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The Huge Johnny Depp Flop You Can Watch On Netflix Right Now

Johnny Depp's brand of peculiarity was a hot commodity for a spell, the sort of undeniable cultural focal point that gets producers cocky enough to remake Willy Wonka or try to reshape the works of Lewis Carroll into a YA action-fantasy franchise. Now, almost ten years later, you can pull up Netflix, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark — that place where the wave finally broke, and rolled back (to crib an image from Dr. Hunter S. Thompson).

More specifically, you can watch The Rum Diary, a wad of 2011 preserved for all time in widescreen format, commemorating a point in history when Amber Heard and Johnny Depp could be on camera together without having the footage submitted into evidence.

From a business perspective, making The Rum Diary probably seemed like a good idea. The Depp boom of the 2000s was only just starting to show early signs of decline, not having yet collapsed into the era now remembered as the Great Depp-ression. The actor's old films, many of which had flown under the radar when initially released, were becoming sleeper hits in the wide galleon wake of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Among these late bloomers was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the psychedelic 1998 Hunter S. Thompson adaptation, which met with lukewarm reviews when it debuted, but suddenly became a staple of the hippest DVD collections.

And so Depp returned to the Gonzo-verse (sort of) in the iconic, cult-classic role (kind of) that he'd brought to life more than a decade prior, adapting Thompson's The Rum Diary under the watchful eye of Withnail & I writer-director Bruce Robinson. What could go wrong?

Here's what went wrong with The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary flopped hard at the box office, opening in fifth place behind titles like Puss in Boots and that remake of Footloose that you forgot about until just now. In total, Depp's second swing at a Hunter Thompson adaptation would pull a dismal $30 million against a $45 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo. It was, per THR, the biggest financial stumble of the star's career up to that point, grossing less than The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus despite opening in nearly four times as many theaters.

Reviews weren't awful, but they weren't exactly glowing either — the film holds a 52% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which pretty much sums up the middling reception that The Rum Diary received. Writing for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw described the movie as "lovingly made," but also labeled it a vanity project full of "hot air."

Shot largely in Puerto Rico, The Rum Diary is visually stunning, and features a stellar cast. Aaron Eckhart plays Depp's foil, a smirking realtor with dishonorable intentions. Giovanni Ribisi makes an appearance, never once gunning for the local population's unobtanium. Mostly, though, the picture is remembered today as the project where Amber Heard and Johnny Depp became acquainted, kicking off a decade of high-profile celebrity news stories.