Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jason goes to Midnites 4 Maniacs for Johnny Depp's Birthday

That is, Johnny Depp's 50th Birthday! If that surprises you, consider this tidbit I learned last night, the guy who first convinced him to pursue acting (instead of being a rock star) is one year younger--and that guy is Nicolas Cage! (get ready for his 50th Birthday celebration in January) Who would've guessed that Nicolas Cage is younger than Johnny Depp? That's more surprising than remembering that Cage has won an Oscar and Depp hasn't.

Okay, on to the movies. I think this is the first M4M I've been to where I've seen all the movies before--multiple times. And I love them all.

BENNY & JOON: Quite possibly the most romantic movie I've ever seen, and now that I've seen a lot more silent films I better appreciate the homages in all the bits Johnny Depp does as Sam. But that part (which is what I loved in the movie the first half-dozen times I saw it) is now just the icing on the cake. The meet-crazy-cute romance between him and Mary Stuart Masterson's as Joon is certainly central. But this time I see more in the pulled-in-every-direction overly responsible Aidan Quinn as Benny. It makes perfect sense that his name is first in the title. Without him there's no drama, just a couple of crazy people falling in love, and that happens all the time. Benny not only brings the "normal" person's perspective, but he brings the conflict that's essential for drama.

WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE: What a great movie. I remember seeing it and wondering if Leonardo DiCaprio really was disabled. And then I remember when he became the biggest pretty-boy heartthrob star in the universe and I kept making that joke. But damn, he's a great actor, and it's interesting learning about how when he became a such a heartthrob star he turned to none other than Johnny Depp for advice. And, of course, watching this back to back with BENNY & JOON it's impossible not to think about the mental illness connection. But here are other connections I noticed:

  • Fire
  • Captain Crunch
  • Climbing
  • And my favorite one--BENNY & JOON has a bit about how raisins are sad because they are grapes with the life force sucked out of them, and WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is about Grapes who are sad and have the life force sucked out of them.

I think there are others, but those are the ones I remember now.

CRY-BABY: And John Waters did not show up. Neither did Johnny Depp, although apparently there's a rumor that he did show up at one years ago. Juvenile delinquents, singing, and drapes vs. squares (yeah, I've never heard the term "drape" before...or after...but all you gotta know is they're the opposite of squares.) And the most important thing--as in all John Waters movies--is unconditional love for the non-conformists. This was Johnny Depp's first real starring role and during John Waters' PG-13 period, when his PINK FLAMINGOS fans abandoned him. So it kinda bombed when it was first released, but I still love it.

The next Midnites 4 Maniacs is July 5th, a musical triple bill of JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, VELVET GOLDMINE, and WILD IN THE STREETS.

Total Running Time: 301 minutes
My Total Minutes: 329,234
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