First of all, HI!!! Between various trips this summer and my book deadline that's fast approaching, I've been offline a lot more than usual lately. But, while I'm not allowing myself much by way of goof-off time until the manuscript is polished and turned in, I did need to take a mental break from revisions for a few hours this weekend...and I chose to spend it watching a handful of old episodes of 21 Jump Street.
Who else remembers this show? Johnny Depp, very clean cut. An '80s pretty boy who made the idea of a young cop undercover in a high school delightfully appealing. (He fought off gang members and drug users, put bullies in their place, and even had time to make out with the hot young English teacher--once he'd flashed his badge, of course, and his real age was safely revealed.) I remember the show fondly, if not with much critical accuracy. I liked the boppiness of the title track (sung by Holly Robinson, now Holly Robinson Peete) and the collection of young actors on the show, particularly Johnny. He delivered his lines well enough for the expectations of this youth-focused crime drama, but I fully admit he gave me no indication whatsoever back then that he'd grow into the versatile and wildly transformative actor he's become.
So, I found myself wondering, HOW did this happen??? What made him leap from typical young '80s actor to one whose dramatic prowess and unique characterizations have become legendary? What clicked for him in this artistic realm? What inspired him to elevate his acting craft to a level so far above that of many of his peers?
I liked Johnny 20+ years ago and thought he was "cute." I respected his growing skill throughout the years, too. But now, having watched so many of his later films and then seeing anew his early work, I'm deeply, overwhelmingly impressed by his growth as an actor, and I hold that level of profound improvement up as a kind of beacon of hope for all of us in the arts. If he could raise the bar for himself like that, perhaps the rest of us are also capable of reaching higher... Anyway, maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but it's inspirational to me ;).
For those of you who are Johnny Depp fans, what films are your favorites? Would love to hear!