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Ed Wood (1994)

by on 2011/10/31

“You people are insane! You’re wasting your lives making sh*t! Nobody cares! These movies are terrible! “

* * * *

I don’t feel quite right reviewing this movie before Hacker Renders had an opportunity. It is, after all, Mr. Renders’ movie.

But I am on a tight schedule to celebrate the first-ever GeekvsGoth.com OctoBurton Fest this month and as I always say, the enemy of “done” is “good.”

So this is a review in the very finest tradition of director Ed Wood.

The very first time I saw Ed Wood, I watched it on a VHS tape that Hacker Renders had brought over for an after-dinner diversion many, many years ago. It was early on in our days together and I think it was one of his many film tests. Other such tests included Donnie Darko, Everybody’s Fine, A Mighty Wind and Memento.

If I wept like a wee baby, or got it, then I was a-ok.

Fortunately for all concerned, I adored Ed Wood, particularly the bravura performance of the incredible Martin Landau playing Hungarian, double-jointed screen legend Bela Lugosi (Dracula). In fact, I think I may be just a little bit in love with Martin Landau.

It feels good to admit it.

There is much to love in Ed Wood. Mostly, I think, I find enthusiasm incredibly attractive …and hilarious. Johnny Depp as Ed Wood gushes enthusiasm like a sprinkler system in a building on fire. Depp plays the bra-and-panty-wearing, angora-sweater-adoring B-movie director once named “The Worst Director of All Time.”

After watching this film and screening Plan 9 from Outer Space several times, I’m not sure the title really fits. In fact, I think in the same way that this Tim Burton film made me love Martin Landau (just a little bit), Ed Wood became my hero.

Guileless enthusiasm, a willingness to take a bite out of life with your toothless jaws, do what you love, chase an impossible dream …that’s something worth admiring. Ed Wood did just that. He wrote — ok, terribly — about things that fascinated him. He made bizarre, brave films. He got to work with incredible personalities like Lugosi and Vampira (Maila Nurmi) played by a cinched and corsetted Lisa Marie in Ed Wood.

All thanks to the power of enthusiasm. Enthusiasms.

This Academy Award-winning film, notably winning Martin Landau the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, is a respectful, funny, thoughtful tribute to a man who wasn’t afraid to suck in pursuit of a dream.

“And cut! Print. We’re moving on. That was perfect.”

Happy OctoBurton Fest everyone.

* * * *

Rated R for swearing, drug use and a completely charming guy in women’s clothing

127 minutes

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