The Lone Ranger is not counter-programming.

Gore Verbinski is treading dangerous water. The director of the massively successful film series Pirates of the Caribbean, and the massive bomb, the Lone Ranger, recently joined stars Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp to defend their most recent project.


Said Depp: “the reviews were probably written when they heard that Gore and Jerry and I were gonna do The Lone Ranger.”

A reasonable complaint, since a Bruckheimer/Verbinksi remake of the Lone Ranger with Depp playing Tonto is, as I’ve said elsewhere, a bad idea.

Said Armie Hammer (a name I never tire of typing): “It’s gotten 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.”

This is an hysterically misguided comment. A critics job, at least part of it, is to provide fair assessment of a film on the terms that film creates for itself. The important thing for movie critics when viewing blockbusters like The Lone Ranger, Armie Hammer, is that the creators work to make quality entertainment–a difficult term to agree on, surely, but a real concept. Anyways, Fast and Furious 6 got favorable reviews, as did The Conjuring. Neither of which is smart as Plato. But making a smart film, let’s not put that down.

Don’t confuse “no one liked our movie” with “everyone’s lost but me”.

But the worst of this defensiveness comes from Director Gore Verbinski: “Our movie is not a sequel, and it doesn’t have giant robots and The Lone Ranger can’t fly.I think we’re counter-programming. So, if you want to see something different, come see the movie. It’s odd to be given a lashing because of that.”

The Lone Ranger is a $250M summer action blockbuster starring Johnny Depp as a famous television character in quirky make-up directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The only to way to view those elements together as “counter-programming” is to live in fantasy land.

I would love to see these men team up and make a truly off-beat blockbuster that breaks away from the standards of sequel factory productions and truly makes a dark or subversive Hollywood Project. But, come on, Verbinski. Counter-programming? We all know that The Lone Ranger is not that attempt. The Lone Ranger was meant to spawn another round of Pirates of the Caribbean (Jack Sparrow can’t fly either, and fights dead guys instead of robots, so, Counter-Programming!), it didn’t work, and that happens.

Just acknowledge, it’s not easy to make it work. It’s hard to make a good movie.

(watch the interview at vulture, read it at blastr)


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