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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 15.07%
Average: 10.27%
Pretty Bad: 0.68%
Total Crap: 0.68%

6 reviews, 110 user ratings

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Ed Wood
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by Brian McKay

"Wood you believe it?"
4 stars

After being thoroughly underwhelmed by Tim Burton's films for years (perhaps with the exception of SLEEPY HOLLOW or NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS), I actually stumbled upon two that I rather enjoyed, and within a few weeks of each other.

After seeing Big Fish, I discovered a renewed interest in Burton's directorial style (which had mostly annoyed me up until now). So when a coworker decided to get rid of some of his old videotapes by bringing the free grab bag to work (sans porno, mind you), the cover of Burton's tribute to the infamous purveyor of schlock sort of jumped out at me. Here was one of Burton's earlier films that had somehow slipped under my radar (and that of the vast moviegoing public as well, undoubtedly). And yet, from the opening black-and-white shot of the Hollywood sign on a rainy night, the camera pulling slowly back to reveal the streets and rooftops of 1950's tinseltown, I knew that I'd found something I would like.

One has to hand it to Burton - it took balls to make a black and white period film about a cross-dressing director who shot some of the most godawful films since the Lumiere Brothers gave birth to the medium in the basement of a Paris cafe'. If the tripod of commercial and artistic success is talent, inspiration, and perseverance, then Wood's career wobbled along on a unipod of sheer tenacity. Cobbling together films out of stock footage, single takes, and convoluted scripts, Wood (Johnny Depp) somehow kept making movies even though his first should have probably been his last. Laughed at by big studios and distributors, Wood went the indie route before indie was trendy, cranking out film after film and somehow convincing investors that they would be big hits.

Amid this pursuit of craptacular filmmaking, Wood met and befriended washed-up former horror star Bela Lugosi (played impeccably by Martin Landau, who earned every inch of that gold statuette for Best Supporting Actor). Lugosi is shunned by the industry, forgotten by the public, nearly bankrupt and addicted to morphine - but still one of the greatest actors of all time in Wood's eyes. He becomes determined to put Lugosi back on the map by making him the star of his next picture.

Alas, while success continued to elude them, the two gained a friendship that is the heart and soul of Ed Wood. Landau's Lugosi is an alternately amusing and heartbreaking character who is given one last taste of life while in orbit around Wood's infectious mania, before finally slipping into inevitable oblivion.

Unfortunately, the passing of Lugosi is where the emotional core drops out of Ed Wood, with the film's final act focusing on the making of Plan Nine from Outer Space, that infamous piece of celluloid often hailed in critic's circles as "the worst film ever" (although I beg to differ. Don't get me wrong, it's bad . . . really bad - but I've seen worse). Of course, it's not really Burton's fault. He obviously had to touch upon Plan 9's creation, since it is the milestone (or perhaps tombstone) of Wood's career. But the final act, although funny, seems empty in the wake of Lugosi's departure.

Burton, Depp, and Landau have breathed life into two of Hollywood's most famous entities (at least in certain cult enclaves). After all, Wood's films are more popular now than they ever could have been in their day, flying high on pure camp value alone. And Lugosi, of course, went on to be the poster boy for "Goth" kids everywhere. I don't give a damn what Bauhaus says, Bela Lugosi Lives!

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originally posted: 03/03/04 15:42:42
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User Comments

