Mr.'s Review of Ed Wood
This movie has sky-rocketed into my Top 10. And to think that a few months ago, I had never even heard of this movie. But I'm glad that I did discover it, because it is both a great stabd-alone film, and a hilarious dream come true for any film buff.
Edward D. Wood Jr. had big dreams, and a sunny disposition to boot. He believed he was going to be the next Orson Welles, and nobody was going to stop him. If you've never heard of this guy, you may be thinking to yourself "Were his movies any good?" The correct answer should be "NOOOOOOO"! But Wood's films had a special low-budget, B-movie charm, with their mind-numbing dialogue, questionable casting, and quite unconvincing set design. People often compare Uwe Boll to being the "Ed Wood" of this generation. But this is all wrong. Wood's way of thinking was "The audience will be willing to suspend its disbelief, despite the 300-pound Swedish wrestler playing the folksy cop, and the pie-tin flying saucers on fishing line". Uwe Boll's way of thinking is "Those stupid Americans will hate this movie, and I'll make tons of money. And if they don't like it, I'll box the s*** out of them!"
Johnny Depp perfectly captures the enthusiasm of someone clearly in denial of how horrible they are at their craft. The rest of the cast, including Sara Jessica Parker (Horse-Face, as I like to call her), Bill Murray, Lisa Marie, and Jeffrey Jones, do well to embody Wood's entourage of homosexuals and TV personalities. But it is Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi who absolutely steals the show! I was completely immersed in his performance as the morphine-addled actor. So much so, that I forgot that Martin was in the movie at all, and that it wasn't Bela Lugosi in these scenes! Tim Burton shows us a close and comforting relationship between Wood and Lugosi that many other directors might have just passed over.
Despite the dramatics, the movie is downright hilarious! There is a lot of satisfaction in watching Bela sloshing in a foot of water with a giant rubber octopus, or Ed scaring a child by removing his false teeth on Halloween night (something my aunt used to do to freak me the f*** out). The black and white, 50's style cinematography makes the movie look and feel like a sleazy Z-grade film, but it has that special Burton panache that makes it his own.
I cannot recommend this movie enough, to film makers or lovers. Despite dying a penniless porn director, I'm pretty sure Ed Wood would have loved the cult success his films have gathered over the years. This will be the one he's remembered for.