Saturday, September 30, 2006

Filmmaking is Not About the Tiny Details. It's About the Big Picture.

It struck me the other day that I haven't seen a movie in months that I actually liked. Whether I find one tiny detail to pick apart, or the whole thing is just plain bad, I just seem to keep watching films that make me roll my eyes. Where have all the good films gone..... And where are all the Gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?

OK, I'm channeling Bonnie Tyler now. That can't be good...

At any rate, because I wanted to watch a GOOD movie, and I didn't want to risk wasting my time on something that may or may not be up to snuff, last night I dug through my large collection of video tapes and brought forth Ed Wood.

No, not an Ed Wood film; the 1994 Tim Burton masterpiece ABOUT Ed Wood. If you don't know, Edward D. Wood jr., was a film director who had his heyday in the 1950s with such beautiful, endearing, horribly acted, written and directed gems as Bride of the Monster, Glen or Glenda, and of course, Plan 9 From Outer Space( I'm half-tempted to tell anyone who DOESN'T know who Ed Wood is, to leave this blog and never return. But that would be rude.)

The film mainly concerns the meeting and friendship of Wood (Johnny Depp) and Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), and also covers the making of the 3 movies mentioned above. Why do I love this movie so? Here we go:

  • Johnny Depp. I have never had a crush on Johnny Depp, not even when I was a teenager. I'm probably the only heterosexual woman on the face of the earth that hasn't (my own mother has a thing for him), and while I can certainly see his physical appeal, he just doesn't make me all....Tingly. However, the man can ACT, and yes, I had to capitialize the word "act". In Ed Wood, Johnny makes you root for Ed-you actually want him to succeed in making movies that arguably have no value (I would argue that they DO, but that's just me). Johnny's Ed believes in the films he's making, and he comes off as naive in some respects. It's refreshing. Plus, he wears womens' clothing, and takes his teeth out-twice. Good stuff.
  • Martin Landau. Landau portrays Lugosi at the end of his career, long after Dracula. In EW, Lugosi is somewhat of a bitter old man, who carries quite a bit of hate towards his old costar, Boris Karloff (In reality, they were friends, and Karloff is rumored to have paid a good chunk of Lugosi's medical bills. There: your nifty trivia tidbit of the day). He pines for his former film glory, and hooks up with our boy Ed, in hopes of recapturing it. With the make-up, Landau actually LOOKS like Lugosi, and he has the accent down perfectly. His irascible old coot-ness (best description I could come up with. Sorry) is hilarious, and his resign at being washed-up, and his morphine addiction, will break your heart.
  • The supporting cast. I spent a lot of time on Depp and Landau, so I'm only going to give brief shout-outs to the others: Lisa Marie as Vampira. Bill Murray as Bunny Breckinridge. George 'The Animal' Steele as Tor Johnson. Jeffrey Jones as Criswell (even though JJ is rumored to be an afficianado of kiddie porn, I have to give him credit for this role; give him his "Props", so to speak). Juliet Landau as Loretta King (Martin's real-life daughter, but she'll always be Drusilla to me). Vincent D'Onofrio as Orson Welles (in other news, I totally ♥ Vincent D'Onofrio). Oh yeah, Sarah Jessica Parker and Patricia Arquette were also in this movie: they can kiss my ass.

This post is getting kinda long, so I'll try to wrap it up now. What it comes down to, is this movie takes a notorious misfit, and fashions him into a sort of hero. It takes something forever associated with bad movies, and shapes it into a great movie (at least, I think so, and since this is my blog, that's all that matters here). I started this post, bitching about how I haven't seen a movie in awhile that didn't suck, and I ended up posting about a good movie, that was about someone who made horrible movies. That seems rather interconnected, don't you think? I feel kinda like Robert Altman, a blogging, long-winded, rambling Robert Altman. Hell, take away the blogging, and I AM Robert Altman.

PS-Just because I wanna, here are the theatrical trailer of Ed Wood, and what I'd say is my favorite scene from the movie. Enjoy, and if you haven't seen Ed Wood, go rent it.