important to him and/or with the people he wants to. You may be tired of him and Tim Burton collaborating but wouldn't you enjoy working with your friends? Some of Mr. Depp's best work in the prosecution's opinion have been in Tim Burton films like Ed Wood and Sleepy Hollow.

And is the prosecution seriously questioning Mr. Depp's love for acting? The actor has stated several times how much he enjoys playing Jack Sparrow and that passion for the character is proof that Mr. Depp really loves what he does. Because of some of his other films you might believe that Mr. Depp is a "serious" actor but the defense feels that deep down, Mr. Depp just wants to entertain you. He gets off bringing joy to people and while us nerds on movie sites might bust his chops about wearing make up or his love affair with Burton, most of the general public have loved his mainstream hits these past ten years. If Mr. Depp only had these films on his resume the prosecution might have an argument but the actor has also done work more akin to his earlier work as well like The Libertine, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Rum Diary. In fact it's safe to say that The Rum Diary would never been made if not for Mr. Depp and his relationship with the late Hunter S. Thompson.

But The Rum Diary was made because that was something Mr. Depp wanted to get made, just like (for better or worst) how he really wanted to play Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows. The point the defense is trying to make is Mr. Depp will continue to do things his way and it has worked pretty damn well so far. If this was an actor that lacked range or was in some major bombs he could be at risk of being sent to Movie Jail but Mr. Depp? No flippin' way.

Johnny Depp


Is it time for Movie Jail for Johnny Depp? Has his shtick gone from original to stale? Or is the actor just doing what he loves? Should we demand more from Mr. Depp because of his previous films? Is Johnny Depp GUILTY or NOT GUILTY?


*The cases for and against a defendant going to Movie Jail by the author are not necessarily his views and opinions but they are some of the beliefs that one would use to effectively make an argument for both sides. Not quite a devil's advocate but you get the point. Anyways, this is all in fun so don't take it too seriously. We have a separate jail for those people called "Troll Tower" and believe me you do NOT want to go there.


Johnny Depp


Ashton Kutcher

After reviewing the evidence from last week the jury has found Ashton Kutcher GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES. Although some wanted to wait until JOBS was released to pass judgment on the actor most said screw that and put a serious burn on Mr. Kutcher by sending him to Movie Jail. Many wanted a tougher punishment for Mr. Kutcher but I assure you Movie Jail is no walk in the park. "I wish I could tell you that Ashton fought the good fight, and Ice Cube and Michael Bay let him be. I wish I could tell you that – but prison is no fairy-tale world."


GUILTY Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn, Tim Burton, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, Jessica Alba, Ice Cube, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Marlon Wayans, Julia Roberts, M. Night Shyamalan , Katherine Heigl , Cuba Gooding, Jr. , Tyler Perry, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Ashton Kutcher

NOT GUILTY Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Wes Craven, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Rodriguez, Kristen Stewart, Roland Emmerich, Kevin Costner, Sandra Bullock, Hilary Swank, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Kevin Smith, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, Anna Faris, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron, Ray Liotta, Jason Statham, Paul Walker, Will Smith, Salma Hayek, Michael Cera


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