Grampa Joe and the Chocolate Factory

I saw the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake this afternoon. Some parts were weak -- Johnny Depp's childlike Willy Wonka is much less interesting than Gene Wilder's menacing adult chocolateer -- but I was extremely glad to see that Grampa Joe is still a bastard.

The web site Say No to Grampa Joe documents all of the ways that Joe, played by the great Jack Albertson in the original movie, was an anchor dragging down the rest of his family.

At the start of the story, we meet Joe, who has spent 20 years bedridden, supported by his daughter and his 10-year-old grandson's child labor. In the new film, he's also sponging off a son-in-law.

When Charlie finds a golden ticket, we learn that Joe's been pretending to be invalid:

... his long bony body rose up out of the bed and his bowl of soup went flying into the face of Grandma Josephine, and in one fantastic leap, this old fellow of ninety-six and a half, who hadn't been out of bed these last twenty years, jumped on to the floor and started doing a dance of victory in his pajamas.

David Kelly's new version of Grampa Joe is more lovable, but he still elbows his way to the front of the line for a chance to visit the factory, blocking any impulse Charlie has to bring a parent.


Yeah, I don't get the Depp interpretation of Wonka. Partly creepy, partly annoying, and entirely inferior to Gene Wilder's. Making yourself look like Michael Jackson's idea of a good time is a terrible way to get me to like you.

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