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Video Fun With Biff

Two weeks ago I reviewed three Johnny Depp movies that sucked. To be fair and to get my friends to quit giving me crap, I am going to address three Johnny Depp movies that “rule.”

While “researching” this article I came upon a hypothesis. When Johnny Depp has a moustache he is on like Donkey Kong. Don’t believe me? Check it out.

I would argue that “Ed Wood” is probably Johnny Depp’s first role as a serious Hollywood actor. Yeah yeah yeah, what about “Edward Scissorhands?”

Give me some scissors for hands, hairspray the bejeezus out of my hair, cake on five pounds of Maybelline and throw me in a leather jumpsuit and I’ll turn in one hell of a performance too. Besides, Johnny wasn’t even sporting a moustache. Remember what we talked about? Good.

In 1994’s “Ed Wood” is where we first encounter Depp rocking his mustache, which in Hollywood is usually used to establish two things. It is most commonly implemented to make a young actor appear older, as it is here.

The moustache’s other purpose, not including Sam Elliot’s (because his just looks cool), is to let the audience know the character is a sort of pervert.

For some reason the moustache has been linked to perversion and/or cocaine use over the years and Hollywood has either latched on to the stereotype or they were the ones to create it. Either way, director Tim Burton goes with the ‘stache to let the audience know Ed Wood is an old pervert.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss Depp’s performance for a minute. I’ll use the word brilliant. That’s pretty much all you need to know. He nails it.

Fast Forward to 1997. You are listening to disc two of Wu-Tang Forever in your ’76 Honda Accord hatchback and explaining to your 16-year-old girlfriend why Inspector Deck is a way better mc than Raekwon the Chef. Johnny Depp’s moustache has taken a two year hiatus from the silver screen since it appeared in the very forgettable 1995 crapfest, “Don Juan DeMarco.”

Like a frustrated baseball manager, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” director Mike Newell takes a walk to the pitcher’s mound. He’s filming a gangster movie called “Donnie Brasco” and something just isn’t working. He taps twice on his right arm and calls in Johnny Depp’s moustache from the bullpen.

Like his name was Dennis Eckersley circa 1992, Depp’s ‘stache comes in and saves the day. Alright, enough with the baseball imagery, you get the picture.

Although Depp only appears with the moustache for the first 30 minutes, most people forget that he even shaves it off. Now, the interesting thing here is I don’t think Newell was using the moustache for age or to let us in on Johnny’s perv status.

Biff forgot about reason number three why directors us the moustache: to establish a time period. How stupid of me! I’m such an idiot!

In “Donnie Brasco,” the moustache let’s the audience know the picture is taking place in the 1970s. Isn’t that exciting?

This is one of Depp’s only forays into being an on screen tough guy and I think he does it brilliantly. The whole pretty boy trying to be a tough guy thing can go both ways. Brad Pitt did it in “Snatch” and in “Fight Club” without any problems. But Leonardo Dicaprio? Have you seen the ads for “Gangs of New York?” Pretty boy he is, but tough guy he ain’t.

Anyway, how to describe Depp’s performance? I’ll go with introspective and stimulating. Ha!

Here’s where Biff gets himself into trouble. Right here, right now, I am going on the record and saying in my not very respected opinion, “The Ninth Gate” is Johnny Depp’s best movie.

The moustache is there, not to show perversion but to show Depp’s character’s age. Depp is a high roller in the seedy underworld of Satanic book collecting and, gasp, finds himself in the middle of a Satanic cult of sorts. Banned from the United States for sleeping with a 13-year-old, Roman Polanski directed this masterpiece all on a closed set in France. This fact, along with his supreme knowledge of film, leads to a movie filled with beautiful imagery, well placed symbols, and resembles any noir film of the 1940s and ’50s, even his own greatest work, 1974’s “Chinatown.”

Rent this immediately and enjoy an overlooked movie that is legitimately scary. Oh, Depp’s performance? Restrained yet convincing. What’s up now?!

There you have it. Unless it’s “Don Juan DeMarco” or Biff just hasn’t seen it yet, when Johnny Depp has a moustache it will probably be a good movie.

Isn’t that how it should be anyway? Moustaches don’t always have to mean perversion and age, why can’t it be a symbol of great acting? Ask yourself that. Johnny Depp did.