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Review: Ed Wood (1994)

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I watched the cult-classic Plan 9 From Outer Space the other day for the second time. This time it was overlayed with commentary from Riff Trax, the guys who brought you Mystery Science Theater 3000. With their constant jokes about the inconsistencies, ridiculous plot, and overall horrid acting, I can see why most view Plan 9 the Citizen Kane of bad movies. So why make a movie about the guy who made these stinkers?

Edward Wood Jr. an aspiring filmmaker just likes to tell stories. The film, covers the meat of his filmmaking career, from his admission of transvestism with his film Glen or Glenda, to his relationship with aging star Bela Lugosi with Bride of the Monster, to his “masterpiece” Plan 9. If you forget about the name, what you really get is the story of a director who just wants the chance to make movies, and how much he will do to make that dream a reality. It may have a rose colored look on the career of Wood, without criticizing his work, but it does so to match his ever present optimism. Even when he kept making dud after dud, he kept going; why shouldn’t the film reflect that same can do attitude?

As it’s own film, Tim Burton perfectly recreates the B-Movie style, and fills it with homages to the “so bad it’s good” director/writer/producer. The transformation of Martin Landau to Lugosi is amazing, and of course Johnny Depp brings his usual charisma to the plate with his used car salesman like delivery of the script. The real surprise for me was Bill Murray, much like his unforgettable performance in Zombieland, he steals the show portraying the openly gay friend of Wood’s, Bunny Breckinridge.

Obviously, if you are a fan of Ed Wood, or his films this is a much watch. People who have seen Plan 9 or Glen or Glenda will greatly appreciate it more. But don’t count this film out. You may be surprised at how enjoyable it really is.

My Rating: B+

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