Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ed Wood (1994)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

If you’ve been reading my recent reviews, you know that I’ve been looking for really bad movies to watch.  One name that keeps popping up is Ed Wood, the director of Glen or Glenda and Plan 9 From Outer Space.  While people do recognize the names of his movies, the name of the director isn’t as well known.  Still, Edward D. Wood, Jr. gained such notoriety for being so bad that a movie was produced about him and his work.

Johnny Depp stars as the title character.  The movie starts with Wood working at a movie studio when a producer comes across a script.  Wood wants to direct it, but can’t as the rights were acquired by another studio.  So, Wood writes his own, semi-autobiographical version which goes on to become Glen or Glenda.  Despite having Bela Lugosi in it, the movie tanks and it tanks hard.  The producer calls to let Wood know that if he ever decides to set foot on studio property, Wood should first make out his last will and testament.

Wood goes on undeterred.  He has to struggle for funding and apparently would often do shots in one take regardless of how they came out.  He makes several other movies with Lugosi, including Bride of the Monster.  They all meet with very bad reviews.

The movie closes shortly after Wood finished making Plan 9 From Outer Space.  He has a Baptist Church backing him on this film, which does cause some tension.  They want to make major changes to the script and don’t really like that Wood wants to direct wearing women’s clothes.  A chance meeting with his idol gives Wood the inspiration to finish the movie.

The movie is a pretty straightforward account of Wood’s life.  It covered his best-known movies, although IMDb lists a lot more movies during that time frame.  Wood was apparently a very prolific director.  He was a man that wouldn’t take no for an answer, even if the answer was well justified.  Wood kept doing what he loved.  (As the saying goes, it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down; it matters how many times you get back up.)

The directing was great.  I’ve come to like a lot of Tim Burton’s movies, but this one was a little different.  As I said, it was very straightforward.  It’s not at all like Mars Attacks! or Edward Scissorhands.  Having the film shot in black and white was definitely a plus for the movie.

I also liked the acting.  Martin Landau was great as Lugosi.  Bill Murray was also great in his role.  I even enjoyed Sarah Jessica Parker.  This was one of her few roles where I didn’t find her to be over the top.  (She’s usually just a little too outgoing in most of her roles.)

Ed Wood is one of those movies that just comes together to work perfectly.  It’s a great movie about a director that was known for his horrible movies.  I find it strange, though, that his name isn’t better known.  At least his movies will live on.  I plan on watching Plan 9 From Outer Space and Glen or Glenda.  I have to wonder if I’ll want to see more of his movies after that or if I’ll be done with watching bad movies. 

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