5/03/19 Action movie fan Good period recreation provides some interest to this so so film 3 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef A unique movie about a unique man by an even more unique man. Ed Wood deserves an Oscar. 5 stars
1/26/09 Pamela White quirky look at a quirky man, sad Bella. 3 stars
12/21/08 Samantha Pruitt funny movie, very good looking movie! 4 stars
5/05/08 Nate Haven't you heard of suspension of disbeleif? 5 stars
1/13/08 art it's like one big halloween party 2 stars
4/27/07 Double M Dark yet hilarious. Burton's best. Depp & Murray are great, but Landau is just mesmerizing. 5 stars
4/20/07 Adrian Inspiring in its own quirky Tim Burton kind of way. 5 stars
3/03/07 Vip Ebriega Superb Tim Burton movie. Emotionally excellent. 5 stars
2/23/07 R.W.Welch Funny, oddy affecting story of a man who could not stop making bad movies. B+ 4 stars
11/28/06 Billy Backstabber yep, fun flick. More enjoyable than the films Wood made..more interesting.Great att2detail 5 stars
8/03/06 Nicole Wierd but cool movie. Great preformances 4 stars
6/27/06 Criddic2 Anyone who's seen an Ed Wood movie will enjoy the reenactments; Depp, Landau are Great 5 stars
12/19/05 Bree Brilliant film. Depp looks his best in angora. 5 stars
10/31/05 missjie86 This movie is hysterical... I cannot recommend it enough... SEE IT!! 5 stars
10/16/05 Person It's hilarious and heartfelt. I need to see it a third time. 5 stars
9/05/05 C Vega Suprisingly A good movie that makes you want to see Ed Woods Bad Movies! ha ha ha! 5 stars
8/06/05 Zack Excellent biography! 5 stars
4/18/05 Abbath Very niche movie for a niche director. 4 stars
4/15/05 Veronika Boyd "Karloff is a cock-sucker!" 5 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Very well done, but not incredibly entertaining. 4 stars
2/17/05 SAKURAZUKAMORI fdwnfgsdafgdsfgd 5 stars
2/16/05 Wilt Chamberlin . 5 stars
2/07/05 deep in Depp not bad at all, boring in places, good in others 4 stars
10/25/04 Tom Ciorciari Burton's best film by far; it wasn't even nomintaed the year Forest Gump won! 5 stars
10/22/04 Daniel burton's best-ed wood wasn't the crappiest director, and this homage does him justice 5 stars
8/20/04 DM You'd never in a million years expect to like a biography of the worst director of all time 5 stars
7/07/04 EricDSnider Burton+Depp=wonderful 5 stars
6/20/04 Daveman A quirky, lovable biopic of an artistic outsider. 5 stars
6/11/04 T. Maj Tim Burton's best film--nice cinematography 4 stars
5/18/04 gray no bad but not great 3 stars
5/02/04 David Fowler Landau literally IS Lugosi. One of the most TRULLY deserved Oscars ever given. Brilliant. 5 stars
3/22/04 Tito Fantastic! Classic Burton, all the way, 5 stars
3/21/04 Peter I loved this movie and can watch it over and over 5 stars
3/15/04 DeppFan4Ever Great film! Johnny Depp & Tim Burton always make the best movies 5 stars
3/06/04 Andrew Dunn Johnny Depp is the king. Plain and simple. 5 stars
3/04/04 jdogg touching and wonderful-and didn't show wood's descent into porno. 5 stars
3/04/04 Jack Bourbon Well, if you think you may like it, you'll probably love it. Wacky stuff. 5 stars
3/04/04 Jack Sommersby A bit rambling, but it's mammothly entertaining and splendidly acted. 4 stars
3/03/04 y2mckay one of Burton's best, Landau fantastic, but film loses emotional core when Lugosi dies. 4 stars
2/26/04 Kyle Come on everyone, REVIEW!!! Push dumbass AJ off the list! GO! GO!!! 5 stars
2/20/04 AJ Bag of Gay Shit 1 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley Burton's one true masterpiece and Depp's best role 5 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Lavish production values and fun performances all around. 5 stars
12/06/03 ashley goodspeed it was a good movie except for jeffrey jones being in it that sucked, but johnny depp rules 5 stars
12/06/03 Agent Sands Terrific acting and writing, and the black-&-white is very apt. 5 stars
11/30/03 john rates with (or maybe even above) DAY FOR NIGHT as the best movie about movie making ever 5 stars
9/28/03 AD dam this was great 5 stars
9/24/03 JC Very much in the style of Ed Wood actually! Depp, Landau, and Burton are brilliant! 5 stars
7/11/03 eleftheria gooooood 5 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert burton's very best film, has yet to top it 5 stars
5/15/03 George Jung One of the best films of the 90s, if not ever. 5 stars
5/04/03 sleepy amazing film 5 stars
3/16/03 Maegs Come on, its not THAT good 3 stars
3/07/03 Glenn cool johnny the best 5 stars
