• Matt Miller

Movies you might’ve missed


IMAGE COURTESY IMDB.COM

Title: Ed Wood (1994)

Directed: Tim Burton

Genre: Comedy-Drama

Available on: Amazon, Apple and Google Play

Brief Synopsis: After being spurned by major studios, legendary cult filmmaker Ed Wood creates his own ‘unique’ movies with his eccentric friends.

Aggregate Scores: 7.9 IMDb 92% Rotten Tomatoes

Review: My elementary school had a banner that stretched from one end of the main hall to the other, with the famous quote from Les Brown: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." For seven years I walked past that banner, and yet I always had this one lingering question stick with me: What if you don't land on either? That, in a sense, perfectly summarizes the ‘King of the B-Movie’ director Ed Wood. Very few tried so hard, and fewer failed so spectacularly when it came to making movies.

Fresh off the success of Edward Scissorhands, director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp collaborated for the second (of eight!) times. Depp plays Wood, a young and ambitious actor/director/writer/producer. Wood is portrayed as a blind optimist, who won't quit, even though every producer in Hollywood tells him to stop. He rounds up his cast and crew, themselves Hollywood (and often social) outcasts, and they put all their effort and money into making what they love.

The end result is definitely not perfect, and can politely be described as ‘quirky.’ Burton was the perfect choice to direct this endearing biopic. His own overall cinematic ‘quirkiness’ has allowed him to create a brand of film that is distinctively his and beloved by countless fans. In a weird way, Wood helped pave the way for directors to express themselves through film, and the independence to do it their own way. While Wood may not have been successful financially or critically, Burton certainly has, and this film acts as a tribute to a man who certainly followed his own path.

These days, it is fashionable to love schlock. James Franco's The Disaster Artist, dramatizing Tommy Wiseau's famously terrible film, The Room, has opened to commercial and critical acclaim, and has garnered Golden Globes and Oscar nominations. It is not hard to draw parallels between Franco's film and Burton's Ed Wood, for they both celebrate the most mediocre of movie makers. However, while Franco's film finds humor in laughing at the incompetent, petulant personality of Wiseau, Burton's Ed Wood celebrates and respects the director's grand aspirations, no matter how misplaced or unsuccessful. This film is a tribute to those with imperfect dreams, perfectly summarized by a piece of advice Wood receives towards the end of the film: "Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?"

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