Sunday, March 14, 2010

In which I confess to an attraction to weirdness

I have a confession to make. I love Johnny Depp. He is one of those actors that will get me into the movie theater regardless of my interest in the movie. And here's the thing...the weirder he is, the more I love him.

I saw Alice in Wonderland with my friend Amanda tonight. I read the book a long time ago, and I've seen various versions of the story on film. Until today, I never viewed the Mad Hatter as a romantic hero. Even typing those words cracks me up a little. I mean seriously. Look at him. He has yellow eyes ringed by large red circles, bright red clown hair, and broken and bloody fingers. His accent shifts throughout the movie from a thick Scottish brogue to a light English accent. He moves with an odd, shuffling gait.

My favorite moment in the movie is the scene in which the Hatter walks through a dead forest with Alice on his shoulder. He recites "Jabberwocky," and it is wonderfully, deliciously creepy. His voice is mesmerizing. He knows exactly which words to emphasize, when to fall into that vacant stare.

As I watch, I'm thinking maybe I'm weird too. What else could explain my attraction to the Mad Hatter? But when I sheepishly admit it to Amanda, she totally gets it, shares it even. So this is my theory. Johnny Depp just exudes sex appeal, and no amount of makeup or weirdness can hide it. In fact, his appeal is enhanced by the weirdness. There is a chemistry between Alice and the Hatter that I'm quite sure Lewis Carroll never intended. When the Hatter asks Alice to stay in Wonderland, there is a heat in his yellow eyes that has nothing to do with friendship.

The movie had other fun qualities. I've seen mixed reviews, but I really liked it. Alan Rickman's hookah smoking caterpillar is a hoot. Imagine a really mellow Snape. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen is also great. She's been criminally insane in the last three movies in which I've seen her, and each performance is different. The actress who plays Alice is believable and likable as well.

In spite of these other good performances, Johnny steals the show. Nobody does crazy better. He's certifiable in this movie, and I love it. Maybe that makes me a little nuts too, but as Lewis Carroll says, all the best people are.


  1. Saw this today and I agree with you 100%. I've always thought I was one of the best people, but this movie confirms it :)!

    Loved the Cheshire Cat.

  2. Interestingly enough, Hunter Thompson, who Depp played in the movie version of his book Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas, would throughout his writing career state repeatedly that "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Thompson and Depp became such close friends that when Thompson passed, Depp paid for the extravagantly weird funeral he requested. Also, Johnny was born in Owensboro, KY in the same hospital I was born in. Cool.