I’m occasionally sharing some light thoughts on a few videos that make me smile, make me think, or preferably do both. Read more from this special series here.
I have tried really hard to be a fan of Johnny Depp’s work. His droll, smoldering style would seem perfect for my own skeptical and cynical outlook on the world. I was never drawn to his oddball Tim Burton roles or the whole “Pirates” thing. To me, the best Depp work has been in “Donnie Brasco” and in one his most underappreciated films, “Blow.”
The biopic explores the tragic rise and fall of George Jung, who built a U.S. cocaine empire in the 1970s, at the cost of everything most important to him. It’s no masterpiece, but some sequences are truly beautiful, and the soundtrack is excellent. Star turns include Ray Liotta as Depp’s father, Penelope Cruz as Depp’s psychotic wife, the strangely gorgeous Franka Potente as Depp’s girlfriend, and Paul Reubens as a Jung drug connection.
But the film’s real star was director Ted Demme, whose brisk, inventive style emulated P.T. Anderson’s and Martin Scorsese’s best work. He died of a heart attack months after “Blow” premiered, and fans and critics alike speculated on the interesting film directing career Demme may have had.