So we saw your new movie Murder on the Orient Express a few days back—in it, you’re a sinister businessman on the run from enemies you’ve made from smuggling and selling counterfeit items. Your crazy ass is [SPOILER ALERT] stabbed multiple times—well-deserved, we might add. Because to tell you the truth, we’re kind of angry. You’ve been making movies since 1984, and yet one thing hasn’t changed…
You can’t seem to play a normal person.
We’ve seen you with scissors for hands. We’ve seen you covered in body paint, drinking tea in a dark Lewis Carroll-engineered fantasy. We’ve seen you as an alcoholic pirate, a crazed chocolate manufacturer, a drug dealer who’s way in over his head. A demon barber-serial killer hybrid. The Big Bad Wolf. Donald Trump. Donald fucking Trump! Maybe it’d be easier to narrow down an eccentric role you wouldn’t touch.
Now, this isn’t meant to hate on you. We’ve been fans of yours for decades, and you’re one of Hollywood’s most iconic actors for a reason. After the commercial and critical successes 21 Jump Street and Cry-Baby—roles that essentially cemented your potential for massive matinee-idol success—you made a conscientious decision to take on larger-than-life roles that challenged you. That’s something very few actors can pull off, much less to consistent success. But even you’ve got to admit it’s getting old.
You’re more than capable of playing roles that shock and fascinate audiences—your nine-movie partnership (so far) with Tim Burton conveys as much. We get it. But we’re at that point in our love for you that we’d like to see you settle down. We want you to be the suburban dad, the romantic protagonist, the failed screenwriter. We want to see what you’d do with a script that plenty of other actors could pull off, too. How would you add a uniquely Deppian (Deppe-esque?) flair to a movie about, say, some washed-up musician trying to be relevant again? How would you take on a rom-com, or God forbid, a Jason Bateman-style comedy?
Lady Gaga used to strut around in meat dresses and coats made entirely out of Kermit the Frog plush toys. She dressed in accordance with the kind of art she created—she ushered in a whole new era of pop that dared to push the envelope. But if her documentary Five Foot Four has proven anything, it’s that she’s realized she no longer has to try so hard to please her audience. Gaga wears tank tops and denim shorts and nobody gives a shit, because all that matters is her voice. That’s kind of how we feel about you, Johnny. We already know you’re amazing.
So, for once, we want you to mellow down. Take a mediocre role, the kind that goes straight to DVD. Relax. You’ve earned it.