JOHNNY DEPP – CRY
BABY – 1990
A small and funny film shot in
the late 1980s (1989-1990), at the end of Reagan’s era and in the middle of
George Bush Senior’s regency, has no pretension except to debunk everything and
everyone and make fun of a system that is as crooked as it is full of bigotry.
A remake of the Mods and the Rockers,
of the Jets and the Sharks, the Montague and the Capulet, American sauce on top
and whip cream to top it off and kick it up. But this multiple remake is so overloaded
with clichés and prejudices that it becomes hilarious and the objective is to
make us laugh at those biases and other preconceived ideas about the other
group, since the whole world is nothing but A versus B.
At the same time the film debunks
fake education based on square ideas being the best in the world, on some clean
type of dressing being the only decent, godlike and non-obscene way of dressing,
all the rest, jeans and everything else, being nothing but homosexual showing
off especially for girls who are supposed to wear decent dresses.
You add a love story in that viper
nest and you have a real Romeo and a genuine Juliet. But the world must have
changed because the judge is falling in love with Juliet’s grandmother and he
becomes sentimental and releases Romeo, alias Cry Baby. I must admit that the
prison break is definitely as good as all those we were able to examine and/or
supervise in the eponymous TV series. And do not forget that the best way to
get out of trouble is to follow the rat. Rats are best to get out of the way,
out of trouble and back to home security, I do not mean the security of your
The film is fabulous as for the
music of the late 1950s, actually dated thanks to the evening prayer in the
very special school for boys where the “boys” are supposed to thank Dwight
Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. That’s cool indeed.
Be it only for the music the film
is worth its eighty-two minutes, but the “dancing” and the performance of the
actors, particularly the very young Johnny Depp is refreshing in this world
where everything is nothing but special effect and make believe.
An excellent piece of dialogue
alluding to the famous Unabomber who was definitely literate and had been
avctive in the bombing business since 1978 at the time when the film was made.
Cry-Baby: That's right, Allison. My father was the
"Alphabet Bomber." He may have been crazy, but he was my pop. Only
one I ever had.
Allison: God. I heard about the Alphabet Bomber. Bombs
exploding in the... in the airport and barber shop...
Cry-Baby: That's right. All in alphabetical order. Car
wash... drug store... I used to lay in my crib and hear him scream in his
sleep..."A,B,C,D,E,F,G... BOOM! BOOM!"
Cry-Baby: My mother tried to stop him. She couldn't
even spell, for Christ's sake, but they fried her too.
Have one empathetic thought for
this man who is in prison for life.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU