The amount I love this film isn’t fair. To call Ed Wood a masterpiece that will rival the likes of Citizen Kane and The Godfather seems awfully wrong – after all, it never shows up on these lists as greatest films of all time, and it isn’t really given much attention by the general public, mostly based on the fact that it is a great film, regardless of who is watching it, but it caters more for those who understand the cutthroat nature of directing, especially in the 1950s, where independent cinema wasn’t the buzzword it is today – your film has a studio and big stars, it does well. If it doesn’t, your film is a failure.
Maybe we all think of Tim Burton for his more mainstream work, where he combines brilliantly colorful visuals with weird and wonderful stories, such as in the case of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and Edward Scissorhands. However, there is no weirder and more wonderful story than that of Edward D. Wood Jr., the worst filmmaker of all time – and knowing me and my adoration for bad cinema, he is a fascinating figure. When the character is played by the iconic Johnny Depp, who gives probably his best performance, it is difficult not to love. Depp is so earnest and over-enthusiastic, and over-the-top hilarious. It is the crowning achievement of his career, and one that he has yet to top.
The supporting cast is insane. Martin Landau gives one of the most memorable performances in film history as the iconic Bela Lugosi. The brilliant prosthetics may make Landau look like Lugosi, but it is Landau’s extreme talents that make him Lugosi. The cadences in his voice, the way he carries himself, the way he delivers his lines – it feels like Bela was back from the dead. The rest of the supporting cast had small but very memorable roles. The wonderful Bill Murray is hilarious as the flamboyant Bunny Breckendridge, Sarah Jessica Parker brilliant as the failed starlet and the rest of the ensemble cast who give it their all and bring their own talents to these colorful characters.
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are probably the most notable actor/director collaborations these days, and while they have started to enter into a pit of self-parody and ridiculousness, they have had several brilliant collaborations. Ed Wood is their second, but also their best. It gave both Burton and Depp the necessary leap into the mainstream, and both remain at the top of their craft, all thanks to a little passion project about a notoriously bad director.
Ed Wood remains my favorite film ever. It is hilarious, twisted and a brilliant satire on that little industry we call Hollywood. It inspired me to start making my own low-budget films, and it is a huge reason why I love movies to this day. It is one film that I never tire of rewatching, and it is a great achievement for everyone involved. Like another 1994 film, Pulp Fiction, this will definitely go down in history as being edgy, brilliant cinema.