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Ed Wood

1994 American comedic biopic directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp

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The scary truth of all filmmakers...

  • Oct 14, 2011
"Honey, what if I'm wrong? What if I just don't got it?" 
"Ed, it was only one review." 
"Orson Welles was only 26 when he made Citizen Kane. I'm already 30." 
"Ed, you're still young. This is the time in your life when you're supposed to be struggling." 
"I know. But I'm scared it's not going to get any better than this." 

"Burton's faithfulness and Depp's striking performance makes this biography a terribly sad film, for success that's never met, with a side of hatred and mockery as a legacy." 
I've never had a film that told me to kick myself in the balls before, until I saw Tim Burton's Ed Wood. I, like many people watched Citizen Kane for the first time, and after feeling underwhelmed at 'the best' film ever, I decided to go the other way and watch 'the worst'. With my endeavour I watched Plan 9 From Outer Space and whole bunch of films from the infamous Edward D. Wood Jr. Of course, like most the world, we all laughed and enjoyed the absurdity of his films - full of countless mistakes so obvious I'm not sure how post-production didn't die of laughter, and pretty much anything else that could go wrong with a movie, did. Although I don't believe Ed Wood's films are 'the worst', and he didn't merit the Golden Turkey for 'Worst Director of All Time', he certainly fits a template of public demand, ridiculously entertaining. Anyway, back to the kicking of my balls, which I intrigued you with earlier, Ed Wood is sad! I wouldn't compare Ed Wood to the likes of Kramer vs. Kramer- in the sense of tear jerking. However, Ed Wood may not bring you to tears, it does make you question your own self-worth, especially if your aspiring into the film industry like little naive me. What this film tells is the unfortunate tale of a director (which we can all relate in some degree) just never making it, and leaving a terribly humiliating legacy, and to see Johnny Depp's smile after the biggest rejection of what he tried so hard, I just want to kick my own balls for ever mocking his films. 

It's a fairly truthful biography, although not perfectly accurate, it follows the general idea. Edward D. Wood Jr. - a man born with one of the coolest names ever, continues his life ambitions to become a director, following the footsteps of his idol, Orson Welles. Through pristine black and white, we are served a comical and often strikingly accurate portrayal of the infamous director. Although much of the details are fiction, you get a very satisfying feeling while the film 'nit-picks' the mistakes of Plan 9 (among others), and even re-enact them perfectly. With that said, I never had the urge to wander off and play Tetris like I usually do, there I was, three in the morning, thoroughly entertained and laughing. 

The performances and plot are made for each other, the relationship between the two are best describable as covering your body in butter, then sliding down a giant pile of butter - smooth. What makes Ed Wood such a fun and enjoyable film is the entertaining, yet faithful plot, and the comical performances. Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most enjoyable actors ever; with every role, he emits an energetic burst of excitement. In this particular role, he has a painful optimism, which makes me just want to drown him with money in the hope he can make something good! Depp fills the shows of a legend in filmmaking, and adds dynamic of sympathy, which previously never occurred to people, but now Plan 9 brings me closer to weeping than laughing. 

Let the towns people celebrate in Tim's latest contribution to the world. Burton, directing or not, has always brought a gothic aesthetic to all his works. Burton has always had what I would call reliable work, and to some degree always making entertaining films, despite their quality. Although Burton never seemed to quite make his masterpiece, he's perhaps been close (not necessarily directing), and Ed Wood is his success, however, I do feel he could maybe make a larger impact. As far asEd Wood goes, its brilliantly directed, and adds to its overall, likeableness. 

Overall, like butter on butter, with some extra butter, Ed Wood is smooth, it's a film of extreme likability and quality. Burton's faithfulness and Depp's striking performance makes this biography a terribly sad film, for success that's never met, with a side of hatred and mockery as a legacy. I think Ed Wood's greatest achievement is to not only tell a quality story, but to send a fear into any aspiring filmmaker, that you may one day fail, go into porn and be known as 'the worst'. 

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October 15, 2011
This was good, I need to rewatch.
October 14, 2011
I enjoyed this film and I think, though can't fully remember, that this is the first Burton/Depp film that would make me a fan of anything that they would do in the next decade or so. I thought it was shot incredibly well and emphasized Wood's notorious quirky character and his deep need to be better than he was. Nice review!
More Ed Wood reviews
review by . May 31, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    Often called the worst film director of all time - with his films also given the privilege of being regarded as some of the crappiest ever produced - it would seem that Edward D. Wood Jr. would have no reason to be optimistic. Yet, played here by Johnny Depp, he has nothing to do but smile. Certainly a whacky, peculiar individual; Ed believed his area of expertise to be filmmaking, even though he didn't know jack-squat on the subject. He never went to film …
review by . July 18, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
So many Tim Burton movies have great ideas and beautiful visuals, but somehow go a little flat in the telling. For example, BIG FISH had some great things to look at, along with a some fun performances...but in the end it was too pleased with itself to make an emotional impact and the ending was muddled. BATMAN was a visual and acting delight as well, but had absolutely no suspense because the action sequences were was clearly not what interested Burton, but it meant the movie never got …
review by . December 18, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
A very offbeat movie indeed. Johnny Depp is quite adept at portraying this astonishingly talentless film director. The oddball characters that Martin Landau and Bill Murray play are quite entertaining as well. The black and white setting works well with the mood of the film.The twists and turns that Depp encountes in getting this film releases are indded comical. Although the formula tires just a little bit towards the end, the overall impression is a good one. Worthy of a viewing.
About the reviewer
Zachary Fernandez ()
Ranked #94
I'm a 15 year old ametuer critic, who lives in Perth, Australia.
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Edward D. Wood Jr. was an actor writer-director-producer, occasionally in drag, who combined meager bursts of talent with an undying optimism to create some of the most bizarrely memorable "B" movies to ever come out of Tinseltown. Though Wood died in obscurity as an alcoholic in 1978, his films have been considered cult classics for years.

He is consistently voted the worst director who ever lived. You would think this an odd subject, but director Tim Burton harnesses the undying hopefulness that made Wood such a character. Shot in black and white, just like Wood's creations, this stylized, witty production captures the poetic absurdity of Wood's films and his unconventional life.

Burton's recreation of Wood's wonderfully awfulPlan 9 from Outer Spacelooks much better than the original low-budget quickie. Burton tackled an extremely strange subject matter for a biopic, but Wood is presented as naive almost to the point of delusion, so the story works. The pace sags in the middle, as the weirdness starts to wear thin, but Depp proves himself an adroit actor, even while wearing angora and a blonde wig. Wood's unconventional repertoire company is faithfully reproduced, including an Academy Award-winning Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.

Landau is pathetic, droll, and charismatic as the elderly junkie who made his last screen appearances in Wood's films.--Rochelle ...
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