Johnny Depp has long fancied himself something of literary actor, and he sometimes acts accordingly. Unfortunately he tends to idolize mediocre writers: witness all that multi-decade shilling for Hunter S. Thompson. Professor Depp’s most recent contribution to the arts is his narration of a PBS documentary that is nominally about The Doors but which, like most stories about that band, ends up mostly dealing with Jim Morrison. I caught half of it tonight. No, seriously, I really did watch. Stop laughing. Anyway, in it you get to hear Depp say things like “the raw passion [Morrison] expressed without fear” and “. . . captured the spirit of an entire generation” with (presumably) a straight face.
I had three thoughts when I saw this. The first and snobbiest one was, “Man, Jim Morrison was a preening, boorish, pseudo-intellectual egomaniac. Even worse, he was a terrible poet. How did the rumor he was talented get going anyway?” The second was about how The Doors have maybe three or four palatable songs. (OK, two or three.) The third was that one is usually only a Doors fan between the ages of 12 and 19.
But then there was a fourth thought: who the fuck is this aimed at? Do contemporary teenagers even know who Jim Morrison was? I guess the target audience is nostalgic male Baby Boomers, who have more money than young Americans and of whom there is a profusion, but the documentary’s tone is that of a work trying to “turn people on” to this hip, unfairly neglected band. And something tells me that most teenagers would be bored to death by The Doors. Wasn’t the time for this 20 years ago? You know, when Oliver Stone made that shitty film with the guy who sort of looks like a fatter, older Johnny Depp?