Movie: Ed Wood
Release Date: September 30, 1994
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Murray.
Tag Lines: “Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.”
“When it came to making bad movies, Ed Wood was the best.”
Relevance: Hello again, Mr. Burton.
Director Tim Burton is already making his third appearance here on my list of most influential movies. (For the other two see 300. Mars Attacks! and 315. Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) I was already a hug fan of his by the time ‘Ed Wood,’ the sixth movie he directed, was released in 1994. Unfortunately it is not a movie I was able to see in the theater, but you can be sure it was rented and watched as soon as humanly possible.
‘Ed Wood’ also marks Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s second collaboration together, the first being ‘Edward Scissorhands,’ which will be watched later this year. If you have been keeping up with this blog you will know that Mr. Depp is a favorite of mine. He has already appeared here two other times, once with Mr. Burton (see above) and once in a supporting role that I watched last week (see 302. Chocolat). So it is really no shocker that this movie is a part of this project.
For me, the movie was somewhat of a departure from Tim Burton’s campy, cartoonish productions that he was becoming associated with throughout his earlier career. Yes, there is definitely a “camp” feeling in the movie, but filmed in black and white and telling a biographical story of real life B-movie director Ed Wood seemed a bit out of his wheelhouse. And I think that is what impressed me most about it, not to mention the two fantastic performances by both Mr. Depp and Martin Landau. Both of them were exquisite. Mr. Landau, for playing Bela Lugosi, won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Johnny Depp simply disappeared into the character. Not only in looks, but his voice, the pattern in which he spoke and his movements were nothing like he has done before. He also filled out those angora sweaters quite impeccably. It truly was a great performance.
Despite getting rave reviews from critics, the movie was considered a box office flop, only making $6 million versus a budget of $18 million. Some would say fitting considering who the movie was about. I loved the film from my first watch and have returned to it many times through the years.
Today’s Thoughts: I loved watching ‘Ed Wood’ today. I haven’t watched it in a few years and it’s a movie that I can sit back and simply be entertained while the world is apparently ending outside my window. The news of the planet the past few days is everything from unbelievable to scary to weird, almost like we all have a part in a really bad B-movie. So to listen to the character of Ed Woods’ enthusiasm and optimism presented in the film is very refreshing. It gives me hope. “This is the one. This is the one I’ll be remembered for.”
The cast, especially the aforementioned Johnny Depp and Martin Landau, are absolute perfection in this movie. Sarah Jessica Parker to Patricia Arquette to the insanely bizarre Bill “Goodbye penis” Murray are so marvelously directed. It is so much fun for me to watch actors having fun on screen. If they weren’t really having fun, then I am not giving them enough credit for their acting. “Better than wrestling!”
Tim Burton really does choose interesting projects and is very successful at creating worlds we haven’t been privy to before. And that is where most of my appreciation for him comes into play. Thankfully this is not the last one of his movies you will be seeing here as I will be watching four more this year.
See you soon, Mr. Burton.
Awards: Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Martin Landau (winner), Academy Award for Best Makeup, Rick Baker, Ve Neill, Yolanda Toussieng (winner), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Martin Landau (winner), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Johnny Depp (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up/Hair, Rick Baker, Ve Neill, Yolanda Toussieng (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting ROle, MArtin Landau (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Martin Landau (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor, Martin Landau (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography, Stefan Czapsky (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music, Howard Shore (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor, Martin Landau (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography, Stefan Czapsky (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, Martin Landau (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer, Stefan Czapsky, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (nomination).
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.