2/08/03 mr. Pink Terrific! One of Burton's best films! 5 stars
2/05/03 Silverline Not that great 3 stars
2/01/03 dionwr Okay, low-key effort from Burton 3 stars
1/28/03 The Aussie Film Reviewer A hilarious, dark and moody few hours. 4 stars
11/25/02 Mason Not burtons best work (Pee-Wee!) but honorary enough to be on the top 20 5 stars
11/22/02 Angel This movie is a true gem 5 stars
11/10/02 asina my favorite film.... 5 stars
9/22/02 Morally Sound I love this movie. 5 stars
9/21/02 Buddha It's funny, but it also takes a little liberty with the truth. 3 stars
8/23/02 Naomi A superb, well- crafted film. Depp is great, as always, but Landau's Bela steals the show. 5 stars
8/17/02 Scott Brilliant, very funny film 5 stars
7/30/02 The Little Cock-Smoking Tramp Modern black-and-white cinematography is so beautiful it makes me cry 5 stars
6/24/02 blake i loved it 5 stars
6/03/02 Poumpus and better than you Depp was Hilarious as Ed Wood! 5 stars
5/28/02 gj ty mmmmmmmmmm it was okkkkkkkkkkkk, perhaps a touch too weird 4 stars
5/20/02 siro My all-time favorite film.... 5 stars
4/02/02 lauren mccreight a movie for people who love movies 4 stars
2/24/02 Aiken Drum Every time I even think about this movie I cack myself. 5 stars
2/20/02 Andrew Carden Ok As An Autobiography, but Very Mediorce and Fourth Rate As A Movie. 3 stars
2/19/02 Goombah Landau is masterful, Depp fantastic, but the story is sometimes a little cartoony. 4 stars
1/26/02 Phil Z. Excellent, clever, moving. 5 stars
1/02/02 Foufie Cannot be explained : just watch it ! 5 stars
8/29/01 Gary Very funny and well made. Depp is magnificent. Parker is a great presence here, too. 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk The perfect tribute from a master of the craft. Beautiful and flawless. 5 stars
8/02/01 KC Au One of my favorite movies!! Very funny and some scenes were very touching. 5 stars
8/01/01 Michael S. Browne I wish there was a Beyond Fucking Awesome rating. This is the best movie I've ever seen 5 stars
7/26/01 Edgar Delicious, funny, incredible! I'd see it again and again! 5 stars
6/30/01 Monster W. Kung It's not a masterpiece, but the re-creation of Plan 9 is masterful. 4 stars
5/21/01 Ray McCoy An auspicious beginning to the second Burton era. 5 stars
3/28/01 Jesse L Depp is brilliant. Pass the angora sweater. 5 stars
12/15/00 viking The most human of Tim Burton's movies 5 stars
9/07/00 Gray Depp was perfect choice. Beautiful film. Fantastic. 5 stars
7/29/00 Jinx Depp is great, Wood was weird and sympathetically pathetic. Truth is stranger than fiction. 4 stars
6/10/00 Mike Farwell Very well directed, by the one and only TIM BURTON!!! 5 stars
6/03/00 PJ Absolutely beautiful, I absolutely loved it, Depp and Landau were perfect 5 stars
4/04/00 Casper A Burton masterpiece and one in which you'll laugh out loud! What a great movie!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/02/00 perverted pixie Watch this! Watch "Plan 9"! Watch "Glen or Glenda"! They all rule! 5 stars
2/27/00 Judy57 My favorite movie, so lovingly done. 5 stars
1/23/00 Dr. Dolittle A Masterpiece 5 stars
12/06/99 JonnyAngel I only saw it recently, boy was I missing out. 5 stars
9/05/99 Weird Andy Magnificent. 5 stars
6/21/99 Ed Wood I, of course, loved it 5 stars
1/03/99 Charles Dubé Absolutely hillarious and even touching film. Burton's absolute best. **** stars 5 stars
12/15/98 Binky What a great film. Depp and Landau are wonderful. 5 stars
12/05/98 tj oh dear lord this is good 5 stars
12/01/98 Mr.Pink SO BEAUTIFUL AND VERY FUNNY!! 5 stars
11/25/98 DrEvil Touching tribute to a man of skewed vision, whose determination exceeded his talent. 5 stars
11/17/98 little jerry this is a beautifully balanced film.Tender and strange. 5 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob You can see the love on the screen. 5 stars
10/24/98 Vincent Burton's best film- a treasure that will be remembered 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Anyone who doesn't think this is a fine film is so clearly not thinking straight. 5 stars
10/01/98 {{{OZ}}} Fucking awesome film, especially for b-grade sci-fi freaks. Landau is incredible. 5 stars
9/24/98 Johny Oz is right. Depp and Burton's finest hour. 5 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress i'm sorry, johnny depp didn't sell me on this one. 3 stars
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  28-Sep-1994 (R)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004



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