ed wood

Ed Wood (1994) | Tickets

Saturday, May 5 & Sunday, May 6; Noon

1. In the grand scheme of Tim Burton, a director who started strong and now concentrates on making horrible things, Ed Wood represents the director’s last great victory. After that,it’s a big stream of things that no one ever needs to see, ever. Yes, Big Fish too. Six great (great!) movies in a row and then garbage, garbage, mediocre garbage.

2. I’ve had a recent crisis of Johnny Depp, an actor that I’ve always passively enjoyed until I realized, suddenly, what an obnoxious tool he is. Something about his bug eyed, hyperactive schtick where he bounces around and does his voices is just starting to get to me. It works for Ed Wood, because only a hyperactive tool could make movies like Ed Wood, still, I can’t really wait until The Lone Ranger comes out this summer and everyone can just agree that Johnny Depp movies are the pits. Except Ed Wood! Ed Wood is good.

3. The scene where Johnny Depp is bouncing up and down in his chair after meeting The Amazing Criswell, that really makes me want to kill something. I would post a Gif of that, but those things are: 1. Everywhere, and 2. … I don’t really know how to make one.

4. My exposure to the actual work of Ed Wood is pretty limited, just Plan 9 and Bride of the Monster. Bride of the Monster I saw on Mystery Science Theater (a pretty solid Joel episode for those of you inclined towards robots making fun of movies), but Plan 9 left me feeling pretty empty. You go into a “Worst movie ever made” with a sense of fun. No one ever tells you that a lot of these cornball sci-fi movies have their bad reputations for a reason, because, Jesus, is Plan 9 boring.

5. The supporting cast for this movie is its main strength, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffery Jones, and Mike Starr all putting in great performances. Particularly winning, though, are Bill Murray and Martin Landau. Murray plays Bunny Breckinridge, Wood’s primped and powdered openly homosexual friend who spends most of the movie being fabulous and sarcastic and bitchy, and Landau as the sad, lonesome and hilariously mean Bela Lugosi.

“Mehee-co… was… a nightmare.”

6. Burton’s use of pro-wrestler George “The Animal” Steele as Tor Johnson, the Swedish pro-wrestler, might be the most perfect casting I’ve ever seen, just in terms of pure looks. They’re practically identical and had a similar monstrous schtick in the ring — though I don’t think Tor Johnson was as hairy as George Steele. Dude looks like a turnbuckle eating bear.

george-the-animal-steele-threw-out-the-opening-pitch-at-the-rochester-red-wings-baseball-game

7. Originally, Burton was only to produce Ed Wood, with Heathers director Michael Lehman signed to direct, but after Burton dropped out of directing Mary Reilly (I forgot about that movie), he wanted to move the Wood biopic ahead despite Lehman being tied to direct Airheads. Rather than wait, Burton went ahead and directed the picture. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we got Airheads.

8. In researching this movie, I went down an internet black hole that went from Plan 9 From Outer Space to being neck deep in the Christine Jorgensen sex change controversy from the 1950s. Time well spent, I guess.

9. I am torn between the following lines being the best in the movie. The first, is when Bela says “I think she’s a honey. Look at those jugs” while watching Vampira on TV; annd the second is from Bunny, when working with Bela’s replacement for Plan 9: “Let’s hear you call Boris Karloff a cocksucker.”

10. The point that I take away from Ed Wood is that getting a movie made is hard, and that it takes a unique talent and personality to wrangle one of these sons of bitches into the can. Ed Wood’s movies weren’t good in the traditional sense, but he did it, and people remember him for his work over half-a-century later — that is a pretty remarkable feat for the worst director of all time.