Case Number 12546: Small Claims Court


Shout! Factory // 2002 // 50 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // December 7th, 2007

The Charge

"There's a kind of instant kinship when one of our guests is a member of our students' generation. And Johnny clearly qualified for that distinction."...James Lipton

"Total and utter satisfaction with your work...I think it's death for an actor."...Johnny Depp

The Case

From smaller roles in A Nightmare on Elm Street and Platoon, to larger ones in Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and many other films, it's hard to imagine any of the films he's been in, without Johnny Depp. His penchant for playing outsiders and misfits has resulted in some of the most memorable performances in film history. And no matter how wholesome, questionable or muddled his character's actions and motivations may seem, there is never any doubt that Depp fully immerses himself in his craft and embodies each and every role he portrays.

I remember when I first heard the early announcement that Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl would be coming to theaters; I believe I actually groaned. One of my cherished childhood memories, the legendary Disneyland ride, was about to be pillaged by Hollywood; that tide turned as soon as Depp's involvement was announced, and the rest, as they say, is history. It was the icing on the cake when I visited Disneyland with my family in early 2007 and saw that the ride had been modified, forever immortalizing Depp in the mythos of Disneyland.

From Affleck to Zellweger, Inside the Actors Studio has hosted more than 200 guests, including 74 Academy Award winners, 8 directors, 4 screenwriters and two musicians. The show's unique format is nicely divided between a more traditional one-on-one interview format, a formulaic questionnaire that is given to all of the show's guests, and a more relaxed and off-the-cuff interactive session with students in the audience.

There's no question that James Lipton is a skilled interviewer. I never tire of seeing his approach to each new guest, as he easily holds his own in the presence of screen legends who would reduce the average fan to meaningless babbling. Despite his humility and soft-spoken nature, Johnny Depp is a formidable actor with a wealth of work to his credit, but Lipton is definitely up to the task. In a very short time, Depp clearly becomes comfortable and relaxed, opening up to Lipton's standard questions, as well as more personal topics like the divorce of his parents.

The audio and video presentation on this release is nothing to write home about. The picture is blurry at times and the video master wasn't likely all that great to begin with. Given the fact that this is essentially a static interview show focused on dialogue only, the sound stays locked in the center channel and not even the audiences laughter strays from the front of the room. On the plus side, it's highly unlikely that anyone would pop this disc in their player with anything more than an interest in the show itself, or Johnny Depp, the focus of this episode, so average video and audio quality won't likely be a concern.

Listed as "James Lipton: Flashback," the only extra feature on this release is a bit of a mystery. In actual fact, I think listing this as a "special feature" on the DVD case is a bit of a misnomer, as it really only amounts to a brief introduction to the episode by James Lipton. Just prior to the episode starting, Lipton briefly recounts and comments on the events of the night. There are no other extra features on this release.

If you're a fan of Johnny Depp, Inside the Actors Studio or both, Inside the Actors Studio: Johnny Depp is an easy recommendation. Although neither the video or audio quality are stellar, those issues are minor when you consider the consistent quality of both the show's guests and James Lipton's interviews. Spend an hour with Johnny Depp and James won't be disappointed.

Review content copyright © 2007 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: Shout! Factory
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

* None

Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* "James Lipton: Flashback"

* IMDb: Inside the Actors Studio

* IMDb: Johnny Depp

* Wikipedia: Inside the Actors Studio

* Wikipedia: Johnny Depp