Stream It or Skip It?

The 2-part Discovery+ doc Johnny vs. Amber delves backward in time to 2020 and Johnny Depp’s libel swimsuit towards British tabloid The Solar. Since Amber Heard was the paper’s star witness, the trial dredged up the couple’s dicey private historical past, a lot of which has surfaced once more in Depp’s present defamation trial towards Heard, which is being held in Virginia however streaming on-line to the delight of celeb information junkies and the social media chatter-verse. Discovery+ appears to be positioning Johnny vs. Amber as a type of primer for his or her ongoing bickering. 

Opening Shot: Amber Heard is being interviewed on a program referred to as Younger Hollywood. “Johnny’s an exquisite individual to work with,” she says. “He’s obtained a lot to supply. I feel he’s simply – he’s virtually too good for the trade.” That quote is then aligned with one from Johnny Depp himself. “Assembly an actress like Amber Heard, it’s like strolling right into a room and assembly Lauren Bacall. She’s fairly one thing, you already know.”

The Gist: It’s been virtually two years since Johnny Depp’s libel case towards The Solar was settled, so it’s not a spoiler to say the actor misplaced. Within the aftermath, he departed the Incredible Beasts motion pictures and unsuccessfully tried for an enchantment earlier than pivoting to the present trial, the place he’s suing Heard for defamation over her Washington Publish op-ed which he says labels him a home abuser. Johnny vs. Amber has nothing to do with the present case – it was first launched in 2021. As a substitute, it covers the celeb couple’s contentious union, their divorce, and a stockpile of texts, voice recordings, and cellphone footage which might be purported to show who’s mendacity about home abuse. If Heard is mendacity, then Depp’s libel swimsuit towards The Solar – he was referred to as a “wife-beater” in one in every of its articles – is validated. But when Depp is mendacity, the tabloid and their star witness are vindicated. Within the verdict, it was discovered that the article’s assertions have been “considerably true.”

Johnny vs. Amber is introduced from every of their views throughout two segments. Within the first section, “Johnny’s Story,” his authorized workforce presents their protection. Solicitor Jenny Afia says it’s “Johnny’s life and popularity on trial,” whereas lead counsel David Sherborne says Depp’s candor concerning his struggles with medicine and alcohol abuse offers him credibility. A smattering of footage lifted from celeb gossip exhibits builds in background, from Depp and Heard assembly on the set of The Rum Diary, to the escalation of their romance and its subsequent flame-out in a hail of restraining orders and depositions for divorce proceedings. There’s additionally a reminiscence lane section that quantities to a Johnny Depp sizzle reel, clips from Edward Scissorhands and even 21 Leap Avenue that are supposed to re-establish the actor’s standing as a Hollywood outsider. Then Invoice “Breano” Hanti seems, who performed within the band The Kidz with Depp. Heard “obtained inside John’s head,” he says. “He was ingesting and drugging to the purpose of madness.”

Regardless of the verdict within the British trial, and whoever emerges triumphant in Virginia, the texts, voice recordings, and photographs that seem in Johnny vs. Amber is notable for anybody serious about celeb trivialities. A video within the kitchen of their West Hollywood residence that options an agitated Depp guzzling wine from a goblet, or the mutual recordings of their “therapeutic course of” the place the couple declares their timeless love. The revelation that Depp not solely is conscious of his conduct below the affect, however that he offers the facet of himself a reputation, “The Monster.” And the arguing. At all times the arguing. It’s a peek inside a relationship that may fret even when these two weren’t well-known.

Picture: Getty Pictures

What Reveals Will It Remind You Of? Depp has already testified in John C. Depp II v. Amber Laura Heard. However his ex-wife will as soon as once more take the witness stand when the trial kicks again into gear Monday, Might sixteenth. Heard plans to name her ex-husband in addition to Ellen Barkin to testify. (Right here’s stream the Depp v. Heard trial.)  

Our Take: All the suing, counter suing, testifying, and speechifying occurring in Depp v. Heard has predictably ignited social media, from aggressive “Justice for Johnny” posters within the livestream’s remark subject, to the same old polarization on Twitter, to TikTok doing what it does, taking issues into theater of the weird territory with folks performing out Amber Heard’s testimony and impersonating Johnny Depp’s mannerisms. So given how a lot the present trial has fueled the celeb information gossip practice, there’s some context to be gained by Johnny vs. Amber and its protection of the sooner trial in London. Perhaps you’re watching the continuing court docket proceedings, and didn’t know concerning the earlier court docket proceedings. Perhaps you didn’t find out about Heard’s documentation of Depp’s conduct, or that the couple was compelled to publicly apologize to Australia for not declaring their canines once they lived there for a stint in 2015. However within the latter bit, as Johnny vs. Amber performs audio over static photos of the mansion they rented lifted off an Australian actual property website, it begins to really feel just like the doc isn’t relating any data that couldn’t be gleaned from 5 minutes of googling.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Nothing overtly salacious right here. Heaps and plenty of cussing between Heard and Depp, nevertheless, on the recordings that play. At one level, throughout an argument in a San Francisco lodge room in July 2016, Depp calls Heard “A leftover, fucking, over-the-hill stripper.” Yikes.

Parting Shot: The ultimate moments of the “Johnny’s Story” episode of Johnny vs. Amber are dedicated to reaffirming his authorized workforce’s place in Depp v Information Group Newspapers Ltd, and organising the narrative of the sequence’ second half, “Amber’s Story.” “His ex-wife, who’s accusing him of all this nonsense,” Depp’s lead counsel David Sherborne says, “all of this shit, as he describes it, is mendacity in his mattress. And that’s, we are saying, such a robust level in demonstrating that these allegations are unfaithful.” Then Sasha Wass QC, lead counsel for The Solar, highlights Depp’s documented historical past of drug and alcohol abuse earlier than one other recording of Depp chatting with Heard. “Child, please, please, please, don’t let the monster out…” 

Sleeper Star: We’ll go together with Johnny Depp’s very particular diction and method of description right here, which hasn’t gone unnoticed within the storm of social media chatter surrounding the continuing defamation case in Fairfax County, Virginia. “This finger, which I now name ‘Little Richard,’ the tip of the finger was severed,” he says in a 2018 deposition. “All of the bones in right here, fully shattered. It regarded like Vesuvius.”

Most Pilot-y Line: In terms of bickering celebrities, Channel 4 Information Correspondent Minnie Stephenson emphasizes the excellence between it occurring on personal islands and in public courtrooms. “This was the story which gave you, type of, unparalleled entry to the lives of celebrities who principally stay on personal islands, get about on personal jets, and this was a second the place you may form of see, in excruciating element, what was occurring behind the scenes.”

Our Name: SKIP IT. Johnny vs. Amber presents some background on Depp and Heard’s troublesome relationship, nevertheless it isn’t important to understanding or following together with the pair’s present court docket proceedings.

Johnny Loftus is an unbiased author and editor dwelling at giant in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Information, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Observe him on Twitter: @glennganges

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