Film Corner: The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as Lord Lonoculous Q. Ranger and Johnny Depp as Racist Native American Caricature, was a huge flop, and may end up costing Disney $150 million. Ha ha awwwwww. Welp, it's a good thing "the only reason" Johnny Depp made this movie was to "right the wrongs committed in the past" and "represent the American Indians," which, as I'm sure we can all agree, he definitely accomplished (whooooooops), because he's sure not getting private island kind of money on the back-end of this one!


Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer and producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have some terrific theories about why the movie was a flop, and—spoiler alert!—they don't think it's because the movie was derivative, racist, terrible garbage!

[Content Note: Violent metaphors.]

Text Onscreen: Yahoo! Movies UK & Ireland.

Interviewer (a young white man with a British accent who blows smoke up their asses with yeahs and mm-hmms throughout): Johnny said at the premiere that he felt that some of the US-based critics kind of had it in for the movie kind of before they even kind of saw it. I was wondering kind of if you had an opinion about that.

Armie Hammer: Oh, I have a delightful opinion about that. [interviewer laughs] That she's [Hammer gestures to presumably his publicist, offscreen] going to get mad at me for sharing, but I'll tell ya. This is the deal with American critics. [publicist coughs; Armie grins; she coughs again; he laughs] They've been gunning for our movie since—since it was shut down the first time [for going over budget]. And I think that's probably when most of the critics wrote their initial reviews.

Johnny Depp [sitting beside a huge image of his ridiculous character from the film as he is identified by text onscreen as "Tonto"]: I think the reviews were probably written when they heard that Gore [Verbinski, the director] and Jerry [Bruckheimer, the producer] and I were gonna do The Lone Ranger. I think they started their opinion— [gestures vaguely] You know. And their expectations of it, you know, that it must be a blockbuster, this and that—I didn't have any expectations of that. Never do. Why would I?

Bruckheimer: I think that they were reviewing the budget, not reviewing the movie. The audience doesn't care what the budget is; they pay the same amount to see the movie whether it costs a dollar or twenty million dollars. So I don't think that matters.

Interviewer: Yeah, it seems to be, it seems to be happening kind of—I don't know if it's happening more and more; it definitely feels like that now, that the kind of—that the backstory of a movie's production seems to become more and more of the—it kind of, it prejudices people, I guess, against projects.

Bruckheimer: Right. Sure, sure. Absolutely. And it's unfortunate, because—and the movie is a really terrific movie. It's a great epic film; it's got a lot of humor and a lot of— It's one of those movies that, whatever critics missed it this time, will review it in a few years and see that they made a mistake.

Depp: The expectations of the—you know, I mean, to round it out as a big group, the American press, the journalists or whatever—I think, yeah, I think the reviews were written seven, eight months, probably, before we even, you know, before we ever released the film.

Hammer: If you go back and read a lot of the negative reviews, ah, most of them don't actually have anything to do with the content of the movie, but more what's behind it. Uhhhh, and it's—it's gone to an unfortunate place with American critics where if you're not as smart as Plato, you're stupid. And that seems like a very sad way to have to live your life.

Depp: I think that Gore made a very brave film, 'cuz it's—it's got a kind of very absurdist, independent feel to it, but with just, you know, [gestures vaguely] incredible sort of special effects and, uhhhh, action, and, you know. I think he's made a very brave film.

Gore Verbinski: Our movie is not a sequel, and it doesn't have giant robots, and The Lone Ranger can't fly, um, you know, so we're—I think we're the— We're counterprogramming. So if you want to see something different, then come see the movie. It's odd to get, to be giving a, you know, lashing because of that, you know.

Interview: Yeah, it's weird, isn't it—I mean, in this day and age, like you say, big films are obviously superhero movies or franchise movies, ah— I think it's going to become increasingly difficult for movies of this scale to get made that aren't, that don't fall into those brackets.

Verbinski: Exactly. So it's like, well, why pick on this one?

Bruckheimer: That's right, I mean, the critics keep crying for original movies and you make one and they don't like it, and so [shrugs] what can I tell ya? [interviewer laughs]

Hammer: While we were making it, we kinda knew that people were gunning for it. I—I think it was the popular thing when the movie hit rocky sort of terrain to jump on the bandwagon and try to bash it, you know. They tried to do the same thing to World War Z. It didn't work—the film was successful. They instead decided to slit the jugular on our movie.
Holy Maude everything about this is SO GREAT! I don't know what I love more—their astonishingly serious commitment to the idea that critics decided to hate their film because it went over budget; their talking about THE LONE RANGER as if he's an intriguing new character invented by Gore Verbinski; the insistence on pretending this is some kind of fucking art film and not a behemoth garbage disaster with a budget of $250 million (=1 Romney); the casual eliding of eleventy biebillion fucktons of legitimate criticism of the film's racism; or Hammer's gormless delivery as he reports how "critics" tried to tank World War Z but didn't succeed. HUH I WONDER WHY THAT COULD BE? Obviously, it can't be because audiences did not find World War Z to be a totally horrendous pile of shite being passed off as a "brave" summer blockbuster! That much is certain! Oh well, just another mystery lost to the sands of time, I guess!

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